The Coming Prince
by Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B., LL.D.
"THE COMING PRINCE" on 8 html pages-
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTORY on page 1 ---New Window
CHAPTERS 2-3 on page 2 ---New Window
CHAPTERS 4-6 on page 3 (this page)
CHAPTERS 7-9 on page 4 ---New Window
CHAPTERS 10-12 on page 5 ---New Window
CHAPTERS 13-15 on page 6 ---New Window
PREFACES on page 7 ---New Window
APPENDICES on page 8 ---New Window
To avoid broken links, due to file length, please wait for the page to
before selecting ANY link below.
The links above can be used immediately.
Table of Contents
THE VISION BY THE RIVER OF ULAI
"THE times of the Gentiles;" thus it was that Christ Himself described
the era of Gentile supremacy. Men have come to regard the earth as their own domain,
and to resent the thought of Divine interference in their affairs. But though monarchs
seem to owe their thrones to dynastic claims, the sword or the ballot-box, — and
in their individual capacity their title may rest solely upon these, — the power
they wield is divinely delegated, for "the Most High ruleth
in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will." (Daniel 4:25)
In the exercise of this high prerogative He took back the scepter He had entrusted to the house of David, and transferred it to Gentile hands; and the history of that scepter during the entire period, from the epoch to the close of the times of the Gentiles, is the subject of the prophet's earlier visions.
The vision of the eighth chapter of Daniel has a narrower range. It deals only with the two kingdoms which were represented by the middle portion, or arms and body, of the image of the second chapter. The Medo-Persian Empire, and the relative superiority of the younger nation, are represented by a ram with two horns, one of which was higher than the other, though the last to grow. And the rise of the Grecian Empire under Alexander, followed by its division among his four successors, is typified by a goat with a single horn between its eyes, which horn was broken and gave place to four horns that came up instead of it. Out of one of these horns came forth a little horn, representing a king who should become infamous as a blasphemer of God and a persecutor of His people.
That the career of Antiochus Epiphanes was in a special way within the scope and meaning of this prophecy is unquestioned. That its ultimate fulfillment belongs to a future time, though not so generally admitted, is nevertheless sufficiently clear. The proof of it is twofold. First, it cannot but be recognized that its most striking details remain wholly unfulfilled.  And secondly, the events described are expressly stated to be "in the last end of the indignation," (Daniel 8:19) which is "the great tribulation" of the last days, (Matthew 24:21) "the time of trouble" which is immediately to precede the complete deliverance of Judah. 
It is unnecessary, however, further to embarrass the special subject of these pages by any such discussion. So far as the present inquiry is immediately concerned, this vision of the ram and the he-goat is important mainly as explanatory of the visions which precede it. 
One point of contrast with the prophecy of the fourth Gentile kingdom demands a very emphatic notice. The vision of Alexander's reign, followed by the fourfold division of his empire, suggests a rapid sequence of events, and the history of the three-and-thirty years that intervened between the battles of Issus and of Ipsus  comprises the full realization of the
prophecy. But the rise of the ten horns upon the fourth beast in the vision of the seventh chapter, appears to lie within as brief a period as was the rise of the four horns upon the goat in the eighth chapter; whereas it is plain upon the pages of history that this tenfold division of the Roman empire has never yet taken place. A definite date may be assigned to the advent of the first three kingdoms of prophecy; and if the date of the battle of Actium be taken as the epoch of the hybrid monster which filled the closing scenes of the prophet's vision — and no later date will be assigned to it — it follows that in interpreting the prophecy, we may eliminate the history of the world from the time of Augustus to the present hour, without losing the sequence of the vision.  Or in other words, the prophet's glance into the future entirely overlooked these nineteen centuries of our era. As when mountain peaks stand out together on the horizon, seeming almost to touch, albeit a wide expanse of river and field and hill may lie between, so there loomed upon the prophet's vision these events of times now long gone by, and times still future.
