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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

Daniel 7

 

 

Introduction

APPENDIX

IN relation to the prediction in Dan , regarding the destruction by fire of the body of the Beast or fourth universal empire, that immediately preceding the kingdom of the Son of Man, and of the saints—his body being "given to the burning flame"—science has recently indicated another way in which this judgment might be inflicted on apostate Christendom and the Antichristian kingdoms. The following extract from the Spectator, in relation to a recent conclusion of astronomy, only met the writer's eye while the preceding work was in the press:—"We sometimes doubt whether the world's belief in science is quite as genuine as it seems. Here is Mr. Proctor, whose astronomical authority and ability nobody doubts, has told the world for some time back, we believe, that there is really a very considerable chance of a catastrophe only fifteen years hence, which may put an end to us and our earthly hopes and fears altogether; and, so far as we can see, the world has blandly treated Mr. Proctor's warning as it would have treated an interesting speculation on the future of electricity—that is, has regarded it with a certain mild, literary satisfaction, but has not made any change in its arrangements in consequence.… Yet, supposing Mr. Proctor's facts to be correctly stated—on which we should like to have the judgment of other astronomers—there does seem a remarkably good chance that in 1897 the sun will suddenly break out into the same kind of intensity of heat and light which caused the conflagration in the star of the Northern Crown in 1866, when for a day or two the heat and light emitted by it became suddenly many hundreds of times greater than they were before, after which the star relapsed into its former relative insignificance. Those few days of violence, however, must have been enough to destroy completely all vegetable and animal life in the planets circulating round that sun, if such planets were in existence; and Mr. Proctor shows no little reason to believe that the same catastrophe may very probably happen to us, doubtless from a precisely similar cause, if the astronomers who believe that the comet of 1880 was identical with the comet of 1843 and the comet of 1668 should be right,—which would imply that the same comet, with a rapidly diminishing period, is likely to return and fall into the sun, with all its meteoric appendages, in or about the year 1897. Mr. Proctor tells us that Professor Winnecke believes that the identity of the comets of 1843 and 1880 hardly admits of a doubt; while Mr. Marth thinks that both may be identical with the comet of 1668, its velocity having been reduced by its passing through the corona of the sun; so that on its next return, in a considerably reduced time, it may be altogether unable to pass out of the sphere of the sun's influence, and may precipitate itself, with all its meteoric train, into the mass of the sun. If this event occurs—as at some return or other Mr. Proctor believes to be nearly certain—(the next but one, we suppose, if not the next), there will certainly be an abrupt arrest of an enormous momentum as the long train of meteors enters the sun, which arrest would show itself in the shape of enormously increased heat,—the probable result whereof would be the burning up of all vegetable and animal life existing on the planets of the solar system. It is true that Mr. Proctor is not quite sure how the absorption of this comet and its train into the sun would really affect us. He is by no means certain that our sun would burst into flame, as the star in the Northern Crown did in 1866, but he evidently thinks it much more likely than not. And he does not seriously doubt that in the behaviour of the star in the Northern Crown, which so suddenly broke into flame in 1866, we have the example of a real sidereal catastrophe which from time to time either actually destroys, or would destroy, if they existed, such worlds as ours, if they happen to be the planets of a sun thus suddenly fed with a great accession of cosmic heat."

In connection with the same subject the writer has recently met with the following passage in Mr. Garrat's "Midnight Cry," written about twenty years ago:—"The fiery flood. So it is described in Peter's second epistle. The destruction of the ungodly will be by fire; and out of that fire will issue the new heavens and the new earth. The question is often asked, whether that event will happen at the commencement or the close of the millennium. Perhaps, in different degrees, at both. Isaiah says, speaking of a period prior to the thousand years, ‘By fire and by sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.' And he seems also to place the creation of new heavens and a new earth at the same period; while it is after the millennium, John says in Revelation, ‘I saw a new heaven and a new earth.' This and many other apparent difficulties of the same nature are easily explained. ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.' The whole millennium is, in God's eye, but a day—the great day of the Lord God Almighty. It is the ‘regeneration,'—the period of earth's new birth; and the events at its commencement and its close are sometimes looked upon as one. God will destroy His enemies with fire at the beginning of these thousand years. The conflagration at their close will be still more terrible. Both are looked upon as one event. And it is to both, regarded as one, that the words of Peter apply: ‘The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.' It will come as a thief in the night on the world. They will be alone, because the Church will have been translated. With what bitter remorse will men look on the fiery deluge as it comes sweeping along! They might have escaped, and they would not; and now escape is impossible."


