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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

Section I. The Blessing of Juda

Gen. 49:8–12

1. TIME AND OCCASION OF THE PROPHECY.—Noe before his death pointed out the family of Sem as the bearer of the Messianic blessings. The Semites probably kept the knowledge and love of the true God sufficiently till the time of Abraham, when it became necessary to select one branch of Sem’s descendants as the chosen people. Abraham was so thoroughly impressed with the necessity of this step that he sent away all his children except Isaac, whom he recognized as the mediator of the future Redeemer. In the same manner did Isaac impart the peculiar patriarchal blessing to only one of his sons, Jacob, so that Esau was excluded from the chosen people of God. When we keep these facts in view it seems astonishing that the dying Jacob does not select any one of his sons and make him exclusively the chosen Messianic instrument, but blesses all his sons as the fathers of the chosen people of God. In place of Joseph he substitutes his two eldest sons, Ephraim and Manasses.

It is also worthy of note that the order in which the sons’ blessings are described follows on the whole the natural grouping of Jacob’s family. First are mentioned the six sons of Lia; then follows Dan, the son of Rachel’s slave, Bala; next come Gad and Aser, the sons of Lia’s slave, Zelpha; and these are followed by Bala’s second son, Nephtali, and Rachel’s own children, Joseph and Benjamin (Gen. 30). The first three sons, Ruben, Simeon, and Levi, have given their father cause for sorrow and reproof: Ruben by his illicit intercourse with Bala (Gen. 35:22), and Simeon and Levi by their cruel vengeance on the inhabitants of Sichem (Gen. 34:14 ff.). Thus Juda, the fourth son, becomes the bearer of the Messianic promises.

2. PLACE OF THE PROPHECY IN THE CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF GENESIS.—Driver (Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, New York, 1892, pp. 16 ff.) ascribes Gen. 49:1–28 to J. Later on the same author illustrates the distinction between P and JE, and in particular between J and P, by the blessings and promises that form such a conspicuous feature in Genesis. The series of promises ascribed to P is contained in Gen. 1:28–30 (Adam); 9:1–7 (Noe); 17:6–8 (Abraham); 28:3 f. and 35:11 f., quoted in 48:3 (Jacob). To JE belong 3:15 (the Protevangelium); 9:26 (Sem); 12:1–3 (Abraham); 13:14–17; 15:5, 18; 18:18; 22:15–18; 26:2–5, 24 (Isaac); 27:27–29; 28:13–15 (Jacob); 49:10 (Juda). The promises ascribed to P are said to be cast in the same phraseology, and to express frequently the same thought, while those assigned to J show a greater variety, and even the features which they have in common are entirely different from the qualities that characterize the promises ascribed to P. In the latter prophecies only Israel is concerned, while the predictions assigned to J regard other nations too. However ingeniously this analysis may be made, it can claim nothing beyond the merit of a skilful hypothesis—not, indeed, in the sense of the modern critics, but only in so far as it points out the various sources from which Moses may have written the Book of Genesis.

The other arguments that are usually advanced as proving the spurious character of Jacob’s dying blessing may be reduced to the following heads: a. It contains manifest references to future events; b. such a lofty strain of poetry and such rich imagery could not have proceeded from a superannuated old man on the brink of the grave; c. the blessing promised by Jacob could not have been handed down verbatim to the time of Moses (Heinrichs, Vater, De Wette, Friedrich, Justi, Bleek, etc.). But all these exceptions, though they rest on such great authority, are hardly solid enough to render the authenticity of Jacob’s blessing doubtful. α. For the first reason supposes a priori, as it were, that the foreknowledge of the future is impossible, either because God himself does not know the future or because he cannot make it known to creatures. Both of these assumptions we deny. β. As to the second exception, we need only call attention to the fact that Jacob is supposed to have uttered the passage under the influence of divine inspiration, which might easily supply any deficiency in the human instrument. Besides, the simplicity of the patriarchs would naturally tend to render their imagination more vivid and more capable of poetic conception. The Arabian poet Lebid, who reached the age of 157 years, composed a poem even on his death-bed. γ. Before the time of “Mohammed” the poets of his country were often called upon to recite long poetic pieces extempore, since the art of writing was at that period not practised among the Arab tribes. The poet Hareth, e.g., recited extempore his “Moallakah,” which is still extant, when he was 135 years old. These facts, together with the consideration that before the general introduction of writing man’s memory was more faithful because more practised, and that in the case of inspired language the same Spirit who had inspired it would also give power to preserve it, are sufficient answers to the third exception (Hengstenb., Christol. i. p. 51).

3. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PROPHECY.—The Messianic application of Jacob’s prophecy concerning Juda appears: 1. In the Apocalypse 5:5: “And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” The lion of the tribe of Juda is therefore identical with the Messias; but the same is the subject of Jacob’s prediction.

2. Another Messianic note we see in the words of the prophecy, “and he shall be the expectation of the nations.” It is true that the Hebrew text reads here: “And to him the obedience of the nations.” But in either case the passage contains an evident reference to the Messias, who is surely the woman’s seed that is to crush the serpent’s head, and the patriarchal seed in whom all the nations shall be blessed. In all truth, then, may he be called the expectation of the nations. On the other hand, the Messias is described as the star of Jacob and the sceptre which shall smite the princes of Moab, as the great theocratic king to whom the nations shall belong as his inheritance. He is therefore truly called “he to whom shall be the obedience of the nations” (cf. Ps. 85 (86):9; Is. 2:2; Ps. 21 (22):28, 29; Is. 53:10; Agg. 2:7, 8; Mal. 1:11; Ps. 2:7, 8; Luke 2:29–32). Besides all this, Christ himself repeatedly testified of himself that all power had been given him (Matt. 28:18; 26:13; Mark 16:15; Rom. 15:9–12).

3. The Messianic character of Jacob’s blessing imparted to Juda is also evident from the tradition of the Samaritans. In the year 1685 Moffaridj, the chief of the Samaritans, wrote to England: “You have spoken about the great prophet of whom the Lord said to Moses: ‘I will raise up a prophet.… He it is whom the nations will obey.’ ” Now they openly declared and admitted that this prophet was the Messias (Hathab). Cf. Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque du Roi, t. 12., p. 28, 209; Bargès, Les Samaritains de Naplouse, p. 91; Précis historiques, 1873, pp. 442–444.

4. Christian tradition too is unanimous in explaining Juda’s prophecy of the future Messias. References to the patristic testimonies are found in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica (editio altera, Lutetiæ Parisiorum, 1856, I. pp. 39 f.).

