J N Darby – Letter No 154 – The Antchrist – Translation Issues

Montpéllier – 20th December 1848
To Mr B R
I make some remarks as they present themselves. There are other interpretations which, while not being yours, do not encounter the difficulties which you suppose.
In the first place, I do not doubt that the Assyrian, or at least a power which is not the Antichrist, is the desolator (Dan 9: 27). I think that it is the “king of the north”, but this does not imply your explanation of this verse, even though it will be the Antichrist who confirms
the covenant. But there is quite simply: “because of the protection of abominations, a desolator”, that is to say, “there will be a desolator”. The Antichrist having led them into idolatry, the desolator will be released against them (cf Isa 28: 14-18).

In the second place, I do not at all assert on Hebrew grammar, but regularly speaking, [chapter] 11: 31 would be: “the armies or forces will stand, will rise up from him, and they will profane … and they will remove, etc”. I would not know that there is an example where the verb accords regularly with the masculine plural already expressed, for which ‘one’ could be substituted.

Then you have confounded the idea of the one who re-establishes the sacrifice with the one who is the object of it, or rather to whom it is presented, the function which he attaches to it.

You ask who removes the continual sacrifice (Dan 8: 11). One has to look to Keri which gives: “it was removed”. The passage says nothing more or less. It must still be previous letters relate these notebooks to notes for the Lausanne translation project ‘let it have effect’

Keri signifies the marginal note of the Massorites, indicating their idea of how the text should be read. All the oldest and best manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible contain on every page, beside the Text lines of smaller writing, distributed between the upper and lower margins. The word Massorah is from the root masar, to eliver remembered that, in Daniel, Israel is always considered as the people of God , a very important remark for understanding the book which goes to the root of some of your reasonings. God speaks in grace and Jerusalem is treated as Daniel’s holy city. For it seems to me that one will not manage to see in the Prince of princes the prince of the army.

Remember also that this is in the hands of the little horn of chapter 7, that the seasons and Jewish ordinances are given up (chap 7: 25). It is that one who changes them, who blasphemes and exalts himself. As to “cast down the truth to the ground” (chap 8: 12), I really think that it is horn of chapter 8, that is not the Antichrist but the Assyrian or the king of the North. As head of the army, Christ is not seen as accomplishing Hebrews 9 and 10, but as Head of the Jews in the last day. In this character, it is to Him that the sacrifices belong, as – as a matter of privilege – they belong to the Jews. Many of the Psalms speak of the sacrifices of righteousness; these are not the same as the sacrifices for sin; the “Thamid” was a burnt offering; without this the Jews had no altar, no public relationship with God.

The remark that I have made as to the way of envisaging the Jews in Daniel sets aside your interpretation of [chapter] 8: 10; as to [chapter] 8: 11, I have already spoken. You say that the “prince who will come” (chap 9: 26) is the same as the desolator (v 27). Why? “On the top of abomination” (chap 8: 27) does not present any idea to me. The abomination is an idol, a profane thing and defiled in God’s eyes. What would the top of an idol signify?

Your heir of Titus, a desolator who follows the prince that shall come (chap 9: 26-27) is nothing; for me, I do not believe there has been one. The Antichrist will be his heir is a sense, as being flesh, or at least the principle horn of the Beast, although effectively it is another, according to me as well as you, who will act as Titus in attacking the city, although not in the destruction at the same time. Titus “ estroye ” the city (chap 10: 26, the king of the North or the Assyrian “overthrows it” (chap 8: 11).

The Assyrian is not therefore the desolator. On this we are agreed. On the other hand, you have not considered enough that Israel is called (chap 8: 24) the holy people, and if God cannot call His people that, He answers to Daniel’s heart in recognising His prophetic faith,
and calls them “thy people” (as He did to Moses). That is to say, that He takes knowledge of them by the intervention of a mediator. For verses 11 and 12 are relevant to Daniel’s view (speaking, it goes without saying, by the prophetic Spirit).

As to your “Summary”, I accept it, without the difficulties which do not exist for me. It seems to me that it is neither Jesus, nor the Antichrist, who will restore sacrifices in this time.

I think that the Jews will have done it themselves. It is very possible that the king of the North will remove his false worship of the Antichrist (but he takes Jerusalem). But can you something into the han of another, so as to commit it to his trust. The name is given to the small writing referred to, because it contains information necessary to those to whose trust the Sacred Text was committed, so that they might transcribe it, and hand it down correctly. The Text itself had been fixed before the Massorites were put in charge of it. This had been the work of the Sopherim (from saphar, to count, or number). Their work, under Ezra and Nehemiah, was to set the Text in order. This work lasted from Nehemiah to Simon the first, 410-300BC. The Sopherim were the authorised revisers of the Sacred Text; and, their work being completed, the Massorites were the authorised custodians of it. Their work was to preserve it. The Massorah is called “A Fence to the Scriptures,” because it locked all words and letters in their places. It does not contain notes or comments as such, but facts and phenomena. It records the number of times that several letters occur in the various books of the Bible; the number of words, and the middle word; the number of verses, and the middle verse; the number of expressions and combinations of words, &c. All this was, not from a perverted ingenuity, but for the set purpose of safeguarding the Sacred Text, and preventing the loss of misplacement of a single letter or word.

A footnote to this verse in JND’s English Bible says that it might be rendered: ‘and the abomination (idols) of the desolator shall be on the pinnacle (ie of the temple)’

Author: Sosthenes

Once the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth Then a co-writer of a letter by Paul - just a brother - no longer an official Now a blogger seeking to serve the Lord by posting some words that the Lord has given His Church.

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