Verses 1-7

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXII.—THE VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS (Chap. Dan )

We now come to the second and principal part of the Book of Daniel, the prophetical portion, the narratives it contains being merely introductory to the visions. The present, as well as the succeeding chapter, chronologically anterior to the preceding one, this vision having been given in the first year of the reign of Belshazzar, probably twenty-three before the events narrated in the preceding chapter; the editor or arranger of the book, whether Ezra or Daniel himself, having for convenience placed the narrative before the present and following chapters, in order to preserve uninterrupted the continuity of the prophecies.

The present chapter, in its matter as well as its position, the central portion of the book. It is in both respects to the Book of Daniel what the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is to that epistle. Next to the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, and perhaps the ninth chapter of this same book, we have here the most precious and prominent portion of the sure word of Messianic prophecy. The chapter worthy of the most careful prayer and study. Referred to directly or indirectly by Christ and His apostles perhaps more than other portions of the Old Testament of similar extent. Appears to have been regarded by the Old Testament Church, in the centuries preceding the Messiah's first advent, as pre-eminently the "word of prophecy." The same apparently in the New Testament Church till the Revelation of John was vouchsafed for its guidance. The Saviour's chosen title of "the Son of Man," as well as the declaration of His future coming "in the clouds of heaven," obviously taken from this chapter. So Paul's description of the "Man of Sin" in his second Epistle to the Thessalonians (chap. 2) Frequent and obvious parallels between its images and predictions and those of the Book of Revelation, more especially those connected with the ten-horned beast (Rev ), the Lord's second Advent, the reign of Christ and His saints, and the final judgment.

The vision not understood by Daniel, till at his own request it was explained to him by one of the angels present in it; an indication at once of our duty and privilege in relation to the study of the word of prophecy. The vision and its interpretation given for our sakes especially, "on whom the ends of the world have come." One part of the Holy Spirit's office to show us things to come, which have been already "noted in the Scripture of truth;" while it is our part to imitate the prophet in "searching what or what manner of time the Spirit that was in them did signify, when he showed beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow" (1Pe ).

This, as well as the prophecies that follow, delivered in Daniel's own name, the reason being because the visions were communicated to him personally. Daniel not now a narrator of events, but a witness of what had been delivered to himself. Difference of the person used, no evidence of a difference of authorship. Authors known to employ both the first and third person in their narratives. The unity of the two parts of the book indicated by the sameness of the spirit, the style, and the interdependence of the parts upon each other. The contents of both portions, however, probably written at different times.

The vision of the Four Beasts corresponds to that of the Great Image in chap. 2. This given in a dream to Daniel, as that had been to Nebuchadnezzar. The interpretation given by an angel at the same time. The whole vision committed to writing probably soon after its communication to the prophet, being intended to form a part of Sacred Scripture, as it has done since the canon of the Old Testament was completed in the days of Ezra and Malachi; thus securing accuracy, and giving permanency to the inspiration for the benefit of succeeding ages. Hence the prophets often commanded to commit their revelations to writing. See Isa ; Isa 30:8; Jer 30:2; Hab 2:2; Rev 1:11; Rev 21:5. Daniel not only "wrote the dream," but "told the sum of the matters" to his friends and countrymen about him (Dan 7:1). The prophets in general preachers as well as writers. Their hearers called their "children" and "disciples" (Isa 8:16-18). Figuratively, their "threshing" and the "corn of their floor" (Isa 21:10). The Sabbath and the new moon the ordinary days for their public ministration (2Ki 4:23). Daniel, however, rather a prophet by gift than by office, and his communications to others, therefore, probably more private.