And with the New Testament in our hands, it would betray strange and willful ignorance if we doubted the deliberate design which has left this long interval of our Christian era a blank in Daniel's prophecies. The more explicit revelation of the ninth chapter, measures out the years before the first advent of Messiah. But if these nineteen centuries had been added to the chronology of the period to intervene before the promised kingdom could be ushered in, how could the Lord have taken up the testimony to the near fulfillment of these very prophecies, and have proclaimed that the kingdom was at hand?  He who knows all hearts, knew well the issue; but the thought is impious that the proclamation was not genuine and true in the strictest sense; and it would have been deceptive and untrue had prophecy foretold a long interval of Israel's rejection before the promise could be realized.
Therefore it is that the two advents of Christ are brought seemingly together in Old Testament Scriptures. The surface currents of human responsibility and human guilt are unaffected by the changeless and deep-lying tide of the fore-knowledge and sovereignty of God. Their responsibility was real, and their guilt was without excuse, who rejected their long-promised King and Savior. They were not the victims of an inexorable fate which dragged them to their doom, but free agents who used their freedom to crucify the Lord of Glory. "His blood be on us and on our children," was their terrible, impious cry before the judgment-seat of Pilate, and for eighteen centuries their judgment has been meted out to them, to reach its appalling climax on the advent of the "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." 
These visions were full of mystery to Daniel, and filled the old prophet's mind with troubled thoughts. (Daniel 7:28; 8:27) A long vista of events seemed thus to intervene before the realization of the promised blessings to his nation, and yet these very revelations made those blessings still more sure. Ere long he witnessed the crash of the Babylonian power, and saw a stranger enthroned within the broad-walled city. But the change brought no hope to Judah. Daniel was restored, indeed, to the place of power and dignity which he had held so long under Nebuchadnezzar, (Daniel 2:48; 6:2) but he was none the less an exile; his people were in captivity, their city lay in ruins, and their land was a wilderness. And the mystery was only deepened when he turned to Jeremiah's prophecy, which fixed at seventy years the destined era of "the desolations of Jerusalem" (Daniel 9:2) So "by prayer and supplications, with fastings, and sackcloth and ashes," he cast himself on God; as a prince among his people, confessing their national apostasy, and pleading for their restoration and forgiveness. And who can read that prayer unmoved?
While Daniel was thus "speaking in prayer' Gabriel once more appeared to him, (Daniel 9:21, See chap. 8:16.) that same angel messenger who heralded in after times the Savior's birth in Bethlehem, — and in answer to his supplication, delivered to the prophet the great prediction of the seventy weeks.
CHAPTER V. Back to
THE ANGEL' S MESSAGE
SUCH was the message entrusted to the angel in response to the prophet's prayer
for mercies upon Judah and Jerusalem.
To whom shall appeal be made for an interpretation of the utterance? Not to the Jew, surely, for though himself the subject of the prophecy, and of all men the most deeply interested in its meaning, he is bound, in rejecting Christianity, to falsify not only history, but his own Scriptures. Nor yet to the theologian who has prophetic theories to vindicate, and who on discovering, perhaps, some era of seven times seventy in Israel's history, concludes that he has solved the problem, ignoring the fact that the strange history of that wonderful people is marked through all its course by chronological cycles of seventy and multiples of seventy. But any man of unprejudiced mind who will read the words with no commentary save that afforded by Scripture itself and the history of the time, will readily admit that on certain leading points their meaning is unequivocal and clear.
The first question, therefore, which arises is whether history records any event
which unmistakably marks the beginning of the era.
Certain writers, both Christian and Jewish, have assumed that the seventy weeks began in the first year of Darius, the date of the prophecy itself; and thus falling into hopeless error at the very threshold of the inquiry, all their conclusions are necessarily erroneous. The words of the angel are unequivocal: "From the issuing of the decree to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks." That Jerusalem was in fact rebuilt as a fortified city, is absolutely certain and undoubted; and the only question in the matter is whether history records the edict for its restoration.
