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The interpretation by Hippolytus, (bishop) of Rome, of the visions of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, taken in conjunction.12941294 The same method of explaining the two visions is also adopted by Jacobus Nisibenus, serm. v., and by his illustrious disciple Ephraem Syrus on Dan. vii. 4. [Let me again refer to Dr. Pusey’s work on Daniel, as invaluable in this connection. The comments of our author on this book and on “the Antichrist,” infra, deserve special attention, as from a disciple of the disciples of St. John himself.]
1. In speaking of a “lioness from the sea,”12951295 Dan. vii. he meant the rising of the kingdom of Babylon, and that this was the “golden head of the image.” And in speaking of its “eagle wings,” he meant that king Nebuchadnezzar was exalted and that his glory was lifted up against God. Then he says “its wings were plucked off,” i.e., that his glory was destroyed; for he was driven out of his kingdom. And the words, “A man’s heart was given it, and it was made stand upon the feet of a man,” mean that he came to himself again, and recognised that he was but a man, and gave the glory to God. Then after the lioness he sees a second beast, “like a bear,” which signified the Persians. For after the Babylonians the Persians obtained the power. And in saying that “it had three ribs in its mouth,” he pointed to the three nations, Persians, Medes, and Babylonians, which were expressed in the image by the silver after the gold. Then comes the third beast, “a leopard,” which means the Greeks; for after the Persians, Alexander of Macedon had the power, when Darius was overthrown, which was also indicated by the brass in the image. And in saying that the beast “had four wings of a fowl, and four heads,” he showed most clearly how the kingdom of Alexander was parted into four divisions. For in speaking of four heads, he meant the four kings that arose out of it. For Alexander, when dying, divided his kingdom into four parts. Then he says, “The fourth beast (was) dreadful and terrible: it had iron teeth, and claws of brass.” Who, then, are meant by this but the Romans, whose kingdom, the kingdom that still stands, is expressed by the iron? “for,” says he, “its legs are of iron.”
2. After this, then, what remains, beloved, but the toes of the feet of the image, in which “part shall be of iron and part of clay mixed together?” By the toes of the feet he meant, mystically, the ten kings that rise out of that kingdom. As Daniel says, “I considered the beast; and, lo, (there were) ten horns behind, among which shall come up another little horn springing from them;” by which none other is meant than the antichrist that is to rise; and he shall set up the kingdom of Judah. And in saying that “three horns” were “plucked up by the roots” by this one, he indicates the three kings of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, whom this one will slay in the array of war. And when he has conquered all, he will prove himself a terrible and savage tyrant, and will cause tribulation and persecution to the saints, exalting himself against them. And after him, it remains that “the stone” shall come from heaven which “smote the image” and shivered it, and subverted all the kingdoms, and gave the kingdom to the saints of the Most High. This “became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
3. As these things, then, are destined to come to pass, and as the toes of the image turn out to be democracies,12961296 [True in a.d. 1885. A very pregnant testimony to our own times.] and the ten horns of the beast are distributed among ten kings, let us look at what is before us more carefully, and scan it, as it were, with open eye. The “golden head of the image” is identical with the “lioness,” by which the Babylonians were represented. “The golden shoulders and the arms of silver” are the same with the “bear,” by which the Persians and Medes are meant. “The belly and thighs of brass” are the “leopard,” by which the Greeks who ruled from Alexander onwards are intended. The “legs of iron” are the “dreadful and terrible beast,” by which the Romans who hold the empire now are meant. The “toes of clay and iron” are the “ten horns” which are to be. The “one other little horn springing up in their midst” is the “antichrist.” The stone that “smites the image and breaks it in pieces,” and that filled the whole earth, is Christ, who comes from heaven and brings judgment on the world.