5. Jewish and Rabbinic tradition is equally pronounced in favor of the Messianic character of Juda’s prediction. a. Verse 10. The Targum Onkelos has the paraphrase: “Until that Messias shall come whose is the kingdom.” The Jerusalem Targum renders: “Until the time that king Messias shall come whose is the kingdom.” The Targum Jonathan reads: “Until the time that king Messias the youngest of his children shall come.” The Midrash Bereshith Rabba (sect. 98, 99), the Midrash Echa (i.e., on Lament, 1:16), refer the expression Shiloh to the Messias. That Shiloh was regarded as the name of the Messias is attested by the following Talmudic passage (Sanhedrin, fol. 98, col. 2): “What is his name? They of the school of Rab Shila said: His name is Shiloh, as it is written, Until Shiloh come. But those of the school of Rabbi Yanai said: His name is Yinon, as it is said, Before the sun was, his name was Yinon (Ps. 72:17). They of the school of Hanina said: Hanina is his name, as it is said, Where I will not show you favor (Jer. 16:13). And some say: His name is Menachem, the son of Ezechias, as it is said, Because he keeps far from me the Comforter, who refreshes my soul (Lam. 1:16). The Rabbis say: His name is the leper of the house of Rabbi, as it is said, Surely he hath borne our sickness, and endured the burden of our pains, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted” (Is. 53:4). Bereshith Rabba (sect. 99) gives a Messianic meaning to the words, And he shall be the expectation of the nations: “The same is meant to whom the prophecy refers, And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people” (Is. 11:10).

b. Verse 11 is also explained Messianically. The Jerusalem Targum says: “How fair is King Messias, who is hereafter to arise from the house of Juda! He girdeth up his loins, and goes forth to battle against his foes, smiting kings with their princes, reddening their rivers with the blood of their slain, and whitening his valleys with the fatness of their strength; his garments are dipped in blood; he is like to the treader of grapes.” The Targum Jonathan speaks almost in the same words. Bereshith Rabba (sect. 99) remarks on the words, And his ass, O my son, to the vine: “This refers to him of whom it is said, Lowly and riding upon an ass” (Zach. 9:9). In the Talmud (Berachoth, fol. 57, col. 1) it is said: “Whoever sees a vine in his dream will see the Messias, because it is written, And his ass, O my son, to the vine.” Bereshith Rabba (98) explains the words, He shall wash his robe in wine, as meaning the teaching of the law to Israel, and those other words, His garment in the blood of the grape, as signifying that he would bring them back from their errors. One of the Rabbis, however, expresses the opinion that Israel would not require to be taught by the king Messias in the latter days, since it was written (Is. 11:10): Him the Gentiles shall beseech. If this be so, why will the Messias come, and what will he do to the congregation of Israel? He will redeem Israel, and give them thirty commandments, according to Zacharias 11:12. Thus far then the Messianic application of Jacob’s prophecy is clearly contained in Rabbinic tradition.

c. Verse 12. The Jerusalem Targum renders what is translated in our version “his eyes are more beautiful than wine” in this manner. “How fair are the eyes of King Messias to look upon! more beautiful than the vine, purer than to behold with them the uncovering of nakedness, and the shedding of innocent blood; his teeth are more skilful in the law than to eat with them deeds of violence and rapine.” The Targum Jonathan almost verbally agrees with this rendering. In verse 18 the Messianic application of verse 12 is repeated, although not in express words.

d. Verse 9. The expression “lion’s whelp” is applied to the Messias in Yalkut (160) no less than five times; Bereshith Rabba (98) refers also the term “thou hast couched” to the Messias. If further argument were needed to show that Rabbinic tradition interprets Jacob’s blessing of Juda Messianically, we might refer to the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan and Bereshith Rabba (98) on verse 1 of Gen. 49. The Targum notes that the end for which the Messias would come was not revealed to Jacob, while the Midrash says of Jacob and Daniel (12:4) that they saw the end, and that it was afterwards hid from them.

GEN. 49:8–12

Juda, thee shall thy brethren praise,

Thy hand shall be on the necks of thy enemies,

The sons of thy father shall bow down to thee.

Juda is a lion’s whelp,

To the prey my son thou art gone up;

Resting thou hast couched as a lion,

And as a lioness, who shall rouse him?

The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda,

Nor a ruler from his thigh,

Till he come that is to be sent,

And he shall be the expectation of the nations.

Tying1 his foal to the vineyard,

And his ass, O my son, to the vine,

He shall wash his robe in wine,

1And his garment in the blood of the grape.

His eyes are more beautiful than wine,

And his teeth whiter than milk.

1. The exact meaning of the present prophecy depends on the rendering of the Hebrew words “shebeth,” “mechoqeq,” “ ‘ad ki,” and on the nature of the obedience promised.

a. It follows from our explanation of “shebeth” and “mechoqeq” that whether we take them in the sense of “tribe and ruler,” or in the more probable meaning of “sceptre and ruler’s staff,” they promise in any case political power to the tribe of Juda. We do not grant that this political power means necessarily royal authority; for the royal dignity ceased in Juda with Jechonias and Sedecias (though it was temporarily revived in Zorobabel), while political influence remained in the tribe till about the time of Christ’s birth. Even during the period of the Babylonian captivity, this power was not entirely taken away, as appears from the trial of Susanna (Dan. 13:5). At the later period of the Machabees, of the Asmoneans and the Herodians, the tribe of Juda was so prominent that the whole remaining nation was named after it, and the members of the Sanhedrin were to a great extent taken from its ranks. The tribe’s political importance may be considered as extinct either at the time when Judea became a full Roman province, after the deposition of Archelaus, or, at any rate, after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.

b. This agrees with the double rendering of which “ ‘ad ki” is susceptible. For whether we understand it as meaning “until,” or in the sense of “for ever, because,” it implies that Juda’s political influence is to cease at the coming of the Messias. Though the word “until” does not of itself imply the cessation of the action or of the state to which it refers (cf. Matt. 1:25; Deut. 34:6), still in the present passage it indicates negatively such a cessation of Juda’s political prominence. For the latter is implied in the following words of the promise. If the acceptation “forever, because” be preferred, the eternity of Juda’s rule is based on the coming of the Messias, and on his universal rule. Hence, in this case, too, the merely political influence of Juda will end with the Messias. All this will happen connectedly, so that Juda’s political power will form the type of which the Messias will be the antitype. The latter is, therefore, truly represented as the lion of Juda’s tribe, who retires to his mountain fastnesses after the capture of his booty (cf. Apoc. 5:5, 9, 10). The promise made to David (2 Kings 7:14) is very similar to Juda’s promise.

c. It has been stated that instead of the clause “expectation of the nations” we must render, “unto him shall be the obedience of the nations.” Most probably the “him” of this clause refers to the preceding “Shiloh,” and therefore directly to the Messias. But even if we admit the other possible reference of “him” to Juda, this patriarch is a well-known type of the Messias; and what has been partially fulfilled in Juda will find its final and entire accomplishment in the person of the Messias.

d. This is the more true since the obedience of which Jacob speaks is a spiritual obedience, as may be seen in Ps. 2:7, 8, 9; 44 (45) 3–7; Jo. 18:37; Matt. 28:18, 19; Luke 1:32, 33; Matt. 1:20, 21. A spiritual obedience was due to the Messias by right as soon as a Church was founded which was to embrace in its fold all the nations of the earth (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 3:22). In point of fact, the general obedience of the nations was paid to Christ as soon as the Christian faith was preached to all the peoples of the earth (Rom. 10:18; 1:8).

2. Is the Messias to be of Juda’s tribe? The dying patriarch does not state explicitly that the Messias is to descend from his son Juda. But if the whole context of the prediction be considered, this privilege is at least implicitly foretold in Jacob’s blessing. For the whole passage referring to Juda is full of praise and blessing for that patriarch. Now, if the promised Messias were not to be of Juda’s seed, the prophecy would be rather against than in favor of Juda, since it would announce that at some future time Juda would lose his sceptre and ruler’s staff, which must pass over to the Messias, and in him to the tribe of his birth.