When we turn to the book of Ezra, three several decrees of Persian kings claim notice. The opening verses speak of that strange edict by which Cyrus authorized the building of the temple. But here "the house of the Lord God of Israel" is specified with such an exclusive definiteness that it can in no way satisfy the words of Daniel. Indeed the date of that decree affords conclusive proof that it was not the beginning of the seventy weeks. Seventy years was the appointed duration of the servitude to Babylon. (Jeremiah 27:6-17; 28:10; 29:10) But another judgment of seventy years' "desolations" was decreed in Zedekiah's reign,  because of continued disobedience and rebellion. As an interval of seventeen years elapsed between the date of the servitude and the epoch of the "desolations," so by seventeen years the second period overlapped the first. The servitude ended with the decree of Cyrus. The desolations continued till the second year of Darius Hystaspes.  And it was the era of the desolations, and not of the servitude which Daniel had in view. 
The decree of Cyrus was the Divine fulfillment of the promise made to the captivity in the twenty-ninth chapter of Jeremiah, and in accordance with that promise the fullest liberty was granted to the exiles to return to Palestine. But till the era of the desolations had run its course, not one stone was to be set upon another on Mount Moriah. And this explains the seemingly inexplicable fact that the firman to build the temple, granted to eager agents by Cyrus in the zenith of his power, remained in abeyance till his death; for a few refractory Samaritans were allowed to thwart the execution of this the most solemn edict ever issued by an Eastern despot, an edict in respect of which a Divine sanction seemed to confirm the unalterable will of a Medo-Persian king. 
When the years of the desolations were expired, a Divine command was promulgated for the building of the sanctuary, and in obedience to that command, without waiting for permission from the capital, the Jews returned to the work in which they had so long been hindered. (Ezra 5:1, 2, 5) The wave of political excitement which had carried Darius to the throne of Persia, was swelled by religious fervor against the Magian idolatry.  The moment therefore was auspicious for the Israelites, whose worship of Jehovah commanded the sympathy of the Zoroastrian faith; and when the tidings reached the palace of their seemingly seditious action at Jerusalem, Darius made search among the Babylonian archives of Cyrus, and finding the decree of his predecessor, he issued on his own behalf a firman to give effect to it. (Ezra 6)
And this is the second event which affords a possible beginning for the seventy weeks.  But though plausible arguments may be urged to prove that, either regarded as an independent edict, or as giving practical effect to the decree of Cyrus, the act of Darius was the epoch of the prophetic period, the answer is clear and full, that it fails to satisfy the angel's words. However it be accounted for, the fact remains, that though the "desolations" were accomplished, yet neither the scope of the royal edict, nor the action of the Jews in pursuance of that edict, went beyond the building of the Holy Temple, whereas the prophecy foretold a decree for the building of the city; not the street alone, but the fortifications of Jerusalem.
Five years sufficed for the erection of the building which served as a shrine for Judah during the five centuries which followed.  But, in striking contrast with the temple they had reared in days when the magnificence of Solomon made gold as cheap as brass in Jerusalem, no costly furniture adorned the second house, until the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, when the Jews obtained a firman "to beautify the house of the Lord." (Ezra 7:19, 27.) This letter further authorized Ezra to return to Jerusalem with such of the Jews as desired to accompany him, and there to restore fully the worship of the temple and the ordinances of their religion. But this third decree makes no reference whatever to building, and it might be passed unnoticed were it not that many writers have fixed on it as the epoch of the prophecy. The temple had been already built long years before, and the city was still in ruins thirteen years afterwards. The book of Ezra therefore will be searched in vain for any mention of a "commandment to restore and build Jerusalem." But we only need to turn to the book which follows it in the canon of Scripture to find the record which we seek.