4. But that we may not leave our subject at this point undemonstrated, we are obliged to discuss the matter of the times, of which a man should not speak hastily, because they are a light to him. For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus, in the year 5500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year. And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day “on which God rested from all His works.”12971297 This is what Photius condemned in Hippolytus. Irenæus, however, held the same opinion (book v. c. 28 and 29). The same view is expressed yet earlier in the Epistle of Barnabas (sec. 15). It was an opinion adopted from the rabbis. For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ,” when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.”12981298 Ps. xc. 4. Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled. And they are not yet fulfilled, as John says: “five are fallen; one is,” that is, the sixth; “the other is not yet come.”12991299 Apoc. xvii. 10.
5. In mentioning the “other,” moreover, he specifies the seventh, in which there is rest. But some one may be ready to say, How will you prove to me that the Saviour was born in the year 5500? Learn that easily, O man; for the things that took place of old in the wilderness, under Moses, in the case of the tabernacle, were constituted types and emblems of spiritual mysteries, in order that, when the truth came in Christ in these last days, you might be able to perceive that these things were fulfilled. For He says to him, “And thou shalt make the ark of imperishable wood, and shalt overlay it with pure gold within and without; and thou shalt make the length of it two cubits and a half, and the breadth thereof one cubit and a half, and a cubit and a half the height;”13001300 Ex. xxv. 10. which measures, when summed up together, make five cubits and a half, so that the 5500 years might be signified thereby.
6. At that time, then, the Saviour appeared and showed His own body to the world, (born) of the Virgin, who was the “ark overlaid with pure gold,” with the Word within and the Holy Spirit without; so that the truth is demonstrated, and the “ark” made manifest. From the birth of Christ, then, we must reckon the 500 years that remain to make up the 6000, and thus the end shall be. And that the Saviour appeared in the world, bearing the imperishable ark, His own body, at a time which was the fifth and half, John declares: “Now it was the sixth hour,”13011301 John xix. 14. he says, intimating by that, one-half of the day. But a day with the Lord is 1000 years; and the half of that, therefore, is 500 years. For it was not meet that He should appear earlier, for the burden of the law still endured, nor yet when the sixth day was fulfilled (for the baptism is changed), but on the fifth and half, in order that in the remaining half time the gospel might be preached to the whole world, and that when the sixth day was completed He might end the present life.
7. Since, then, the Persians held the mastery for 330 years,13021302 Migne thinks we should read διακόσια τριάκοντα, i.e., 230, as it is also in Julius Africanus, who was contemporary with Hippolytus. As to the duration of the Greek empire, Hippolytus and Africanus make it both 300 years, if we follow Jerome’s version of the latter in his comment on Dan. ix. 24. Eusebius makes it seventy years longer in his Demonstr. Evang., viii. 2. and after them the Greeks, who were yet more glorious, held it for 300 years, of necessity the fourth beast, as being strong and mightier than all that were before it, will reign 500 years. When the times are fulfilled, and the ten horns spring from the beast in the last (times), then Antichrist will appear among them. When he makes war against the saints, and persecutes them, then may we expect the manifestation of the Lord from heaven.
8. The prophet having thus instructed us with all exactness as to the certainty of the things that are to be, broke off from his present subject, and passed again to the kingdom of the Persians and Greeks, recounting to us another vision which took place, and was fulfilled in its proper time; in order that, by establishing our belief in this, he might be able to present us to God as readier believers in the things that are to be. Accordingly, what he had narrated in the first vision, he again recounts in detail for the edification of the faithful. For by the “ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward,” he means Darius, the king of the Persians, who overcame all the nations; “for,” says he, “these beasts shall not stand before him.” And by the “he-goat that came from the west,” he means Alexander the Macedonian, the king of the Greeks; and in that he “came against that very ram, and was moved with choler, and smote him upon the face, and shivered him, and cast him upon the ground, and stamped upon him,” this expresses just what has happened.
