Studies On The Book Of Daniel

Editor's Note60


The meditations herewith offered to Christians pretend in no way to give a complete explanation of the book of Daniel. The following is the account of them. They were delivered before a small company, whose minds had been already occupied about prophecy, and who had desired to have some help as to this book. The author imparted to them, in a course of lectures, the light which he possessed. Notes were taken at the time, and, the manuscript having fallen into the hands of a third person, he (supposing that the notes would be valuable to others) began to print them. The author offered no hindrance, except the doubt whether they were worth the trouble, and in yielding he did what was needful for the publication, though at some distance from the place where it was undertaken. It will be seen, that a certain basis of interpretation is supposed as being already recognised in the mind of the reader. In the study of the prophecies especially we must expect to go through a certain exercise of mind. But if it is not worth while to take thus much pains, neither is it to read these lectures nor the book they treat of.

The author’s confidence is in God, who, if He approve this feeble effort to help the weak ones, will extend His all-powerful aid in giving them understanding, for wisdom comes from God. It is to Him and to His grace, dear reader, that the author recommends you, asking your prayers for him, in case you get the least profit from this little book.

Lecture 1
Chapters 1 And 2

The book of Daniel has reference to the time during which Israel, the people of God, are under subjection to the Gentiles. At its opening we discover an accomplishment of the threat made to Hezekiah; Isaiah 39:6, 7. The throne of God has been taken from Jerusalem; the power and the kingdom have been transferred to the Gentiles; and Israel, as to its actual state (being no longer, by the judgment of God, His people) is kept in captivity. But God does not abandon them: only He administers His blessings according to their actual necessity. The things most needful for them to know, under their existing trials, were the history of this dominion of the Gentiles, to which they were subjected, and also the effect of these changes upon the promises which belonged to them. And as the glory of God was to be considered in this great transference of power, it was important to know how the Gentiles would use it, or what their conduct would be, whether towards God or themselves (the Jews), under this responsibility conferred on them.

The book, then, embraces two principal subjects: Firstly, the character and conduct of the four monarchies, which occupy the period called “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), namely, from the time that God had retired from Jerusalem (His throne being no longer there), and had transferred imperial power over the world to the Gentiles, until the time of the re-establishment of His throne.

And, secondly, the relationship of these nations with Israel His people, during the period in which the supremacy that had been confided to them was in exercise. And all this is of practical importance. For the Christian is informed of the result of the politics of this world, and, being “warned of things not seen as yet,” he separates himself, whether in heart or in action, from all that of which the result will be so sad. Besides, an acquaintance beforehand with all that is to take place keeps him tranquil and composed. There is no need that he should give his heart to the world which surrounds him, for he knows by the written revelation of God both its course and its end. But further, such prophetic intimation is precious to us, not alone because it refers to Christ, and to the people beloved of God, but also because, in every communication which God makes to us, there is a sensible joy in the very fact that He speaks to us. Are not our souls happy in communion with Him? Now this is the case in the prophecies, as in every other part of the word; we feel our nearness to Him and His goodness to us. Thus our faith in Him is strengthened, and the sanctification of our souls increased and established.

This book accordingly is divided into two parts, sufficiently distinct, according to the two great subjects which it contains: six chapters occupy the first, and six others the second part. The first six contain, not the communications made to Daniel, except to interpret them, but the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, or the things which befell the heads of the empire. We have the great general principles of the Gentile monarchies given to us, or their public history in the world announced to their rulers or manifested in their conduct. The last six chapters are communications made to the prophet himself, and reveal not only the history of these empires, but what they are in the eyes of God; they also furnish details of their (the Gentiles’) relationship with the Jews, and of the worship still maintained by the Jewish people. This last was important to Daniel, who, as a prophet, had the people and glory of God at heart, as well as the general history of these empires.

It is instructive to mark the character of the man who became the depositary of the intentions of God in this time of distress and captivity of His people. First, he refuses to defile his soul in partaking of the delicate food of this world. God, who prepares and orders everything for the well-being of those who walk faithfully, in whatever circumstances they are placed, disposed the heart of the chief of the eunuchs in favour of Daniel and his three companions: this eunuch, under whose charge they were, conceived a great regard for them. Moreover, God answers the prayers of Daniel, who “became fairer and fatter in flesh,” than any of those who had given themselves over to the ways and nourishment of this world. In a word, Daniel is faithful in all that constitutes a complete separation from the world, according to the Jewish rites, in refusing to eat of meats from the table of a pagan monarch; and this conduct of faith, which was in appearance blamable, meets the approval of God. The personal behaviour of Daniel is the basis of and introduction to the revelation of the whole book. It is the same with us. Separation from the world— a decided refusal to have our portion in that which it furnishes— puts us into a position to receive those communications from God, which, whilst their fulness is contained in the written word, we never receive but through the direct teaching of God (that is, for it to be the teaching of faith), whatever be the instrument which God may make use of to impart such communications to us.

God soon finds an occasion in which Daniel is to serve Him as a witness, after having, through His grace, disposed him for the undertaking. He often acts by ways which leave the world completely at fault. He permits Nebuchadnezzar’s memory to fail him, in order to force him into dependence upon the prophet whom God had chosen to shew forth His divine wisdom.

Notwithstanding, at the actual moment, Daniel knew no more than others how to resolve the difficulty. God made him feel his dependence; but he had faith, and faith and dependence are identified. At the instance of Daniel, he and his companions seek the God of heaven in prayer;61 God answers them, making use of all the difficulties of the case to identify Himself with the poor remnant of His people.

Hereupon Daniel’s first act is, not to hasten to the king to inform him of the discovery of the secret, and to rejoice in the deliverance, but he turns with thanksgiving to the God who had heard him. He attributes to Him all that could give comfort to the remnant during the supremacy of these ungodly and rebellious Gentile powers (chap. 2:21).

Daniel, when introduced into the presence of the king, is not elated; he conceals himself, so to speak, behind the glory of God. It is when we understand how to humble ourselves thoroughly, that we are truly exalted. If Daniel disappears, God Himself is manifested in him. Oh that we might have wisdom and spiritual power to hide ourselves thus behind Jesus, in order that He might be put into the foreground! Every such act is a great and precious”, triumph.

As to the interpretation of the dream, a few words will suffice, as the light upon this is almost universal. All acknowledge the dream to speak of the four great monarchies, viz., the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman. In verses 37, 38 dominion is given to Nebuchadnezzar by the God of heaven— a universal dominion—absolute in its character over the earth, though not over the seas. There is no information given how far this dominion has been realised, but the gift was bestowed; and it is the first monarchy which, it appears, possessed this power in the most pure and absolute way. It was in the person of its chief “the head of gold.” The fourth was to break everything in pieces by its power; but at the end it was to be divided, and in this condition it was to be both strong and weak; a result of the union of the empire and of the original principle of its existence with heterogeneous elements (that is, in my judgment, of barbarians with that which was, properly speaking, Roman).

At the end, the God of heaven, will establish the kingdom of Christ, who will put aside all these monarchies by an act of judgment. We must bear in mind that the kingdom of Christ in this place is His kingdom established in power in the world, and not the blessed influence of the gospel of His grace. The first act of the little stone, before it grows and becomes a great mountain which fills the whole earth, is to fall upon the statue, so that it becomes as the chaff of the summer threshing floor. The stone does not become a mountain until after that. In other words, when Christ shall have executed a judgment which shall break in pieces and destroy the power of the Gentiles, then His kingdom (an earthly kingdom, and one still of judgment) shall fill the earth.

In chapter 2 the moral history of these monarchies is not touched upon nor their conduct signalised. These will have their place in the four following chapters. I shall only here point out the marks which are given to us as characterising them, as we shall return to them in another lecture.

The first is idolatry, or the civil power endeavouring to make the people submit to a law of unity in worship, the object being a statue set up by the civil power. The second is that the heads of the empire become beasts. That is, they lose the consciousness of being set in relationship with God; and, instead of being in dependence upon Him according to the light given from above, which is the only and true glory of man, they, having lost this light, descend to the rank of beasts. The third is impiety, seen in the conduct of the imperial power towards the Jews, and the God of the Jews, whose name, and all that had reference to His worship, it dishonours. The fourth is self-exaltation. The head of the empire makes himself God, and forbids prayer to be addressed to any other than himself.

In all these events the history ends by the exaltation of the true God. In the first, the Gentile acknowledges the God of those who had preferred the fiery furnace to idolatry. In the second, it is the Gentiles themselves who confess the God of heaven, who humbled them when they walked in pride—a pride of which Babylon was the centre. In the third, it is judgment executed against the “wicked king.” In the fourth, it is not alone the God of heaven who is proclaimed, but His power is established with authority, and His kingdom is acknowledged as that which shall endure for ever.

Lecture 2
Chapters 3-6

You will remember that chapter 2 gave a general history of the period taken up by the whole of Daniel. This was revealed in a dream which Daniel recalled to Nebuchadnezzar, and of which he gave the interpretation. It is the history of the times of the Gentiles. The four monarchies are brought before us, and their final dispersion, by the judgment which the little stone (the kingdom of Christ—Christ Himself) will execute against the whole power of the Gentiles.

I would press again upon your attention that, after having destroyed the image, and not until then, the little stone became a great mountain, which filled the whole earth. We stated that the four following chapters (that is, to the end of chapter 6) gave the character and conduct of these empires; and that, instead of existing in dependence upon God, they are found in rebellion against Him, persecute His people, and exalt themselves against Him. The consequence is judgment.

In chapter 3 we observe the first and principal sin, namely, idolatry, as marking Gentile power, or the power which reigns during the times of the Gentiles. In the succeeding chapter, we observe that these empires, instead of being subject to God, become beasts, that is, they lose their proper understanding, and act as beasts—as wild beasts, who cease to be in subjection (all men, in their true place, acknowledging their subjection to God), and who lose their understanding. In chapter 5 there is open impiety; and in chapter 6 the head of the empire exalts himself as God. Then follow details and circumstances of these empires, and their special relationship with the people of God.

The principles are given us in the first six chapters, and the details in the remaining six. The first thing which the civil power sets up is idolatry, with the object of establishing a religious unity, but always in separating the people from the true God, and in putting something in His place. This circumstance serves as an occasion for trying the faithfulness of God’s people and the manner of it. Nebuchadnezzar commands the people, yea, even all the nations (for there were many under his dominion) to worship a statue. This is idolatry. (Consult Dan. 3:4-7 for the words of the proclamation.) This is not an unusual way with Satan; he excites in the civil power the desire of unity; and there is no more powerful motive for the mass than the influence of religion.62 Satan impels the civil powers to establish unity, in order that everything under their authority should be well ordered and regulated. It was thus with Nebuchadnezzar: he sets up this image in the province of Babylon, and demands the assent of all the governors to its reception and worship.

I repeat, that such a religious act is a powerful means of influencing the mass, and of holding them in submission, united in one community, and bound to the civil power, which is the centre of such religion, or at all events supports it, and is identified with it. But whenever this is the case, there must be persecution—it may be more or less violent—but persecution there will be. We see it in the present case. Nebuchadnezzar’s alternative is, “Whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

But there is yet another important consequence as characteristic of Gentile power; I mean impiety. Impiety not only refuses to respect the conscience, but, what is worse, disallows the rights of God. Respect for the conscience is necessary enough, but the rights of God are infinitely more so. Observe the words of the king: “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hand?” (v. 15). This is impiety—that principle of blasphemy which characterises the beast under all times and circumstances. His thought is of the power which he (the beast) possesses and holds. May we remember that it is God who has given it, and who overrules it! (Compare Hab. 1:11, 15-17.) Impiety, in forgetting the source of power, would arrogate to itself all its rights in spite of God Himself. Now, if unity be maintained, when God’s own rights are set aside, it immediately becomes idolatry; for we fall into the hands of the enemy when we are at a distance from the true God. And when the civil power endeavours to establish this unity, it puts aside not only the rights of conscience, but the rights of God Himself. This applies in an especial manner to the word of God.

It is not only that man has a right to the word of God, as between him and his neighbour, but there is a more sacred right which is interfered with, if we deprive him of it: it is that God has the right to address what He will to the souls of men, and, having addressed the word to them, those who would deprive men of it, derogate from the rights and despise the authority of God, who has seen good to send it to them. Suppose that I have servants, dependents, to whom I send orders, evidently, if any one hinder the servants from receiving these orders, he interferes, not only with their rights, but with mine; and this is the great question: God no doubt will make inquisition for all this. It is bad enough to violate the conscience of another man to satisfy one’s own wickedness; but here Nebuchadnezzar entirely set aside the prerogative of the true God. And this is the principle of blasphemy which attaches to the Gentiles from the beginning. This was the first act of the head of gold; and such is the commencement of the power of the Gentiles as presented to us in this chapter.

On the other hand we have a touching picture in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They are not at all in alarm or disquietude. “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter “(v. 16) is their answer to the king. Does this confidence issue in their escape from the threatened penalty? By no means; they do not escape. God allows them to be put to the proof; He does not manifest Himself beforehand, but permits Nebuchadnezzar to fulfil his threats. They are cast into the furnace of fire, as Daniel was afterwards into the den of lions. Whilst they would not obey the will of Nebuchadnezzar in violating their conscience, they offered no resistance to the persecution, but, as to their bodies, they submit entirely to his commands; and what is the consequence? They are loosed by the fire, and nothing is burnt but the chains with which the world had bound them; moreover, they have the Son of God as their companion in the furnace. The consequence of this interference of God in behalf of His poor servants was that a confession was forced from the civil power that their God was a God who delivered His people, and who condescended to attach His name to theirs. “Blessed,” said the king, “be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him.” This is the position of a believer; he yields up his body to death, in order to serve none other than the true God. And more than this, dear friends, these men quit the furnace as witnesses to the power of God—their God—in the sight of all the world. It will be the same with the faithful Jews at the end; they will be in a furnace of fire, but, at the same time, God will manifest Himself as their God. Christians have a higher hope: even if we are left to suffer death, our hope is the hope of the glory of Him who has saved us, which we shall enjoy with Him in the place where He is. But as to the Jews, they will be delivered from death by the power of God, and the true God will be acknowledged as their God.

Chapter 4. The dream of the king concerning that great tree which overshadowed all the earth is related in this chapter. These are his words, “Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed.: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great,” (v. 10). A great tree is always the symbol of a man of vast power on the earth: one tree in this instance sufficed, because, in fact, Nebuchadnezzar ruled over all the civilized or prophetic earth. There was, as it were, only one tree: “The beasts of the field had shelter under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof.”

But what becomes of this delegated power? It is used as an occasion of self-exaltation. God had confided this power to Nebuchadnezzar; He had blessed the king beyond measure in temporal things. As a consequence pride takes possession of him, and that in spite of the warning given in the interpretation of the dream, and the express prediction of what was to come; for the heart gets blinded by the things which it sees. Here then we have no longer unity in religious externals, and a deliverance by the hand of God, but another character of Gentile power. It is this—that if God, in His providence, elevate man, as a consequence man elevates himself. All is then lost. The case is this: the throne of God had been taken from the Jews, and God puts the Gentiles into the place of power in the person of Nebuchadnezzar; but man being guilty, and thus unable to observe any law, power cannot be committed to him without his lifting himself up against God who gave it. “Is not this great Babylon which I have built?” He makes himself the centre instead of God. He becomes a beast and loses his reason entirely. A beast may be powerful, large, stronger than man, shew much sagacity in his ways, but its look is downward; there is no exercise of conscience, and, as a consequence, no real relationship to God.

The only ennobling principle in man is submission—that is, submission to God; it supposes a capacity to understand the will of God. Man bows to this will, and does homage to God, as to One who is superior to himself. From the moment that he says “I have built,” he loses his moral relationship to God. All true elevation is lpst, and he becomes in this like one of the brute creation; for, I repeat it, a capacity to maintain a relationship with God is man’s true superiority; but in this God must be God, and man must be in submission. Whenever this connection is lost, we descend to objects below ourselves, to which our affections attach themselves. Nebuchadnezzar became the companion of beasts—he had lost his proper understanding. The effect of all this is given at the close of the chapter; for when he finds himself out, he uses such language as is ever heard in such a case. “At the same time, my reason returned unto me,” etc. (v. 36, 37). Behold the effect of God’s judgments upon Gentile power. It is now no longer His interposition in behalf of a poor remnant of His people, as in the case of Shadrach, etc., but He brings down the pride of earthly power. Man exalts himself against God, but exactly where his greatest strength is put forth, the Lord is above him; Ex. 18:11. The great principle then of chapter 4 is the evil conduct of Gentile power. It exalts itself against God, becomes brutish in its understanding, and is judged.63 Seven times pass over it, and at last it confesses God. In other words, the sovereign power of the Gentiles is deprived of all real understanding during the entire period of its imperial existence, after which it confesses God.

Chapter 5. In this chapter we have further detail. King Belshazzar makes a feast, and commands “to bring the golden and silver vessels, which his father had taken out of the temple at Jerusalem, that the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines, might drink therein” (v. 2). Here is a fresh aspect of Gentile failure. It is a thorough impiety, and provokes the immediate destruction of the Babylonian power. This third form of impiety is still in connection with the Jews; for God, in relation to them, is always the God of the earth who is seen exercising a government below. It is not a question of the heavenly hopes of the church. God has delivered the Jews as captives into Gentile hands; He has delivered His altar, His sanctuary (Lam. 2:7), all the exterior signs of His presence and glory, into the hands of the Gentiles.

The head of the Gentiles vaunts himself, and, because God has thus delivered up the Jews, he glorifies his false gods, exalts them, and dishonours God. It will be the same with the king of Babylon at the end—open blasphemy. It will not be the principle of idolatry only, neither will it be alone that pride of heart which says “I have built.” These things will assuredly characterise him, for he is man; but it will be an immediate outrageous act which will dishonour the true God—that God who delivers His people into the hands of the wicked for their chastisement. It will be an act against the God of the Jews. The instant he does this, “there came forth fingers of a man’s hand and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall “these words, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”: the king seeing the part of the hand which wrote, and his countenance being changed … then Daniel answered and said before the king… O thou king, the most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour … And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee,” etc. Judgment falls on Belshazzar, and his kingdom is destroyed. Verse 30: “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain, and Darius the Median took the kingdom.”