The book of Nehemiah opens by relating that while at Susa,  where he was cup-bearer to the great king, "an honor of no small account in Persia,"  certain of his brethren arrived from Judea, and he "asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem." The emigrants declared that all were "in great affliction and reproach," "the wall of Jerusalem also was broken down, and the gates thereof were burned with fire." (Nehemiah 1:2) The first chapter closes with the record of Nehemiah's supplication to "the God of heaven." The second chapter narrates how "in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes," he was discharging the duties of his office, and as he stood before the king his countenance betrayed his grief, and Artaxerxes called on him to tell his trouble. "Let the king live for ever," Nehemiah answered, "why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire!" "For what dost thou make request?" the king demanded in reply. Thereupon Nehemiah answered thus: "If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto THE CITY of my fathers' sepulchers, THAT I MAY BUILD IT." (Nehemiah 2:5) Artaxerxes fiated the petition, and forthwith issued the necessary orders to give effect to it. Four months later, eager hands were busy upon the ruined walls of Jerusalem, and before the Feast of Tabernacles the city was once more enclosed by gates and a rampart. (Nehemiah 6:15)
But, it has been urged, "The decree of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes is but an enlargement and renewal of his first decree, as the decree of Darius confirmed that of Cyrus."  If this assertion had not the sanction of a great name, it would not deserve even a passing notice. If it were maintained that the decree of the seventh year of Artaxerxes was but "an enlargement and renewal" of his predecessors' edicts, the statement would be strictly accurate. That decree was mainly an authority to the Jews "to beautify the House of the Lord. which is in Jerusalem," (Ezra 7:27) in extension of the decrees by which Cyrus and Darius permitted them to build it. The result was to produce a gorgeous shrine in the midst of a ruined city. The movement of the seventh of Artaxerxes was chiefly a religious revival, (Ezra 7:10) sanctioned and subsidized by royal favor; but the event of his twentieth year was nothing less than the restoration of the autonomy of Judah. The execution of the work which Cyrus authorized was stopped on the false charge which the enemies of the Jews carried to the palace, that their object was to build not merely the Temple, but the city. "A rebellious city" it had ever proved to each successive suzerain, "for which cause" — they declared with truth, — its destruction was decreed. "We certify the king" (they added) "that if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, thou shalt have no portion on this side the river."  To allow the building of the temple was merely to accord to a conquered race the right to worship according to the law of their God, for the religion of the Jew knows no worship apart from the hill of Zion. It was a vastly different event when that people were permitted to set up again the far-famed fortifications of their city, and entrenched behind those walls, to restore under Nehemiah the old polity of the Judges.  This was a revival of the national existence of Judah, and therefore it is fitly chosen as the epoch of the prophetic period of the seventy weeks.
The doubt which has been raised upon the point may serve as an illustration of the extraordinary bias which seems to govern the interpretation of Scripture, in consequence of which the plain meaning of words is made to give place to the remote and the less probable. And to the same cause must be attributed the doubt which some have suggested as to the identity of the king here spoken of with Artaxerxes Longimanus. 
The question remains, whether the date of this edict can be accurately ascertained. And here a most striking fact claims notice. In the sacred narrative the date of the event which marked the beginning of the seventy weeks is fixed only by reference to the regnal era of a Persian king. Therefore we must needs turn to secular history to ascertain the epoch, and history dates from this very period. Herodotus, "the father of history," was the contemporary of Artaxerxes, and visited the Persian court.  Thucydides, "the prince of historians," also was his contemporary. In the great battles of Marathon and Salamis, the history of Persia had become interwoven with events in Greece, by which its chronology can be ascertained and tested; and the chief chronological eras of antiquity were current at the time.  No element is wanting, therefore, to enable us with accuracy and certainty to fix the date of Nehemiah's edict.
True it is that in ordinary history the mention of "the twentieth year of Artaxerxes" would leave in doubt whether the era of his reign were reckoned from his actual accession, or from his father's death;  but the narrative of Nehemiah removes all ambiguity upon this score. The murder of Xerxes and the beginning of the usurper Artabanus's seven months' reign was in July B.C. 465; the accession of Artaxerxes was in February B.C. 464;  One or other of these dates, therefore, must be the epoch of Artaxerxes' reign. But as Nehemiah mentions the Chisleu (November) of one year, and the following Nisan (March) as being both in the same year of his master's reign, it is obvious that, as might be expected from an official of the court, he reckons from the time of the king's accession de jure, that is from July B.C. 465. The twentieth year of Artaxerxes therefore began in July B.C. 446, and the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem was given in the Nisan following. The epoch of the prophetic cycle is thus definitely fixed as in the Jewish month Nisan of the year B.C. 445. 
CHAPTER VI. Back to
THE PROPHETIC YEAR
IN English ears it must sound pedantic to speak of "weeks" in any other
than the familiar acceptation of the term. But with the Jew it was far otherwise.