9. For Alexander waged war against Darius, and overcame him, and made himself master of the whole sovereignty, after routing and destroying his camp. Then, after the exaltation of the he-goat, his horn—the great one, namely—was broken; and there arose four horns under it, toward the four winds of heaven. For, when Alexander had made himself master of all the land of Persia, and had reduced its people into subjection, he thereupon died, after dividing his kingdom into four principalities, as has been shown above. And from that time “one horn was exalted, and waxed great, even to the power of heaven; and by him the sacrifice,” he says, “was disturbed, and righteousness cast down to the ground.”
10. For Antiochus arose, surnamed Epiphanes, who was of the line of Alexander. And after he had reigned in Syria, and brought under him all Egypt, he went up to Jerusalem, and entered the sanctuary, and seized all the treasures in the house of the Lord, and the golden candlestick, and the table, and the altar, and made a great slaughter in the land; even as it is written: “And the sanctuary shall be trodden under foot, unto evening and unto morning, a thousand and three hundred days.” For it happened that the sanctuary remained desolate during that period, three years and a half, that the thousand and three hundred days might be fulfilled; until Judas Maccabæus arose after the death of his father Matthias, and withstood him, and destroyed the encampment of Antiochus, and delivered the city, and recovered the sanctuary, and restored it in strict accordance with the law.
11. Since, then, the angel Gabriel also recounted these things to the prophet, as they have been understood by us, as they have also taken place, and as they have been all clearly described in the books of the Maccabees, let us see further what he says on the other weeks. For when he read the book of Jeremiah the prophet, in which it was written that the sanctuary would be desolate seventy years, he made confession with fastings and supplications, and prayed that the people might return sooner from their captivity to the city Jerusalem. Thus, then, he speaks in his account: “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was king over the realm of the Chaldeans, I Daniel understood in the books the number of the years, as the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishment of the desolation of Jerusalem in seventy years,” etc.
12. After his confession and supplication, the angel says to him, “Thou art a man13031303 Literally, “a man of desires.” [Our author plays on this word, as if the desire of knowledge were referred to. Our Authorized Version is better, and the rendering might be “a man of loves.”] greatly beloved:” for thou desirest to see things of which thou shalt be informed by me; and in their own time these things will be fulfilled; and he touched me, saying, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon the holy city, to seal up sins and to blot out transgressions, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Most Holy; and thou shalt know and understand, that from the going forth of words for the answer, and for the building of Jerusalem, unto Christ the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.”
13. Having mentioned therefore seventy weeks, and having divided them into two parts, in order that what was spoken by him to the prophet might be better understood, he proceeds thus, “Unto Christ the Prince shall be seven weeks,” which make forty-nine years. It was in the twenty-first year that Daniel saw these things in Babylon. Hence, the forty-nine years added to the twenty-one, make up the seventy years, of which the blessed Jeremiah spake: “The sanctuary shall be desolate seventy years from the captivity that befell them under Nebuchadnezzar; and after these things the people will return, and sacrifice and offering will be presented, when Christ is their Prince.”13041304 Jer. xxv. 11.
14. Now of what Christ does he speak, but of Jesus the son of Josedech, who returned at that time along with the people, and offered sacrifice according to the law, in the seventieth year, when the sanctuary was built? For all the kings and priests were styled Christs, because they were anointed with the holy oil, which Moses of old prepared. These, then, bore the name of the Lord in their own persons, showing aforetime the type, and presenting the image until the perfect King and Priest appeared from heaven, who alone did the will of the Father; as also it is written in Kings: “And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do all things according to my heart.”13051305 1 Sam. ii. 35.
15. In order, then, to show the time when He is to come whom the blessed Daniel desired to see, he says, “And after seven weeks there are other threescore and two weeks,” which period embraces the space of 434 years. For after the return of the people from Babylon under the leadership of Jesus the son of Josedech, and Ezra the scribe, and Zerubbabel the son of Salathiel, of the tribe of David, there were 434 years unto the coming of Christ, in order that the Priest of priests might be manifested in the world, and that He who taketh away the sins of the world might be evidently set forth, as John speaks concerning Him: “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!”13061306 John i. 29. And in like manner Gabriel says: “To blot out transgressions, and make reconciliation for sins.” But who has blotted out our transgressions? Paul the apostle teaches us, saying, “He is our peace who made both one;”13071307 Eph. ii. 14. and then, “Blotting out the handwriting of sins that was against us.”13081308 Col. ii. 14.
