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upon this people: and they shall 'fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations and Jerusalem shall be 'trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." In these latter words the tribulation is extended throughout the whole period of Jewish depression and Gentile domination, even down to the entire accomplishment of what is called "the times of the Gentiles;" a phrase the meaning of which I shall more carefully examine presently.
But this is not all. In Daniel xii, 1, 2, we read thus: " And at 'that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book, and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, &c." The words "at that time" are in the first instance immediately connected with the rise of the wilful king, whose exploits are described at verses 36-45 of the previous chapter; and with this time of trouble are likewise connected the resurrection and glorification of many who sleep in the dust. As the majority of commentators have concurred in fixing the tribulation named in Matthew to the overthrow of Jerusalem, so have they equally agreed in considering the time of trouble in Daniel to be yet future. But there is a remarkable notification attached to each of these passages, by means of which both periods of trouble may be clearly demonstrated to be connected together. Daniel says, There shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation
Matthew 'to that same time." also declares of the tribulation in"such as stanced by him, that it is was not since the beginning of the world to this time;"—and then adds NO, NOR EVER BE." Thus in both places the tribulation is described as unprecedented; but in Matthew it is stated besides, that the one referred to by him shall never subsequently have a parallel. How then, I ask, can the tribulation in Daniel follow that in Matthew? It might have preceded it, and that perfectly in consistence with truth; but I see not how it can come after it. after it. Had the notifications been reversed, (so that of the Jerusalem tribulation it had been said, it was such as never was since it had been a nation; and of that at the standing up of Michael, that it was to be such as was not, neither shall be,) I should experience no difficulty in reconciling the language with modern expositions : but, as it now stands in Scripture I am compelled either to reject the interpretation which would limit the tribulation of Matthew to the destruction of Jerusalem, or I must charge the word of God with exaggeration and falsehood!
Another consideration here presents itself. The unprecedented character of the tribulation spoken of by Matthew is explained, by those who limit it to Jerusalem, to consist in the sufferings and horrors experienced at the siege: specially in regard to the circumstance, that women were led by hunger to devour their own children. I readily grant, that the history of that event is sufficiently appalling; but I greatly question if it be without a parallel. The tribulation at the former siege of Jerusalem was very similar in this respect, and therefore forbids us to say of the second siege, so far as this cha
racteristic goes, fliction "such as
that it was afthat it was afwas not from the beginning of the creation which 'God created unto this time."e Jeremiah says of the besiegement by the Chaldeans : I will make this city desolate and a hissing; every one that passeth by shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies ' and they that seek their lives shall straiten them."f And afterwards, in his Lamentations over the destruction of the city, he shews that these things were actually fulfilled :
Behold, O Lord, and consider to 'whom thou hast done this. Shall the women eat their fruit and children of a span long ?"g-" The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children; they were their meat in the destruction ' of the daughter of my people."h Josephus informs us, that in the second siege of Babylon the inhabitants strangled all their women and children to make their provisions last. And horrible indeed have been the sufferings endured on various previous occasions; (as I might easily shew from ancient Authors ;) and subsequently also, as will clearly appear from the perusal of Gibbon's relation of the irruption of the Goths and afterwards of the Turks into the Roman empire. Lest I should be misapprehended, I would again observe, that I consider the vengeance which the Lord poured upon Jerusalem to have been very marked and signal : but if we limit it to the mere siege and its attendant circumstances, there is nothing so pre-eminently trans
BEEN DONE as hath been done upon Jerusalem." This it was which constituted its unprecedented character-not the signal vengeance inflicted in the siege only; but the accumulation of plagues and sufferings to be endured through a tedious and miserable dispersion.
e Mark xiii, 19. f Jer. xix, 8, 9. g Lam. ii, 20. h Ibid. iv, 10. i Isa. xl, 2.
