Unfulfilled Prophecy and "The Hope of the Church"


I responded with real pleasure to a request from the Prophecy Investigation Society to write a manual on the prophecy of "The Seventy Weeks." But I soon found that such a book would be a mere abridgment of The Coming Prince, or The Seventy Weeks of Daniel. And as the narrow limits of space prescribed for me would preclude my citing authorities, or noticing any of the numerous incidental questions involved in the inquiry, I felt that the result would neither satisfy students of prophecy, nor appeal to Christians generally. I sought permission, therefore, to vary the proposed scheme; and, instead of making Daniel ix. the burden of these pages, to use it as the basis for a brief treatise upon unfulfilled prophecy, giving prominence to the well-nigh forgotten truth of that Coming of Christ which is the distinctive hope of the present dispensation-" the Hope of the Church," Bengel calls it.
A "special subject" in a school curriculum is often ignored, as not being essential to "a liberal education"; and prophecy is neglected by many a Christian as being unnecessary to "assurance of salvation." But such neglect is perilous in these days of subtle and sustained attacks upon the Bible; when we are confronted both by the sceptical crusade of the Higher Criticism, and the steadily increasing influence of Romanism. And the study of prophecy will prove a safeguard against both these apostasies. For no Christian who pursues it intelligently, and understands the Divine "plan of the ages," which it unfolds, will be imposed upon by "the learned ignorance" of the Critics. And the present-day decline of Protestantism in England is due to no change in the historic apostasy of Christendom, but to a weakening of faith in Holy Writ. For when the devout religionist begins to lose confidence in the Bible, he is apt to fall back upon "the Church."
"All God-breathed Scripture is profitable." And prophecy fills a large proportion of its pages. The study is a fascinating one; and it will save us from being entrapped either by the Christianised Infidelity of Germany, or by the Christianised Paganism of Rome. I may add that, although The Coming Prince .has been under the search-light of criticism for so many years, not a single point in my scheme of the Seventy Weeks has been refuted or disturbed. Professor Driver's only disparaging criticism (in his "Daniel," Cambridge Bible, page 149) is that my scheme is based on that of Julius Africanus (a fact of which I boast!), and that it leaves the seventieth week unexplained (which suggests that he mislaid his copy of my book when he had read only half of it !). R.A.