Chapter 6. In this chapter we find the fourth principle of evil which existed among the Gentiles, and which completes the whole. It is not only an impiety which dishonours God, but it is man who exalts himself; he puts himself in the place of God Himself. The satraps go to the king and say (v. 6, 7) “King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, etc., have consulted together, to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever,” etc.

It is proposed, in short, that no one should be confessed as God, and no request made to any but to Darius himself. It will be thus with the wicked one, “who opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God,” 2 Thess. 2:4. Again, it is said of him, Daniel 11:36, 37, “The king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

It is then that he is destroyed. This is the utmost limit of wickedness, an exalting of himself against God, a desire to supplant Him on the earth. Notwithstanding, in every case, where the faithful have been put to the proof (whether by Nebuchadnezzar or Darius) the result has been the humiliation of the power of the Gentiles, which, having beforetime opposed, now confesses God.

It is thus with Darius, “I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom, men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever; and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end” (v. 26). There is a difference of expression to be noticed here. The confession of Nebuchadnezzar is to this effect, that the God of heaven is the God of the Jews; that is, of Shadrach, etc., and that no god can deliver like Him. Here also we have the God of Daniel, and, therefore, of the Jews; but He is also “the living God, and stedfast for ever; and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end”: all of which will be ushered in at the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the establishment of His kingdom, which will have no end.

Again, Darius says “he delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” It is the deliverance of the Jews, that is, of a remnant, which is the public manifestation on the earth, and which gives occasion to the confession of the Gentiles, that God is the true God. They will say, as Jethro said to Moses, “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods,” Ex. 18:11.

The true God is, then, acknowledged by the judgments which He executes on those who exalt themselves against Him, and by the deliverance of His people the Jews. The first of these judgments, for it is one, is that the chief of the Gentiles loses all understanding as to the ways of God; and the second is the entire destruction of this king of Babylon, on the very night in which he dishonours God. This Gentile history is sad, though glorious in its result by the manifestation of God for His people. In chapter 3 we see idolatry—the establishment of unity in idolatry by the arm of the civil power, which is mistress to all appearance, whilst really it is the slave of Satan. Chapter 4 is the history of man’s exaltation of himself. Chapter 5 is open impiety against the Eternal; and finally, chapter 6 is the head of the Gentiles putting himself in the place of God.

In all these cases we find the people of God entirely submissive to the temporal power of these kings; for their power came from God. This is the principle of a Christian; he submits. The use which these established powers make of the authority which God has given them does not alter the source of the power. Jesus acknowledged that the power of Pontius Pilate, by which that governor condemned Him, came from God: when His hour was come, He submitted Himself to that which the authority, ordained of God, commanded. It is evident, from the use which the Gentiles make of their power in turning it against God, that they are under the direction of Satan; while holding their power from the one, they make use of it for the other.

What course does the child of God pursue? He does not maintain himself by leaning upon the civil power; he acts according to his conscience, and seeks only the will of God; at the same time he submits, and in so doing yields up his body; for his conscience is submissive to no one but the Lord: he cannot serve two masters. Shadrach and his friends undergo their punishment, but they refuse to do what the king, in the exercise of his power, wishes them to do. They do not seek to turn away the king from his plans; they are threatened and punished by Nebuchadnezzar, but they are faithful to their God, and He delivers them. They leave their case with Him. “He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king; but if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods,” chap. 3:17, 18. There is yet another remark; it is, that even when man is unfaithful (as were the Jews), God never loses his rights. He may confer power on the Gentiles for a time, but He never loses His rights, and, as a consequence, He never abandons His people; as He said unto Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” The people of Israel were a subject of controversy between Pharaoh and God. Christians have other hopes, but the principle is always true. Daniel, who had faith, spoke as faith always does; for it sees as God sees. It is true that God had said, “It is no longer my people”; but Daniel speaks always of Israel as the people of God, because faith confesses all the rights of God. If a Jew had faith in the heart, God recognised him in spite of his circumstances; and this is very precious.

It is impossible, in spite of all Satan can do in the church of God, that he could put us into a position where God cannot recognise faith: otherwise God would lose His rights. In the ensuing lecture it will be needful to enter into details. An acquaintance with the leading features of Gentile power, from Nebuchadnezzar to the end, is of the utmost importance for understanding the things of God. For although we, as Christians, have another hope, even a heavenly one, yet we are in the times of the Gentiles; and the nearer we approach the end, the more Israel will come into prominence, and it is easy to see, by their present condition, that events are leading rapidly to a termination; and the more Israel becomes important, the more it behoves us to understand the thoughts of God concerning that people.

We have seen now in its general traits the history of the Gentile power from Nebuchadnezzar (that is from the ruin of Jerusalem) till the time the Lord shall come and destroy the impious and apostate power; for what we have read shews us the establishment of the kingdom of God on the ruins of the folly and impiety of man. In the next lecture, dear friends, we shall have nothing more of the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, etc., but we shall be occupied with the revelations made to Daniel himself. It is he who represented the faithful remnant of the Jews, and it is he who interprets that which others received and to whom are confided the details of those things which relate to the people of God.

There is yet another remark to make before concluding this preface: it is, that these communications from God should have the effect of separating us entirely from this world, by making us understand that, as to this world, God sees none else, so to speak, than Jews or these apostate Gentiles. I am not speaking of Christians (He sees them after another manner), but of external power. When it is a question of Christians, then the circumstances are beyond this world. Jesus Christ says, “Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” It should be thus in the purposes of daily Christian activity into which the energy of love leads us. As to those within, we train each other, not for Jewish hopes, but for the place which Jesus occupies, and for those mansions in His Father’s house which He went to prepare for us. As for our hope, the end which we propose to ourselves, until God shall execute His judgments, it is not a hope that the world can be improved; for we see from the word that, until this judgment falls, the course of the world runs on in impiety and exaltation of man, which very wickedness brings down the judgment of God.

Such is the world in which we live, according to God’s description of it; but He has revealed to us also the things of heaven. He has revealed to us Him whom the world rejected, and who is gone into heaven, so that we have an object and motives which ought to govern us entirely and direct our walk; in order that, by these motives presented to the heart, and with which the new man occupies himself, we should live and walk by the Spirit in a world to ourselves— “the world to come, whereof we speak”: whilst, on the other hand, by the warnings which God has given us here, by the details with which He has furnished us, He would detach us, and that with an enlightened mind, from the world in which we sojourn as pilgrims and strangers. It is sad with what ease the world attaches itself to our hearts. I do not say that our hearts attach themselves to the world now, although that may follow soon as a consequence, but that the world attaches itself to our hearts.

Dear friends, if a man is covetous, this is the world. If a man is over diligent in affairs, he is occupied with the world, he lives in it, so to speak. It is extremely difficult for us to keep clear of the general principles of the world. It varies in its forms: in one, it is avarice; in another, it is a good position in society; in another, it is an active mind, which engages itself in politics. But this world below, dear friends, is not our world; we have another, of which Christ will be the chief, the centre, and the joy— “the world to come, whereof we speak,” says the apostle. And may God grant that in all the details of life, in our everyday circumstances, this separation may be realised and manifested, and that we may be able to say, “Our life is hid with Christ in God.” The treasure, the life, and the joy of all those souls who have understood what happiness it is to be with Him, is there where He is.

Lecture 3
Chapter 7

In this second part of the book we have no longer the interpretation of dreams made to Nebuchadnezzar, etc., but the communications made to Daniel himself. You remember also, that the subject of which the book of Daniel treats is the Jews. God’s ancient people were in captivity, and had been replaced, as to the throne of the world (at least as to the rights of this throne), by the Gentiles. God had had until lately His throne at Jerusalem. He was now no longer there, as He had once been literally there. Before the captivity God had placed His glory in the temple. He exercised the functions of government, punishing the wicked at times by instant judgments. He was in immediate relationship with the people. It was a pure theocracy, though connected with the monarchy of the house of David at the close; but all that was entirely gone. The Jews, instead of conducting themselves as those under the government of God ought to do, had become thoroughly unfaithful; they had made their children pass through the fire to Moloch, and had worshipped idols. The consequence of such conduct was, that God could no longer identify Himself with the nation. He rejected them, took away His throne from Jerusalem, and confided the dominion and empire of the world to the Gentiles. (See chap. 2:38.) Upon this Nebuchadnezzar takes Jerusalem, and the times of the Gentiles begin.

There are two aspects to this part of the subject: on one side, the responsibility of the Gentiles, and on the other, the circumstances of the Jews in those times, and in particular of the faithful remnant—the special object of God’s care. We have already seen the general characters of the Gentile kings.

But now we come to more intimate details of these beasts in their relationship with the Jewish people, and with the remnant who had their expectation from God. These beasts, as we have seen, had lost their knowledge of God, and, had persecuted His people; and thus, in order to bring out more perfectly the circumstances of the Jews, we are given a more minute history of some of these beasts, together with some account of the remnant under their power, and also many circumstances, as we shall presently see, which will have their accomplishment in the holy people.

We must note a feature in this book, as also in the prophetic part of the Apocalypse, that there is nothing addressed to the people of God. In the other prophets, for instance Isaiah and Jeremiah, there are many particulars concerning these same things, but the prophet always addressed the people of God, because they were still acknowledged. But when this is no longer the case, God may give to a prophet, to Daniel, to a remnant, revelations having reference to the people; but the prophet no longer addresses himself to the people. Thus Daniel is full of joy at these communications, but he does not say a word of them to the Jews directly. God was with the remnant, even Daniel.64 He had nothing more to do with His people in the government of the world, but He had a remnant, and He communicated to the faithful whom He had chosen His intention concerning this remnant, and the events which were to take place. It is thus in the Apocalypse in its prophetic part. Certain things are told to John: it is not John speaking to Christians.

Such prophecies are a kind of depot of certain truths, which is for the blessing of the church at all times, and for the Jews whenever they believe. As to the people of God not being acknowledged, I believe this ought to have its weight in studying the Apocalypse, and you will do well to consider it. We are now going to enter into the second part of the book, wherein the conduct of the beasts and of the different powers of the Gentiles is given in detail; as well as the circumstances of the saints during their (the Gentile) dominion, and the judgment of God which comes down at the end.

Chapter 7 is an introduction, and contains three visions. There is the first general fact that there would be these four beasts, but the fourth was of the most importance; for although the others had been wicked enough, whether in acting against God or His people, it was under the fourth that the open revolt was to take place, whether of Jews or of Christianity, against God—a revolt which should result in the entire destruction of the beast, because of its lifting itself up against the authority and glory of God.

The first vision gives the description, however, only of the three earlier beasts, whose dominion was successively taken away from them, but whose lives were prolonged; that is, they were not entirely destroyed. The second vision (v. 7) is the circumstantial history of the fourth beast previously mentioned. The third vision (v. 13) is the opposition of all this, viz., the dominion given to the Son of man. The explanation follows.

First vision. “Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea “(v. 2). The great sea, in prophetic language, constantly signifies masses of people; thus Babylon (Rev. 17:1, 15; Jer. 51) is described as dwelling (v. 13) “upon many waters”; that is, people not yet at the time of the vision formed into kingdoms, empires, and as such acknowledged by God as prophetic objects. These last are rather called the earth.

“And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another” (v. 3). You will find the distinction between the sea and the earth in Revelation 13, where the first beast comes out of the sea, whereas the second comes from the earth, because the first beast was the empire which arose amidst the confusion of nations, whilst the second beast appears when the first was already upon the earth and his empire established.

“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it” (v. 4). This was the Babylonish monarchy, the first, which carried everything before it. Pharaoh desired to do so, but his fate was sealed at Carchemish near the Euphrates; Jer. 46. This lion with wings was Nebuchadnezzar; his empire had lasted only seventy years. Darius the Mede took the kingdom, and Babylon remained a great city after its dominion was taken away. There was a subsequent judgment upon it, for it was besieged and taken a second time, and then it stood upon its feet as a man, submissive, and no more ravaging the nations; it became a province, and was no longer mistress of the world.

Second beast. “And behold, another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it, between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh” (v. 5). This is the Persian empire. I will not discuss this, because all who have studied the prophecies are agreed about it.

Third beast. “After this, I beheld, and lo, another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it” (v. 6). This is without doubt the empire of Alexander. The beast is described, more under the features which it took after the death of that prince, when his empire was divided into four parts, than under those which it had when united under his power. This is important, because in fact two of the parts into which it was divided have had much more to do with the Jews, than the empire had in the time of Alexander himself. Two of these are afterwards called (chap. 11) the king of the north and the king of the south.

Daniel said in a general manner that there were four beasts, but the fourth is reserved for a special vision. “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns” (v. 7). That which particularly marks this beast was that it had ten horns (ten kings). “I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things” (v. 8).

This description is not simply that of a power hurried into action under the influence of his passions, nor of a conqueror who goes about ravaging everywhere; but there was something more in the ways of this little horn, viz., exceeding arrogance, intelligence, design, counsel, reflection, etc.—he had eyes as the eyes of a man. It is said of the Lamb, in the Apocalypse, that it had seven eyes—an expression for the perfection of foresight and understanding. Here it is not perfection, but at least intelligence, reflection, and design: all these are represented by the eyes; “and a mouth speaking great things,” namely, prodigious boasting; and this characterises particularly this horn. It is on account of the words which this horn spake that the beast was destroyed. He is the one who causes-the judgment of the fourth beast. The little horn is he who morally influences the beast. “I beheld till the thrones were cast down (placed),65 and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool … the judgment was set and the books were opened” (v. 9).

This is an assize. The thrones are not overthrown, but placed. The Ancient of days sits in judgment; myriads of myriads are there before Him. The books are opened. But as yet the Son of man does not appear, but only the Ancient of days. In another sense Christ is Himself the Ancient of days, but here, a little farther on in the chapter, He is presented to Him (the Ancient of days) as the Son of man.

In the Apocalypse, when John sees (chap. 1) the Son of man, it is with all the attributes of the Ancient of days. But here the Ancient of days is seen Himself apart in vision, because Christ, in this book, is always considered as the Messiah, or as the Son of man, in His own separate and proper character as such, as the Anointed One (and thus also as man), because it was under this character that He was known to the Jews, or as inheriting the rights of man on the part of God in this world.

Herein we have the distinction in the expressions Messiah and Son of man, and this difference may be particularly traced in the gospel by Matthew. In His quality of the Anointed One, He appeared as king down here. When He came thus as Messiah, He was rejected: the Messiah, we are told, was cut off, and had nothing; Dan. 9:26 (margin). But when God at a future period shall set up His throne (we are not speaking of His heavenly glory, for that is already accomplished), it will not be only as the Messiah. It is not the way of God to re-establish that which has been spoiled. Such a procedure would be unworthy of God: if Satan spoils God’s work, He is not satisfied with simply mending it. Whenever the folly of man and the malice of Satan have perverted any passing blessing which God has given to man, God establishes something infinitely superior. We have a striking instance of this in Jesus Christ Himself. Man was placed in innocence upon the earth. This state of things was soon altered by the folly of man tempted by the devil. Does God re-establish again an innocent man on the earth? No. He sets up His own Son, a glorified man in heaven and earth. Thus God, in allowing the things which He has presented or confided to man to be corrupted, afterwards Himself establishes something infinitely superior according to His own purpose.

In this manner the Messiah was offered as king of the Jews. Faith, indeed, confessed Him as the Son of God; but as the Son of David, if He had been received, He would have possessed the throne of David. Man, being a sinner, would not receive Him; but when He returns, it will not be as Messiah, or as the Son of David only. He is gone to receive a kingdom from the hands of His Father, an inheritance over all things, not only as Messiah, but as the Son of man; for God has decreed, that “all things shall be subdued unto him,” 1 Cor. 15. It is for this reason that He is seen coming with the clouds of heaven as Son of man.

When Christ presented Himself to the Jews as Messiah, and even to the Gentiles under Pontius Pilate, He was rejected; after which God does not establish Him as Messiah alone, but as Heir of all things. Is this done by the will of man? By no means. Christ has been presented to the good-will of man, but He was received with hatred and disdain. They crucified Him. He will be established by the decree of God.

Now when this little horn speaks great things—when all its insolent pride is manifested—when it has come to its height, then the thrones are placed, and God begins to exercise His power. When power, as confided to man, is turned into rebellion against God, it is time for God to act, and for the thrones of judgment to be placed, for the books to be opened, and for man to give account to God.

The result of this judgment on the part of the Ancient of days is to give the kingdom to the Son of man. It is a question here of this power—these rights of the Ancient of days. It is the demonstration that He who had possessed the rights from the beginning to the end, although He had been concealed, was He who gave the power to the one and to the other.

God had been hidden, so to speak, during the time of the other beasts, nevertheless His providence acted. The Babylonians were replaced by the Persians, and these last by the Greeks. All this was done, as things are done even now, by the arrangement of that providence which governs the world, because the Ancient of days (whose rights, notwithstanding, cannot be annihilated) was not yet sitting to execute judgment on account of the acts which had been committed against Him. But it will not be thus at the end. As yet the open revolt had not taken place. The fourth beast had not yet said, Isaiah 47:8, “I am, and none else beside me.” Compare what is said to the prince of Tyre, “Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God?” (Ezek. 28:9). The judgment of this fourth beast will be as against man in a state of open rebellion against God.

Now the attention of Daniel (v. 11) is entirely taken up with the little horn. “I beheld, then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain; and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame.” He is amazed to hear there, in the very presence of God, this horn speaking blasphemous things. He wondered that God should permit it; but he saw the beast slain. This was the result. Then he says, “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time “; that is, after the dominion had been taken from Babylon, it continued to subsist for some time, as did the Persian likewise; but the destruction of the fourth beast shall be entire. To the others a prolongation of life had been granted after the fall of the empire; but here the judgment and the destruction go together.

Consequent upon all this is a third vision (v. 13, 14). It is the Son of man presented to the Ancient of days. “Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” “And there was given him dominion, and glory … that all people … should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion,” etc., etc. (v. 14). This is the kingdom which will be confided to Him, and which He will administer for the subjection of all things to God Himself.