The effect of the vision on the prophet himself powerful and disturbing. "My cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me" (Dan ). So the corresponding vision afforded to Nebuchadnezzar "troubled his spirit" (chap. Dan 2:1). Still stronger language used by Habakkuk, in describing the effect produced upon himself by the disclosure of the future communicated to him (Hab 3:16).

It is noticeable that the three beasts here mentioned by name are those which the Lord threatened by Hosea to send against Israel for their apostasy and sins, the lion, the leopard, and the bear, while a fourth was added as simply "a wild beast," corresponding with the fourth in the vision without a name (Hos ); clearly indicating the relation which these world-kingdoms bear to Israel and the Church, as, in the hand and according to the pleasure of God, instruments of chastisement for unfaithfulness. Similar figures to indicate the powers of the world not unfrequently employed by the prophets. So Jer 4:7; Jer 5:6; Psa 68:30. Men in their natural condition, as fallen and without the renewing grace of God, often similarly represented under the figure of savage beasts. (See Psa 10:9-10; Psa 57:4; Psa 58:4; Psa 58:6; Psa 59:6.) In more senses than one men rendered by sin "like the beasts that perish."

The four beasts in the vision are represented as coming up out of the great sea when thrown by opposing winds into tempestuous commotion (Dan ). Such a sea a picture of the great world of mankind in its alienation from God and consequent dispeace (Isa 48:22; Isa 57:21). The origin of the great monarchies of the world the conflicting passions and commotions among men. Nimrod "began (was the first) to be a mighty one in the earth: he was a mighty hunter before the Lord" (Gen 10:8-9). The Mediterranean, on which Daniel had often looked when in his native country, often called "the Great Sea," as distinguished from the smaller bodies of water in Palestine. It was on the borders or in the vicinity of that sea that the four great contending monarchies lay. The "four winds of the heaven," by which the great sea was tossed into a tumult, probably intended to represent the external means and circumstances by which God in His holy providence operates on the nations and rulers of the world, thereby arousing them into action, while He wisely overrules and controls their own carnal passions.

1. The importance of the word of prophecy. The repetition of the prophecy regarding the four great monarchies and the divine kingdom that was to succeed them, itself significant. Given first in a dream to Nebuchadnezzar and then in a vision vouchsafed to Daniel himself, the repeated revelation of the same things, under different forms, seems a clear intimation how important for the Church this communication appeared to the Spirit of God, whose it is to "show us things to come." What God has thus so carefully given it can neither be safe nor right for His people to neglect. Especially is this the case with a prophecy which we know to apply to the times in which we live, and which has been given for our comfort and guidance in these last days. The words forming the preface to the Book of Revelation applicable here also. "Blessed are they that read, and they that hear the prophecy of this book, and that keep the things that are written therein; for the time is at hand" (Rev ).

2. All history within the foreknowledge and under the control of God. This vision exhibits the great leading events of the world's history from the time of Daniel, projected in the word of prophecy as on a map. Hence not only foreknown, but so overruled as infallibly to come to pass. This without the slightest prejudice to or interference with the freedom of man's will, and so without any diminution of his responsibility. God's foreknowledge and man's freedom—God's purposes and man's responsibility—solemnly and mysteriously compatible with each other. Both alike realities, however unable we may be in our present state to reconcile them. Now we know only in part. The Jews, not knowing their own Scriptures, fulfilled the same by crucifying their King and Saviour, to their deep and dire condemnation, under which, alas! they still lie. "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Act ). The hands still wicked hands though fulfilling the secret counsel and foreknowledge of God. The same thing true in regard to the events of general history and individual life. The providence that appoints the establishment or overthrow of an empire presides over the fall of a sparrow, fixes the bounds of our habitation, and numbers the hairs of our head.