The effect of his laws was fitted "to render the word week capable of
meaning a seven of years almost as naturally as a seven of days. Indeed the generality
of the word would have this effect at any rate. Hence its use to denote the latter
in prophecy is not mere arbitrary symbolism, but the employment of a not unfamiliar
and easily understood language." 
Daniel's prayer referred to seventy years fulfilled: the prophecy which came in answer to that prayer foretold a period of seven times seventy still to come. But here a question arises which never has received sufficient notice in the consideration of this subject. None will doubt that the era is a period of years; but of what kind of year is it composed? That the Jewish year was lunisolar appears to be reasonably certain. If tradition may be trusted, Abraham preserved in his family the year of 360 days, which he had known in his Chaldean home.  The month dates of the flood (150 days being specified as the interval between the seventeenth day of the second month, and the same day of the seventh month) appear to show that this form of year was the earliest known to our race. Sir Isaac Newton states, that "all nations, before the just length of the solar year was known, reckoned months by the course of the moon, and years by the return of winter and summer, spring and autumn; and in making calendars for their festivals, they reckoned thirty days to a lunar month, and twelve lunar months to a year, taking the nearest round numbers, whence came the division of the ecliptic into 360 degrees." And in adopting this statement, Sir G. C. Lewis avers that "all credible testimony and all antecedent probability lead to the result that a solar year containing twelve lunar months, determined within certain limits of error, has been generally recognized by the nations adjoining the Mediterranean, from a remote antiquity." 
But considerations of this kind go no further than to prove how legitimate and important is the question here proposed. The inquiry remains whether any grounds exist for reversing the presumption which obtains in favor of the common civil year. Now the prophetic era is clearly seven times the seventy years of the "desolations" which were before the mind of Daniel when the prophecy was given. Is it possible then to ascertain the character of the years of this lesser era?
One of the characteristic ordinances of the Jewish law was, that every seventh year the land was to lie fallow, and it was in relation to the neglect of this ordinance that the era of the desolations was decreed. It was to last "until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths; for so long as she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years." (2 Chronicles 36:21; cf. Leviticus 26:34, 35) The essential element in the judgment was, not a ruined city, but a land laid desolate by the terrible scourge of a hostile invasion, (Compare Jeremiah 27:13; Haggai 2:17) the effects of which were perpetuated by famine and pestilence, the continuing proofs of the Divine displeasure. It is obvious therefore, that the true epoch of the judgment is not, as has been generally assumed, the capture of Jerusalem, but the invasion of Judea. From the time the Babylonian armies entered the land, all agricultural pursuits were suspended, and therefore the desolations may be reckoned from the day the capital was invested, namely, the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year of Zedekiah. This was the epoch as revealed to Ezekiel the prophet in his exile on the banks of the Euphrates, (Ezekiel 24:1, 2) and for twenty-four centuries the day has been observed as a fast by the Jews in every land.
The close of the era is indicated in Scripture with equal definiteness, as "the four-and-twentieth day of the ninth month in the second year of Darius.  "Consider now" (the prophetic word declared) "from this day and upward — from the four-and- twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid — consider it: from this day I will bless you." Now from the tenth day of Tebeth B.C. 589,  to the twenty-fourth day of Chisleu B.C. 520,  was a period of 25, 202 days; and seventy years of 360 days contain exactly 25, 200 days. We may conclude, therefore, that the era of the "desolations" was a period of seventy years of 360 days, beginning the day after the Babylonian army invested Jerusalem, and ending the day before the foundation of the second temple was laid. 
But this inquiry may be pressed still further. As the era of the "desolations" was fixed at seventy years, because of the neglect of the Sabbatic years, (2 Chronicles 36:21; Leviticus 26:34, 35) we might expect to find that a period of seven times seventy years measured back from the close of the seventy years of "indignation against Judah," would bring us to the time when Israel entered into their full national privileges, and thus incurred their full responsibilities. And such in fact will be found upon inquiry to be the case. From the year succeeding the dedication of Solomon's temple, to the year before the foundation of the second temple was laid, was a period of 490 years of 360 days. 