3. The contemporaries of Juda could infer from this prophecy that his special tribe would have the primacy among the Israelites until, at some future time, a prince should be born who would own all power and dignity, and who would be honored by the voluntary obedience of many nations and peoples. By comparing this prediction with the previous Messianic prophecies, the devout Israelite could infer with the greatest probability that this prince of Juda’s tribe would be the seed of the woman by whose agency the serpent’s head would be crushed, and the seed of the patriarchs in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed. Hence they might expect by virtue of the prophecy a mighty prince springing from the family of Juda, who would bring most of the nations to his obedience, and who would, by means of this obedience, procure for them all manner of supernatural blessings.

4. Omitting the rationalistic views which have been stated in the explanation of the text, we must draw attention to the fact that from Jacob’s prophecy may be drawn an invincible argument against the Jews. For even if we do not insist on the minute points of agreement between prophecy and fulfilment, which might perhaps be questioned by our opponents, it is at least certain that the sceptre and the ruler’s staff have passed away from the favored tribe, and that therefore the “Shiloh,” in whatever sense the word may be taken, must have come before our time. Nor can it be said that Jacob’s prediction was wholly conditional, the condition of “Shiloh’s” coming being the faithfulness of Israel. In the prophecy itself there is no vestige of such a condition; its assumption is, therefore, a gratuitous subterfuge. At most it might be granted that the political supremacy promised to Juda would be interrupted for a time on account of the sins of the people; but the whole order of God’s supernatural providence, which he had several times unconditionally predicted, could certainly not be rendered void by human malice.

Section II. Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

Dan. 9:22–27.

1. TIME AND OCCASION OF THE PROPHECY.—In the first year of Darius the Mede, in the sixtieth year of the Babylonian captivity, Daniel, considering that the seventy years of desolation foretold by Jeremias (25:11; 29:10) were drawing to their close, implores God in fervent prayer to forgive the people’s sin, and to look favorably upon his ruined sanctuary (vv. 1–19). The angel Gabriel appears to Daniel and lifts up his thoughts from the seventy years of the captivity to the seventy weeks that must elapse till the Messianic redemption will arrive. The entire period of seventy weeks is divided into three periods, consisting of seven, and sixty-two, and one week, respectively. It is foretold that in seven weeks after the issuing of the command to restore the city Jerusalem will be rebuilt, though in straitened times; that at the end of the sixty-two weeks elapsed after the seven weeks, an anointed one, a ruler, will appear; that finally an anointed one will be cut off, and the people of a prince that shall come will desolate the city and the sanctuary, and he will make a covenant with many in one week, and during half of this week (or about the middle of this week) sacrifice and oblation will cease until the end come, and the divinely decreed consummation.

2. UNCHRISTIAN EXPLANATIONS OF THE PROPHECY.—a. The command to restore Jerusalem is the divine promise given through Jeremias (31:38 ff.) for the rebuilding of the city (B.C. 588); the anointed prince is Cyrus (B.C. 538; cf. Is. 45:1; 44:28); the “straitened times” refers to the depressed state of the community (B.C. 538–172); the anointed one is the high-priest Onias III., deposed in 175 B.C., assassinated in 172 B.C. (cf. 2 Mach. 4); the people of the coming prince, etc., alludes to the attacks made on Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes, to the willing allies whom he found among the renegade Jews, to his suspension of the temple services, and the destruction which finally overtook him (164 B.C.). In the beginning of the prophecy the Messianic age is described which will succeed the persecutions of Antiochus, while the anointing of the Most Holy alludes to the re-dedication of the altar of burnt-offerings (165 B.C.).

1. Driver is right in admitting that one of the chief objections to this interpretation is that the period from B.C. 538 to 172 is only 366 years—not 434, or 62 weeks. To say that we do not know how the author computed his years, or what chronology he followed, is equivalent to acknowledging that the difficulty is unanswerable. 2. The parallelism between Dan. 9:26b–27 and 7:25 is not so great as to necessitate the above explanation in spite of its insuperable difficulties. 3. Nor can such a necessity be inferred from the fact that Antiochus is the principal figure in the whole section of Daniel to which the present prophecy belongs. 4. It is true that Schürer (The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, II. iii. p. 54) offers several instances in which the Jewish historian Josephus and the Jewish Hellenist Demetrius miscalculate chronological dates by nearly the same number of years that is wanting in the preceding explanation of Daniel’s prophecy. But it must be well noted that both of these historians evidently committed a chronological blunder—an imputation which Catholics cannot admit against Daniel, whom Schürer and the other writers of his school consider merely an author who endeavors to explain the seventy years occurring in Jeremias’ prophecy of seventy weeks of years. 5. There is another difficulty that Driver does not state: Jeremias in his prophecy, which speaks of the seventy years, has nothing at all about the rebuilding of the city, and the prophecy itself was issued in the fourth year of Joakim, i.e., 606 B.C. (Jer. 25:1; cf. 25:11), while the year of Cyrus’ edict is 536 B.C.—a period of 10, not of 7, weeks after the prophecy. 6. After all these considerations we need not add that the supposition of two Christs, or Anointed Ones, is hardly called for by the wording of the prophecy. 7. Though Calmet adheres to this interpretation of the literal meaning of the prophecy, and in spite of such authorities as Hitzig, van Lennep (De 70 jaarweken van Daniel, Utrecht, 1888), and Cornill (Die siebzig Jahrwochen Daniels, 1889), we must state that this view appears to us wholly unsatisfactory.

b. According to Wieseler (Die 70 Woche und die 63 Jahrwoche des Propheten Daniels; cf. Corluy, Spicil., pp. 506 f.) the anointed prince and the anointed one signify the same person, i.e., the high-priest Onias. The coming prince is Antiochus, who conquered the holy city, profaned the temple, interrupted the sacrifices for three years and a half, i.e., for half a week, and who finally entered into an unholy alliance with many Jews for seven years, after which period he died in a hostile invasion (cf. 1 Mach. 1:11, 22, 23, 45, 57; 6:1–9; 2 Mach. 5:11–27; 6:4; 9:4). The following are the principal arguments for Wieseler’s interpretation: 1. The general agreement of times and events with the terms of the prediction; 2. the parallelism of Dan. 9:24 ff. and 7:24, 25, 12:7, 11, 12; 7:26; 3. the abomination of desolation in the temple, which is foretold, is in Dan. 11:31 identified with the idol-worship introduced into the temple by Antiochus; 4. another argument is taken from the Messianic blessings which Daniel describes in the beginning of his prophecy: the remission of sin, the sealing of the vision, and the anointing of the saint of saints. For Jer. 50:18–20 speaks about the end of sin and everlasting justice as arriving at the end of the Babylonian captivity; the sealing of vision and prophecy will happen about the same time, since the prophecy of which there is question is none other than that of Jeremias, concerning which Daniel was inquiring (cf. Dan. 9:2; Jer. 25:11; 29:10); the holy of holies was anointed at the same time by the consecration of Zorobabel’s temple; 5. the words “and there is none to him” are quite applicable to Onias, who had no successor in the office of highpriest; 6. finally, the “wing” or “the height of abomination” (Heb.) is equally applicable to the polluted altar.