cendent in its character, as at once to distinguish it from all other events. A careful perusal of Deut. xxviii, 47-68 and Daniel ix, have led me to conclude, that the unparalleled character of the tribulation, whilst it includes the dreadful sufferings endured in the siege and straitness, does more immediately respect their being led away captive into all nations, and their becoming a by-word and reproach, and suffering thus the wrath and vengeance of God for so long a period; so long, that the Spirit saith of its conclusion, "Jerusalem hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."'i I mean not that Moses and Daniel, in the passages referred to above, speak of this second and great captivity: for Moses (as is plain from Daniel's reference to him v. 13) primarily regards the Babylonish captivity, and the dispersion of the ten tribes which then commenced; and Daniel perhaps exclusively regards it. Yet Daniel, having dwelt at verse 7 on the circumstance of the men of Judah and Israel being scattered through all countries on account of their trespass against God, and then having in verse 11 viewed it as a fulfilment of the curse denounced by Moses,—adds concerning the Lord, He hath confirmed his words which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing
upon us a great evil: for under
THE WHOLE HEAVEN HATH NOT
are not absolutely passed away : it is the last act, yea the last scene, of the drama, in which occurs the grand catastrophe of the whole. Probably Rev. xvi, 18, which describes a symbolical “earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great," has that notification of its unparalleled character inserted, for the purpose of enabling the studious inquirer to connect it with other passages in which similar notices occur.*
3. I would next offer a few obser
MATTHEW XXIV, XXV; LUKE XXI.
I have still to harmonize Daniel and Matthew. This I think may be done, in perfect accordance with the context of the Scriptures, by considering the tribulation to commence with the signal vengeance on Jerusalem and the Jews then living ; to continue, according to St. Luke, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled;" and to terminate with that marked period of distress called in Jer. xxx, 7, the time of Jacob's trouble: but he shall be saved out of it!" This termination of the period (which shall be more pecially disastrous to the Gentiles, as marking their overthrow, but during which the Jews shall be delivered,) is I believe symbolized by the signs described in verse 29 of Matthew, and verses 25, 26 of Luke; for which I shall give my reasons in their proper place. St. Matthew indeed says, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened;" but this I apprehend is not intended to denote a distinct tribulation, but only the climax of it; being the termination of those days of vengeance and captivity to the Jews, "the end whereof is with a flood." This will be further evident from the parallel place in Mark's Gospel, which says "But IN those days, after that tribulation"-thus intimating, that the days of the tribulation, though drawn to their close,
vations on the phrase "times of the Gentiles" in Luke xxi, 24, which may throw further light on the previous argument.
Various significations are attached to the word time or times, when spoken of a kingdom; which must be determined by the word connected with either expression: and even the same word may have opposite meanings, according to the context; as in the phrase "time of visitation," which signifies in one place a visitation of wrath,k in another a visitation of mercy. But when the fulfilment of a time is spoken of, the immediate reference is frequently, not to the character of the time or period which has been fulfilling, but to that immediately succeeding; in which case it answers rather to our phrase, "the time is come. Thus in Mark i, 15-"The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at
j Dan. ix, 26. k Jer. xi, 23. 1 Compare Luke vii, 16 and xix, 44.
*There are passages which seem to mark an inchoate fulfilment of the time of trouble; and which consequently corroborate the view I have taken, that the tribulation commences with the Jews' captivity, continues throughout their dispersion, and is completed only at their deliverance. Such is the 8th verse of this chapter of Matthew ;-"These are the beginning of sorrows.' Such also is Luke xxiii, 30 ; shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the hills, Cover us;" imprecation which will be repeated at the consummation of the period; if Mr. Cuninghame's interpretation of the sixth seal be correct, which, as regards its principal features, I am fully disposed to believe.