16. That transgressions, therefore, are blotted out, and that reconciliation is made for sins, is shown by this. But who are they who have reconciliation made for their sins, but they who believe on His name, and propitiate His countenance by good works? And that after the return of the people from Babylon there was a space of 434 years, until the time of the birth of Christ, may be easily understood. For, since the first covenant was given to the children of Israel after a period of 434 years, it follows that the second covenant also should be defined by the same space of time, in order that it might be expected by the people and easily recognised by the faithful.
17. And for this reason Gabriel says: “And to anoint the Most Holy.” And the Most Holy is none else but the Son of God alone, who, when He came and manifested Himself, said to them, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me;”13091309 Isa. lxi. 1; Luke iv. 18. and so forth. Whosoever, therefore, believed on the heavenly Priest, were cleansed by that same Priest, and their sins were blotted out. And whosoever believed not on Him, despising Him as a man, had their sins sealed, as those which could not be taken away; whence the angel, foreseeing that not all should believe on Him, said, “To finish sins, and to seal up sins.” For as many as continued to disbelieve Him, even to the end, had their sins not finished, but sealed to be kept for judgment. But as many as will believe on Him as One able to remit sins, have their sins blotted out. Wherefore he says: “And to seal up vision and prophet.”
18. For when He came who is the fulfilling of the law and of the prophets (for the law and the prophets were till John), it was necessary that the things spoken by them should be confirmed (sealed), in order that at the coming of the Lord all things loosed should be brought to light, and that things bound of old should now be loosed by Him, as the Lord said Himself to the rulers of the people, when they were indignant at the cure on the Sabbath-day: “Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? and ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound these eighteen years, be loosed on the Sabbath-day?”13101310 Luke xiii. 15, 16. Whomsoever, therefore, Satan bound in chains, these did the Lord on His coming loose from the bonds of death, having bound our strong adversary and delivered humanity. As also Isaiah says: “Then will He say to those in chains, Go forth; and to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.”13111311 Isa. xlix. 9.
19. And that the things spoken of old by the law and the prophets were all sealed, and that they were unknown to men, Isaiah declares when he says: “And they will deliver the book that is sealed to one that is learned, and will say to him, Read this; and he will say, I cannot read it, for it is sealed.”13121312 Isa. xxix. 11. It was meet and necessary that the things spoken of old by the prophets should be sealed to the unbelieving Pharisees, who thought that they understood the letter of the law, and be opened to the believing. The things, therefore, which of old were sealed, are now by the grace of God the Lord all open to the saints.
20. For He was Himself the perfect Seal, and the Church is the key: “He who openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth,”13131313 Apoc. iii. 7. as John says. And again, the same says: “And I saw, on the right hand of Him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals; and I saw an angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” and so forth. “And I beheld in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, a Lamb standing slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four-and-twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having harps and golden vials full of incense, which is the prayers of the saints. And they sing a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood.”13141314 Apoc. v. He took the book, therefore, and loosed it, in order that the things spoken concerning Him of old in secret, might now be proclaimed with boldness upon the house-tops.13151315 Cf. Matt. x. 27.
21. For this reason, then, the angel says to Daniel, “Seal the words, for the vision is until the end of the time.” But to Christ it was not said “seal,” but “loose” the things bound of old; in order that, by His grace, we might know the will of the Father, and believe upon Him whom He has sent for the salvation of men, Jesus our Lord. He says, therefore, “They shall return, and the street shall be built, and the wall;” which in reality took place. For the people returned and built the city, and the temple, and the wall round about. Then he says: “After threescore and two weeks the times will be fulfilled, and one week will make a covenant with many; and in the midst (half) of the week sacrifice and oblation will be removed, and in the temple will be the abomination of desolations.”