It must be admitted, however, that no argument based on calculations of this kind is final.  The only data which would warrant our deciding unreservedly that the prophetic year consists of 360 days, would be to find some portion of the era subdivided into the days of which it is composed. No other proof can be wholly satisfactory, but if this be forthcoming, it must be absolute and conclusive. And this is precisely what the book of the Revelation gives us.
As already noticed, the prophetic era is divided into two periods, the one of 7+ 62 heptades, the other of a single heptade.  Connected with these eras, two "princes" are prominently mentioned; first, the Messiah, and secondly, a prince of that people by whom Jerusalem was to be destroyed, — a personage of such pre-eminence, that on his advent his identity is to be as certain as that of Christ Himself. The first era closes with the "cutting off" of Messiah; the beginning of the second era dates from the signature of a "covenant," or treaty, by this second "prince," with or perhaps in favor of "the many,"  that is the Jewish nation, as distinguished probably from a section of pious persons among them who will stand aloof. In the middle of the heptade the treaty is to be violated by the suppression of the Jews' religion, and a time of persecution is to follow.
Daniel's vision of the four beasts affords a striking commentary upon this. The identity of the fourth beast with the Roman empire is not doubtful, and we read that a "king" is to arise, territorially connected with that empire, but historically belonging to a later time; he will be a persecutor of "the saints of the Most High," and his fall is to be immediately followed by the fulfillment of Divine blessings upon the favored people — the precise event which marks the close of the "seventy weeks." The duration of that persecution, moreover, is stated to be "a time and times, and the dividing of time," — a mystical expression, of which the meaning might be doubtful, were it not that it is used again in Scripture as synonymous with three and a half years, or half a prophetic week. (Revelation 12:6, 14) Now there can be no reasonable doubt of the identity of the king of Daniel 7:25 with the first "beast" of the thirteenth chapter of Revelation. In the Revelation he is likened to a leopard, a bear, and a lion,— the figures used for Daniel's three first beasts. In Daniel there are ten kingdoms, represented by ten horns. So also in Revelation. According to Daniel, "he shall speak great words against the Most High, and wear out the saints of the Most High:" according to Revelation, "he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God," "and it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them." According to. Daniel, "they shall be given into his hand until a. time and times and the dividing of time," or three and a half years: according to Revelation, "power was given unto him to continue forty and two months."
It is not impossible, of course, that prophecy may foretell the career of two different men, answering the same description, who will pursue a precisely similar course in similar circumstances for a similar period of three and a half years; but the more natural and obvious supposition is that the two are identical. Owing to the very nature of the subject, their identity cannot be logically demonstrated, but it rests upon precisely the same kind of proof upon which juries convict men of crimes, and convicted prisoners are punished.
Now this seventieth week is admittedly a period of seven years, and half of this period is three times described as "a time, times, and half a time," or "the dividing of a time;" (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:14) twice as forty-two months; (Revelation 11:2; 13:5) and twice as 1, 260 days. (Revelation 11:3; 12:6) But 1, 260 days are exactly equal to forty-two months of thirty days, or three and a half years of 360 days, whereas three and a half Julian years contain 1, 278 days. It follows therefore that the prophetic year is not the Julian year, but the ancient year of 360 days. 
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTORY on page 1 ---New Window
CHAPTERS 2-3 on page 2 ---New Window
CHAPTERS 4-6 on page 3 (this page)
CHAPTERS 7-9 on page 4 ---New Window
CHAPTERS 10-12 on page 5 ---New Window
CHAPTERS 13-15 on page 6 ---New Window
PREFACES on page 7 ---New Window
APPENDICES on page 8 ---New Window
For more about the author, read:
Sir Robert Anderson and the Seventy Weeks of Daniel ---New Window
Section Index for Voices of Philadelphia
Homepage Holy Bible .Jehovah Jesus Timeline .Prophecy Philadelphia Fellowship Promises Stories Poetry Links
Purpose ||.What's New || Tribulation Topics || Download Page || Today's Entry
Topical Links: Salvation || Catholicism || Sound Doctrine || Prayer