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this will lead us down to the coming of CHRIST, the MESSIAH, who is here in the prophecy, predicted to come at the end of the said sixty-two weeks. For, the words of the prophecy are," From the going forth of the commandment, to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the MESSIAH the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks;" that is, there shall be seven weeks for the completing and finishing of the work for which that commandment, or decree, was granted, and from thence, sixty-two weeks more to the coming of CHRIST, the MESSIAH, here intended, that is, to the time of his first appearance on the ministry of the Gospel, A. D. 26. For his coming here predicted, must be interpreted, either of his coming at his birth, or of his coming on his ministry. No one saith it of the former, neither will the term of years predicted of it ever meet there: and, therefore, it must be understood of the latter, that is, his coming and first appearing in his ministry; and here, the years predicted in the prophecy, will exactly find it; for the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, from whence these weeks do begin, B. C. 458, being coincident with the of the Julian period 4256, if we reckon from thence seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks, that is sixty-nine weeks, or, 483. years, this will lead us down to the year of the Julian period 4739, which was the very year in which the ministry of the Gospel first began, A. D. 26. This, CHRIST executed at first, and therein made his appearance as the MESSIAH, by his forerunner, John the Baptist, for the space of three years and an half; and, after that, by himself, in his own person, for three years and an half more. And these two being put together, make up the last week of this prophecy, which began exactly at the ending of the said sixty-two weeks. And, therefore, here the prophecy concerning the coming of the MESSIAH had its completion. St. Luke tells us, (ch. iii. 1, 2,)" The word of God first came to John, in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar," Emperor of Rome. And from the coming of that word to John, and his
preaching of it to the Jews, (Mark i. 1.) was "the beginning of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST," and the first appearance of his kingdom here on earth. And this, Christ himself tells us; for, his words are, (Luke xvi. 16.)" The law and the prophets were until John; since that, the kingdom of God is preached." That is, the Jewish economy, under the law and the prophets, lasted until the coming of John, and his preaching of the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. But, from the time of his coming on this ministry, which was the ministry of the Gospel, the kingdom of the MESSIAH began. For, as in the Gospel of St. Matthew, by the kingdom of heaven, so here, by the kingdom of God, is meant the kingdom of the MESSIAN, the church of Christ, which he hath here established among us. And, therefore, this kingdom, thus beginning with the preaching of John, there must we necessarily place the first coming of that King, CHRIST OUR LORD, who founded this his kingdom here among us. And this was, as hath been said, in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar. But, here it is to be observed, that this 15th year of Tiberius, could not be his fifteenth year from the death of Augustus, his predecessor; for, then there would have been but four years for the ministry of John the Baptist, and the personal ministry of JESUS CHRIST put both together; which time would have been too narrow a space for the actings recorded of them in the Gospel. Besides, in so short a time as must be allowed to the ministry of John in this case, it is not likely that he could have acquired so great fame; as appears not only by the Gospels, (Matt. iii. and xiv. 5; and xxi. 26) but, also from the writing of Josephus, the historian, (Antiq. Lib. 18. v. 7,) that he had obtained, not only in Judea and Galilee but also through all the circumjacent reigions before his death. The 15th year, therefore, of the reign of Tiberius, (Luke iii. 1,) in which John the Baptist began to preach, must be reckoned from that time when he began to reign jointly with
Augustus, and was, according to Velleius Paterculus and Suetonius, admitted by him into co-partnership with him in the empire; and, by a law, (which Augustus caused to be proposed and enacted by the consuls) had conferred on him an equal power in the government of the provinces with Augustus himself; for, from that time, the public acts went in his name, as well as in that of Augustus, especially in the imperial provinces, of which Syria was one: and, therefore, from that time, the years of his reign were reckoned in those provinces. And, this happened, as the most learned Archbishop Usher observes, in the year of the Julian period, 4725; and, the 15th year from thence, brings us to the year of the Julian period 4739, in which, (as is noted above) the word of God came to John the Baptist; and the preaching of the Gospel first.began. And, then it was, that Christ, by this his fore-runner, manifested his coming, and made his first appearance in that great work of our salvation, on which he was sent. And, from the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, when the commandment went forth from that king, for the restoring of the church and state of the Jews, to this time, were, just seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks, that is, sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years in all, exactly in all, exactly as this prophecy predicted.