22. For when the threescore and two weeks are fulfilled, and Christ is come, and the Gospel is preached in every place, the times being then accomplished, there will remain only one week, the last, in which Elias will appear, and Enoch, and in the midst of it the abomination of desolation will be manifested,13161316 In the text, the word ἕως, “until,” is introduced, which seems spurious. viz., Antichrist, announcing desolation to the world. And when he comes, the sacrifice and oblation will be removed, which now are offered to God in every place by the nations. These things being thus recounted, the prophet again describes another vision to us. For he had no other care save to be accurately instructed in all things that are to be, and to prove himself an instructor in such.
23. He says then: “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a word was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was Belshazzar; and the word was true, and great power and understanding were given him in the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three weeks of days. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine into my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three weeks of days were fulfilled. On the fourth day of the first month I humbled myself,” says he, “one and twenty days,” praying to the living God, and asking of Him the revelation of the mystery. And the Father in truth heard me, and sent His own Word, to show what should happen by Him. And that took place, indeed, by the great river. For it was meet that the Son should be manifested there, where also He was to remove sins.
24. “And I lifted up mine eyes,” he says, “and, behold, a man clothed in linen.”13171317 βαδδίν. In the first vision he says, “Behold, the angel Gabriel (was) sent.” Here, however, it is not so; but he sees the Lord, not yet indeed as perfect man, but with the appearance and form of man, as he says: “And, behold, a man clothed in linen.” For in being clothed in a various-coloured coat, he indicated mystically13181318 In the text, μυστηρίων (of “mysteries”), for which μυστηριωδῶς or μυστικῶς, “mystically,” is proposed. the variety of the graces of our calling. For the priestly coat was made up of different colours, as various nations waited for Christ’s coming, in order that we might be made up (as one body) of many colours. “And his loins were girded with the gold of Ophaz.”
25. Now the word “Ophaz,” which is a word transferred from Hebrew to Greek, denotes pure gold. With a pure girdle, therefore, he was girded round the loins. For the Word was to bear us all, binding us like a girdle round His body, in His own love. The complete body was His,13191319 The Latin translation renders: His body was perfect. but we are members in His body, united together, and sustained by the Word Himself. “And his body was like Tharses.”13201320 “Thares” (Θαρσείς) in Hippolytus. The Septuagint gives Θαρσίς as the translation of the Hebrew תַּרְשִׁישׁ, rendered in our version as “beryl” (Dan. x. 6). Now “Tharses,” by interpretation, is “Ethiopians.” For that it would be difficult to recognise Him, the prophet had thus already announced beforehand, intimating that He would be manifested in the flesh in the world, but that many would find it difficult to recognise Him. “And his face as lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire;” for it was meet that the fiery and judicial power of the Word should be signified aforetime, in the exercise of which He will cause the fire (of His judgment) to light with justice upon the impious, and consume them.
26. He added also these words: “And his arms and his feet like polished brass;” to denote the first calling of men, and the second calling like unto it, viz. of the Gentiles.13211321 Isa. i. 26. “For the last shall be as the first; for I will set thy rulers as at the beginning, and thy leaders as before. And His voice was as the voice of a great multitude.”13221322 Apoc. xix. 6. For all we who believe on Him in these days utter things oracular, as speaking by His mouth the things appointed by Him.
27. And after a little He says to him: “Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia. But I will show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things but Michael your prince, and I left him there. For from the day that thou didst give thy countenance to be afflicted before the Lord thy God, thy prayer was heard, and I was sent to fight with the prince of Persia:” for a certain counsel was formed not to send the people away: “that therefore thy prayer might be speedily granted, I withstood him, and left Michael there.”