3. The true character of the kingdoms of this world. To Daniel these appear not as dazzling image, but as savage and irrational beasts, the symbols of selfishness, cruelty, rapacity, and strife, obeying the impulses of appetite and passion instead of the dictates of reason and conscience. History makes good the picture. The universal admission that sin has reduced men to the level of beasts. Paul's description of fallen men apart from divine grace, as given in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, verified by the testimony of the heathen themselves. "Full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity" (Rom ). The divine verdict—"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked"—realised by universal observation and experience. Time given fully to develop man's need of a Saviour from sin before that Saviour came. Four thousand years only proved the divine testimony given at the time of the Flood to be true: "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Gen 8:21; Gen 6:5). Man was shown to be sick unto death—desperately, and, to all human effort, incurably wicked; and the Healer came. "He shall be called Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Mat 1:21).

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXIII.—THE FOUR GREAT EMPIRES (Chap. Dan ; Dan 7:17-24)

"These great beasts, which are four," said the interpreting angel, "are four kings which shall arise out of the earth" (Dan ). By the four kings we are to understand not four separate individuals, but, as the Greek version has it, four kingdoms or empires, succeeding each other, as in the vision of the Great Image (chap. 2) These, as already remarked, are almost universally understood to be the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Greek or Macedonian, and the Roman. We now notice these empires separately as here described, leaving the description of the Little Horn for another section.

In like manner Rosenmüller and some other Germans endeavoured to make this beast to be the Greek empire in Asia after Alexander's death. But Bleek, who is one of them, admits, "We are induced by Dan , where it is said of the little horn that it would rise up between the ten horns, to think of ten contemporaneous kings, or rather kingdoms, existing along with each other, which rise out of the fourth kingdom." Therefore he will "not deny that the reference to the successors of Alexander is rendered obscure by the fact that chap. 8. speaks of four monarchies which arise out of that of Alexander after his death." In opposition to the view that the parts of Alexander's kingdom which became independent kingdoms might be numbered in different ways, and the number ten be made out from the number of the generals who retained the chief provinces, Zündel justly observes: "These kingdoms could only have significance if this number, instead of being a selection from the whole, had been itself the whole. But this is not the case. For at that time the kingdom, according to Justin, was divided into more than thirty parts." According to Dr. Todd and the Futurists, the power indicated is one yet to be developed, as the precursor of the final Antichrist. Sir Isaac Newton observes that the Romans conquered the kingdom of Macedon, Illyricum, and Epirus in the eighth year of Antiochus Epiphanes, b.c. 167; that of Pergamos thirty-five years afterwards; Syria sixty-four years later, and Egypt after other thirty-nine years; and that by these and other conquests the fourth beast became greater and more terrible than any of the three preceding ones. Dionysius Halicarnassus, after enumerating the earlier empires of the world, the Assyrian or Babylonian, the Persian, and the Grecian, says, "The empire of the Romans pervades all regions of the earth which are not inaccessible, but are inhabited by mankind; it reigns also over the whole sea, and is the first and only one that has made the east and west its boundaries; and that there is no people that does not recognise Rome as the universal mistress, or that refuses to submit to its dominion." Professor Bush says, "As the fourth beast of Daniel lives and acts through the space of 1260 years (the ‘time, times, and dividing, or half of a time,' Dan 7:25), and as the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of John prevails through the same period, I am driven to the conclusion that they adumbrate precisely the same thing—that they are merely different aspects of the same reality; and this I have no question is the Roman empire." Keil observes, after an elaborate proof of his premises: "Since, then, neither the division of the Medo-Persian kingdom into the Median and the Persian is allowable, nor the identification of the fourth kingdom (chaps. 2. and 7.) with the Javanic (the Greek or Macedonian) world-kingdom in chap. 8., we may regard as correct the traditional Church view that the four world-kingdoms are the Chaldean (or Babylonian), the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman."