But this explanation does not agree with the true chronology. a. It is true that Cyrus’ decree, to which reference is made in Is. 45:13, and which is presupposed by Agg. 1:4, implicitly contains the permission to restore the city, since it allows the Jews explicitly to rebuild the temple. But this decree was issued in 538 or in 536 B.C., while the highpriest Onias was deposed in 175 B.C., and killed three years later. Hence there is only an interval of 363 years between the decree and its supposed fulfilment. b. Besides, the deposition and death of Onias are hardly of sufficient importance to form the term of Daniel’s prophecy. c. Again, the prophecy does not suppose that the coming leader will be killed; for in that case, the anointed prince of whom there is question in verse 25, and who is killed in verse 26, is again introduced as acting in verse 27—a process that can hardly be verified in the case of a mere man. d. The parallelism between the present prophecy and other passages of Daniel in which the prophet treats of Antiochus is sufficiently explained by the real analogy of events, even if 9:24 ff. is a Messianic prediction. e. If the abomination of desolation was in the temple at the time of Antiochus, it was there not less truly at the time of the Roman invasion under Titus. f. Moreover, it is not certain that the abomination of desolation necessarily refers to idolatry, since it may well be understood of the Jewish sins which were the cause of the temple’s destruction. g. Vision and prophecy cannot refer to the prediction of Jeremias alone, because the whole collection of his predictions was not sealed and put out of use, as it were, by the fulfilment of this particular prophecy. h. Everlasting justice did certainly not come at the time of Onias, since even after his time the people of Israel was afflicted by reason of its transgressions (2 Mach. 6:12 f.). i. Neither the first nor the second temple was anointed; hence the anointing of the holy of holies cannot be explained in this manner. The anointing must be understood metaphorically of the outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Ghost or, at least, of a special theocratic mission (cf. Ps. 44 (45):8; Is. 61:1; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9; 1 Jo. 2:20, 27; Acts 4:27; 10:38; 2 Cor. 1:21; 1 Kings 16:13, 14). k. Besides, all these privileges, the sealing of prophecy, the end of sin, and the anointing of the holy of holies, were predicted as occurring not before but after the seventy weeks.

c. After considering the more commonly accepted theories of Daniel’s prophecy at greater length, we state briefly some of the other explanations that have found any distinguished adherents. According to Ewald, the anointed prince is Cyrus, the anointed one that will be killed is Seleucus IV. Philopator, the brother of Antiochus Epiphanes, who was poisoned. Finally, the coming leader is Antiochus himself. Rosenmüller’s interpretation does not differ much from Ewald’s, except that the anointed one who must be killed is Alexander the Great. The arguments brought against the preceding opinions are valid against the last two also. This applies equally to the view expressed by Briggs (Messianic Prophecy, p. 423), according to which some of the Fathers and many recent interpreters regard the prophecy as referring to the development of the kingdom of God, from the end of the exile to the fulfilment of the kingdom at the second advent. The meaning of the word “weeks,” compared with the historical events, renders this explanation wholly improbable.

3. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PROPHECY.—a. The LXX. translators seem to have understood Daniel’s prophecy as predicting only a restoration of the holy city, followed by another Gentile conquest of the same, which in turn will be succeeded by a long prosperous theocratic rule and end with a final irreparable destruction. Probably the first Gentile conquest was by them identified with the invasion of Antiochus, and the second they would have hardly distinguished from the Roman inroad under Titus. A similar view is represented in the few Rabbinic passages which refer to Daniel’s prophecy at all. In Naz. 32 b it is noted that the prediction refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, or rather to the time when the second temple was to be destroyed. The same interpretation is found in Yalkut, vol. ii. p. 79 d, line 16th, etc., from the bottom.

b. From the New Testament, however, we may infer that the Jews at the time of Christ understood the prophecy as applying to the Messianic time. For Christ, in applying the prediction to the city’s destruction by the Romans, speaks in such a manner that the apostles must have been quite familiar with this explanation of the prophecy. And since, immediately after, Jesus warns his disciples against false Christs, we have reason to infer that the apostles understood the prediction as referring to the true Christ.

c. Flavius Josephus (B. J. IV. vi. 3) testifies that the prophecy was understood of the ruin and destruction of Jerusalem. “And they fulfilled,” he writes, “the prophecy given out against the fatherland. For there existed an old tradition among men, that at some future time the city should be destroyed and the sanctuary should be burnt by right of war, when a sedition should have arisen, and their own hands should have polluted the sanctuary of God; the unbelieving zealots made themselves the willing instruments of all this.” The Jews must therefore have applied the prediction to the Roman inroad into Palestine.

d. It is certain that at the time of Christ the Jews generally expected the advent of the promised Messias. This we see both from Sacred Scripture and from profane historians (cf. Jo. 4:25; Luke 2:25; 19:11; 24:51; Tacitus, Histor. v. 13; Sueton., Vespas. 4). The older Rabbinic writers too, as Solomon Jarchi, etc., maintain that the time of the Messias had been announced in Daniel’s prophecy, but in order to avoid the argument urged against them by the Christians, they said that the prediction had been conditional, its fulfilment depending on the state of the Jews at the time determined. Since, therefore, the Jews at that time were unworthy of the promised redemption, the Messias did not appear.

e. If we turn to the Christian Church, we find that her founder was not alone in the Messianic interpretation of Daniel 9:24 ff.; the oldest testimony after the Gospel account dates from the second century after Christ, and is contained in the Testament of the Patriarchs. In the Testament of Levi we have the following passage: “And now I know from the Book of Daniel that you will err for seventy weeks, and sin against the priesthood, and pollute the sacrifices, and destroy the law, and despise the words of the prophet; in your perversity you will persecute the just ones, and hate the pious, and abominate the sayings of the truthful, and call him a heretic who will restore the power of the law by the strength of the Most High. Finally, you will slay him, not being aware of his resurrection, and you will bring his innocent blood maliciously upon your own heads. On his account your sanctuary shall be deserted, shall be profaned down to its very foundations, and your place shall no longer be holy; you shall be cursed among the Gentiles, and despair shall afflict you, until he shall visit you again, and in his mercy receive you in faith and in water.”