Now we come to the explanation given to the prophet (v. 15-17). “The visions of my head,” says Daniel, “troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me,” etc. “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” But he adds a fact not before mentioned: “The saints of the most high shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever” (v. 18). It is not alone the history of something which takes place by the interposition of providence, or by the judgment of God; but the interpretation is occupied with the people of God—the saints of the most high. We always find, whether in prophecy or in parable, that the explanation goes beyond that which the original statement itself contains. There is always some new fact. So here, the truth is added, that the saints of the most High are to obtain and to keep the kingdom. The general thesis of the chapter is, that four great beasts would rise on the earth, and be finally judged by God. The truth added in the explanation is, that the saints of the most High would receive the kingdom, the beasts being set aside.

“Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast … which brake in pieces and stamped the residue with his feet” (v. 19). This violence and cruelty has always marked the conduct of the fourth beast; it is Europe, at all events, in the west. “And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up … even of that horn that had eyes. …” (v. 20). The horn had intelligence and designs. Three of the horns (kingdoms) fell before this horn, which, little at the beginning, becomes in appearance more stout than his fellows, and, at last, rules in the midst of the horns. And you will see, as we proceed, that this horn usurps all the power of the beast, or, at least, stamps the whole with its character. The horn gets the power. As it is the conduct of this little horn, which determines that of the beast, so also is the horn the cause of the beast’s destruction.

“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” … (v. 21) “until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (v. 22). Afterwards the explanation is given, verses 23-25, and the little horn is more fully mentioned. This horn is not to be an ordinary kingdom, but a special power which raises itself up in the midst of the others.

The fourth beast is to do three things: first, it speaks great things against the God who is on high, ruler of heaven and earth; secondly, it wears out the saints of the most High (those, namely, who own God in the high or heavenly places); also it makes war with the faithful Jews who have returned to their land. Thirdly, it not only destroys the saints, but it thinks to change the times (that is, solemn days—certain days which return from year to year, and which mark certain epochs among the Jews, as Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles, etc.), and the law itself.

They shall be delivered into his hands, that is, these times and laws, until a certain period; it will not be for ever. The beast, then, apostatises against God, makes war against the saints who confess Him, and, lastly, completely sets aside the Jewish ordinances. This is the final character which the beast takes.

We shall still have to consider this beast, and, consequently, we must follow with care this part of the book, because of the important place which the little horn occupies in the revelations of God. Meanwhile let us remember that, whilst the prophetic part of this chapter, as contrasted with the explanatory part, treats of the beast being destroyed and delivered to the fire; in the latter part, the Spirit of God is almost entirely occupied with the actings of this little horn. The judgment is to sit, and the dominion to be taken away (that is, of the little horn), verse 26. We shall see that the ten horns give their power to the beast; but this little horn rules the beast, morally speaking, and so all the others, by its intelligence and influence. Thus the Spirit of God can speak of the little horn as being everything.

Notwithstanding it was still the beast, for the little horn possessed all the power of the beast, and its (the little horn’s) conduct characterised the beast; for as it was the horn which blasphemed, persecuted, and changed the law, so it is its dominion which is taken away.

At the same time bear in mind that, although the little horn was principally before the eyes of the prophet, the others had not ceased to exist. There yet remained seven horns after three had been swallowed up, so that we do not see, in the little horn, all the empire of the fourth beast, considered geographically. The little horn is morally, but not geographically, the beast. Seven of the horns which existed previously will still subsist. The features of the beast, then, are, that we have one particular horn which is very different from the others, small in appearance when it rose, but whose looks and words were stouter than the others’, three of whom fell before it. It is this horn that persecutes and changes the times, and represents completely the beast before God as to the judgment; but at the same time, as to physical and material power, there are seven other horns in other places, but within the limits of the Roman empire; and who are thus the instruments of the moral evil of the little horn. One horn is the great worker of evil, whilst the mass of the empire, divided into seven parts, gives the power to that one.

Napoleon may serve to give us an idea of this state of things. Spain, Belgium, Westphalia, etc., followed him, they were his auxiliaries; but he personally stamped his character on the whole course of events. And so with these seven: their authority may exist within their own limits, but their power will be given to him, who will exalt himself against God and His saints.

Revelation 13 and 17, also bring this beast before us. In chapter 13 he is shewn as seated upon the throne, and wielding the power of Satan, by means of another beast who helped to glorify the first on the throne. In chapter 17 he is shewn more in his relationships with Babylon; whilst here in Daniel 7 he is represented to us as making war against God Himself, in his relationship also with the saints of the most High, and with the Jews. In Daniel 11:36-39, where we have again this king, or little horn, we learn more particularly his actings in the east—in the Jewish or glorious land. It is the special place where the evil works. In Zechariah 11 we have details of an idol shepherd, who shall be found in Judea and shall oppress the people, and who, I think, is the same as the second beast of Revelation 13, which I shall not now examine.

In 2 Thessalonians 2 he is seen in quite another aspect (viz., in connection with apostate Christendom); just as in Daniel 11:36 he is considered with respect to his evil conduct as king in Palestine; whilst here, he is seen rising from among the Gentiles, acting against the saints of the most High, and the faithful Jews. I do not make any allusion in this place to chapter 8 because it is my conviction that the little horn of that chapter is not the same as this one. Some who have studied the subject are not of this opinion, but for myself, it is my belief that it is another power which will be found there, in special connection with the Jews, invading those eastern countries, but which is not the little horn of chapter 7.

There is still another passage to be referred to in regard to this little horn. It is the latter part of Daniel 9 in connection with the desolation of Jerusalem. I mention it only that the chain of passages may be complete. In examining this book, I have no pretension to give a complete exposition, but only to notice some leading points which may assist you, and myself also, in further inquiry. One of the most remarkable facts in this chapter is the open revolt of man against God; it is that which so astonished Daniel. In the end man will arrogate to himself power, as if it were found in himself, instead of derived from God, just as it was the religion of man among the Jews which dared to reject and crucify the Messiah.

But this power of man, complete in apostasy, given up to Satan, is the instrument of the war which Satan wages against God and His Anointed. It is not iniquity alone, and the commission of sin, but the open revolt of sin as a principle. Under whatever form man is found in connection with God, this beast will give himself the trouble, so to speak, to unite in himself all these characters in opposition to God. Is it a question of God Himself? he derides Him and sets himself up against Him. Is it a question of the saints? he persecutes and destroys them. His object is to overturn everything for the setting up of himself. It is the king who does according to his own will. Satan gives him his throne after he has been driven out of heaven, three years and a half before the judgment: when, having but a short time, he acts in great wrath, establishing thus the wicked one upon his throne on earth, inspiring man, and putting him forward, as the head of everything here below, and destroying all relationship with God. Thus in 2 Thessalonians 2 we find that the rebellion against God, as known in Christianity, is based upon the apostasy; and then the man of sin rises and shews himself as God in the temple of God (all those who have not received the truth in the love of it having been deceived by the lying wonders of the power of the enemy).

Then the events of Revelation 13 will be realised; that Satan gives his throne to the beast, and at that time, I judge, the horrible character of open revolt in all its bearings will be publicly manifested. The evil works beforehand in principles, in mysteries; but when the throne of Satan is set up down here, after he has been driven from heaven (at least three years and a half before the end), and in consequence, is no longer able to deceive, after a religious sort, in making himself god on high; and the saints, as a result, having no combat to sustain in the heavenly places, then he gives his throne to the beast; and open rebellion will follow—rebellion against God; for the beast becomes the wicked one in speciality: “that wicked one shall be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy.” Then the throne will be given to the Son of man.

It is very important, through God’s grace, to see where the course of this world will end; and be assured that it is not necessary that man should be outwardly degraded in habits in order to serve Satan, or that these events should take place; for the little horn had the eyes of a man, all the intelligence of man, his capacity, and clear-sightedness. These faculties distinguish him. Nevertheless, he will reject God; his conscience will not be in exercise; he will have no sense of his responsibility towards Him; whilst the desire of self-elevation and aggrandisement will choke every trace of love: just as Adam, who wished to be as God, and put God aside. But the judgment will come in, and Christ will be manifested in all His glory, and it is this for which we wait, as regards the improvement of things here below. But, thanks be to God, we have, as Christians, a better portion, even a heavenly, which consists in being like Christ and with Him for ever.

Lecture 4
Chapter 8

I reserve some further remarks on chapter 7 till we come to the end of chapter 9 and I proceed to chapter 8. In it the Spirit of God takes two empires, namely, the second and third of the four beasts previously seen, to give a more detailed history of them.

“In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me” (v. 1). “And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan, in the palace, which is in the province of Elam” (v. 2). This land of Elam, or Persia, was the body of the second beast. The bear of chapter 7 is now the ram. “The ram which thou sawest, having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia” (v. 20). These two kingdoms were united into one. In chapter 7 this kingdom is told to “arise and devour much flesh,” whilst here the ram is said “to push westward, and northward, and southward.” The he-goat of verse 5, who attacks the ram, is the empire. of the Greeks, which commenced under Alexander. This “notable horn,” having united the Greeks, led them into Asia against the empire of the Persians. In three years he overthrew it: it crumbled into nothing before his energy, which earned for him, among men, the name of Great. We know from history, that he died, whilst yet young, of a fever, the consequence of his excesses.

“When he [the he-goat] was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven” (v. 8). Alexander traversed the greater part of Asia, and penetrated as far as India, proving his capacity not only as a general, but as the founder of a solid empire. But God laid His hand upon him, and “for it came up four notable ones.” The same truth is presented, chapter 7:6, under the figure of a leopard with four wings and four heads. After Alexander’s death his kingdom was divided into four distinct monarchies, with two of which we have principally to do, because two of them came into connection with the Jews; just as lately the Turks and Egyptians were at war about this same Holy Land.

We must remember, if we would understand this prophecy, that even the geography of Scripture is always considered according to the position of the Holy Land. If we have a king of the south, it is a king to the south of Palestine; for Palestine is the centre of all God’s thoughts as to the government of this world. Jerusalem is His chosen city. “For the Lord hath chosen Zion,” it is said, “He hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever,” Psalm 132:13, 14. From one of the kingdoms designed under the four horns (it is not said from which, but distinctively from one) comes a little horn, whose acts form the important part of this chapter.

“And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land” (v. 9), viz., the Holy Land. In considering Scripture, it is needful to place oneself, so to speak, in the point of view from which God looks. He says, in Deuteronomy 11:12, and 1 Kings 9:3, that He will never take His eyes off Palestine. Now the activity of faith always hangs upon this point of view of God. And this knowledge of God’s thoughts is the power of service in the church. God keeps His sheep always; that is to say, He always loves them. If I see one of these sheep wander, it is very sorrowful; and looking at it with man’s judgment only, one might be inclined to abandon it; but remembering that it is a sheep, I act towards it as God thinks of it: that is, faith takes up the thoughts of God as to the objects of His love.

As far as the world is concerned, Jerusalem is nothing; it is a city trodden down, with neither commerce nor riches nor aught else. Superstition is established there on the sepulchre of the Lord. It is true, indeed, that the kings of the earth are beginning to look that way, because providence is leading in that direction; but as for God, He ever thinks of it; it is always His house, His city. His eyes and His heart are there continually. Now faith understands this.

And what was Daniel’s position? He was a captive among the Chaldeans at Babylon; but Palestine was for him the pleasant land. His captivity takes off nothing from its interest. It was a very small province of an immense empire, almost unknown in the empire, so small was it in comparison. But to God it was everything. His purposes were ever towards it.

“The little horn waxed exceeding great towards … the pleasant land.” We shall never understand the Old Testament prophecies, if we do not see two things. First, the thoughts of God are upon the glory of Christ, who, on His re-appearance, will reign over the earth. If this thought be not kept in view, whilst considering the details and events of Scripture, nothing will be understood: for God will and does make all the events of the world work together to that end. Secondly, we shall equally fail in understanding prophecy if we forget that the Jews are the habitual object of the thoughts of God; for, although He cannot recognise them for the moment, as being under His chastening hand, they are nevertheless still His people; for “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29); and, however we may apply this assertion to the church—for it is true of every one who is possessor of divine life—yet the context shews that the Jews are meant, who, although supplanted during their judicial blindness by the church66 on earth (the Gentile dispensation), yet will by and by be re-established in all their privileges.

When we have once laid hold on these two thoughts—that Christ is the aim and end of all the counsels of God, and that the Jews are the object of His counsels here below—there are a multitude of expressions that become easy of apprehension. For example, “the pleasant land” is the land of the Jews: nothing ennobles before God but His gifts and vocation. And who are the people and land which He has chosen? No other than the land and the people which He promised to Abraham (Gen. 15), and which Christ, as the Seed of Abraham, will inherit, together with Israel, who are the people whom God has chosen.

“And it [the little horn] waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them” (v. 10). There is an alteration in the next verse, to which I must here draw your attention, as it relates to a matter of no little importance, viz., the complete destruction of the worship of God at Jerusalem. If we were meditating on doctrines connected with salvation, I would not trouble you with questions of criticism; but I venture to do so here, as we are occupied with the intelligence of Scripture, and much is, in this instance, dependent on a just translation of verse 11, the main correction of which is afforded by the margin of the English translation. I give what I believe to be correct. “And he67 magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and from him (the prince of the host) the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place68 of his sanctuary was cast down, and a certain time69 of distress was appointed to the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression.” All this I should, moreover, put in parenthesis. The material change is that the taking away the daily sacrifice is not attributed to this little horn. The actings of the little horn are resumed after the word “transgression.” “And it cast down the truth to the ground,” etc.

In the actings, then, of the little horn it is not a question of uttering blasphemy and exalting itself against God, but of something very definite and precise: “it waxed great even to the host of heaven.” It attacks those who, in those days, are there—the Jews who have a place around their chief (that is, those who in the moral heaven surround the throne of God); I judge it to mean the priests and heads among the Jews at Jerusalem, or such as God owns there. Observe God’s estimate of things. He attaches more importance to the priests and governors among this poor people, than to anything else which the beast has been doing in the world. He lifted himself up “even to the host of heaven.” It is infinitely more dangerous to meddle with things that belong to God, and things upon which God looks—to endeavour to efface His glory, all tarnished though it may be in our hands, than to overturn or to found empires, or to achieve the greatest victories (although God in His providence may superintend these events). The little horn might overthrow nations; but to say there should be no worship of God was an event far more serious: it was to destroy the only link which made it possible for God to recognise the state of things on the earth.

Such, then, is the special conduct of this little horn. It magnifies itself even to the host of heaven, and casts down a part of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamps on them. At the end, he who fills the antitypical place of this little horn exalts himself even so as to rise up against the prince of the host. He aims even at Him who is the true head of all things. Those who were at Jerusalem in such a place represented God, whilst Christ will soon be manifested as the true prince of the host. God further permits that the daily sacrifice should be taken away from this prince. We see therefore who is this Prince. It is the Lord. The sacrifice is taken away from Him, and the place of His sanctuary cast down, in this time of terror.

God calls His house at Jerusalem the place of His sanctuary, the sanctuary of Christ. He was and is always the God of the Jews. It is not a simple treading down of the people by the permission of God, as chastisement on account of their sins; but that it should be so, the temple is allowed to be cast down, as indeed it was at the time of the captivity of Babylon; and this must be the case, in order that God may shew that He has completely abandoned His people to the fruit of their ways. While He owns His honour there, He must stand up in their defence, though He chastise; but if that be destroyed, and their city prostrate, then He leaves them indeed to the matured fruit of their sins, though He may still have the intention of bringing them back.

One might have supposed it impossible that His fixed habitation should be cast down; but the Spirit of God puts these facts in contrast, that we may see that the things which God Himself had established and preserved for centuries, He abandons, whilst still calling them His own. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” But He overturns everything that He has set as a witness, in the place which He has chosen for His dwelling, and breaks His bonds with the people, whilst still saying (Lam. 2:6, 7), that they are His tabernacle, His place of assembly, His altar, and His sanctuary. Because of the unfaithfulness of the people, God no longer allows the worship which should have been offered to Him, and by permitting the daily sacrifice to be taken away, the visible and exterior link between Himself and the people is broken, and all that manifests His favour in the world—His house and worship—is set aside.

Verse 13. “Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said to that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” The question is about the length of the time of affliction. The thoughts of the inquirer are not upon the exploits of the little horn, but about the desolation of the Jewish worship and temple. This distinction is important. I do not say that such desolations do not announce the last days; only these two things are distinct, viz., the conduct of the little horn, and the desolation of the temple. In the explanation given in the course of the chapter concerning the end of the indignation, there is nothing on the subject of worship; it refers only to circumstances concerning the king of fierce countenance, understanding dark sentences, without speaking of the temple. And lastly, there is not a word said that it is this little horn who takes away the daily sacrifice.

This answer precedes and is distinct from the interpretation given to Daniel of the little horn. It is possible that in the history, the little horn may have done all these things (allowing Antiochus Epiphanes to have been the type), but the Holy Spirit does not use them all70 when He speaks of what is to fill up the picture of the end.

Verse 14. “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” We shall be helped in the consideration of these verses by recurring to verse 10. “It waxed great … it cast down some of the host … and stamped upon them”; and in verse 12 we again find the expression, “It cast down the truth to the ground.” Now between these two expressions all is in parenthesis, that is, the whole of verse 11 and a part of verse 12. “It cast down the truth to the ground “is the conduct of this horn in the last days, of which we have an explanation at the end. “So he [Gabriel] came near where I stood” (v. 17). “And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be” (v. 19). The word “indignation” is often found in the prophecies, and is particularly mentioned in Isaiah 10. Iniquity had ripened, and its chastisement had begun in the days of the faithless successor of David, Ahaz. It went on increasing. The Jews would not repent, and the hand of the Lord was heavier upon them; and will continue (see Isaiah 10:5, 8, then 12, 17, 21, 25) until the people shall return to Him who smote them.

It began comparatively lightly with the attacks of the Syrians, and the loss of the provinces; to these succeeded the conquests of the Babylonians; after that, the captivity; but the Jews would not repent at these judgments. Afterwards God sent them His Son; you know how they treated Him. When they shall be again in their land, they will give themselves over to idolatry, and will receive Antichrist instead of Christ. At last, the abomination of desolation will be set up, until Christ Himself shall destroy the enemies of the people, and then the indignation will be accomplished. This time of indignation consists in the people being abandoned by God to the power of their enemies more or less; but that which is specially called “the indignation” is the attacks to which the Jews, on account of their sins, are subjected in the last days—the days of Antichrist. I do not say that Antichrist is the indignation; but the Jews are delivered to the instruments of the indignation of God on account of their relationship with him. God has determined its duration beforehand. (Compare Isaiah 10:5-25.)