3dly, From this coming of our Saviour, began the third period of these seventy weeks; that is, the one week which is spoken of in the 27th verse; the events whereof, as there predicted, are that "for that week, the MESSIAH should confirm the covenant with many, and, in the half part thereof, (for thus it ought to be rendered, where, in our English translation, we read the midst) should cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. And so, accordingly, it came to pass; for, during these seven years of his evangelical ministry, he did, first by his forerunner, (Malachi iii. 1; Matt. xi. 10; Luke i. 76; and vii. 27,) the messenger whom he had sent before him, and then, by himself, in his personal ministry, confirm the covenant of the Gospel with
many of the Jews, who were converted, and admitted thereto; and then, in the half part of the said week, that is, in the last half part thereof, when he appeared in his own person in the same ministry, on which John was sent before him, he caused the sacrifices and the oblations of the temple to cease, that is, first, by his preaching of the Gospel, which was to supersede them, and then, lastly, by that great sacrifice of himself, which he once offered for all, in his death upon the cross, at the end of this week, whereby, they were all absolutely and finally extinguished for ever. For, all other sacrifices and oblations till then, being only types and figurative representations of this great sacrifice, after to be offered, and of no virtue or efficacy, but as they' referred to it, when this was offered, all others vanished of course, as the representative doth at the appearance of the principal, or the type or figure, at the presence of the thing that is typified or expressed by it; and the virtue and propitiation of this one sacrifice, hath sufficed for all ever since. The whole latter part of the last week, being the time of CHRIST's personal ministry here on earth, as the whole of it was employed in preaching of the Gospel, which was to cause the law to cease; so the whole of it may very properly be said to be employed in causing all those sacrifices and oblations to cease, which the law enjoined; though, the whole was not completed till the end of this half part, by his death and passion, A. D. 32; for then, at the offering up of this great sacrifice, the virtue and efficacy of all others ceased for ever. But here, it may be objected, that my placing the death of CHRIST at the end of this last period, is against the express words of the prophecy; for, that placeth the cutting off of the MESSIAH, at the end of the second period, that is, of the sixty-two weeks; for, the words of it are, (ver. 26.) " after three score and two weeks, shall the Messiah be cut off." To this, I answer, the word understood to mean strictly
after, in this place, cannot be the time immediately after, but, in a large and indefinite
sense to denote, the whole next week which after followed; for otherwise, his coming and his cutting off, must have happened at the same time, both together, and no intermediate space would have been left for his ministry; for, in the verse preceding, it is positively said, "That, from the going forth of the commandment, to restore and build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, should be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks;" and, therefore, if at the end of the same sixty-two weeks he should be cut off also, then his coming, and his cutting off, must have happened both together, at the same time; and, the consequence, which I have mentioned, must necessarily follow, i. e. that no intermediate space would have been then left for his ministry, which cannot be said. The word after, must, therefore, mean the whole week after, at the end of which, Christ, the MESSIAH named in the prophecy, was cut off by his death on the cross. And there is no need of expressing it otherwise in that place, because the cutting off and death of the MESSIAH had been exactly determined to that time, by what was said before in the 24th verse. For it is manifest, that, according to the true intent and meaning of that part of the prophecy, his death must be there placed; for, according to that, it must be there placed, where it placeth the events that were to be accomplished and brought to pass by it; but the events which were to be accomplished and brought to pass by the cutting off of the Messiah, are by that part of the said prophecy (ver. 24.) placed at the end of the seventy weeks, and, consequently at the end of the last of them; and, therefore, the cutting off of the Messiah must be there placed also. And there it accordingly happened, in the death and passion of Christ our Saviour; and this part of the prophecy was exactly fulfilled by it, A. D.
The whole, therefore, of this second part, or branch of the prophecy, is thus; the seventy weeks being divided into three periods, that is, into seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and