f. Many of the oldest Fathers omit the mention of Daniel’s prophecy in their polemic and apologetic treatises; for in these writings they could employ only those predictions that were acknowledgedly Messianic. Reusch (Theologische Quartalschrift, 1868, pp. 535 ff.) has summarized the patristic literature referring to this prophecy in a masterly way, and from this work it appears that the Fathers were in no way unfamiliar with the Messianic interpretation of Daniel’s prediction. α. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. i. 21, 125 ff.) quotes the entire passage of Theodotion: the saint of saints is Christ; the beginning of the seventy weeks coincides with the end of the Babylonian captivity; the last week coincides with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans; of the public life and the death of Christ the Father says nothing. β. Origen has a double interpretation of the beginning of the seventy weeks: Jerome (In Dan. ix.) represents him as making the first year of Darius the Mede the beginning of the prophetic period, but it must be confessed that Origen himself (In Matt., n. 40) follows an entirely different method: the single weeks comprise 70 years, and they begin with the history of Adam, ending with the destruction of Jerusalem; the half of the week consists consequently of 35 years, so that the last half begins with the public life of Jesus and ends with Judea’s ruin; the anointed leader is Jesus Christ, who spiritually restores Jerusalem and ends the times allowed to the Jewish nation, γ. Irenæus (Hær. V. xxv. 3, 4) makes the seventy weeks end with the end of the world; the half of the week is explained according to Dan. 7:25, so that it refers to the persecution of Antichrist. δ. Hippolytus (Int. Dan. 9:2) begins the seventy weeks in the twenty-first year of the seventy years of Jeremias (Dan. 9:2); the anointed leader he identifies with Jesus the son of Josedec; the sixty-two weeks he places between the end of the Babylonian captivity, i.e., the year 536 B.C., and the nativity of Jesus. The last week is supposed to precede the end of the world, its first half being assigned to the preaching of Enoch and Elias, its second half to the persecution of Antichrist. ε. Julius Africanus (ap. Euseb. Demonst. Evang. viii. 2, 46) begins the seventy weeks in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, which in his opinion is the fourth year of the 83d olympiad; he ends the prophetic weeks in the sixteenth year of Tiberius—according to Jerome (In Dan. ix.) in the fifteenth—i.e., the second year of the 202d olympiad. ζ. Tertullian has again a different way of reckoning: beginning with the first year of Darius the Mede, whom he mistakes for Darius Nothus (424–404), he counts 437½ years to the birth of Christ (i.e., 62½ weeks); the remaining 7½ weeks intervene between Christ’s birth and the destruction of Jerusalem (Adv. Jud. 8 and 11). It appears from the manner in which he begins his computation that he considers Christ’s birth and passion as well as the destruction of Jerusalem as being predicted in Daniel’s prophecy. η. Eusebius has given various explanations of Daniel’s prophecy. In one place he agrees with the foregoing opinion of Julius Africanus (Demon. Evang. VIII. ii. 46); in another passage he begins the seventy weeks with the return of the exiles under Cyrus; seven weeks he counts till the restoration of the temple in the sixth year of Darius Hystaspis (516), and the following 62 weeks bring us to the death of the anointed leader Alexander Jannæus, and to the capture of Jerusalem by Pompey (Demon. Evang. VIII. ii. 55–79). A third opinion the writer proposes in Demon. Evang. (VIII. ii. 80): beginning with the second year of Darius Hystaspis (520 B.C.), the sixty-nine weeks end at the birth of our Lord; the cessation of the anointed signifies the end of the legitimate succession of highpriests; the last week is separated from the rest of the series, so that its first half embraces the public life of Christ, while its second half abrogates the worship of the Old Testament, and brings on the abomination of desolation by the passion and death of Jesus Christ. θ. This last explanation of Eusebius is found also in the writings of Cyril of Jerusalem. ι. Apollinaris of Laodicea (Jerome, in Dan. ix.) begins from the birth of our Lord and ends at the end of the world; the preaching of Enoch and Elias will fill one half of the last week, and the persecutions of Antichrist the other half. κ. Chrysostom (Adv. Jud. v. 9) begins his reckoning from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, between which and the destruction of the Jewish state by Pompey and Vespasian he counts the 69 years, without mentioning the Messianic bearing of the prophecy. λ. Isidore of Pelusium is noted for the same silence (Ep. iii. 249). μ. Basil (Or. 38) begins with the complete restoration of Jerusalem in the twenty-eighth year of Xerxes; for according to the erroneous computation of Josephus, Nehemias came to Judea under Xerxes. From that period to the resurrection of Christ the Father counts 483 years; he explains the last week as employed in the founding of the Church after Christ’s ascension, and identifies the abomination of desolation with the statue of Caligula erected in the temple at Jerusalem. ν. Theodoret (In Dan. ix.) begins with the twentieth year of Artaxerxes; the sixty-nine weeks end at the beginning of Christ’s public life, while the sixty-two weeks bring us to John Hyrcanus, under whom the legitimate succession of priests ceased. Theodoret represents the death of Christ and the abrogation of the Jewish worship as happening in the middle of the last week, and the destruction of Jerusalem he rightly regards as not forming part of the prophetic era. In his computation he employs lunar years. ξ. Ephrem (Oper. Syr. Ed. Rom. i. 221) is not concerned about the numbers, but maintains emphatically that the prophecy has a Messianic signification. Even the coming leader is Christ Jesus. ο. Jerome and Augustine contend that Daniel’s prophecy determines the time of the Messias, of his coming and his suffering, but they decline to enter into any calculations (Aug. Epist. 189, al. 79).

DAN. 9:22–27

And he (Gabriel) instructed me, and spoke to me, and said: “O Daniel, I am now come forth to teach thee, and that thou mightst understand. From the beginning of thy prayers the word came forth, and I am come to show it to thee, because thou art a man of desires: therefore do thou mark the word, and understand the vision. Seventy weeks are shortened upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, that transgression may be finished, and sin may have an end, and iniquity may be abolished, and everlasting justice may be brought, and vision and prophecy may be fulfilled, and the Saints of saints may be anointed. Know thou therefore and take notice, that from the going forth of the word to build up Jerusalem again unto Christ the prince there shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks, and the street shall be built again, and the walls in troublesome times. And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain, and the people that shall deny him shall not be his. And a people with their leader that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be waste, and after the end of the war, the appointed desolation. And he shall confirm the covenant with many, in one week, and in the half of the week the victim and the sacrifice shall fail, and1 there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation, and the1 desolation shall continue even to the consummation and to the end.”

CHRONOLOGICAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN PROPHECY AND FULFILMENT.—1. Of the many attempts that have been made to make the prophecy chronologically agree with its fulfilment we may mention the following four (cf. Corluy, Spicil. i. pp. 498 ff.):

a. According to Pusey (Lectures on Daniel, pp. 169 ff.) the term from which the seventy weeks must be reckoned is the first decree of Artaxerxes, issued in the year 457 B.C. The end of the 69 weeks (483 years) falls then in the year 26 A.D., i.e., at the beginning of the public life of Jesus; after three years more Jesus died on the cross, and thus abolished Old Testament sacrifice and worship; during the course of the same week he instituted his Church, and thus confirmed his new covenant with many. If it be remembered that our present era probably begins about three or four years later than it really should do, the above-mentioned 26th year, in which the public life of Jesus begins, will become the 29th or 30th year of his life—a result agreeing with Luke 3:1.

Thus far we have merely proposed and explained the first theory; we must now examine the two suppositions which are assumed in it. 1. The decree of Artaxerxes is placed in the year 457 B.C. 2. Our Christian era is assumed to begin several years after the birth of Christ.

1. According to 1 Esdr. 7:8 ff., the first decree of Artaxerxes was issued in the seventh year of his reign; in order, then, to coincide with the year 457 B.C. Artaxerxes must have begun to reign in 464 or 465 B.C. Our inquiry must therefore be, whether history confirms or, at least, permits, this date for the beginning of Artaxerxes’ reign. a. Diodorus Siculus testifies (xi. 69) that Xerxes was killed in the fourth year of the 78th olympiad, i.e., 465 years before the common era. Now Artaxerxes began to reign seven months after the death of Xerxes. But we can show independently that Artaxerxes began his reign between the fifth and the ninth month after the death of Xerxes. For in his twentieth year the month Casleu (ninth month) preceded the month Nisan (first month) according to 2 Esdr. 1:1; 2:1; again Nisan (first month) precedes in the same reign Ab (fifth month) according to 1 Esdr. 7:7, 9. The succession of months in Artaxerxes’ reign was therefore ninth, first, fifth, i.e., he must have begun his reign between the fifth and the ninth month, i.e., between Ab and Casleu 464 B.C. b. The Ptolemean canon and Eusebius place the death of Xerxes between Dec. 466 and Dec. 465 (cf. Migne, t. xix. pp. 473–476 in Chron. 2). Hence we obtain nearly the same result as from the above testimony. c. Manetho testifies that Xerxes reigned 21, Artaxerxes 41 years (cf. Jul. Afric. ap. Syncell. p. 75); Diodorus gives the reign of Artaxerxes as lasting 40 years; Thucydides has it that Artaxerxes died in 424 or 425 B.C., and all historians agree that Xerxes began to reign in 485, i.e., in the first year of the seventy-fourth olympiad, or 270 U.C. Hence all historical testimony points to the year 465 or 464 as the first year of Artaxerxes’ reign.