28. And who was he that spake, but the angel who was given to the people, as he says in the law of Moses: “I will not go with you, because the people is stiff-necked; but my angel shall go before along with you?”13231323 Ex. xxxii. 4; xxxiii. 3. This (angel) withstood Moses at the inn, when he was bringing the child uncircumcised into Egypt. For it was not allowed Moses, who was the elder (or legate) and mediator of the law, and who proclaimed the covenant of the fathers, to introduce a child uncircumcised, lest he should be deemed a false prophet and deceiver by the people. “And now,” says he, “will I show the truth to thee.” Could the Truth have shown anything else but the truth?
29. He says therefore to him: “Behold, there shall stand up three kings in Persia: and the fourth shall be far richer than they all; and when he has got possession of his riches, he shall stand up against all the realms of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, and shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will; and when his kingdom stands, it shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven.” These things we have already discussed above, when we discoursed upon the four beasts. But since Scripture now again sets them forth explicitly, we must also discourse upon them a second time, that we may not leave Scripture unused and unexplained.
30. “There shall stand up yet three kings,” he says, “in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all.” This has been fulfilled. For after Cyrus arose Darius, and then Artaxerxes. These were the three kings; (and) the Scripture is fulfilled. “And the fourth shall be far richer than they all.” Who is that but Darius, who reigned and made himself glorious,—who was rich, and assailed all the realms of Greece? Against him rose Alexander of Macedon, who destroyed his kingdom; and after he had reduced the Persians, his own kingdom was divided toward the four winds of heaven. For Alexander at his death divided his kingdom into four principalities. “And a king shall stand up, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of Egypt.”
31. For Antiochus became king of Syria. He held the sovereignty in the 107th year of the kingdom of the Greeks. And in those same times indeed he made war against Ptolemy king of Egypt, and conquered him, and won the power. On returning from Egypt he went up to Jerusalem, in the 103d year, and carrying off with him all the treasures of the Lord’s house, he marched to Antioch. And after two years of days the king sent his raiser of taxes13241324 φορολόγον. into the cities of Judea, to compel the Jews to forsake the laws of their fathers, and submit to the decrees of the king. And he came, and tried to compel them, saying, “Come forth, and do the commandment of the king, and ye shall live.”
32. But they said, “We will not come forth: neither will we do the king’s commandment; we will die in our innocency: and he slew of them a thousand souls.”13251325 1 Macc. ii. 33. The things, therefore, which were spoken to the blessed Daniel are fulfilled: “And my servants shall be afflicted, and shall fall by famine, and by sword, and by captivity.”13261326 Dan. xi. 33. Daniel, however, adds: “And they shall be holpen with a little help.” For at that time Matthias arose, and Judas Maccabæus, and helped them, and delivered them from the hand of the Greeks.
33. That therefore was fulfilled which was spoken in the Scripture. He proceeds then thus: “And the (king’s) daughter of the South shall come to the king of the North to make an agreement with him; and the arms of him that bringeth her shall not stand; and she, too, shall be smitten, and shall fall, and he that bringeth her.” For this was a certain Ptolemaïs,13271327 He seems to refer to Cleopatra, wife and niece of Physco. For Lathyrus was sometimes called Philometor in ridicule (ἐπὶ χλευασμᾷ), as Pausanias says in the Attica. queen of Egypt. At that time indeed she went forth with her two sons, Ptolemy and Philometor, to make an agreement with Antiochus king of Syria; and when she came to Scythopolis, she was slain there. For he who brought her betrayed her. At that same time, the two brothers made war against each other, and Philometor was slain, and Ptolemy gained the power.
34. War, then, was again made by Ptolemy against Antiochus, (and) Antiochus met him. For thus saith the Scripture: “And the king of the South shall stand up against the king of the North, and her seed shall stand up against him.” And what seed but Ptolemy, who made war with Antiochus? And Antiochus having gone forth against him, and having failed to overcome him, had to flee, and returned to Antioch, and collected a larger host. Ptolemy accordingly took his whole equipment, and carried it into Egypt. And the Scripture is fulfilled, as Daniel says: And he shall carry off into Egypt their gods, and their cast-works, and all their precious (vessels of) gold.