Daniel 8:20-23. “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” I have no doubt, dear friends, that the type was the king of the Syrians—the king of the race of the Seleucidae; but it is quite certain that this was not the end of the indignation; and, in the explanation which Daniel gives, he confines himself to what the antitype will do at the time of the end (v. 17)—the end of the indignation against the Jews (v. 19). We must put the church altogether on one side in this case: it is a question of the Jews in the latter days, at the end of the indignation.

“In the latter time [v. 23] of their kingdom [namely, of the longs who divided the Greek empire] … a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” These kingdoms, then, must be re-established; there will again be the king of the south and the king of the north. Turkey in Asia, at this moment, embraces the territory of the king of the north, and Egypt that of the king of the south. They must reappear as two kingdoms. We must apply this prophecy to that which is called “the end,” “the time of the end”; that is, the end of the ways of God towards the Jews— “the end of the age,” as a general term. Egypt will then be on the scene, but particularly the king of the north, whoever may then possess that dignity.

An important fact in the accomplishment of prophecy in the latter day is, not only the return of the Jews to their land, but that, being found there, their wickedness will still increase. Those words of the Saviour will be accomplished in them, “If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive,” John 5:43. And again, “when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation,” Matt. 12:43-45. That is, the Jews having returned to their land, the wicked spirit, the spirit of idolatry which had left them (for there was no idolatry at the time of Jesus Christ), enters into his house, empty, swept, and prepared, and brings with him seven other impure spirits, and the last state of the nation shall be infinitely worse than the first. This may be true of others, but the Saviour applies the passage to the Jews; “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” Thus “the transgressors will have come to the full,” the transgression of the Jews against Jehovah will be at its height. It will be, speaking generally, the end of the age, and particularly the end of those four monarchies of the divided empire of Alexander; the Jews having become absolutely apostate, and in rebellion against God—not only as seen in their present condition, but much worse, having also returned to their land. And this scene will be in Palestine, and with a king out of one of the Greek monarchies, of whom the king of Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes, has certainly been a type.

Verse 23. “And … a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” He will not only have force of arms, but also a spirit of wisdom, so as to be able to explain or interpret enigmas, a sort of prophet (though not, of course, in a good sense), who expounds profound and mysterious things. He acts by a deceitful and penetrating spirit, and in this way, upon the Jewish nation, as much as by his arms.

Verse 24. “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power.” He will be a king in dependence upon some other potentate—strong, but not entirely by his own force. “And he shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” Notwithstanding their state of perfidy and rebellion collectively, the Jews are, to the prophet, the holy people.71

Verse 25. “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many.” That is, it will not be by force of arms, but he will deal with the Jews in the way of peace; and by penetration and subtility, as a kind of rabbi, he will exercise much influence over the Jewish nation.

Finally, “He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” Christ is the Prince of princes— “the prince of the host.” This king, then, will not only overthrow many Jews, but, at the same time, will obtain immense influence over the nation; and, setting himself against the Prince of princes, he will be destroyed without hand.

You will observe that in this explanation of the conduct of the little horn, the daily sacrifice is not mentioned, its taking away is not attributed to him; and thus we perceive the importance of the correction of verse 11. He oppresses the Jews, and triumphs over them by the subtility of his spirit; he will destroy many by peace and prosperity. This is the account of a power which emanates from the Greek monarchy in the east, one who will act in the midst of the Jewish people, and who will be destroyed because he exalts himself against Christ at the end. So much for his locality, his conduct, and his end. The only mention that Daniel makes of the daily sacrifice and of the sanctuary, is in the last two verses. “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true.”

A single remark will suffice concerning the calculations of dates that have been made; I have made them myself, and I have taken all possible pains to resolve that of the “two thousand three hundred days” (v. 14), so that I do not mean it as condemning others, when I avow that I do not think they can be counted as years, and I am inclined to believe that these days were accomplished of old. But, in any case, if dates are to be assigned, we must remember that the subject is the Jews and Jerusalem, and these dates must therefore be applied to the Jews and Jerusalem, and not to the affairs of Christendom.

There may be analogous circumstances in Christendon, because the mystery of iniquity has already set in, for although the wicked one has not yet been revealed, his principles and his pride are found in its developments, etc.; but if we are to speak with exactness, and to ask if these things have been precisely accomplished, then we must apply these passages to Jerusalem and the Jews, namely, to what is to occur at the end of the indignation. Now certainly the end of the indignation has not yet happened.

In conclusion, the subject of this lecture is one with which we may appear to have but little concern. The other little horn has more connection with us, because it belongs to the last beast; and we have to do with it, as living in those countries which will come under its dominion, as France, England, etc. (which formed a part of the Roman empire); and also, as being where Christianity has been developed, during the existence of this last beast; whereas we are not in the territory of the little horn spoken of in this lecture. But if it is important on the one hand to avoid the evil which is about to appear in the west, in the very midst of the circumstances in which we are placed; on the other hand, the necessity of doing so tends to pervert our judgment; for we are liable to attach a great importance to ourselves, and to suppose that we possess the whole scope of Scripture, whereas God, as far as regards the possession and promises of this world, has given the Jew a much larger place than ourselves. Nevertheless, we perceive at the close that our history again enters into what so much interests us, namely, the counsels of God as to His Christ; for the last thing which we see, in the great events which are to take place, is this little horn lifting up himself against the Lord of lords; and before this world can be blessed, it is necessary that the Lord should break this little horn, in order that under His own rule the blessings of peace may come upon all.

Lecture 5
Chapter 9:1-19

In chapter 7 we traced the history of the four beasts in general, specially of the little horn who spoke great things, who blasphemed against God, who was the enemy of the saints, who represented the beast—that is, who acted as he chose, according to the power of this beast; and in chapter 8 we have the history of the horn who will be raised up from one of the four Greek monarchies, and who at the end will lift himself up against the Lord of lords, and will be destroyed without hand. The prophet now directs his thoughts and heart towards a subject, different from that in the midst of which he stood, namely, to the desolations of Jerusalem. Such is the theme of this chapter. And how was he led into this train of thought? Simply because those words were on his heart; How long, O Lord! It is a mark of faith thus to cry, when judgments are weighing heavily upon the people of God: for faith views the people according to the promises which God has made to them. A person who has laid hold of the mind of God, whose faith is in exercise, and whose heart responds, however imperfectly, to the heart of God, must desire that they should enjoy their proper blessings—the blessed consequences of their relationship with God, as it is said, “Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation,” Isaiah 33:20.

Thus when affliction weighs heavily upon the people of God, and they are not enjoying all the privileges which faith realises as belonging to them, faith says, “How long, O Lord!” On the one hand, such a one cannot rest satisfied with the misfortunes under which the people of God are labouring; and upon the other, he knows that it is impossible for God to abandon His people. Faith says, This state of suffering will have an end; the wicked, it is true, will not be relieved, but the people of God must be. Hence the frequency of such expressions in the Psalms and Prophets as “How long, O Lord! “and “There is none to say, How long!” —there is no one who knows how to count on the faithfulness of God. When under chastening, there is no faith to use this expression, a worse one is used, “I have loved strangers, and after them will I go”; and the people abandon themselves to wickedness; Jer. 2:25.

Now Daniel is here acting in faith. He had, moreover, the consolation of knowing, that when God pronounced the judgment of captivity upon His people, He had also declared its limit. Jeremiah had predicted that it should last seventy years, and that afterwards God would judge Babylon by the hand of Cyrus. Hereupon, wrapped up in the interests of the people of God, his thoughts are occupied with this promised deliverance.

But the faith which comprehends the goodness of God, and sighs for the time when the people shall enjoy their privileges, always confesses the sin which has obliged God to deprive His people for a time of these privileges. Faith never becomes discouraged, as if God were unfaithful; on the contrary, it insists upon the blame being with the people, and that God has only acted faithfully in thus dealing with them. Our chapter begins in this way. The interest which Daniel felt in his people led him to the consideration of the prophet Jeremiah, and then he entreats the Lord to confirm this blessing which He had promised by Jeremiah, that is, that He would accomplish the deliverance of His people from captivity.

Another important fact which we remark here, and which was manifested in the Lord Jesus in perfection, is, that faith always thoroughly identifies itself with the affliction in which the people are found; and more even, with all the sins of the people of God. This is the distinguishing mark of the Spirit of Christ. Christ, indeed, went much further, inasmuch as He was able to make atonement for those sins, with which He identified Himself; but faith, according to its measure, always does so. The faith may be very feeble, but if there be any sense of the privileges of the people of God, and of the glory of God in His people, faith must have reference to this glory. But if it considers the glory, it considers also the sins which have been the occasion of the chastisement. Faith identifies itself with the state of the people, and by placing itself in their condition, perceives the cause of the judgment; for faith identifies the glory of God with His people, and itself with both; and the state of the people before God becomes the principle which animates the heart; and the more faith there is, according to the measure of its intelligence, the more does it enter into the depths into which the offenders have fallen, pass their sins in review, and confess them in identification with them; and if faith did not do this, there could be no presenting of these sins in confession, in order to their being pardoned. The Spirit which is in us (and yet more fully than the spirit of prophecy)72 necessarily looks at the thing morally. My distress at the condition of the saints is in every sense incomplete, unless the cause of that condition in God’s sight is taken notice of—just as the high priest confessed all the sins of the people upon the scape goat.

It is fully admitted, that there may be imperfection in the act; but according to the principles of faith, there must be identification—a full confession before God. If I thought to get remission of sins (in the sense of removing chastenings) by partial confession, or without having felt their enormity, it is evident I should be mocking the just government of God; so that it is absolutely necessary, if I wish to suffer with Christ, for His church (and the case of the Jews serves morally for us), if I am led by His Spirit in love and care for His sheep, that I should humble myself, recognising the fallen condition of the saints, and confess all their sins. Just this did Daniel.

Verses 2-4. “In the first year of his [Darius’] reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God … and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments.”

Daniel has the prophecy of Jeremiah present before his mind.

When I speak of the spirit of prophecy, I do not speak of a revelation made to the prophet—it is not a question of the answer which God makes to a prophet when he presents the wants of His people. Daniel was a prophet, but there is, in this instance, no special revelation made to him. Hence we are told, that he had understood by books. He was simply one of the faithful studying prophecy. God afterwards gives him a direct revelation. But in the present instance, faith alone was acting, and he was only made to understand what God had already spoken about His people. All is revealed in the Bible, and in searching it we can, like Daniel, know and understand what God has already written about His people.

There are many questions which we cannot resolve, because we are not spiritual enough. The teaching of God is as necessary for the understanding, as for the revelation of His thoughts. It is interesting to remark this. Daniel had understood by books that the captivity was to last seventy years. As a faithful man he interests himself in the people of God, and searches, by the spiritual intelligence which is given to those who walk with God, what are His thoughts and ways.

I do not say that we have the same faith and intelligence, but we are upon the same ground. Daniel represents the faithful remnant, who have their hearts full of desires for His grace towards His people, and who, to this end, study the word of God. As a consequence, the Spirit of God leads him into supplications; for whatever be the intentions of God, there is always in His acts of government a recognition of the moral road which He has ever traced out for His people—certain moral principles by which He leads them. “I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock,” Ezek. 36:37. Faith does not lead us into mere speculative knowledge—the head may be full of dates, etc., things, in a certain degree, useful—but when the Spirit of God really acts, we turn to the Lord with prayer and supplication, and with humbleness of soul, recognising the actual condition of His people. It was thus with Daniel. “I set my face,” says he, “unto the Lord.”

Daniel had been led captive when very young, and he had taken no part in the actual iniquity of Israel. There was, therefore, no ground for self-accusation. But the fact is, there is no such thing as a Christian separated from the interests of his brethren. This could not be. The Spirit of Christ, which, in a certain sense, is more powerful in us than among the faithful in the time of Daniel, is nothing else than the Spirit of Christ in Christ; that is to say, the principle on which He acts is the same. Christ has done, He alone, that which no other could have done; we know this well. But the tendency, the feelings, the affections, of the Spirit of Christ in us cannot be other than the Spirit of Christ in Christ. If, then, Christ identifies Himself with all that the people have done from the beginning, Daniel also can say, “We have sinned,” (v. 5-7). He identifies himself with all, in the unity of the same people, though he had not been partaker of any of these sins: “O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings,” etc. (v. 8). These kings were no longer in existence, but he saw the whole thing together; “we have not hearkened to the voice of thy servants the prophets.” The prophets had not prophesied to him, and had a deaf ear turned to their words. Behold then the whole mass of Israel in this confusion of face—behold the justice which belongs to God. But there is another thing which the Spirit of Christ confesses: “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him” (v. 9). This is a singular reason; but he had such a conviction of the goodness of God, that he says, It is not only the justice which punishes that is found in God, but, though we have sinned, there is mercy: as David says, “O Lord my God, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.” As if to say, Nothing will do for me, or meet my case, but mercy; I cannot offer sacrifices like the Jews, I must have recourse to Thee—I must have mercy and pardon. The prophet draws this as a consequence—there is sin; well then, this can be met by mercy alone.

All have transgressed the law. It does not do to say, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, have not done so; Josiah had done much that was good; David was a man after God’s own heart; but this or that instance is lost in the idea of a broken law. If the people of God are no longer in the enjoyment of their privileges, it is because they have sinned, and that sin is punished. Certain alterations for the better may have retarded the judgment, but judgment having once come in, the way of the Spirit is to say, that all have sinned. Besides all this, there is a government in detail, as we see in the case of Hezekiah, where chastisement was announced, and afterwards postponed. They were to go to Babylon, but not in his time. As to further matter of detail of government, consult the case of Josiah; he fell by the hand of Pharaoh-Necho, although it was said, “Thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace,” 2 Kings 22:20. But he was taken from the evil to come. The circumstances were afflicting, for it would appear that he should have listened to Pharaoh. Josiah was chastened individually, but he did not see, like Daniel, all that came upon Jerusalem: what a sparing from sorrow was that! “The righteous man dieth … and none considereth that the righteous is taken away from the judgment to come.”

“Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law “(v. 11). “Yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth “(v. 13); that is, not only have we transgressed, but when the chastening came we did not turn to the Lord with a true heart, to turn us from our iniquities. Here sin reached its height. “Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil and brought it upon us “(v. 14), as He watched upon the good to bless. How terrible, when the government of God watches upon the evil to make it come upon His people!

“And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly” (v. 15). “O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain” (v. 16). The words of Daniel are quite touching. He deeply felt that it was the sin of the people that had brought down all the evil. Nevertheless, he reiterates, It is a question of Thy name; he says nothing about the name of the people. He had truly felt their wretchedness and sin; moreover, he was humbled for it, but he insists upon this point, that Jerusalem is the city of God, and so he says “Let thine anger be turned away from thy city Jerusalem.” In confessing the sins of his fathers, he could not bear the idea of the city of God being in desolation; but these sins being the cause, they must be forgiven before the city can be restored. It was called by God’s name, and in the eyes of Daniel, his people were, so to speak, the name of God in the earth, as it is said, “This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob,” Psalm 24:6.

This, then, was the pleading of Daniel; he confesses all the sins of Israel. Thus, “for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach,” etc., etc. (v. 16). “O my God, incline thine ear and hear … for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies” (v. 18). “Defer not, for thine own sake, O my God, for thy city and thy people are called by thy name” (v. 19). God Himself is made the motive. That faith which perceives the sins of the people, by reason of the glory of God which identifies itself with such people, can claim deliverance from the results of these sins; because this very glory necessitates the forgiveness, God having identified Himself in goodness with the people: and so much the more, inasmuch as it is this glory on which faith feeds and with which it is pre-occupied, and which, as before said, causes the extent of sin and failure to be felt. But if God is to act for His name, He must deliver Jerusalem, for there was no other place on the earth which bore His name.

If the same spirit animated us, as Christians, we should be saying, It is for the sins of the church that we are suffering, and that we are held in contempt by all the world.

Something remains to be said, dear friends, as to the place which Daniel takes prophetically. It has struck me, in reading the chapter, that he does not take the position in which the promises made to Abraham would have placed him. The full blessing of the Jews will be grounded on another truth than that which Daniel pleads here.

The blessings of the Jews, such as they are yet to enjoy, are based upon the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, without condition. These are not touched upon here by Daniel. They have never possessed the land under the law, properly speaking; but they have had it, according to the promises made to Moses in favour of the people, at the time of the mediation at Sinai. The land has never been possessed on the principle of obedience to the law, for immediately after it was given, the apostasy of the golden calf came in. Moreover, they have never yet enjoyed the land in quality of Messiah’s people. In order to enjoy the land according to the promises, they must enjoy it according to the new covenant; but as yet, neither the Messiah nor the new covenant has introduced the people into it. The new covenant is not yet established with the Jews. The promises cannot yet have been accomplished, because Christ is the true seed of Abraham. The Jews have been rejected, and the accomplishment has never yet taken place. These, viz., the Messiah and the new covenant, are two great elements of the future blessing of this people.

The fact is, that God, after the idolatry of the golden calf, placed His people Israel (consult Exodus 32, 33, 34), under a government, founded, half upon law, and half upon grace, for when Moses ascended the mount of Sinai, God declared His name (Exodus 34:6) as “the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” This was grace, whilst at the same time He gave him the law of the ten commandments, so that the people were placed under a condition of obedience. This was the condition under which Israel was placed from the time that Moses ascended Sinai the second time. Although he had previously confessed the sins of Israel, and, by his intercession, obtained the pardon, through grace, of the people, yet God, notwithstanding, replaces them under a condition of obedience to the law.

In all that there was no question of Jerusalem, but only of the great principles which were the groundwork of the relationship between God and His people. Later, as in Leviticus 26, we have threats made to the people should they fail in their conduct. It is a long chapter, where blessings are promised in the event of obedience. He engages even to place His tabernacle in their midst, and every earthly blessing was promised them (v. 3-13), “but if ye will not hearken to me,” (v. 14) they are menaced with the heaviest judgments and at last are to be cast out of their land (v. 31-39). This was precisely what befell them, when they were carried captive to Babylon (compare 2 Chron. 36:21, with Lev. 26:34), and the land enjoyed her Sabbaths, during the time of the desolation of Jerusalem. Once every seven years there was to be a year of rest, but the people had not faith in God to observe it; and the consequence of their not believing God in not allowing the sabbatic years was, that God found this means of enforcing obedience to His law. A promise succeeds this threat, “If they shall confess their iniquity … then I will remember my covenant with Jacob,” etc., etc. (v. 40-42), that is, they would be brought back. The same principle is presented in Deuteronomy 28, 29. We have conditional blessings and cursings, and subsequently (chap. 30) promises; that is, grace for those who repent in the land whither they have been carried captive.