2. The second supposition implied in the first theory of agreement between Daniel’s prophecy and its fulfilment makes our current Christian era begin several years after the birth of Christ. This supposition too is not only permitted but rather confirmed by historical testimony. a. According to a common patristic tradition Jesus died under the consulate of the Gemini, i.e., 782 U.C. or 29 A.D. Now according to St. John the public life of Jesus embraced the celebration of at least three or probably four Easter festivities (Jo. 2:13; 6:4; 13:1; 5:1). Hence his public life must have begun in 789 or 788 U.C. (26 or 25 A.D.). Again, the Gospel of St. Luke testifies that Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public life (Luke 3:23). Our common Christian era therefore must begin its reckoning about four years after the birth of Christ. b. St. Luke 3:1 tells us that the Baptist’s ministry began in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar; since Jesus did not begin his public life long after the appearance of the Baptist, his ministry must have begun about the same year. The fact that the fifteenth year of Tiberius’ reign is 782 U.C. proves nothing against our position, since the evangelist includes Tiberius’ proconsular reign, which the Senate decreed for him in 764 U.C. (cf. Tacit. Ann. i. 3; Velleius Paterculus, Hist. Rom. ii. 121; Suetonius, Tiber. xx. 21). Hence the fifteenth year is 778 or 779 U.C., which date agrees with that arrived at by the preceding line of argument. c. A third argument proving that our common Christian era begins several years after the birth of Christ is derived from the year of Herod’s death. This occurred in April, 750 U.C., so that Christ cannot have been born later than 749 U.C.; since now the common era begins with that of Dionysius Exiguus, i.e., with 754 or 753 U.C., it follows that it starts three or four years after Christ’s birth (cf. Patrizi, De Evang. Dissert. 20, 47, 51 libri iii.).

b. Vitringa (Sacrar. Observ. vi. 1–5), Hengstenberg, Reinke, Bade, and other scholars are of opinion that in computing the terms of the prophecy of Daniel we must adhere to the computation of the present Christian era, i.e., that our current Christian era begins neither later nor earlier than the year of Christ’s birth. The Lord’s baptism, therefore, occurred in the year 782 U.C. The term from which the 69 weeks must be computed is not the first decree of Artaxerxes, issued in the seventh year of his reign, but his second decree, issued in his twentieth year. For the twentieth year of Artaxerxes’ reign is none other than 455 B.C., or 299 U.C. Adding the 69 weeks or the 483 years to 299, we obtain the above 782 U.C., i.e., the year of Christ’s baptism according to the common era.

It is evident that the two suppositions implied in this view are: 1. that Artaxerxes began his reign in 475 U.C.; 2. that the common reckoning of our current Christian era is fully correct. Both of these assumptions are confirmed by learned historical investigations.

1. Artaxerxes began his reign in 475, because: a. After the tenth year of Xerxes’ reign history is entirely silent about him. Ctesias tells only one event of his life after the fifth year of his reign, and Herodotus’ last notice of Xerxes concerns the year 476 B.C. b. The historian Justinus has it (iii. 1) that at the time of Xerxes’ murder Artaxerxes was still quite a boy. It is true that according to Ctesias Artaxerxes was born three or four years after Xerxes had been made king, so that he would have been only about seven years old at the time of his father’s death had Xerxes reigned only 11 years; but then Ctesias is so untrustworthy in his chronology that we may reasonably follow the more common computation regarding the time of the birth of Artaxerxes. Accordingly, we may assume that Artaxerxes was born three or four years before Xerxes became king; had Xerxes reigned 21 years, Artaxerxes would have been about 25 years old at the time of his father’s death, and could not have been called “quite a boy.” c. The peace of Cimon, which all authors agree to have been concluded with Artaxerxes, falls according to the testimony of many in the year 470 B.C., so that Artaxerxes must have been king at that early date. d. Another argument for Artaxerxes’ early accession to the throne may be taken from the fact that Themistocles is said to have taken refuge with him (cf. Thucydides (i. 137), Plutarch (27), Cornelius Nepos, Suidas, and the Scholiast of Aristophanes). For though Ephorus, Dinon, Clitarchus, and Heraclides maintain that Themistocles fled to Xerxes, the above-mentioned authors are in this matter of much greater authority. Now the flight of Themistocles to the Persian court is placed before the year 470 B.C. by such authors as Cicero (Læl. 12), Diodorus Siculus (xi. 35), Eusebius (Chronicon Armen.), Thucydides (i. 136). The same may be inferred from the history of Ælian, according to which Themistocles resisted the tyrant Pisistratus when he was still a boy. Now the last year of Pisistratus was 529 B.C., and Themistocles died when he was 65 years of age. If we then suppose that Themistocles was about 8 years old at the time he resisted Pisistratus, he must have died about 472 B.C. Consequently, Artaxerxes must have begun to reign before 470, and in all probability about 475 B.C.

2. The second supposition implied in the present theory places the beginning of our present Christian era in the year of Christ’s birth. This is proved from the Gospel of St. Luke (3:1, 23), taken together with the fact that on all medals and coins the years of Tiberius begin with the year in which he became emperor (767 U.C.). Father Riess (Das Geburtsjahr Christi, Herder, 1880, Ergänzungsheft) has fully developed the various other arguments for this view, so that it must be regarded as solidly probable.

The second explanation of the agreement between prophecy and fulfilment, as far as the seventy weeks of Daniel are concerned, rests therefore on historically tenable suppositions.

c. A third theory computes the seventy weeks from the second decree of Artaxerxes, issued in the year 457 B.C., or 297 U.C. The term to which the 69 weeks reach is the baptism of Jesus in the year 778 U.C., or 25 A.D. More accurately, however, only 68 weeks and 5 years lie between 457 and 778; the remaining two years of the 69 weeks elapse during the public life of Jesus, so that the middle of the seventieth week falls two or three years after the death of Jesus. As to the victim and the sacrifice, they are abolished during the course of the first half of the week, and not at the end of the first half.

This view of the prophecy implies: 1. that Artaxerxes began his reign in the year 476 B.C., so that his twentieth year would be 457 B.C., or 297 U.C. 2. It supposes that the common Christian era begins several years after the real birth of Christ. The first supposition has in its favor all the arguments which show that Xerxes reigned only ten or eleven years; the second supposition is supported by all the arguments which are advanced in order to prove that Christ was born three or four years before the beginning of our present Christian era.

d. Wallon has formulated a fourth theory concerning the chronological agreement between the prophecy of Daniel and its fulfilment. According to this view, the term from which the seventy weeks must be computed is the same as in the second of the foregoing theories, i.e., the year 455 B.C., or the twentieth year of Artaxerxes’ reign. The term to which the 69 weeks reach is the year 782 U.C., or the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar. But though Christ’s baptism occurred in 782 u.c., he was born in 747 U.C., so that at the time of his baptism he was 34 years and 2 months, or about 30 years old.