35. And after these things Antiochus went forth a second time to make war against him, and overcome Ptolemy. And after these events Antiochus commenced hostilities again against the children of Israel, and despatched one Nicanor with a large army to subdue the Jews, at the time when Judas, after the death of Matthias, ruled the people; and so forth, as is written in the Maccabees. These events having taken place, the Scripture says again: “And there shall stand up another king, and he shall prevail upon the earth; and the king of the South shall stand up, and he shall obtain his daughter to wife.”
36. For it happened that there arose a certain Alexander,13281328 He refers to Alexander I. king of Syria, of whom we read in 1 Macc. x. He pretended to be the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, and even gained a decree of the senate of Rome in his favour as such. Yet he was a person of unknown origin, as indeed he acknowledged himself in his choice of the designation Theopator. Livy calls him “a man unknown, and of uncertain parentage” (homo ignotus et incertæ stirpis). So Hippolytus calls him here, “a certain Alexander” (τινα). He had also other surnames, e.g., Euergetes, Balas, etc. son of Philip. He withstood Antiochus13291329 For “Antiochus” in the text, read “Demetrius.” at that time, and made war upon him, and cut him off, and gained possession of the kingdom. Then he sent to Ptolemy king of Egypt, saying, Give me thy daughter Cleopatra to wife. And he gave her to Alexander to wife. And thus the Scripture is fulfilled, when it says: “And he shall obtain his daughter to wife.” And it says further: “And he shall corrupt her, and she shall not be his wife.” This also has been truly fulfilled. For after Ptolemy had given him his daughter, he returned, and saw the mighty and glorious kingdom of Alexander. And coveting its possession, he spoke falsely to Alexander, as the Scripture says: “And the two kings shall speak lies at (one) table.” And, in sooth, Ptolemy betook himself to Egypt, and collected a great army, and attacked the city at the time when Alexander had marched into Cilicia.
37. Ptolemy then invaded the country, and established garrisons throughout the cities; and on making himself master of Judea, set out for his daughter, and sent letters to Demetrius in the islands, saying, Come and meet me here, and I will give thee my daughter Cleopatra to wife, for Alexander has sought to kill me. Demetrius came accordingly, and Ptolemy received him, and gave him her who had been destined for Alexander. Thus is fulfilled that which is written: “And he shall corrupt her, and she shall not be his wife.” Alexander was slain. Then Ptolemy wore two crowns, that of Syria and that of Egypt, and died the third day after he had assumed them. Thus is fulfilled that which is written in Scripture: “And they shall not give him the glory of the kingdom.” For he died, and received not honour from all as king.
38. The prophet then, after thus recounting the things which have taken place already, and been fulfilled in their times, declares yet another mystery to us, while he points out the last times. For he says: “And there shall rise up another shameless king; and he shall exalt himself above every god, and shall magnify himself, and shall speak marvellous things, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished;” and so forth. “And these shall escape out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the chief (or principality) of the children of Ammon. And he shall stretch forth his hand upon the land; and the land of Egypt shall not escape. And he shall have power over the secret treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt and of the Libyans, and the Ethiopians in their strongholds.”