It was this special case that Daniel had to do with—the case, namely, foreseen in the threatenings. I would call your attention also to 1 Kings 9, for there God shews, in answer to Solomon, what He would do in case of infidelity, and He identifies His name with the city of Jerusalem, and particularly with the temple; 1 Kings 8:29. In his prayer he does not ask for the accomplishment of the promises made to Abraham, but only of those made to Moses, which place the people under the condition of obedience when in their land (v. 56). It was this prayer which was answered.

We have seen what passed with Moses. And when Solomon dedicates the temple to God, he asks Him to acknowledge it always according to His principles of government as revealed to Moses. Now, the people having sinned, Jeremiah had prophesied that there should be a special chastisement for seventy years, and Daniel takes this up. He does not go back to the promises made to Abraham, but only as far as the words of Solomon and Moses; Dan. 9:11.

Verse 16. “Let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain.” God had, according to Solomon’s prayer, chosen Jerusalem. We will not now enter into the answer which God gives, except to say that He declares all that should happen to Jerusalem; but in taking as His occasion the return to that city of the captives, He goes on much farther, even to the circumstances of that city to the very end. He does it, as it were, under a Mosaic point of view, and not in revealing its final state of blessedness, as being an answer to the prayer respecting the judgments which had befallen the holy city, on account of the violation of the law of Moses; the result of which was, that the city was placed under the judgments which Moses had threatened.

It may be well to point to two or three passages, as to this choice of Jerusalem: for instance, Psalms 78:68; 87 and 132. This last opens with a description of finding and bringing back the ark, and giving it a place. Then Jehovah speaks, “If thy children will keep my covenant… . For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it,” (v. 12-14). Nothing can be more striking than the goodness of God throughout this Psalm. God goes beyond all that is asked of Him. The prayer is, “Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy” (v. 9). But the answer is, “I will also clothe her priests with salvation; and her saints shall shout aloud for joy” (v. 16). Again, the prayer had been, “Arise, O Lord, into thy rest, thou and the ark of thy strength” (v. 8-10). And the reply is, as we have seen, “The Lord hath chosen Zion: this is my rest for ever,” etc. Again the prayer is, “For thy servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of thine anointed” (v. 10): to which God answers, “There will I make the horn of David to bud.” In every case the answer largely surpasses the request. There is yet a passage (Zech. 2:11) which shews the exceeding joy which Christ will feel over Jerusalem in the last days. “And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.”73 These blessings follow upon all the trying and humbling circumstances of which Daniel treats, for it must be remembered that in Zechariah it is “after the glory” (v. 8), that is, beyond the period included in Daniel’s prophecy. Again, in Zechariah 12:2, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about.” It is an elect city, just as Israel is an elect people, or the church an elect bride.

Let it be again observed, that whilst Daniel is personally concerned with the return of Israel from Babylon under the circumstances predicted by Moses, the Spirit of God uses this thought to continue the history of the people, or rather of the city (introducing the chief events of the first coming of Christ), as far, but only as far, as the point where final blessing commences; for the matter of Zechariah and the Psalms, just now touched upon, is not entered into. The essential point, however, is the spirit in which Daniel identifies himself with the people of God, confessing all their sin as his own before God.

Lecture 6
Chapter 9:20-27

These verses relate the answer to the confession and prayer of Daniel. The faithfulness of God is in full action, exactly as promised in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and in the answer to the prayer of Solomon. He had promised that if they were led into captivity, and should, in the midst of their enemies, turn to Him with all their heart (He never said, if they kept the law to the letter, for this would not have been possible to them) He would bring them back.

Verse 21. “Whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” He repeats twice, “whiles I was speaking”; he had not finished before Gabriel appeared and arrested it by the delivery of the prophecy following.

It is not, we may say in passing, always so. On another occasion, Daniel spent three weeks in fasting and prayer, for God was trying his faith. The angel was to accomplish the purpose of God before communicating it; the Lord permitted that the prince of Persia should hinder its accomplishment for three weeks. It was a question of deciding something at the court of Persia, and those there, who were opposed to an edict for favouring the Jews, could put obstacles to its promulgation. When the angel of God had prevailed in these counsels, he came and said so. This is very instructive to us, for God always governs the world. Whilst the throne of God was at Jerusalem, He governed the world immediately (not only Israel but the world, and this according to the good or bad conduct of Israel); whilst after that, although He did not cease to govern everywhere, already (even in this book—Israel being in captivity) He is seen acting by the secret springs of His providence, and not by the immediate action of the revealed rule of His law, as in the midst of His people.74

Although the child of God is able to confide entirely in Him, for “the very hairs of our head are numbered,” it is happy to see the government of God manifested openly in the world. It will be the case in the millennium; the government will be immediate and direct, so that the justice of God will be seen by men, whilst now, all goes on secretly. His ways are often a labyrinth to us now, for our normal position, as being saints, is quite different. God is perfecting us for heaven, and has no object in manifesting in us His righteousness upon earth. The heavenly thing is much better and more precious. He makes us pass through all kinds of earthly trial with this object in view. A Christian is often astonished at what he suffers individually for righteousness’ sake—it is a general case. But for the Jews God will appear, according to His promise, the moment they turn with humility and confession to Him. Thus does He answer Daniel. We have already observed, that faith never forgets that Jerusalem is the city of God’s holiness, and that His eyes are there continually. Even when the Israelites have failed, and when God is obliged to abandon them for the time, to faith it ceases not to be the holy city of God.

Verse 21. “About the time of the evening oblation.” This expression makes us feel the Jewish atmosphere we are in, for of course there was no evening sacrifice at Babylon. Jerusalem was burnt, but faith remained. It was the time of the evening sacrifice—the Jewish scene fills his thoughts.

Verse 22. “And he informed me and talked with me and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Verses 23, 24. “For thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city” —observe how the angel accredits the faith of Daniel, making him the representative both of Jerusalem and the people—” to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies.”

Many Christians find great difficulty in this entire passage, from their not seeing that whilst it has already had an accomplishment (as far as is needed for the establishment of its truth), on the other hand, it has not been fulfilled at all. If we do not see this, it is impossible to understand the events that are still future. All that was necessary on the part of God, in order that the events announced in the verse we have been reading should take place, has been accomplished, and even proposed to the Jewish people; but still nothing has taken place as to the actual accomplishment of them, the train of circumstances having been interrupted, and the church (the heavenly people) having been introduced in the interval, until the time decreed of God, when these events shall be taken up again with the Jewish people, when the due time comes, whether by the apostasy which exists in Christendom or by the ripe state of the Jewish people in a bad sense and in a good one.

Let us consider, for example, the new covenant. It will be established with Israel and Judah; Jer. 31. This is not yet accomplished. The Jews are dispersed towards the four winds of heaven. Now a covenant must be established by the blood of a victim; and so the blood of the new covenant has been shed, and therefore all that is necessary for the bringing in of this covenant with the Jews has been done on the part of God. But actually nothing as to this nation receiving it has taken place; for they rejected the Messiah both personally and under the preaching of the apostles. Meanwhile the counsels of God as to the church have occupied and do occupy the interval, this heavenly people having nothing in common, as to their position, with that which God did and will do for the Jews.

This point being ascertained, beloved friends, the verse becomes comparatively easy; indeed, we may say, that the special difficulty disappears, for we perceive that as to fact God has completed everything. He has sent the Messiah, He has presented Him to the people, the blood of the covenant has been shed, and propitiation made. But if it be asked, whether these blessings have been efficacious with regard to the Jews as a nation, it must be answered, that nothing has been done; and this is our present question. We must not here, then, consider a satisfaction apart from its application, but rather its efficacy as regards the Jewish nation; and thus we shall be led to consider whether the nation is in those circumstances which should precede the time when the application of this blood shall be made to them. “He [Christ] died not for that nation only, but that he should gather together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad,” John 11:51, 52. Now in Daniel we have to consider the application of this blood to the Jewish people, and in the explanation of all the prophecies, we must take this fact into consideration. It is clear that the death of the Messiah is, in a certain sense, a fulfilment of this prophecy, for His death is a propitiation made for sin. But what is here said of it, taking into account the object of the passage, is in nowise accomplished. Having prefaced with these remarks, let us examine what is the result of all this for the people.

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people.” There is no reference here to us Christians; the verse refers to the people of Daniel, and to the holy city of Daniel. The seventy weeks are only applicable to them. There may be, in this portion, many events which will also affect us, the Antichrist for example, for both Jews and Gentiles have had to do with that wicked one and still more have they to do with the cutting off of the Messiah. But the aim of the prophecy is “thy people and thy holy city “(that is, the Jews and Jerusalem). Once put aside this people and city as objects of the thoughts of God here below, and there is no longer applicability in the prophecy; so that we must set aside Christianity for the moment, as not being the object here. And why? Because Christianity has, in its position before God, nothing to do with either Jew or Gentile. London has as much to do with Christianity as Jerusalem. Jerusalem is, to a Christian, no more holy than any other city. There may be deeply interesting associations connected with it; but it is in no sense whatever our “holy city.” “Seventy weeks,” then, “are determined upon thy [Daniel’s] people.”

Now for the details. Verse 25, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” In the first period, the space of seven weeks, Jerusalem was to be rebuilt, and that, in troublous times. This has been accomplished, as we find from Ezra and Nehemiah.

Verse 26. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not75 for himself.” We know that this has likewise been accomplished. As the Head of the Jewish people, He has been on earth, and been rejected. As to His inheritance, as to the holy city, particularly as Messiah, He has had nothing at all. He was cut off; He has had nothing as the Messiah except spittings and death. And as the Son of David, He has had absolutely nothing. He is now at the right hand of the Father, but in His title of King of the Jews, He has not yet been owned. He entered Jerusalem as king, riding upon an ass, and was rejected.

Verse 26. “And the people of the prince that shall come.” This is some new person, not the Messiah; otherwise how could it be said of this person, “he shall come? “According to this prophecy, Messiah had already come, and had been cut off. Besides, it is not the people of Christ who is cut off, that” shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This happened according to the saying of the chief priests and Pharisees; John 11:48. “The Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” Neither is it the prince himself who thus acts. It is the people of the future prince who do this— of the prince that shall come—the chief of the empire (Roman), of the last beast. The fourth monarchy, viz., the Roman, destroyed the city and the sanctuary, as it is the body of which he, as prince, will be the head.

Verse 26. “And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Verse 27. “And he shall confirm the [“a,” margin] covenant.” If it had been said the covenant, one might suppose it of some covenant already existing, whereas there is no such thought in the expression. “He shall confirm covenant”—that is, establish it, not with many, but with “the “many, or the mass. As Christ had but a very small remnant, whilst the mass of the Jews rejected Him, the prince who shall come shall establish a covenant with the mass. A remnant will undoubtedly escape, but the covenant which this prince shall confirm will be with the mass of the people.

“And he shall confirm a covenant with the76 many for one week.” This is the week which still remains, for Christ was cut off, it is said, after the sixty-nine weeks. After this period, we are told of “the people of the prince” (the Romans under Titus), who destroy the city, and then we have the prince himself confirming a covenant for one week, which is the last or seventieth week. We are to leave off counting from the time the Messiah was cut off, viz., at the end of the sixty-nine weeks. After this period, time, so to speak, does not go on: God does not take count of it; it is indefinite. But the seventieth week still remains to be fulfilled. [See footnote page 32.]

“And in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (v. 27). It is evident that at this time the Jews are re-established with their sacrifices and oblations. The “prince that shall come” will establish an alliance with the Jews during one week. But at the expiration of the half, he will completely change his conduct, and will cause their sacrifices to cease. He thinks, as before explained, to change the times (Jewish festal days) and the laws; they are delivered into his hands, and he effaces them. This is the history as far as facts go.77

We, as believers, comprehend that the Lord Jesus made the (Jewish) sacrifice cease to those who believed on Him, just as to them, that is, to faith, John the baptist was Elias, according to those words, “If ye can receive it, this is Elias which was to come.” In like manner to faith, Christ was the Messiah, the Son of man, to His disciples looked at as believing Jews. Nevertheless, He adds, “ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, before the Son of man shall come.”78 But as to the Jewish people itself, the Spirit omits entirely all that we Christians enjoy, because in fact they rejected Jesus.

If interpreters insist that Jesus Himself laboured during the first half of the seventieth week, and that account is taken of it (the half week), for those who believed, but that as to the nation this half week has been lost, on account of their unbelief, and that they will receive the Antichrist, who will present himself in a like manner, I am far from objecting. He certainly did establish divine relationships with the little remnant of His disciples, whether one hundred and twenty, or five hundred, and in consequence, as to their labours, He speaks but of the last half of the seventieth or last week. At the beginning of this last half their labours are interrupted; the other half is lost in the general history of their previous labours. For the Jews the whole week is yet to come, because they have not received Christ at all. All that can be said as concerning them is, that the Messiah has been cut off and has had nothing. For (whatever computation we may incline to, as to the disciples), it is said, there shall be sixty and two weeks (besides the previous seven), unto Messiah the prince, and after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off. The Holy Spirit leaves the matter in the shade, because He counts with reference to the nation, for whom the last week has been null and void, and it is the false prince* (Antichrist), in whom the thread of the narrative is resumed, as if it were at the end of the sixty-ninth week; although, as we know, the church, the heavenly people, have meanwhile been introduced and already occupied a period, considered as to earth, of more than eighteen hundred years. Thus a place is left for faith, whilst as to the history, it is one of unbelief. (Compare Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:19.) Christ the Prince has never yet been Prince, nevertheless He was so to faith in His disciples. A question for the consideration of those who examine this most interesting detail of prophecy, is, whether the Lord presented Himself officially to the Jews as Prince or King, before His entry into Jerusalem, according to Zechariah 9:9. Upon that, we know, He was cut off.

The seventieth week is, then, still to have its accomplishment under Antichrist. The Jews at first, with fair appearances before them, acknowledge him as their chief;79 as Jesus Christ said, John 5:43, “If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” Thus Antichrist offers himself, and the Jews receive him. For the first half of the week80 all goes on well, but then he turns in anger against them, destroys their system, and exalts himself against God.

That which Jesus did on the part of God, Antichrist counterfeits, according to the word just quoted: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come,” etc. Therefore I allow, in a certain sense, that to faith this cessation of sacrifice (alluded to previously, “he shall cause the sacrifice to cease “) has taken place. For the little remnant did own Christ to be there; but for the entire nation there has been as yet no accomplishment of any part of the week.

Scripture is not silent concerning this covenant of the Jews with Antichrist, and their consequent judgment. In Isaiah 28:14, we read, “Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem…” “Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it” (v. 18). These are the threats, as to the moral position in which they shall be found in that day.

It is the last half of the week which occupies the mind of the Spirit of God as to these terrible events at the end. Thus the little horn is to continue “a time, times, and half a time” (viz., three years and a half, or the half of a week). Power is given to him for this time. So in Revelation 13:5,” There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies, and power was-given unto him to continue forty and two months.”

I do not cite here the similar period of the two witnesses, because I believe that their time of prophesying is during the first half week.81 It is a time of testimony in order that the remnant may withdraw themselves from the influence of Antichrist;82 and during that time God preserves those who bear testimony, as well as the sanctuary and the altar, and those who worship there.

I have said that the sacrifice and oblation would be restored. This is noticed in prophecy, although at the same time their re-establishment will be utterly rejected by God. It is written in Isaiah 66, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made” —an intimation of the restoration of the temple, but then— “to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (viz., the remnant).

The sacrifices are offered but rejected: read Isaiah 66:3-6. Again, Daniel n:31, “And [they] shall take away the daily sacrifice,” etc. Again, in Daniel 12, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” This is thirty days over. It will take thirty days more for purification, and yet forty-five more for complete peace; verse 12, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” This latter half week is still referred to, in which, the daily sacrifice being taken away, Antichrist will be there, and the abomination of desolation set up in the holy place. (Compare chap. 8:11.)

In Matthew 24 we find this same circumstance exactly. The Lord, having alluded to wars and rumours of wars, becomes more precise. He had spoken until verse 14 in quite a general way, and, like Daniel, declared that the city and temple should be destroyed, and also the people. But as He goes on to speak of the labours of His disciples, He enters more fully into the general history. “Many shall be offended,” etc.; and He counsels His disciples as to their conduct, as witnesses of the truth, and tells them that before the end came “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness.”

All this was to happen, not at a given time during the seventy weeks, but, generally speaking, before the end, but of course after the discourse and departure (death) of Jesus. Afterwards He says, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand)” (v. 15). Here is the abomination of desolation placed at Jerusalem, the testimony is over, and the disciples have only to flee: “then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.” Jerusalem is then delivered over to the judgment which awaits it.

There is yet another important and interesting circumstance, as to this last half week. We find it in Revelation 12. We shall see that this date of the abomination fits in exactly with the time of Satan being driven out of heaven. The woman flees into the wilderness (v. 6), where she is fed one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Verse 7. “There was war in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon”; read to the end of verse 12, “knowing that he [Satan] hath but a short time.” Now it is exactly during this half week that the abomination of desolation is set up in the holy place. This is given more in detail in chapter 11.

Further, “He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, shall be poured upon the desolate.” That is, by means (or on account) of the abominable wings, or literally, “on account of the wing of abominations.” The word “abomination” is always in the Old Testament simply “an idol.” For example: the abomination of the Moabites was the idol of the Moabites. Solomon put the abomination of the Ammonites upon the mount of Olives, that is, the idol. The word “wing” always gives the idea of “protection.” “Under his wings shalt thou trust,” Psalm 91:4.

“On account of the wing of abominations,” means as it appears to me, on account of the protection of idols. They take refuge in idolatry for a protection; and this is the finishing stroke of their wickedness, and the consequence is, the desolation which descends upon the desolated one, until the end of these seventy weeks—a desolation always increasing, for it is not alone the destruction of the city, but also Antichrist who deceives the people, who makes a covenant with them, and, as it were, holds them in his grip. God is set aside and denied; Antichrist even makes himself God; the sanctuary, if not destroyed, is at least profaned, and degraded in every way. The abomination is put into the holy place, and thus idolatry is introduced. At last Antichrist sits there as God, he allows or confesses nothing at all but himself, until God is no longer able to endure him, or those who are subject to him.