It is clear that this explanation involves three suppositions: 1. Xerxes reigned only about ten or eleven years. This has been shown to be probable under the second explanation. 2. Christ was born several years before the beginning of our common Christian era. This is sufficiently established under the preceding explanations. 3. The fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar, the year of Jesus’ baptism, falls in 782 U.C. This third supposition rests on the fact that all the Latin and the Syrian coins reckon the years of Tiberius from his accession to the imperial throne, i.e., from 767 U.C. It is confirmed by the fact that in 786, the year of Christ’s death, the parasceve of the Pasch, or Nisan 14, falls on a Friday; again, Clement of Alexandria (Migne viii. 885), Julius Africanus, Cyprian, Philastrius, Gaudentius, and Prosper hold that Jesus taught only one year and died in the year 15 of Tiberius. Tertullian is of opinion that Jesus was baptized in the 12th, and died in the 15th, year of Tiberius Cæsar, while Irenæus, who is almost an Apostolic Father, has it that Jesus died about the age of fifty.

But these latter patristic opinions only show that there is no perfect agreement among the Fathers concerning the years of the public life and death of our Redeemer, while they cannot lessen the value of other arguments which we may be able to find concerning them. Now, St. Luke’s statement that Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public life can hardly be reconciled with the view that he was 34½ years old at the time of his baptism. Again, the traditional chronology of St. Peter’s pontificate and of the destruction of Jerusalem supposes that Jesus must have died in the year 782 U.C.

2. The second inference derivable from Daniel’s prophecy is that by the Messias remission of sin and perfect justice will be obtained. The Messianic time is a period in which “transgression may be finished, and sin may have an end, and iniquity may be abolished, and everlasting justice may be brought.”

3. In the person and mission of the Messias all the prophecies of the Old Testament will find their fulfilment. The Messias himself will die a violent death. For vision and prophecy shall be fulfilled, and at the appointed time the Christ shall be slain.

4. The ruin of the city and the temple shall follow the Messias’ violent death as a natural consequence. “And a people with their leader that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be waste and after the end of the war the appointed desolation.… And the desolation shall continue even to the consummation and to the end.”

5. The Messias will abolish the Old Testament worship and sacrifices. “And in the half of the week the victim and the sacrifice shall fail, and there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation.”

6. The Messias will institute a new covenant, which will take the place of the former divine covenant. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many, in one week.”

7. Jerusalem, the holy city of God, shall be restored in so far as it is a type of the restoration of God’s kingdom upon earth. “The street shall be built again, and the walls in troublesome times.”

8. If it be, finally, asked what special consolation the Jews could derive from Daniel’s prediction, they found in it the assurance of a future restoration of their temporal and spiritual prosperity. All this was, however, foretold in such a manner that they could foresee the final ruin of their temporal well-being in the interest of the kingdom of God, into which many were to enter during the course of the last or the seventieth week.

Section III. The Coming to the Temple

Agg. 2:1–10.

1. THE HISTORICAL CONNECTION OF THE PROPHECY WITH ITS CONTEXT.—The circumstances under which the present prophecy is written are entirely the same as those under which Zacharias wrote his celebrated oracles concerning the future deliverer. Sixteen years had elapsed since the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon, and no successful effort had been made to rebuild the sanctuary. In the second year of Darius (B.C. 520) the prophets Aggeus and Zacharias (1 Esdr. 4:24; 5:1, 2) reproached the people for their neglect, and exhorted them to apply themselves in earnest to the task, with the result that four years afterwards the work was completed.

2. DIVISION OF THE PROPHECY.—The prophecy of Aggeus consists of four sections, arranged chronologically: a. In the second year of Darius, the first day of the sixth month, Aggeus gave out the foregoing public appeal no longer to postpone the restoration of the temple. On the twenty-fourth day of the same month the people, headed by Zoro babel and the high-priest Jesus, began the work. This is told in Agg. 1:1–2:1. b. On the twenty-first day of the seventh month the prophet encourages those who might have seen the temple of Solomon, and might regard the structure now rising from the ground as far inferior to it (Agg. 2:2–10). c. On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month the prophet teaches the people that so long as the temple continues unbuilt they are as men who are unclean, their offerings are unacceptable, and hence their unfruitful seasons (Agg. 2:11–20). d. On the same day Aggeus encourages Zorobabel as the civil head of the restored community with the assurance that in the approaching overthrow of the Gentile thrones and kingdoms he will receive special signs of divine favor (Agg. 2:21–23).

3. EXPLANATIONS OF THE PROPHECY.—a. The prophecy is concerned with the political commotions of the Persian and Greek empires, and with the honor which the temple shall receive through the gifts of the Gentiles (cf. 2 Mach. 3:2, 3; Ps. 71 (72):10). The reasons for this interpretation are taken from the text and the context of the prophecy. α. The text of verse 7 supplies the desired argument: “Yet one little while (and I will move the heaven and the earth, and the sea and the dry land)” is the time which God assigns for the fulfilment of his prediction. But if the latter were Messianic, it would have been fulfilled 500 years, and more, after the prediction, which is surely not a mere “little while.” β. Again, in the context of the prophecy (vv. 22, 23) God almost repeats the promise of vv. 7, 8, 9: “I will move both heaven and earth …” Now, vv. 22, 23 refer to the immediate future, and not to the far-off Messianic times. Therefore, the prediction of vv. 7, 8, 9 too must refer to the immediate future. The theological value of this opinion will be seen in what follows.

b. A second interpretation does not deny that the prophecy has reference to the Messias and his times; but it is Messianic only in so far as all future times will render the temple glorious by the gifts and the worship that the Gentiles will offer when humbled by the extraordinary reverses of war (Reinke, Hengstenberg). α. The first reason assigned for this explanation is the fact that the movements of the heaven and the earth and of the nations are not limited to any particular time in the prophecy. Hence they apply to all times. Still, on the other hand, it does not appear probable that such a general promise would have been set forth with such solemnity. β. The second reason advanced by the above authors rests on the fact that the temple is a type of the worship paid to the true God of Israel; this may be gathered from Is. 2:2 f., and 60:1 f. The temple is, therefore, represented as glorified by the conversion of the new nations to the worship of Jehovah. γ. But, on the other hand, it was not only the second temple that was such a type: the first temple had the same spiritual meaning. The mere conversion of the Gentiles would therefore not render “the glory of this last house more than of the first.” δ. Nor can it be said that after the time of Aggeus many more Gentiles adhered to Jehovah than before his time, and that therefore the second temple would be more glorious than the first. For such a glory applied, at most, to the temple taken in its spiritual meaning, not to the material temple, while the prophecy of Aggeus speaks of the material rather than the spiritual temple.

c. Ribera is of opinion that the promise, “Great shall be the glory of this last house more than of the first,” was verified not only by the corporal presence of the Messias in the second temple, but also by the material splendor of Herod’s temple. α. This opinion rests first on verse 9, where God says: “The silver is mine and the gold is mine.” Now God really brought the silver and the gold into the second temple by means of Herod’s restoration. When one reads Josephus’ (Antiq. XV. xi. 2–5) description of the second temple, one can hardly fail to recognize in it the verification of Aggeus’ prophecy. β. Still, on the other hand, it is more commonly admitted that the glory of Solomon’s temple exceeded that of Herod’s, so that the prediction was not fully verified through the magnificence of the latter.