39. Thus, then, does the prophet set forth these things concerning the Antichrist, who shall be shameless, a war-maker, and despot, who, exalting himself above all kings and above every god, shall build the city of Jerusalem, and restore the sanctuary. Him the impious will worship as God, and will bend to him the knee, thinking him to be the Christ. He shall cut off the two witnesses and forerunners of Christ, who proclaim His glorious kingdom from heaven, as it is said: “And I will give (power) unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”13301330 Apoc. xi. 3. As also it was announced to Daniel: “And one week shall confirm a covenant with many; and in the midst of the week it shall be that the sacrifice and oblation shall be removed”—that the one week might be shown to be divided into two. The two witnesses, then, shall preach three years and a half; and Antichrist shall make war upon the saints during the rest of the week, and desolate the world, that what is written may be fulfilled: “And they shall make the abomination of desolation for a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
40. Daniel has spoken, therefore, of two abominations; the one of destruction, and the other of desolation. What is that of destruction, but that which Antiochus established there at the time? And what is that of desolation, but that which shall be universal when Antichrist comes? “And there shall escape out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” For these are they who ally themselves with him on account of their kinship, and first address him as king. Those of Edom are the sons of Esau, who inhabit Mount Seir. And Moab and Ammon are they who are descended from his two daughters, as Isaiah also says: “And they shall fly (extend themselves) in the ships of strangers, and they shall also plunder the sea; and those from the east, and from the west, and the north, shall give them honour: and the children of Ammon shall first obey them.”13311331 Isa. xi. 14. He shall be proclaimed king by them, and shall be magnified by all, and shall prove himself an abomination of desolation to the world, and shall reign for a thousand two hundred and ninety days. “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days;” for when the abomination cometh and makes war upon the saints, whosoever shall survive his days, and reach the forty-five days, while the other period of fifty days advances, to him the kingdom of heaven comes. Antichrist, indeed, enters even into part of the fifty days, but the saints shall inherit the kingdom along with Christ.
41. These things being thus narrated, Daniel proceeds: “And, behold, there stood two men, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side; and they made answer to the man that stood upon the bank of the river, and said to him, How long shall it be to the end of these wonderful words which thou hast spoken? And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was upon the water of the river; and he lifted up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever, that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and they shall know all these things when the dispersion is accomplished.”
42. Who, then, were the two men who stood on the bank of the river, but the law and the prophets? And who was he who stood upon the water, but He concerning whom they prophesied of old, who in the last times was to be borne witness to by the Father at the Jordan, and to be declared to the people boldly by John, “who wore the casty13321332 Girdle. of the scribe about his loins, and was clothed with a linen coat of various colours?” These, therefore, interrogate Him, knowing that to Him were given all government and power, in order to learn accurately of Him when He will bring the judgment on the world, and when the things spoken by Him will be fulfilled. And He, desiring by all means to convince them, lifted His right hand and His left hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever. Who is He that swore, and by whom sware He? Manifestly the Son by the Father, saying, The Father liveth for ever, but in a time, and times, and an half, when the dispersion is accomplished, they shall know all these things.
43. By the stretching forth of His two hands He signified His passion; and by mentioning “a time, and times, and an half, when the dispersion is accomplished,” He indicated the three years and a half of Antichrist. For by “a time” He means a year, and by “times” two years, and by an “half time” half a year. These are the thousand two hundred and ninety days of which Daniel prophesied for the finishing of the passion, and the accomplishment of the dispersion when Antichrist comes. In those days they shall know all these things. And from the time of the removal of the continuous sacrifice there are also reckoned one thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Then) iniquity shall abound, as the Lord also says: “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”13331333 Matt. xxiv. 12.
44. And that divisions will arise when the falling away takes place, is without doubt. And when divisions arise, love is chilled. The words, “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days,” have also their value, as the Lord said: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Wherefore let us by no means admit the falling away, lest iniquity abound, and the abomination of desolation—that is, the adversary—overtake us. And He said to him, “unto evening”—that is, unto the consummation—“and morning.” What is “morning?” The day of resurrection. For that is the beginning of another age, as the morning is the beginning of the day. And the thousand and four hundred days are the light of the world. For on the appearing of the light in the world (as He says, “I am the light of the world”), the sanctuary shall be purged, as he said,13341334 The text gives ὁ ἀντικείμενος , which is corrupt. (of) the adversary. For it cannot by any means be purged but by his destruction.
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