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toration of the house of Israel, and in the destruction of God's enemies.*
See Dan. xii. 6,7, 11, 12; whence it appears, that, between the expiration of the three times and a half or tbe 1260 years, and the commencement of the season of blessedness at tbe end of 1335 years, just 75 years intervene. The three texts, which Bp. Newton cites to shew that the phrase of the latter or last days or the end of days denotes the times of Christianity, seem to me plainly to relate to the millennian period or the reign of the mountain.
“ And it shall come to pass in the last days, or at the end of days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” Isaiah i. 2.
“ But, in the last days, or at the end of days, it shall come to pass, that tbe mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.” Micah iv. 1.
“ But this is that, which was spoken by the prophet Joel ; And it shall come to pass in the last days (saith God) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.” Acts ii. 16, 17.
With regard to tbe two first of these texts, let any person compare them with Dan. ii. 34, 35, 44, 45, and he will be satisfied, that they relate exclusively to the kingdom of tbe mountain, or the millennium : which was not to commence, as we are plainly informed by Daniel, till after the destruction of the feet of the image, or the ten-borned Roman beast : that is to say, they relate to the kingdom of Christ, when no longer symbolized by a stone, but when it shall have become a great mountain filling the whole earth:
As for the last of them, it is undoubtedly applied by St. Peter to the miraculous effusion of the Holy Ghost upon the day of Pentecost ; yet it is as undoubtedly cited by him only in the way of application. The whole prophecy, of which that text forme a part, relates to the ravages of some fierce and lawless people symbolized by a flight of locusts, the restoration of the Jews, the overthrow of Antichrist and bis congregated vassals between the two seas in the valley of concision, and the glorious rest of the people of God during tbe blessed days of the Millennium : consequently it can only have been applied by St. Peter to the times of the first advent of our Lord, as ical in some measure of the times of his second advent. It ought to be observed, that, although in bis citation of the text the Apostle introduces the phrase of the last days, (which undoubtedly in his application of it means the times of Christianity) the phrase does not occur in the original text of Joel : no argument therefore can be drawn from this circumstance to prove, that the Old Testament phrase of the end of days is equivalent to the New Testament phrase of tbe last days. (See Joel ii. iii. for the whole prophecy ; and Joel ü. 28, for the text.)
Tbe end of days then, I conceive, when not used in its primary sense of any time yet future, denotes the end of the present order of things, the end of the reign of the two little apostate horns, the end of the tyranny of Antichrist ; in short, the whole time of tbe end as the great day of the Lord's controversy is styled by Daniel, and the wbole period of the Millennium. (See Hosea iii. 5.)
Instead of this phrase, Ezekiel, in a single instance, uses another ; which is precisely equivalent to it. Speaking of the attack, which should be made by Gog and Magog upon the Jews, now restored to their own country, he indifferently predicts, that it should take place at the end of years, and at the end of days. (See Ezek. xxxviii. 8,16.) Now St. John specially informs us, that this invasion of Gog and Magog shall not be till the end of the Millennium; and Ezekiel, in perfect harmony with him, asserts, that it shall be directed against the Jews a considerable time after their return, when dwelling in Palestine in unsuspecting security. (See Rev. xx. 7, 8. and Ezek. Ixxvi. 8, 11, 12, 14.) Since then the expedition of Antichrist and the expedition of Gog und Magog are both to take place at the end of days, and since the one expedition is to be at tbe beginning of the Millennium and the other at the end of it, it is evident that the end of days or the end of years reaches from the termination of the 1260 years to the termination of the Millennium.
On the other hand, when Daniel informs Nebuchadnezzar, that “ God maketh known to him what shall be in the latter days, or at the end of days," it is manifest, that
In the New Testament, on the other hand, there is a real difference between the two phrases of the latter days, and the last days ; a difference, carefully observed by the inspired writers, and with much judiciousness as carefully attended to by our translators. The latter times is the strict literal translation of υστεροι καιροι ; and the last days is the strict literal translation of εσχαίαι ημέραι : the one phrase is comparative, and the other is superlative : and these two phruses are never confounded together
Whenever the phrase of the last days is used declaratively, and not prophetically, by the evangelical writers, it means the whole period of the Christian dispensation, as contradistinguished from the former days of the Patriarchal and Levitical dispensations. In this sense it is applied by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. “ God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.* It is used in a similar manner by St. Peter.
“ Christ verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”+ It is used also in the same manner by St. John. “ Little children, it is the last time : and, as ye have heard that the Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know, that it is the last time.”
But, whenever the phrases of the latter days, and the last days, are used prophetically, and not declaratively, by the evangelical writers, they never mean the whole period of the Christian dispensation, but always two distinct and successive parts of that dispensation. Here I
futurity in general, not the Millennium in particular, is there intended by the expression : because the king's dream reaches from bis own reign to the very commencement of the kingdom of the mountain. (Dan. ii. 28, 29.) Such also, as Bp. Newton justly remarks, is the meaning of the phrase in Gen. xlix. 1. Numb. xxiv. 14. and Deut. xxxi. 29. (See Dissert. iv.) Such likewise is its meaning in Dan. x. 14. The context indeed, as in the present cases, will usually shew, with abundantly sufficient clearness, which of these two significations the Hebrew phrase of the end of days ought to bear in the different passages, wherein it occurs. * Heb. i. 1, 2.