1. The fulfilment of this prophecy an unquestionable fact, and as such, an evidence of the reality of prophecy in the sense of prediction, and of the divinity of at least this part of the Old Testament Scripture The fulfilment of prophecy employed by God Himself as an evidence of His deity (Isa ; Isa 41:26; Isa 45:21; Isa 46:9-10). Declared to be the criterion of a divine messenger, except when the object is to lead away from God's worship and revealed truth (Deu 18:21-22; Deu 13:1; Deu 13:3; Isa 8:20). The fulfilment of the prophecy before us undeniable, notwithstanding all attempts to set it aside. This and other predictions of Daniel acknowledged even by enemies to be true up to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, one of the Syrian kings in the third or Grecian empire, but denied to have been written before that period, and therefore maintained to be mere history and not prophecy. But the prophecy as truly fulfilled after that period as before it, and receiving its fulfilment at the present time. The fourth empire and the predicted facts connected with it more remarkable than any of its three predecessors, and to human foresight impossible to have been calculated upon. Yet that empire and those facts a reality which is before our eyes at the present day. An empire of iron crushing strength succeeding a third, acknowledged to be that of Greece, and in its latter period becoming weak by foreign admixture, and divided into ten kingdoms, with one rising up among them or after them of a description totally different from all the rest. These are simple facts, and found in a prediction delivered twenty-four centuries ago. With the convinced magicians of Egypt we may well exclaim, "This is the finger of God." "I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass ye might know that I am He" (Joh 13:29).

2. The certainty of predicted events that have not yet taken place. Past fulfilment only makes the word of prophecy "more sure" or confirmed, that we may "take heed" to it, as to a "light shining in a dark place" (2Pe ). While much of the present chapter, as well as of other prophecy, has been fulfilled, much of it still awaits its fulfilment. The destruction of the fourth beast with its "little horn" has not yet taken place, nor has its body yet been "given to the burning flame;" the Son of Man has not yet come "with the clouds of heaven;" nor has the kingdom been "given to the saints of the Most High." Yet, as certainly as one part of the vision has been fulfilled, so certainly shall the other. Eighteen centuries ago, Jesus, after He had ascended with the clouds into heaven, said, "Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man as his work shall be." As surely as the fourth predicted beast with its iron teeth came into existence and devoured and brake in pieces, so surely shall it be destroyed and its body given to the burning flame, and Jesus Christ come again with the clouds of heaven and take the kingdom, and the kingdom be given to the saints of the Most High, who shall reign with Christ for ever and ever (Dan 7:11; Dan 7:13-14; Dan 7:18; Rev 5:10; Rev 11:15).

3. Matter for thanksgiving and rejoicing that the kingdoms of this world are to be succeeded by one of a very different character. The kingdoms of the world are those of the four beasts, wherever they may have their place. These kingdoms naturally characterised by sin and suffering. Such the experience of the world up to the present time. The history of these kingdoms written in tears and blood; but they are not to be for ever. Three of the four have, as predicted long ago, come to their end. The fourth, which in its divided form is now going on, is not to be everlasting. The everlasting one is yet to come. Its foundations have already long ago been laid, but as yet it is far from being the mountain that is to fill the whole earth. But the time of this consummation hastens apace. The kingdom that is "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost" will ere long constitute the monarchy of the Man Christ Jesus, the King of the Jews, which shall fill the earth and last for ever. Men shall yet everywhere be blessed in Christ, and all nations call Him blessed. The sure word of prophecy gladdens the Church with the hope of good times coming—glory to God in the highest, with peace on earth, under the reign of Him who is the Prince of Peace.