There is no account of this in our present chapter. But there is in Daniel 7; and in the New Testament the Lord thus speaks of the Jewish generation, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places,” etc. (Matt. 12:43). Consult the whole passage. They enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. “Even so shall it be also with this wicked generation.” This is the history of the Jews. I do not say there may not be other applications of the passage. What was this wicked spirit? It was idolatry. After the Babylonish captivity there had been no more idol worship; the unclean spirit had gone out, and the house was empty, though there was every kind of profession. Then the spirit of idolatry which found no rest returns to the house at the end. It will be the case with the Jews, and then there will be an open rebellion against God; they will be joined with Antichrist, who makes war upon their Messiah. And it will be then on account of the protection of these abominations, that “the desolation shall be poured out upon the desolate one.” See Isaiah 54:1; Lam. 1:13 and 3:11. Compare Daniel 10, 11 and 12. In the last chapter we have the complete deliverance, and he adds in this last, thirty days, and forty-five days, to the half week. Then all will be happy and blessed. There will be a certain time necessary after the destruction of Antichrist to re-establish everything in order. The whole of this chapter is in affinity with the end of Daniel 7, and with Revelation 13 and 17. We shall have to consider it again in connection with chapter 11.

Lecture 7
Chapter 10

I shall take a few verses of this chapter to mark the position of Daniel when he received this answer, and the circumstances by which this reply was introduced. We shall find, dear friends, some instructive circumstances at the commencement, in the position of Daniel and in the state of his soul. God also notices this, for the man clothed in linen says to him, “Fear not, Daniel,” etc. (v. 12). The position of Daniel was that of affliction in the presence of his God.

The date of the third year of Cyrus (v. 1-3) is important, because the Jews (the remnant at least) had returned to their land, from the first year of the reign of this prince; so that it could not be the captivity of Babylon which occupied Daniel’s heart at the moment. He had remained at Babylon after the departure of a great number of these Jews for the land of Canaan; but the people were not at all in the state which the prophetical Spirit in Daniel could recognise as the fulfilment of blessings; and the consequence of this is, that the prophetical Spirit of Christ in Daniel is still occupied with the state of this people, and can in nowise content itself, even although there was a certain degree of blessing with them. Cyrus had done much, as we may learn from 2 Chronicles 36:22 and Ezra 1. The decree to rebuild had already been given in the first year of his reign. But the Spirit of God had caused Daniel to range over the whole period of the Gentiles, and he well understood, though there had been a kind of deliverance— some relief through the goodness of God, a little refreshment from above—that nothing was really accomplished of the divine promises. It was impossible that the prophetic Spirit of Christ in Daniel’s person should remain tranquil while awaiting the accomplishment of the intentions of God’s love to His people; so that Daniel was then, as if the captivity were not over, bowing down his soul before God.

There had been, on the occasion of rebuilding the temple, features of sorrow in another quarter; Ezra 3. The elders of the people, who had seen the old temple, wept; and at the same time, the younger, who had not known it, uttered cries of joy. And this sorrow is often felt in like circumstances by those who have apprehended the divine counsels, either as to what God had set up at the beginning, or what He will yet set up. Like Daniel, they weep in the midst of the blessings, in which consists the joy of those who only think of the present moment. The cries of joy prevailed without, for it is said, these cries were heard afar off; but amongst the people present they knew not which to distinguish. But at Jerusalem, as well as at Babylon, he who had a sense, however imperfect, of what the state of the people of God ought to be, would not fail to recognise their wretched condition in the midst of these joyful exclamations. “Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land… behold, we are servants in it: and it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us,” Neh. 9:36, 37. And yet these Persian kings to whom Nehemiah alludes were altogether favourable. It is true there was cause of anguish; at one time the counsels of God prevailed, and at another those of Satan in hindering the rebuilding; but, generally speaking, the kings of Persia were favourable to the Jews. But so long as the Gentiles were holding dominion over the people of God, it was impossible that the Spirit of God in the prophet could allow that the designs of God regarding His people had been accomplished. He could bless Him for all the good that existed, but even when the decree had gone forth, the elders wept. Nehemiah said, “We are servants,” etc.; and Daniel continued to afflict his soul before God.

We often find in Scripture some apparently little circumstance which is an index to us of the thoughts of the Spirit of God. Thus the date of the third year of Cyrus opens a field of interesting thought, for the position in which Daniel was found enabled God, so to speak, to continue to reveal to him His intentions about the people. Evidently God had separated Daniel from the things which were doing for the momentary resettling of the people, that He might lead his heart still onward to the “end of the indignation” which really still subsisted.

There is also another subject of intruction here, which I would not omit. I allude to the actings of God by means of angels, and how there were demons who sought to hinder the ministry of the providence of God, as to His people. “Fear not,” says the angel to Daniel, “for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words” (v. 12). Nevertheless, the answer of God by the angel did not arrive until three weeks after. Then the angel relates to Daniel how this happened, and the difficulties he had to encounter at the court of Persia, by the opposition of the prince of the kingdom against the Jews, and that Michael, one of the chief princes, had come to help him. Daniel had known nothing of all this. God, in this way, exercises the obedience of His angels, and at the same time puts the faith of His servants to the test. Thus, then, is Daniel pre-occupied with his people, and with the glory of God in their midst; he cannot content himself with anything short of the accomplishment of the promises, and therefore he humbles and identifies himself with the misery and affliction of the people, according to the Spirit of Him who said, “In all their affliction He was afflicted.” Then God, who has given His servant grace thus to behave, acts from on high to reveal all His purpose to him, putting at the same time his patience to the proof, whilst the angel is combating at the court of Persia. I have no doubt it is the same for us; God also puts our faith to the trial. It is not that He does not hear and answer (He knows perfectly beforehand what the end will be); but He wishes to see if faith goes to the end of the difficulty, and then He answers. Faith, which is much more precious than gold which perishes, is thus put through its trial, and “found unto praise … at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” In another view we see the exercise of the angels in the government of God.

Verse 14. “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days.” Here is the answer to the affliction of Daniel, but an answer not yet to be accomplished. There are two ways of judging of the thoughts of God as to His people. The first is to consider the condition in which God had placed them in the beginning—how He had formed and fashioned them of old: the second is to consider (in what state the church will be found, or, to express it in reference to the case of Daniel), in what condition the people of God will be found at the end, when God shall have accomplished His counsels concerning them.

Thus, when Daniel considered the actual condition of his people, they might be found to possess many blessings from God and chastisements also; but the thoughts of the prophet, or spiritual man, would be either toward the state in which God had placed them in the beginning or toward that in which they will be found at the end. The same may be said of man in the abstract. If I think of my actual condition, I may either revert back to Adam without sin, or I may look forward to the resurrection state, in which I shall be hereafter, and realise in spirit either the one or the other; and compare my present state with the state of Adam in innocence, or of Christ in glory. So with the church and the Jew. If I consider the latter, when first established in his privileges, or at the end in the glory of the Messiah, both the one and the other evidences the state of imperfection which existed at the time of their return from the Babylonish captivity. Again, if I consider the church at the beginning, I see the effect of the power of the Spirit of God; but I can also, by examining the promises of God, view the church when she will be in glory with Christ; and in either case her present weakness is apparent. Daniel did these two things. In his confession, in chapter 9, he had considered much more the past condition of the people, whilst here it is much more their future, such as will ensue at the conclusion of the trials of chapter 12.

The introduction of Michael, the great prince, who stands for the people of God, necessarily leads us on to the occurrences at the end according to the counsels of which he assures the accomplishment. The actual circumstances they were in give the leading idea. He begins from that time, and goes on until the time when the counsels of God should be brought to pass. We only need touch upon the historical part. The Persian and Grecian empires form the framework of the historical narrative; but the object of the prophecy, as may be seen, verse 14, is what was to take place in the latter days.

Verse 20. “Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.” These two empires are viewed in relation to the people of God. They were, as we know, the second and third monarchies. The first part of the history of the third or Grecian is given us in chapter 11:1-4 (these verses giving the connecting link of this monarchy with that of Persia).

After its (the Grecian’s) establishment under the first powerful king, it was divided into four parts. We have already had some notices of it. The two principal kings were those of the north and south—principal, not alone in regard to their power, but because either the one or the other had always possession of the land of Canaan. This is why they are introduced here; the history of the holy land and of the people of God, after the establishment of the Greek or third monarchy, occupies the mind of the Spirit. Every one is agreed that as to these kings, it is a history of the Ptolemies and Seleucidae, and the history is so exact, that unbelievers have sometimes said that Daniel was written after the events.

At verse 20 we come to the history of the last of these kings. I do not say that what is here related of him will be accomplished at the end; but at all events he is the type of that which will take place at the end. It is not my object to enter into all the details of the historical part; he makes an expedition against the king of the south, then a second; chap. 11:29. I pass by the details also of these two kings. “At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former [expedition] or as the latter.” “For the ships of Chittim shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved and shall return” (v. 30).

Here the power of the west (Chittim) is introduced into this history of the two monarchies. The people of God were situated between the kings of the north and south, exactly as lately the Holy Land became an object of contest between Mahomet Ali and the Sultan.

Now, on the occasion of the last expedition here noticed (chap, n), these ships of Chittim arrive on the scene. A power from the west mixes itself up with these two eastern powers (viz., the king of the north and the king of the south)—some power from the other coast of the Mediterranean, whether Italy or Greece. But further, we also find apostates from the holy covenant. Thus there are, first, Jews, allowed to be the objects of the covenant of God, and those who are apostates to it; secondly, those from the west, north of the Mediterranean, who enter into the previous quarrel; and by these new elements the scene is completely changed. Then in verse 31 we have the last of these kings, viz., of the kings of the north, brought before us. “And arms shall stand on his part,” or more literally “forces [arms] shall rise from [out of] him.” The expression “shall rise from him,” or “shall come from him,” may be used in two senses: a king’s lieutenant, one who takes his place as commandant; or one who succeeds him in the government. “Arms shall rise from him, and they [the arms] shall pollute the sanctuary of strength [or, which is the fortress], and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and shall place the abomination which maketh desolate.”

This verse is of the highest importance, as giving us the date of the last indignation. The Lord Jesus has drawn our particular attention to this date in Matthew 24 and at chapter 12:11 of this prophecy, the calculation which serves to mark the time of blessing sets out from this event. “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days,” etc., etc.

But to return to chapter 11:31, as to the “forces which shall rise,” it will be some one who will come on the part of the king of the north (I do not say who will be the king of the north). Some one will come on the part of him who will be the king of the north in these times, who will introduce his forces—his arms—into the holy place, who will defile the sanctuary, and who will place “the abomination that maketh desolate.”

As to history, this is evidently what did take place. It was the generals of Antiochus Epiphanes who defiled the sanctuary. This was by no means the accomplishment: otherwise the Lord would not have spoken of the event as future. A long time after the reign of this king, the Lord Jesus came into the world and spoke of this prophecy as yet to be. But we have another proof of the time when these things will take place—a proof which is connected with the Lord’s word in Matthew 24. In Daniel 12:1 we read, “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” etc.; and the Lord Himself speaks exactly thus concerning the same time: and then the people of God are to be delivered—an event which had not taken place in the time of Jesus, nor has it yet.

It is clear we must put aside any Christian circumstances, because it is plainly stated that the trouble shall happen to the people of Daniel in the last days. Now we are not the people of Daniel, and these last days have not yet occurred to them. The verse speaks of arms—forces—which come from this king, and which defile the sanctuary, take away the daily sacrifice, and place the abomination which causes desolation.

It would appear,83 if we consider the forces as sent by him, that the king of the north of those times would be in possession of the promised land: at least, that certain attempts upon it, on his part, had succeeded. But after this paranthetic verse (viz. 31) the prophet proceeds with the general history. Verses 32, 33, “And such as do wickedly against covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries.”

We are able now in some sort to understand the state of the people of God before the end. This wicked one (I do not say who it is) will be, at that time, in the land of Canaan, and in the possession of the territory of the king of the north, and “will corrupt those who do wickedly against [or as to] the covenant,” viz., those Jews who are not true to Jewish hopes. He will incite them to apostasy—for this is the force of the word rendered by ‘he will corrupt’; “but the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.” Here we have a division of Jews into true and false, and the development of good and evil. But we must note that they that understand among the people and instruct many (v. 33) are the same as those spoken of in chapter 12:3, 10, and also in chapter 11:35. They are the Maskilim, or persons instructed in the mind of God, and are a class of persons apart. Thus there will be a remnant of Jews, not only those who are spared in general, but persons instructed in the mind of God; and we find the same specially distinguished in Isaiah 65 and 66, besides those who will escape the judgment executed against the wicked ones. These understanding ones among the people (v. 33) shall teach the multitude (the masses); or will give instruction to them. I translate the Hebrew word by ‘the multitude’ because the word ‘many’ of the text has the article in Hebrew, as if one said ‘the many’; and the article, in my judgment, throughout these chapters is special.84

“Yet they shall fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by spoil, many days.” Such is the condition of the people, unless you choose to apply this passage to the Maskilim. My own opinion is, that it applies to the people, because of verse 35:85 “Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” The trial of faith will be through them, for as faithful Jews one should have supposed that such as these might surely count on the help of God; for they have been encouraging others to “trust in the Lord.” Nevertheless, some of these are to fall, and then, unless faith is very strong, the others will say “Where is their God?” as in Psalms 42 and 43, which express, in the language of the Spirit of Christ, the anguish of the remnant, of whom their enemies say, “Where is their God?” And when these understanding ones fall who had hope in Him, the unbelievers will say, there is no intervention of God in their behalf: but these judgments being appointed, the people are left (speaking generally) throughout the period to go through them, and to undergo the consequence of their position.

Now Christ, in Matthew 24, speaks of these times in general —of the things (taking, as an occasion, His announcement of the destruction of the temple) which were to take place after His death. He takes these times, and speaks of the same circumstances, and so He gives the same starting point, where one is given, viz., the moment when the times and the laws are delivered into the hand of the little horn—of the king who, during twelve hundred and sixty days, does “his own will”; the moment, namely, when the abomination of desolation is set up in the holy place, which event marks the final desolation of Jerusalem.

After this general history of the state of the Jews, the idolatrous and wicked king is introduced in verse 36: “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god,” etc. Verse 37: “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women “(that is, the Messiah who had been promised), “nor regard any God: for he shall magnify himself above all.” This is tKe wicked one. Verse 38: “But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces “; viz., in the place of the true God he shall honour Mahuzzim for God—some idolatry; for Mahuzzim signifies fortresses or high places fortified. There is probably some connection between this and the forces of war upon which the king reckoned. “And a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold,” etc. It is to some invention of a god that he does this. Verse 39: “Thus shall he do in the most strong holds [Mahuzzim] with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many [the many,] and shall divide the land for gain.”

A difficulty here presents itself: “he shall cause them to rule over the many.” Who are they whom he shall cause to rule? It appears that he will establish certain powers in connection with these false gods, and he will be there with these Mahuzzim in these fortresses, and then it will be the instruments of his power, who will join themselves to him. He will make them (the instruments) rule over the mass of Jews, and he will divide their land into lots as a recompense. This seems to be so far the history of this king.

It is remarkable how he is introduced quite suddenly. We must ever remember that when the prophet is occupied with the purposes of God towards His people at “the end of the indignation,” it is in connection with the kings of the north and south, and with the land of Palestine, His own land, which lies between them; and that in the latter day, when the people will be under the divine judgments in that very land, there will be a small faithful remnant, who hold fast by the holy covenant, when the great mass are ready to apostatise. This is the subject which the Spirit brings forward, and inasmuch as the wicked one, this king, will be found in these countries,86 he is introduced as mixed up with these kings of the north and south.

In the New Testament, the sources of wickedness are quite different; for the Spirit of God there considers the moral condition of Christendom, where this apostasy arises, and in consequence, the wicked one is portrayed as a public apostate; but evidently it is the same person.

In chapter 787 we saw him in yet another point of view, viz., head of the last monarchy—the little horn of the fourth beast, whilst here he is seen as a king who has to do geographically with the eastern countries, and is among the Jewish people. I shall quote two other passages, where this idea of the king is found. Observe, he is not called the king of the north, though occupying geographically his territory; he is called “the king,” because in the eyes of the prophet he holds that position. He it is who exalts himself, and pretends to be the king and the pastor of the people of God—a pretender, and a bad one, to these two offices; but as such he will present himself, and he is so called in Isaiah 30:33: “Yea, for the king it is prepared.” Consult also Isaiah 57:9: “Thou wentest to the king with ointment.” This passage speaks of the condition of the Jews, and of the accusations of God against them. Both these portions touch upon the history of the Antichrist after he has become king.

There is one more observation needed, that we may be able to link this remarkable parenthesis (in which “the king” is introduced on account of his connection with the kings of the north and south) with the rest of the chapter: it is, that from verse 21 to the end of verse 35 the prophet is always speaking of the same person, whilst from verse 36 to the end of verse 39 we have the history of this extraordinary king himself. These last verses designate the Antichrist properly, and my opinion is, that from verse 21 to the end of verse 31, it is rather the king of the north, but who is also the type of Antichrist. I mention this, because many persons who have studied the chapter find great difficulty in deciding whether the history of the Antichrist begins at verse 21 or at verse 36. It is the same person from verse 21 to verse 35; and he was a type of Antichrist, even Antiochus Epiphanes.

The Spirit of God makes no mention of those who followed him; it was he who furnished the typical circumstances, and which necessarily therefore partially answered to the prophecy. But in verse 36 the Spirit speaks of the Antichrist himself, “the king shall do according to his will.” Before this, I judge, they are typical circumstances which apply to Antichrist.

I hope we understand, that although we are a part of the fourth monarchy (materially, not spiritually), these prophecies relate immediately and simply to the Jewish people—the people of Daniel in the latter days. The Antichrist is the link, between this history and ours; for it is the spirit of apostasy described in 2 Thessalonians, which is the effective source of the conduct of this last king, here presented to us in his connection with the Jews in the east; but who, morally speaking, is allied with those who have abandoned Christianity, or the light now existing. Elsewhere he is found allied to the Jews at the beginning of his connection with them; afterwards he will deny them and set up himself as God.