+ i Peter i. 20. 1 John ii. 18. The phrase of the latter times or days, is never used in the New Testament, like the phrase of the last times er days, in the sense of the whole period of the Christian dispensation,
am compelled entirely to differ from Bp. Newton and Mr. Mede.
Both these eminent expositors suppose, that the two phrases are synonymous, and equally mean the latter times of the last times, which are the times of the little horn; who should arise during the latter part of the last of the four kingdoms, and should be destroyed together with it, after having continued a time, and times, and half a time :"* whereas I am persuaded, that in the New Testament they are not synonymous, but that they relate to two entirely different periods, which are never confounded together by any of the apostolical prophels.
The whole duration of the times of Christianity under the reign of the stone, exclusive of the Millennium or the reign of the mountain, is considered in the evangelical predictions as divided into three periods.
1. The first is that of primitive Christianity ; which was not to expire till the commencement of the great Apostacy, although the divine truths of the Gospel would be gradually corrupted during its continuance. Its history, as connected with that of the Roman empire, is detailed under the six first apocalyptic seals, and the four first apocalyptic trumpets.
2. The second is thut of the great Apostacy, during its flourishing state. The history of this period is detailed under the two first woe-trumpets : but the Apostacy itself will not be completely overthrown till towards the end of the third woe-trumpet:
3. The third is that of the reign of Antichrist, whose distinguishing badge should be a denial both of the Father and the Son. This power was not to be revealed till some time after the Apostacy had commenced : and was to be contemporary with it during the latter part of its existence, during its allegorical old age. The history of this third period, which comprehends both the reign of Antichrist and the decline and full of the contemporary Apostacy, is detailed under the third woc-trumpet and its seven vials.
The second and third of these periods, the history of
which constitutes the three apocalyptic woes,* make up jointly the grund period of 1260 years. The Apostacy itself continues to tyrannize the whole length of the 1260 years : but the reign of Antichrist is contemporary with the Apostacy only during a certuin space at the last end of those years; and this space, we are informed, will be short, compared with the entire duration of the 1260 years, or the 42 prophetic months.
The second then of these three periods, comprehending the rise and Nourishing state of the Apostacy, is termed by the prophets of the New Testament the latter times or days; as being latter, when compared to the days of primitive Christianity or the first period.
And the third of the three periods, or the peculiar reign of the atheistical Antichrist, is distinguished by the appellation of the last times or days; as being last, when compared to the days of primitive Christianity, and to the latter days of the first and second woe-trumpets or the peculiar reign of apostate superstition.
Accordingly, we shall invariably find, that every apostolical prediction, relative to the latter days, speaks of certain superstitious practices introduced by the little horn of the fourth beast during the flourishing period of the Apostucy ; but ncver alludes to Atheism, and the monstrous brood of vices engendered by it: and, on the other hand, that every apostolical prediction, relative to the last days, speaks of Atheism and its kindred-sins ; but nerer alludes to the superstitious practices af the Apostacy. Prophecies relative to the latter days, or the superstitions
of the Apostacy. “ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ;S through the hypocrisy of liars, having their consciences seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth-Refuse profane and old wives' fables ; and exercise thyself rather unto godliness : for bodily exercise profiteth little."*
* Rev. vii 13.
† Rev. xii. 12. Gr. atering ov7zı, shall apostatize. It is the very same mode of expression as that used by St. Paul, when he is predicting the falling away or apostacy, (Gr. a70512014) which was to take place from primitive Christianity. 2 Thess. ii. 3.
$ Or, more properly, demons or mediating spirits. As Bp. Newton justly remarks, " doctrines of demons, are doctrines about and concerning demons. This is therefore a prophecy, that the idolatrous theology of demons, professed by the gentiles, should be revived among Christians-Demons, according to the theology of the gentiles, were
“ Che time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine ; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears ; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”+
“ And the rest of the men, which were not killed by these plagues,” (namely those, which took place under the first and second woe-trumpets, and consequently during the period, which, as I conceive, the apostolical prophets denominate the lutter days) " yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, I and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood : which neither can see, nor hear, por walk : neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”'S
Let no man beguile you of your reward, in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind; and not holding the head—Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and disciplining of the body ; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”||
middle powers between the sovran gods and mortal men— These demons were regarded as mediators and agents between the gods and men-Of these demons there were accounted two kinds. One kind of demons were the souls of men, deified or canonized after death-The other kind of demons were such as had never been the souls of men, nor ever dwelt in mortal bodies The latter demons
be paralleled with angels, as the former may with canonized saints.” Dissert. xxiii. 2. • 1 Tim. iv. 1.
+ 2 Tim. iv. 3. That is, demons or mediating spirits, as before. St. John uses the very same word Saluovia or demons, that St. Paul does. (1 Tim. iv. 1.)
§ Rev. ix. 20. Coloss. ii. 18, 19, 23.
The express phrase of latter times or days only occurs in one of these prophecies; but the purport of the rest, relating as they all do to the very same superstitious practices as those stigmatized in the first, sufficiently shew that they must all be referred to the same period, whatever that period may be.