Verse 8

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXIV.—THE LITTLE HORN (Chap. Dan ; Dan 7:19-25)

I. Its rise. It is said to rise among the other ten horns, and so to be contemporaneous with them; and also after or behind them, and so in the time of its appearance posterior to the rest, as well as gradual in its growth and for a time unobserved. Before it, three of the ten were "plucked up by the roots and fell," or, as it is interpreted by the angel, it subdued three out of the ten kings or kingdoms, and so made room for itself by occupying their place (Dan ; Dan 7:10; Dan 7:24). The other horns obtained their place as kingdoms out of the body of the fourth beast or Roman empire; this one was to obtain its place out of that beast only indirectly, by gaining it out of the others.

II. Its character and description.

(1.) A "little" horn; small in comparison with the rest, especially in its commencement, and humble, perhaps, in its profession.

(3.) The mouth uttered "great words against the Most High;" hence proud, arrogant, and blasphemous; while from the eyes was a "look more stout than his fellows," also indicative of pride and haughtiness above that of the other powers, and an overbearing demeanour in respect to them.

(4.) He was to "make war with the saints of the Most High, to wear them out, and prevail against them;" a persecuting power, and one whose persecutions should be persevering and successful, against such as adhered to a holy life and the worship of God according to His Word.

(5.) He was to "think to change times and laws;" lofty in his pretensions, as superior to laws both human and divine, and affecting a power which is the prerogative of God (chap. Dan ).

5. The saints were to be "given into his hand" for a definite period, prophetically and enigmatically described as a "a time, times, and the dividing of a time;" his power over the saints or true worshippers of God to be absolute for a time, but that time a limited one. "To form a well-grounded judgment regarding the appearance of this last enemy," observes Keil, "we must compare the description given of him here with the apocalyptic description of the same enemy under the image of the beast out of the sea or out of the abyss" (Rev ; Rev 17:7-13); and we may add, with the description of the "Man of Sin" given by the apostle (2Th 2:4, &c.), with an obvious allusion to the passage before us.

"The tempter," says Gavazzi, "came over the Alps in the Gallic Pepin; he showed from a pinnacle of earthly power and aggrandisement the kingdoms of this world, and pledged himself to secure their homage, if, falling prostrate before God's adversary, ‘Christ's Vicar' should adore him. The sacrilegious bargain was struck; the ark of the Lord was placed in the temple of Dagon; the bishops of Rome, who over and over again suffered death rather than offer incense to Pagan idols, fell into the palpable snare of Satan; and the hand that bore on its finger the brightest of sacerdotal gems in the ‘ring of the fisherman' was outstretched, with scandalous avidity, to burn a fatal frankincense on the altar of secular ambition. A visible change fell on the Papacy. The gory crown of martyrdom was exchanged for the glittering tiara."

Mr. Mede supposed the three "uprooted" or "depressed" horns to be, first, the Greeks, that is, the entire kingdom of Italy, which in 554 was ended by the Exarchate or dependent government of the Greek emperor, which continued for fifteen years; second, the Lombards, who possessed the country for about 200 years; and, third, the Franks, who stretched their authority into the immediate vicinity of Rome.

2. In the character of the Papacy.

(2.) It was "diverse from the first" (Dan ), having the eyes and mouth of a man. The difference of the Papacy from the other powers, as already noticed, conspicuous in this, that it was at the same time both a temporal and a spiritual power, the Pope being both a secular prince and a spiritual teacher, or, as Gibbon expresses it, "a Christian bishop invested with the prerogatives of a temporal prince." The Pope claimed both swords, the civil and the ecclesiastical; a combination perhaps indicated in the Revelation by the two separate beasts, the one rising out of the sea and the other out of the earth (Rev 13:1-11), or in the fact that the latter had two horns like a lamb, while it spake like a dragon (Dan 7:11).