May God preserve us from all trace or appearance of that spirit which will shew itself in these days in opposition, whether against the Almighty and Most High God, or against the Lord Jesus, the Prince of princes. May He keep us in humility of heart, giving our affections to the Lord Jesus! So shall we be safe. If we are content to be nothing and Jesus everything, we shall be guarded by Him, for Him, and for ever.

Lecture 8
Chapters 11:36 J 12:1, 2

We have already said something in general upon this king; we have spoken of him in connection with what went before; but independent of circumstances, as a personage, he is of importance sufficient that we should notice him more fully. It is generally admitted, that it is the same as is called Antichrist, the wicked one, but under a special character, as I mentioned towards the close of the last lecture (that is, in connection with the Jews, and in the land, which is an object of dispute between the king of the north, and the king of the south). And in fact, this wicked one will unite in his own person every feature of iniquity. He will be a blasphemer against the true God—a persecutor of the saints—the head of the apostasy; and he will encourage idolatry. In fine, it is “the king who shall do according to his will.”

It is impossible to mistake the character of the person mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2, “shewing himself that he is God.” And it would be well if we referred to a few passages, which mention the different characters attributed to him, beginning with this chapter of Daniel. The first trait is, that he is in Palestine, in the land of the heirs of the holy covenant, and exalts himself, and magnifies himself above every god, whether false or true. In spite of this he is to prosper “till the indignation be accomplished “: God permits it, because it is the time of His indignation against the Jews; chap. 8:19. This indignation is the period spoken of in Isaiah 10:5, 24,25: “For yet a very little while and the indignation shall cease.” There is an indignation with a certain limit. It is not said that the time of this king is the period of the indignation, but it is a time during which God does not interfere to deliver Israel. He allows the trial to go on, and Israel to suffer the effects of it; and so Antichrist prospers until the indignation is accomplished. It is not said that when the indignation is over, Israel will be re-established in the enjoyment of their promises; but Christ can then act for Israel instead of leaving them under the indignation. He will yet have to subject the nations to the exercise of His royal power, in the midst of His earthly people.

Verse 37. “Neither shall he regard the god of his fathers … for he shall magnify himself above all.” This is a strong feature of the pride of man; “he magnifies himself above all.” He would efface every idea of the true God; he is indifferent whether about the real religion of the heart, or the religion of his fathers; he dislikes even the name of Christ (called here “the desire of women”); he is even against religious customs, and religious nationality; he has no respect for any god. But, arrived at this point, it is necessary to keep the people in restraint, and he needs instruments for this, as well as his gods, mahuzzim (fortresses)—some species of idolatry, which he introduces when he has denied every god. This idolatry will be connected with the interests of those who govern. He will cause them to rule over many (the many, the mass), viz., the people of Israel, and the country will be divided among his chiefs. So far the royal and Judaic history of this king.

We proceed with passages which represent him under other points of view. In chapter 7 he is seen as a little horn, not as king in Palestine, but as a particular horn of the fourth beast, and in the same chapter88 we also have the period determined for the end of the persection of the saints, “until the Ancient of days came” (v. 22), as distinct from the time when He sat upon the throne (v. 9). Thus Christ comes, and “the judgment is given to the saints of the most high,” or “of the high places,” and “the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” These passages determine the general end of the war which the little horn wages against the saints. In the last it is not said “the saints of the high places.” In fact three things are marked: viz., the coming of the Ancient of days; the judgment given to the saints of the high places; and the time when the saints shall take the kingdom.

We turn now to certain portions in the New Testament, which speak of this period and of the little horn under still other aspects, just as we may behold Christ under different aspects. In the epistle to the Thessalonians he is described as a chief, the result of the apostasy which shall invade Christendom; “Now we beseech you, brethren, that ye be not soon shaken… except there come a falling away first,” 2 Thess. 2:1-3.

The first thing is the apostasy, not of the Jews (this we have seen in Daniel), but of Christendom, and it will necessarily happen before the execution of the judgment—before the day of Christ; as must also the appearance of the “man of sin,” who is clearly not the apostasy itself, but, I judge, follows and winds it up. The apostle marks the two events before the judgment: viz., the coming in of the apostasy, and the revelation of the man of sin—the son of perdition (an expression which signifies that he possesses this name, by his nature, his character, and his acts) “who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God, or is worshipped.” Read to verse 10.

This is his character in connection with Christendom, and Christendom in connection with him. First of all, there was a mystery of iniquity, which was commencing in the time of the apostles, which was to continue for a certain time, afterwards an apostasy would follow, and then the revelation of the wicked one.89 The Lord will destroy him “with the brightness of his coming” (the manifestation of His presence). But there is something else. The New Testament gives us the moral features of the appearance of this wicked one, viz., that it is according to the power of Satan j and what makes these verses remarkable is, that the same words which are used to describe the manifestations of this power of Satan are employed in speaking of the proof of the mission of Jesus Christ as Messiah; Acts 2:22.

There are two remarkable circumstances; viz., that the coming of Antichrist is spoken of just as the coming of Christ, one, a mystery of iniquity; the other, a mystery of godliness. As the Son of man is to come, so also will the Antichrist come; and his coming will be after the power of Satan; he will perform lying miracles. It will not be merely a set of principles at work; the effect will be mighty in seducing those who perish. A positive power of error comes in, because men “received not the love of the truth.” “God shall send them strong delusion …” for they “had pleasure in unrighteousness.” It is a judicial blinding.

It is said also in Isaiah, “Make the heart of this people fat.” After a period of longsuffering on the part of God, blindness happened to the Jews, when they rejected the Messiah: and when patience has had its perfect work, they will yet be delivered over to a spirit of idolatry—that spirit which shall, meanwhile, have sought out seven spirits more wicked than himself, and the last state of that people shall be worse than the first. And so when those who call themselves Christians have obstinately refused to receive the truth, although it has been proposed to them, a positive and special blindness shall come upon them from God, “that they all might be damned who believed not the truth.”90

We continue our history of this king from Revelation 12. There the dragon is seen (who is the devil or Satan, and seduces the whole world) cast out of heaven, v. io, 12. This malicious power no longer occupies the heaveniy places,91 but when this occurs, it will be a time of fearful woe to the earth. It is the beginning of his “great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

After this we have a vision of the woman, who “is nourished for a time, times, and half a time.” In other words, as soon as Satan is cast out of heaven, a period of three and a half years will elapse before he is judged on earth. Accordingly, in chapter 13 we find that the dragon gives the beast his power, throne, and great authority—this beast, of whom we read in the same chapter that “power was given him to continue forty and two months.” He is found with the same characteristics as those before mentioned, only under more detailed historical circumstances. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies,” v. 5. “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” Satan could no longer himself meddle with heaven, and therefore he sets on the beast against those who dwell there. Also “it was given unto him to make war with the saints (on the earth), and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations” (v. 6, 7).

There is a fact here worth observing—it is a kind of imitation of the ways of God. As the Father has given all power to the risen Son, and the Holy Spirit exercises all the power of Christ before Him; so Satan imitates the same thing in evil. The dragon will give his throne to the beast; and remark what is said of the character under which he will be worshipped, “And I saw one of his heads, as it were, wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed.” It is when this wound is healed, when there shall be a kind of resurrection (not personal, but the power of the beast raised up again), that all the world will wonder after the beast, and the second beast will exercise all the power of the first beast before him.

Revelation 13:11. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth” … which “causeth the earth and them which dwell therein, to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.” We have here a power which pretends to be that of Christ (I do not say the heavenly power), but which pretends to be like Christ on the earth; but, in fact, an ear which could hear would discover it to be that of the dragon himself. As Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Only in the throne will I be greater than thou,” so this second beast will exercise all the power of the first beast before him—this second beast, which speaks like a dragon, whilst it has horns like a lamb. Verses 13,14: “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven … and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth.” These verses speak of what is done before (in the presence of) and in sustaining this power of the first beast; the second beast causes him to be worshipped, and an image to be made to him, and he seduces them that dwell on the earth.

This second beast is again mentioned in Revelation 19, under the designation of the false prophet. Here again, as the Spirit of the Father, speaking in the disciples, acted for the glory of Christ; so this beast, here called “the false prophet,” speaks the language of the dragon, and supports the glory of the last beast. It will be a spirit zealous for idolatry, and who will even execute judgment on the earth, as the prophets ere now have done.

In the Revelation we find the connection of the beast with Babylon, which is yet another thing. In chapter 17:1, 3, it is said, “I will shew thee the judgment of the great whore.” “And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast … having seven heads and ten horns.” “The beast which thou sawest was, and is not … yet is” (v. 8). This is a kind of death and resurrection. When it appears for the last time, it has a devilish character, it comes out of the pit, and then is destroyed. “And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder … when they behold the beast that was and is not, and yet is” (or rather, “and shall be there”). It is a coming92 of this beast. When the world beholds this appearance of the beast, it is astonished. There is another circumstance, “And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth [king] and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast” (v. 11, 12). It is an event which has not yet occurred.

We perceive that these kings will exist at the same time with the beast. Three of them will fall (see Dan. 7), but the seven others will continue. The beast rules and unites in a single body the power of these kings, but the kings exist; it will be a kind of confederation, in which each horn acts royally in his own sphere, but gives his power to the beast, who blasphemes against God. “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled,” Rev. 17:17.

Another feature in his character is, “that the ten horns … shall hate the whore” (v. 16), who for a long while ruled the beast. We remember in Daniel 7 that among the ten horns another arose, who got all the power of the beast, who in fact morally becomes the beast, and causes three of the horns to fall before him. This one in the eyes of Daniel, and in fact in his conduct, will be the beast. This horn will control and give its tone to everything. Having touched upon the passages which refer to this same personage, we must still remember that it is in Palestine, and viewed personally, that we have to do with him here.

But to continue with Daniel 11. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him … he shall enter also into the glorious land” (v. 40, 41). This is the moment when God begins to act. Both the kings of the north and south, in their same geographical position, are at war with this king. “And the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind.” This king of the north seems to be a very prominent power, which possesses the territory of the ancient kings of Syria. My judgment is, that the rest of the chapter applies to him, although formerly I thought it applied to the king. Daniel now continues the thread of this history (which had been interrupted by the notices concerning the king); that is, he resumes that of the Jews in connection with the kings of the north and south. And there is a fact which confirms me in the opinion of this invasion (v. 41) being that of the king of the north; namely, “he shall enter into the glorious land.” Now if it is a question of “the king,” he is already there.

Verse 41. “And many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” This is a circumstance not to be omitted, because it demonstrates the exactitude of the written word. For in Isaiah 11:14 you will find that these three powers which escape the king of the north, are in existence still later: “Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim, but they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines towards the west … they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them.” Verse 42. “He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape” —an announcement that the king of the south loses his kingdom. See Isaiah 11:15.

Verses 43, 44. “But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt… But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him, therefore he shall go forth with great fury … yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him.” This is the end of the king of the north.

I add a general idea of chapter 12 to shew the connection. Verse 1. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.” Here is special reference to the Jews, in whom Daniel was so much interested, and on whose account he had fasted and mourned for three full weeks. After having described the events pertaining to the kings of the north and south, the angel says, notwithstanding all these desolating scenes, Michael shall stand up for the children of thy people. Nevertheless, “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” This is exactly what is announced in Matthew 24 as to take place in Judea. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet” etc. (v. 15-21). It is clear that this cannot happen twice. It is the time of Israel’s deliverance “and at that time, thy people shall be delivered”: only it is confined to “every one that is found written in the book.”

One could not fail to remark, while reading the chapters of which I have given the abridgment in the two preceding lectures, the character of this terrible personage of the last days. The king of the north is fearful enough as a conqueror and pillaging invader; but this king is spoken of as making war against God. It is not merely a desire of conquest, but of open opposition to God and the Lamb. It is the effectual power of Satan and of a lie; it is blasphemy; it is persecution. One feels it to be everything the most terrible in human hatred, animated by the power of Satan fallen from heaven, and who establishes his throne upon earth against the God of heaven and the Lamb. The appearing of this wicked one is the most important point in these chapters, whether as the expression of the iniquity of the Jews and Christendom, or as that of the pride of man.

Lecture 9
Chapter 12:2-13

In reading this chapter, one is struck with the particular character of the book, and more especially with the care which God evinces to comfort, or rather to shew the most entire sympathy with, the remnant in the afflicting circumstances in which they are found. It is certain that Daniel still remained in captivity at Babylon (which, indeed, it appears he never left) when the remnant had returned to Jerusalem. So that typically he far more represents the state of the people in captivity under the Gentiles, than the prophet of the people when God was acknowledging them.93

It is quite true that the remnant will escape at last, but this Daniel saw afar off. He represents specially the suffering remnant, and the sympathies of God with them. We find in other prophets, as Isaiah and Zechariah, magnificent promises for this remnant, to whom the Lord will reveal Himself, when Christ has appeared. He shall make “the house of Judah as his goodly horse in the battle,” and “he that is feeble among them shall be as David,” Zech. 10:3; chap. 12:8. There we see the power of God in manifestation among the people at Jerusalem; but it is not so in Daniel. The last thing we see here relative to Jerusalem is that the king of the north “plants his tabernacles in the glorious holy mountain.” There is no detail in this book of the subsequent full and remarkable deliverance; but it is rather occupied with the Jewish remnant in the land, beaten by the tempest of the Gentile monarchies. On the other hand, there is still the sympathy of God with them, but He is not with His people after an evident manner (for they are still in captivity); and it is rather an intervention of Providence in a hidden way which delivers and secures in the midst of trials and difficulties. Compare Psalm 44:10,11, where this state of things is described.

Daniel 12:1. “And at that time shall Michael stand up,” etc. He appears to be the prince of the angels, or the archangel. It is a custom to speak of archangels, but the word of God mentions only one, the chief of the angels. I am silent as to who it is, because the Scripture is; but however this may be, the intervention is a providential angelic one. Michael is there in relationship with the people of Israel. By this passage we learn who it is that will stand for the children of Daniel’s people, as well as the excellency of this angelic power which God in His providence employs— “who standeth for the children of thy people.” It is a time of trouble, as we have seen, and herein consists the difference of God’s acting, as I have just considered it. There is now a providence of God which is a concealed government; but hereafter there will be a manifest and public rule by Christ, when everything will appear—a government direct from God. There is now a government of arrangement, by which all things are made to “work together for good to them that love God,” and for the accomplishment of His purposes; but this action is usually a concealed one. In Esther we have a remarkable instance. The name of God is not found in the book; the Spirit has wished to shew that, whilst the Jews were in captivity, God had His eyes upon them, but that He acted in a hidden manner and would not name Himself in their midst.

In the time of Michael it will be a time of distress. This is the second thought in the chapter, and it is the same in Jeremiah 30:7. There could be but one such time—none is to be like it: “For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? “Joel 2:11. Nevertheless it is the day of deliverance for Israel: “Strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king [Christ] … but I will not leave thee altogether unpunished,” Jer. 30:8, 9, 11. These promises have evidently never yet had their fulfilment, for it will be a final deliverance.

The same time is alluded to in Matthew 24:21. “For there shall be great tribulation … and except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved,” etc. This is the terrible distress which is to come upon Israel at the last. Consult also Mark 13:19 for the same account. It all occurs at Jerusalem, where the abomination of desolation will be set up, or in its vicinity. In Luke 21:22, 24, there is a certain difference, as we shall see presently.

Daniel 12:1. “At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” These are the elect. The days are shortened on their account, otherwise no flesh would be saved. Jerusalem would have been as Sodom or as Gomorrah, except the Lord had left a very small remnant; Isaiah 1; Rom. 9. Verse 2. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” The angel, as it appears to me, speaks in this place of the deliverance of the people brought back from among the Gentiles. “Many of them,” etc.; it is only a question of the people of Daniel.94 No doubt judgments will fall upon the Gentiles, but in speaking of those with whom God is more immediately occupied as the object of His thoughts, the people of Daniel only are intended. I recall to your minds Daniel 10:14, “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days.” The fulfilment of this declaration is taken up in chapters 10, 11, 12. “Many of them which sleep” (namely, a multitude of Jews in general, but not all) will appear on the scene; as for some, it will be “to everlasting life,” and as to others, “to shame and everlasting contempt.”

The expression “dust of the earth “is common in the writings of the prophets, when a person is in captivity and overwhelmed, as in Isaiah 26:14. In pronouncing judgment upon the nations, the prophet says, “They are dead [those who despised the Jews, “other lords besides thee have had dominion over us “], they are deceased … therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them and made all their memory to perish.” But in verse 19, speaking of the Jews, “thy dead men shall live; [together with] my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead.” Here is the resurrection of the Jews. “Come, my people, enter into thy chambers … hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” This same indignation of which we have been speaking in verse 21. “For behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth.”

God had been, so to speak, concealed; He had allowed the evil to go on: but, dear friends, what a thought! Think of God coming out of His place! When we consider our inability to make head against wickedness—how Christians tremble at the sight of the increase of evil, hardly knowing what to do; while they see, on the one hand, the proud self-will of man, and on the other, this unexpected and inexplicable tendency to superstition—the powers of darkness under this form having invaded even countries which were delivered from it, and who are trembling at it; I say, then, it is precious in face of all this to know that God will come out of His place. True, it will be in anger for the moment—in anger against the wickedness, and to put it away; but also that good may be before His face, and before our eyes who are fatigued with what we behold. On this account we can bear the idea of judgment, and even cry “How long!” And O how happy to think of an indignation which will change active evil into rest, blessing, peace, liberty, and freedom from the yoke of sin, as soon as the Lord Jesus shall have executed His judgment! We are not now speaking of the church (although this is the most precious part) but of the poor world labouring under the yoke of Satan. For even when good has been effected, evil gains ground on all sides.