4. THE MESSIANIC NATURE OF AGGEUS’ PROPHECY.—a. St. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews (12:25, 26, 27), clearly applies part of this prophecy to the Messianic times. Exhorting his readers to “refuse him not that speaketh,” he reasons in this manner: “They escaped not who refused him that spoke upon the earth,” i.e., on Mount Sinai, when he shook the whole desert. Much less shall we escape if we refuse him who says: “Yet once more, and I will move not only the earth, but heaven also,” which he did in the establishing of the Christian dispensation. “For in that he saith: Yet once more, he signifieth the translation of the movable things as made,” i.e., he shows that the covenant made during the first shaking of the earth will be abrogated; “that those things may remain which are immovable, i.e., that the new covenant, made when the earth and heaven were moved, may be everlasting. If it be objected that the moving of heaven and earth promised in the prophecy was to take place after “one little while,” it must be remembered that 500 years are a very little while for the eternal God. b. The moving of heaven and earth, and especially of “all nations,” is in Sacred Scripture the common figure of the Messias’ coming; this may be seen in 1 Kings 2:10; Joel 2:28–31 (this latter passage is explained in Acts 2:17–20); Ps. 95 (96):9–11. c. The glory which the prophet promises to the new temple appears to be identical with that spoken of in Is. 60:1, 2; now the latter is evidently the glory Jerusalem will receive from the Messias. d. The promise of peace too, “and in this place I will give thee peace, saith the Lord of hosts,” gives the prophecy a Messianic bearing, as may be inferred by a comparison with Mich. 5:5; Is. 9:6, 7; 53:5; Ps. 71 (72):3, 7; Luke 1:79; 2:14; Col. 1:20, etc. e. The words, “I will move all nations,” appear to have reference to the divine judgment of the Gentiles which in 1 Kings 2:10 and Dan. 7:14 is connected with the advent of the Messias. f. If in Agg. 2:22–23 the promise, “In that day I will take thee, O Zorobabel, my servant, and will make thee as a signet, for I have chosen thee,” refers to Zorobabel and connects his elevation with the overthrow of the nations, that Jewish king is in reality only the type of his great offspring, the flower of the root of Jesse.

It is true that the Jews now generally understand this prophecy as applying either to the greater glory of the Herodian temple, or to the longer duration of the second temple,—according to some authorities the first stood 410, the second 420 years,—or again of the future temple that will be built at the time of the Messias. But to this interpretation they have been driven by their theological exigencies. The Jews who rejected our Lord were still convinced that the prophecy must be verified during the time of the second temple. Josephus (B. J. VI. v. 4) and Tacitus (Hist. v. 13) endeavor to wrest the prediction to Vespasian; R. Akiba, who was accounted the first oracle of his time, the first and greatest guardian of the tradition and the old law, of whom they said that God revealed to him things unknown to Moses, was induced by Aggeus’ prophecy to acknowledge the impostor Bar-cochba, to his own and his nation’s destruction. Following the traditional meaning of the great prophecy, the great rabbi paraphrased the words, “Yet a little, a little of the kingdom, will I give to Israel upon the destruction of the first house, and after the kingdom, lo! I will shake heaven, and after that will come the Messias” (Pusey, “Minor Prophets,” ii. pp. 311 f.). Then, again, the Midrash on Deuteronomy (2:31; sect. 1) has the following words: “Behold, I have begun. This refers, said Rabbi Azarya, to the help which is once to come. How so? As the prophet said to Israel: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens …”

Calmet, Bade, and Catholic theologians generally are, therefore, right in believing that Aggeus’ prediction has been fully verified in the time of Jesus Christ.

AGG. 2:1–10

In the four and twentieth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king they began. And in the seventh month, the one and twentieth day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Aggeus the prophet, saying: “Speak to Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel, the governor of Juda, and to Jesus, the son of Josedec, the high-priest, and to the rest of the people, saying: ‘Who is left among you that saw this house in its first glory? and how do you see it now? is it not in comparison to that as nothing in your eyes? Yet now take courage, O Zorobabel,’ saith the Lord, ‘and take courage, O Jesus, the son of Josedec, the high-priest, and take courage, all ye people of the land,’ saith the Lord of hosts, ‘and perform (for I am with you,’ saith the Lord of hosts) ‘the word that I covenanted with you, when you came out of the land of Egypt, and my spirit shall be in the midst of you; fear not.’ For thus saith the Lord of hosts: ‘Yet one little while, and I will move the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will move all nations, and the desired of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ saith the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ saith the Lord of hosts. ‘Great shall be the glory of this last house more than of the first,’ saith the Lord of hosts; ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ saith the Lord of hosts.”

1. History shows us that God moved all the nations before the coming of Jesus Christ. The Persian kingdom fell before Alexander; Alexander’s world-empire was divided among his four successors, two of whom continued and two fell before the Romans; then followed the Roman civil wars, until under Augustus the temple of Janus could be shut, and universal peace reigned upon the earth.

The heavens too were moved about the period of redemption by the star which led the wise men to Bethlehem, by the angels who announced the newly-born Saviour to the shepherds, by the preternatural darkness that clouded the skies during the hours of Christ’s passion, by Jesus’ ascension into the highest heavens, by the descent of the Holy Ghost with a sound from heaven as if of a mighty wind coming, and above all by the commotion in the very bosom of the Most Holy Trinity, if we may speak in this manner without irreverence—a commotion which resulted from the Second Person’s putting on the weak mortal flesh of man in the womb of the ever Blessed Virgin Mary.

God had moved the sea when the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, and later on through the Jordan, when there was dry ground in the sea, a wall in the waves, a path in the waters; and God moved the waters again when the Lord of heaven not only sailed over the surface of the sea, but walked thereon without peril, commanded the angry fury of the storm, and bade the deep be still.

In the Old Testament God moved the dry land when the wilderness supplied a daily harvest of heavenly food, when the rock gushed forth fountains of water. But the dry land was moved again when the rocks were split, when the graves were opened at the death of Christ, when the unfruitful people of the Gentiles ripened to a harvest of faith and devotion.

2. The desired of all nations came and filled the temple with glory when he was presented in the temple by his parents, and was proclaimed by Simeon to be God’s own salvation, “prepared before the face of all the peoples as a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and as the glory of the people Israel” (Luke 2:30–32). Again did the desired of all nations fill the temple with glory when he purged it from all defilement, driving out all the buyers and sellers, and restoring to the place its proper sanctity. Well then might the prophet say: “The gold is mine, and the silver is mine,” showing that these outward riches appear despicable when compared with the presence of Jesus Christ.

3. Peace too did God give in Jerusalem through his Christ when the angels proclaimed peace to men at the Redeemer’s birth, when Jesus left that peace to his apostles before his suffering, which, dying on the cross, he merited for all men, and which the apostles have preached to all nations (Luke 2:14; Jo. 14:27; 20:19, 21; Rom. 5:1; Acts 10:36; Eph. 2:14–18).








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