Perhaps Dan. ix, 12 may be designed to connect that period also with the same tribulation; in which case it commenced with the first captivity, which was also the beginning of the times of the Gentiles.
hand,”—the attention is directed to the Gospel dispensation about to be introduced; whilst the legal dispensation, which was the period just fulfilled, is only obliquely referred to. So in Luke i, 57, in the words Elizabeth's full time came that she should be delivered," the time of deliverance is principally regarded, though the time completed must be that of gravidation. And thus, reasoning by analogy, I take the fulfilment of the times of the Gentiles, to be the time of deliverance to the Jews; which is plainly implied by the expression Jerusalem is to be trodden under foot till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled; and this time of deliverance itself, forasmuch as it also (as we have seen) is to be in a time of trouble, is compared in Jeremiah xxx, 6, 7, already quoted, to the time of travail. The times fulfilled must necessarily be the ages of affliction and oppression they will have passed through; and by an obvious contrast, as regards the Gentiles, whose times they are called, they are the period of their domination.
We may perhaps get a further clew to the meaning of this expression by an example or two of the use made of it in respect to others. Of the king of Babylon the Lord says, “All nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the very time of his land come: and then-many 'nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him."m The words "time of his land come" are here equivalent to the fulfilment of his time, during which he was to have the empire over the nations; and then the scene was to be reversed, and they were to “serve themselves of him." In Ezekiel xxx, Egypt is specially threatened with this
m Jer. xxvii, 6.
period of Babylonish tyranny, and
a man doth travail with child?
with his hands on his loins, as a
4. There is one other point which I shall here anticipate, inasmuch as it proves a stumbling-block to many; viz. verse 34.-" Verily I say unto
you, this generation shall not pass, 'till all these things be fulfilled.” This is by many supposed to be equivalent to Matt. xvi, 28— "There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." But the words are entirely different, and, though the one has an undoubted reference to the term of man's life,
1 Compare verses 3 and 26.
It is noticed by Mr. Begg, in a Treatise recently published on this subject, that in Beza's Latin translation of the New Testament, he generally renders the word yɛvɛa by gens or natio. I can confirm
this observation from a careful reference to Beza, and also to the version of Tremellius. It is remarkable, that the principal exception to this rule is the passage now under dispute, where Beza has ætas and Tremellius generatio. This shows that anti-millennarian prejudice weighed with them, and thus renders their translation of the word by gens in other places the more free from suspicion. I learn also from Mr. Begg that the earlier English translations rendered yɛvɛa γενεα nation in this place; and it may therefore be questioned, how far the later translators of the Bible were warped in their view of the passage by millennarian antipathy, since Mede's view of the subject was then known.
in its signification to the term of man's life. I should therefore add to the passages from the Septuagint such phrases as yɛveau Evax and yɛvɛav Evax, Numb. xiii, 23, 33, both meaning the children or descendants of Anak; also Genesis xliii, 7—“ The man asked us straitly of our kindred;" Numb. x, 30— "I will depart to mine own kindred;"-and Lev. xx, 18-" Both shall be cut off from their people.”
So also the phrases sinful— wicked-adulterous-crooked-faithless-perverse generation, the generation of the righteous, P &c. though I allow them to be ambiguous as regards the term nation, do nevertheless express the characteristics of the persons of whom spoken, and have no relation whatever to a period of time.
• Mark viii, 38; Matt. xvii, 17.
There are likewise additional testimonies which I have noticed of a more direct character; as in the Septuagint-" Pour out thy fury upon the families that call not upon thy name :" wherein yɛvɛas is exegetical of the word heathen in the same verse. Again, "Death shall be chosen rather than life by all that remain of this evil family;" which is evidently, from the context, spoken of the nation. Both in Matthew and Luke's Gospels the men of Nineveh," or Ninevites, is the antithetical phrase for men of this generation," or Jews. So of Sodom, &c. And the identical phrase translated a perverse generation in Matt. xvii, 17, is in Phil. ii, 15 rendered " a perverse nation.”
It is likewise very important, as respects the use of the word in this prophecy, to observe, that the previous chapter thus concludes : Behold your house is left unto you desolate for I say unto you, YE
p Ps. xiv, 5. q Jer. x, 25. s Matt. xii, 41, 42, 45; Luke xi, 31, 32, &c.
r Ibid. viii, 3.