The apostle could well say “The whole creation groaneth,” etc. We understand—we who know the secret of the goodness of God—that it groans. “Ourselves also which have the first-fruits of the Spirit” must “groan within ourselves,” unless we should withdraw ourselves from the love of God, and from the groanings of the Spirit within us. And the more we observe the progress of evil, the more we shall feel the need of this indignation of God that His power may be felt in executing judgment in this world. And if faith is strong in our hearts, it will engage us in helping out, by the activity of love, all those we can, from this necessary judgment, whether this fearful act is likely to fall on them owing to the natural energy of sin in their hearts, or from the superstitions and errors to which they are attached by education; for it will fall upon whatever seduces the heart, as it is said, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins,” etc. (Rev. 18). We see then that it is judgment which will take away the power of evil, and for this it is that the appeal is made to the saints, etc., in the Apocalypse, to rejoice in the destruction of Babylon. It will be a terrible judgment; but until it happens, a poison or venom corrupts everything, even when one’s own self is withdrawn from it.

I have been led into this digression, on the subject of the judgment of God, on account of the ending of Isaiah 26, which I quoted, and to explain the application of the resurrection to the Jewish people. I will mention another passage in Ezekiel 37—that of the dry bones—which will help you to understand this point. It is often quoted as having reference to souls; and morally, no doubt, the same effect happens to those who are quickened of God; but the only subject of the chapter is the nation of Israel, and not at all souls. “Son of man (v. 11), these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say [in captivity], Our bones are dried.” This is not what dead souls say; “therefore (v. 12) prophesy … thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.” The Israelites, when they return, are treated as if they had been buried among the nations. “Then shall ye know that I am the Lord.” It would be sad to remain there in the land, if it were a literal resurrection; for the hope of those who are literally raised is far higher.

The prophet continues with the history of the two sticks, Judah and Israel, which are to become one, when “one king shall be king to them all,” Ezek. 37:22. Nothing can be clearer than that the subject of the chapter is the deliverance and blessing of Israel by Jesus Christ. Daniel 12 also treats of Israel coming out of the graves—buried among the Gentiles; but it omits the final result under Christ. Many, it says, shall awake (not all), and of these some shall be for everlasting contempt, as some will be for eternal life. This part is added, as I said before, because the main concern of the prophecy was with the holy land and the Jews residing there. Other Jews will be manifested in the actual times before the final deliverance of Israel; and the Spirit of God, consequently, speaks of those latter in this passage.

The contents of these first verses apply in their results to the Jewish remnant, whose deliverance terminates that time of distress during which Michael stood for it, and delineates all that takes place during that period. It is the deliverance of the remnant and that of the people—all those written in the book.

But besides, among those who are delivered will be some who will be in the front of the battle, as being occupied with the things of God, and who will discern the times. Thus, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” If you have paid attention to the preceding chapter, you will recognise these wise ones: they are a remnant who have been often mentioned; as in chapter ii:35, “and some of them of understanding,” etc.: verse 33 also, “they that understand,” Maskilim. It will be an enlightened remnant—persons who will discern the times, and who will occupy themselves with the welfare of the mass of the people, and that faithfully, according to the light they will possess. “And they that turn [the] many to righteousness” [or rather, “instructed the many in righteousness,” this was the object of their labours]. There is no thought about evangelising, nor of those who are blessed through evangelising. The prophet is speaking solely of those Jews who shall be engaged in the instruction of the mass of the people, with a view of withdrawing them from the deceitful ways of Antichrist, and from all the evil which he will carry on. Those who have thus laboured among the many will “shine as the stars for ever and ever.” This special remnant is mentioned, as before said, in Isaiah 65, and 66.95 These are the closing circumstances of the remnant: viz., this time of distress; the people delivered, that is, the remnant; many who were buried, as it were, among the nations, who shall awake, whether for good or evil; and the special lot of the understanding ones. There is still, at the end of the chapter, the reply to the question of Daniel as to the duration of these things, of which the solution, for the Jews, was concealed until the time of the end.

We are in the time of the end, for it is to be hoped that all will soon finish; but, in another sense, the church is always in the time of the end, because the church does not belong to the present age, as it is said, 1 John 2:18, “As ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” Now, seeing this, “they that be wise” will apply morally to the church, so far as she preserves the place which the word of God gives her, although she is not the direct object of the prophecy. The church is supposed to know that the last days are arrived, and that the prophetic warnings are important, in order that that day overtake us not as a thief; for to be overtaken is not the proper portion of the church. (Compare 1 Thess. 5:4, etc., and Rev. 3:3.) And hence also in the Revelation (feeble as we are in the comprehension of it) it is written, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.” What is said to Daniel is exactly the reverse of the position of the church, which, having an unction from the Holy One, knows all things; but in Daniel it is said, “shut up the words and seal the book till the time of the end.”

Verses 7, 9, 10, “And when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not… And he said… the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end… but the wise shall understand.” Now, so to speak, the church is the faithful remnant; for the church commenced with the understanding remnant of the Jews; such was its beginning. Thus in the Revelation one is encouraged to hear and to keep the words of the book, and intelligence96 is supposed among Christians. Verse 11: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be twelve hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thirteen hundred and thirty five days.” There is something striking in this answer as concerns the Jews. The Lord Jesus uses the same date, omitting these days added at the end; otherwise He gives the same point of departure. The date does not begin until the last half-week; because until then there is no event to furnish an epoch from which one can commence counting, the position being then also definite and decided. I judge that in the Revelation there is a previous half-week, during which there will be a peculiar testimony at Jerusalem; but that which notably fixes the time of distress to the Jews (and this is the subject before us) is the abomination of desolation set up in the holy place at Jerusalem; and this is at the beginning of the last half-week. See note page 32.

This being the principal thing, I doubt whether there is any date whatever in the word as to the general course of the prophecy, or for the time which elapses between the rejection of Jesus and His return. That there may have been events adapted to the prophetic farts—analogous in principle—during the interval, I do not doubt; and events most important to recognise in their moral features. Many eminent Christians have sought to calculate these dates, but my conviction is that all these will be found wrong in the fact. Some have indicated 1844, and some 1847; I have made them myself in my time. It is not, then, to blame others, that I say I do not think there is any basis for a true calculation; and I doubt whether the Lord has fixed any other date, than that of the half-week of Daniel, when the abomination of desolation is set up.

The prophecy speaks of seventy weeks, but almost all Christians allow that these have passed, except the seventieth one, and that at the end of the sixty-ninth the Lord was upon earth. Moreover the date, of a time, times, and half a time, has reference entirely to Jerusalem; and it is not a period of years at all, but simply of days. For this date is given us at the end of the chapter, after the sacrifice has been taken away, and after the setting up of the abomination. Now the words of the Lord Himself afford a complete proof that it has no reference to centuries any more than to Christendom: for He speaks of a special time—of certain persons in peculiar circumstances interested in and occupied with what occurs at Jerusalem—of women with child—of the time which it takes to flee to the mountains—of the season of the year suiting that flight—and of the sabbath-day. Neither could we suppose that there would be signs in the sun, etc., etc., during centuries. It is of these things that Matthew 24 speaks, as being identified with “the twelve hundred and sixty days,” and “a time, times, and half a time.”

I will just recall to your memories my previous division of Matthew 24. We must keep in mind the occasion of the reply of our Lord to His disciples. He had passed judgment on the Jewish people at the end of chapter 23. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, etc. … for I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Here is a positive judgment passed, and upon the nation as such. There is no question of individuals, for He does not say to individuals “ye shall not see me.” And so it must be the nation, or a remnant of it at least, and at a time yet to come, who will say to Jesus, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The high priests themselves have never said it; on the contrary, their language was, “Away with him, crucify him.” The Lord had previously pronounced their judgment; but it is of the nation that He says, “Ye shall not see me henceforth until,” etc. It is a quotation from Psalm 118 remarkable for its prophetic announcement of the rejection of Him who was to be acknowledged at a later time.

Then Matthew 24:1, etc., “And Jesus went out and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple”, for they were yet imbued with a Jewish feeling. Verse 3: “And the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world” (age)? They supposed that what the Lord had said about the temple would take place when the Messiah should return; and they asked when these things should happen. Observe the expression “end of the age.” When the Lord uses it, He does not speak of Christianity, which was not then established. When His disciples said “the age,” they had no thought about Christianity; they spoke about the Jewish age, in which the Messiah was expected; the age of the law until the Messiah should come for the Jews. Their question was, When shall the end of that age be?

Now from verses 4-14 Jesus tells them the circumstances which should take place: these are warnings. And He adds some circumstances which should happen before “the end of the age.” That is to say, He closes the account of the Jewish remnant which should endure to the end. At verse 14 Jesus details another event: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world … and then shall the end come”; that is, not only certain things should happen to His disciples, but also, there should be the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, throughout the habitable world, and then should the end come.

Then He commences His particular instructions to His disciples who should be at Jerusalem at “the end of the age.” As He had spoken of the Jewish nation, so here He speaks to His disciples, addressing, in their persons, the remnant which should be found at the end. “When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination … stand in the holy place, then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.” Nothing can be more evident than that the Lord speaks of a precise time, and not of something which happens morally, and which may be distributed, so to speak, over centuries. Thus, “neither let him which is in the field” … “woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck,” etc. “Pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.” It is impossible not to perceive that the last allusion is to Jews who would not venture to go further than a certain distance on the sabbath-day.

Verse 21. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” We are here absolutely in the time of distress (predicted in Dan. 12 and Jer. 30:7) at Jerusalem, to be followed by the deliverance of the people of Daniel, at least of the remnant, and by the establishment of the Jews in Palestine with David (Christ) as their king. But before this unequalled period of tribulation there will be “the beginning of sorrows,” Matt. 24:8. And whenever the abomination is placed, there will be twelve hundred and ninety days, with forty-five added, before there is a complete deliverance at Jerusalem. The forty-five days added will introduce all that the faithful remnant could desire in order to their happiness. Mark agrees with all this. They both pursue the history until the manifestation of Jesus. “Then if” any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, there, believe it not,97 for there shall arise false Christs… For as the lightning [v. 27] cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.; for wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” There where the dead body of the Jewish people is, the visitation of God will come.

“What shall be the sign of thy coming?” The nation will have no sign for its instruction, although fearful signs will be there. This is the answer to the nation: Christ shall come as the lightning. In heaven only there will be a sign; I do not say what the sign is, but there will be one there when He comes. “They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” Matt. 24:30.

I will add a few remarks as to Luke 21. There is a difference, for Luke does not occupy himself in the same manner with Jewish details. It is not the gospel of the Jewish kingdom. The only question of the disciples is, “When shall these things be?” It is not about the “end of the age.” It applies only to that which should happen at the destruction of Jerusalem. When Titus took it, more or less of those fearful events took place, similar to what will happen at the end; but it is not the same thing as the time “such as never was.” There will be great earthquakes, etc. Read down to verse 10.

In Luke’s gospel there is more reference to evangelising in a direct manner, although the result as to testimony is the same: “ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” “In your patience possess ye your souls.” But there is not a word about the abomination of desolation. “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” And this was accomplished in the siege of Jerusalem, which has already taken place, as history testifies. Possibly there may be similar features when the nations shall surround Jerusalem; but no mention is made of a time of distress such as never was. All that is said is, “There shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people”; and they “shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.” This is altogether another matter. There is no account of any deliverance of the Jews. It is not said “Blessed is he… that cometh to the thirteen hundred and thirty-five days”; but on the contrary, Jerusalem is trodden down until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Things are left in this state by the recital, the events in it being applicable down to the end, but accomplished in the desolation of Jerusalem by Titus. Verse 25: “And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon.” Generally speaking, Luke does not answer to the exact accomplishment of the prophecies of Daniel, but principally to those whose fulfilment is now passed, and which Jesus set forth to His disciples to influence their conduct according to their particular question (v. 7); and the signs which he gives (v. 24, 25) are applicable rather to the Gentiles, than to Jerusalem and the Jews.

But to conclude with Daniel 12:7. “It shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” This is another proof that the date relates to the end, for it is evident that he has not accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people. “And I heard, but I understood not.”

We are not to conceive of the “end of the indignation,” as if it were the complete and entire re-establishment of the Jews in all their privileges. When the indignation is over, then the Christ—God—and Christ in the name of God, takes Israel as His people to begin to establish them fully. The Jews having again become the people of God, He begins to put them into the enjoyment of all their privileges; and Christ begins to appropriate Himself His rights as Messiah.

“None of the wicked shall understand” (v. 10). It will be the same in the Christian apostasy. “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a he.” “But the wise shall understand.” “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away … there shall be twelve hundred and ninety days.” I have no knowledge why there should be the addition of these thirty days to twelve hundred and sixty days, unless it be an indication that after the end of the half-week, during which the Antichrist prospers, there will yet be needed thirty days before the final blessing to the Jews comes in. “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thirteen hundred and thirty-five days” —for then the people will evidently be in a state of blessing. But, as I before said, Daniel gives no explanation or detail of this happiness; because the aim of the book is to shew the care which God takes of the remnant during the time of its sojourn (and this was Daniel’s case) among the Gentiles. Other prophecies speak of their happy position after their re-settlement; but Daniel limits himself to the expression that they shall be blessed.

“But go thou thy way … and thou shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Thou shalt enjoy all this blessedness, be not troubled; God will take care of this, thou shalt have thy part in it all. We know that it is at the first resurrection— the resurrection of the saints—that Daniel will partake of this in company with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all those who have been faithful in every epoch. We have now arrived at the conclusion of this remarkable book. I have not pretended to give you anything more than its great features, such as God has up to this shewn to me. By their help you may be enabled to proceed farther for yourselves. May God bless His word.

60 It is suggested that before reading these Studies in Daniel the paper “Enquiry as to the Antichrist of Prophecy,” appearing later in this volume, should be read.—Ed.

61 It is under this character of “God of heaven “that Daniel knew Him. He will be found afterwards God of the earth in fact, as He is always in right.

62 I am not speaking of the truth which allies the conscience to God Himself, and therefore gives Him His proper supremacy.

63 Compare Habakkuk, whose prophecy is a kind of commentary on these two chapters.

64 Daniel is, in many ways, a type of Christ, as having the Spirit of Christ in his sympathies with the remnant, and as being their representative before God.

65 There is no doubt, I believe, that “placed “or “set “is the true, the only true sense.

66 I use the word “church “here in a popular and improper sense.

67 The change from “it” to “he” is to be noted here. It does not agree immediately with the little horn.

68 This word in the original gives the idea of something solid, permanent, established; and comes from a word meaning “to establish.”

69 Where, in verse 12, it is said, “an host was given him,” I take the word in the sense in which it is used in Job 7:1; 14:14; and perhaps chap. 10:17—an appointed time of distress, a miserable condition which is ordained to any one.

70 I would remark here in passing, that we must not conclude that all the circumstances connected with the occasion of a prophecy apply to the events which accomplish it at the end of the age.

71 Or people of the saints. (Compare chapter 7:27.)

72 When I speak of this spirit of prophecy, I mean, not a revelation, but the intelligence of the thoughts of God as to His people, and interest of heart in their blessing, as in God’s behalf—the heart being the depository of these interests. This spirit is in the body. (Compare, too, Genesis 20:7.)

73 See also Zephaniah 3:17.

74 The book of Esther is a striking instance of the secret government of God, at a time when He could not recognise His people publicly; and I judge this to be the reason why God does not permit His name to appear throughout the book. If He had been named. He would not, so to speak, have permitted Esther to remain the wife of Ahasuerus.

75 I read, “and shall have nothing,” i.e., shall have nothing of His dominion as Messiah.

76 The Hebrew has the article.

77 Properly speaking, Matthew 24 and Mark 13 only take account of the last half of this week; for the first half is a time of testimony and belongs to the period of the beginning of sorrows and of testimony in general, and of the labours mentioned previously to Matthew 24:14.

78 He supposes the continuation of their testimony (which will be stopped, at least at Jerusalem, when “the abomination of desolation” shall be set up there), omitting the whole period and the testimony properly called Christian.

79 I would reserve here, as before, a question arising in my mind as to the first and second beasts of the Revelation, as well as the wilful king of chapter n of this book. See pages 215-224.

80 You will find this same date of twelve hundred and sixty days repeated several times: as with regard to the little horn (chap. 7), also to the beast of the Apocalypse (Rev. 13), and in Daniel 12 with thirty days added, as to the abomination of desolation.

81 [There are various statements here which the author would now modify, chiefly as to the distinction of the Antichrist from the Roman imperial chief, and as to the time of the two witnesses. See pages 215-224 and footnote page 32.—Ed.]

82 Ibid.

83 If “shall rise or come from him” be interpreted as of a power who shall take his (the king of the north’s) place, this would no longer be the case.

84 The passages found with the article are chapters 9:27; 11:33, 39; 12:3. In chapters 11:34, 44 and 12:4, 10, it is not so.

85 De Wette, a good German translator, applies it to the Maskilim.

86 We remarked on chapter 11:31, that in taking the Hebrew words “mimmenu yamedu,” in the sense of forces sent on his part, this king will actually be at this time in the territory noted as that of the king of the north.

87 The question relative to the two beasts of Revelation 13, would again recur here.

88 I have before noticed the question which arises to my mind here.

89 There is much mention made of this wicked one in the Psalms, principally in his relation to the Jews.

90 Man under the light of creation (Romans 1), the Jews (Isaiah 6), and Christendom (2 Thessalonians 2), arrive at the same end.

91 This power in heavenly places (Eph. 6), against which we now wrestle, is consequently no longer there.

92 All the best editions of the Greek Testament employ here the word elsewhere used for the “coming” of Christ.

93 It is worthy of remark that, in the prophets of the first captivity God by the Spirit never calls Israel “my people.” He declares they shall be, and the Spirit remains among them as when they came up out of Egypt; but “Lo-ammi “remains unrecalled.

94 It seems to me that these words are added to complete the picture; for the principal part of the prophecy is occupied with the details of that part of the people who are found in the land when the wicked one shall be in the exercise of his terrible and malicious power. But in this verse the lot of those who had been lost, and were to be gathered from among the nations, is given to us. These only enter as accessory into the scheme of the prophecy (this portion of the people having been without the limits of the prophecy, not having entered into the land to figure as the Jewish people). It is for this reason that they are represented as “sleeping in the dust of the earth.”

95 Some little doubt has been thrown on my mind as to this.

96 We must distinguish between the intelligence, and the application to oneself of these prophecies, whatever the application may be. What was revealed to Abraham concerned Lot.

97 This, to me, is a convincing proof that the passage does not apply, properly speaking, to the church; because our expectation is to be caught up into the air to meet Jesus. To tell us He is in the desert would itself prove an impostor; for we are to be in the air with Him before He can be there.