As yet probably they had no idea that the Bishop of Rome was to be he; for his coming was to be a "mystery of iniquity," and "mystery" was to be the name of the system of which he was the head, as the word is said to be actually found on the Papal mitre. But a few centuries awoke the suspicion. In the Middle Ages it was believed by many that the Antichrist had already appeared in the person of the Popes. In the tenth century Arnulph, Bishop of Orleans, addressing a Council at Rheims, said: "O deplorable Rome, who in the days of our forefathers produced so many burning and shining lights! thou hast brought forth in our times only dismal darkness worthy of the detestation of posterity.… What think you, reverend fathers, of this man, the Pope, placed on a lofty throne, shining with purple and gold? Whom do you account him? If destitute of love and puffed up with pride of knowledge only, he is Antichrist sitting in the temple of God." It is said in a work published in 1120, "The great Antichrist is already come; in vain is he yet expected; already by the permission of God is he advanced in years." Roman Catholic writers, of course, refuse to believe that the Papacy is "the Little Horn or Antichrist;" and some few Protestants agree with them in thinking that that power is still future; while others, as the German Rationalists, would see in it only Antiochus Epiphanes. In reference to this last opinion, it is enough to say, with Auberlen, that the Little Horn is found among the ten kingdoms of the fourth beast or Roman Empire, while Antiochus Epiphanes belonged to the third or Grecian, which, according to chap. 8, is well known to have been divided, not into ten, but into four kingdoms. That the Roman Empire was broken up into about ten different kingdoms many centuries ago, and that the Papacy, as a temporal power, sprung up among them, are facts not to be disputed.

From the prophecy regarding the Little Horn we may notice—

1. The providence of God as ruling both in the world and in the Church. "He putteth down one and setteth up another." Even the Little Horn, which was to prove such a scourge to the Church and to the world, was entirely under His control, and employed as His instrument in accomplishing the purposes of His infinite wisdom. The saints were to be "given" into His hand, as Judah and its king were given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar (chap. Dan ). The same Providence limited the continuance of the subjection in both cases. What is done wickedly by man is permitted and controlled wisely and holily by God.

2. The comfort of God's people to know that their sufferings are meted out, both in intensity and duration, by a Father's hand. It was a fiery trial that was to try the saints when they were to be given into the hand of the Little Horn, who was to make war upon them, and prevail against them, and wear them out. But it was to continue only for a time, a long time indeed, as indicated in the expression "a time, times, and the dividing of a time;" but still it was to come to an end. "Thou shalt have tribulation ten days,"—not more. "In measure when it shooteth forth, Thou wilt debate with it: He stayeth His rough wind in the day of His east wind" (Isa ). The "time to favour Zion, even the set time," comes.

3. The preciousness and power of divine grace in sustaining the people of God under protracted persecutions and afflictions. No small affliction to the saints who held fast the Word of God to have war made upon them by a mighty and prevailing power, and to be worn out by exile, imprisonment, and loss of goods, year after year, the same thing being continued century after century. No small amount of grace needed to sustain them in the conflict, so as to be faithful unto death. But the promise is sure. "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness." "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." Though appointed as sheep to the slaughter, we are made more than conquerors through Him that loved us. "They overcame through the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony."

4. The divine, and therefore indestructible, nature of the Church and religion of Jesus Christ, which has held out under centuries of cruel persecution. To exhibit this, probably one reason why such a state of things is permitted to take place. The bush burns, but is not consumed, because the Lord Himself is in it. The gates and power of hell unable to prevail against the Church of Christ, because founded on the Rock of Ages. The Church outlives the furnace, because One like the Son of God—the Son of God Himself—is with it there. "If this counsel or work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it." "Although," says Sismondi, himself a Roman Catholic, "for two hundred years the fires were never quenched, still every day saw Catholics abjuring the faith of their fathers, and embracing the religion which often guided them to the stake. In vain Gregory IX., in 1231, put to death every heretic whom he found concealed in Rome."

5. Cause for joy and thanksgiving that the wearing out of the saints by the Little Horn is at or near its close. There may yet be possibly a period of intense suffering from that same Little Horn under a changed aspect; but if so, it will be but of short continuance; perhaps the "time, times, and dividing of a time," on the shorter literal day scale. But we may well rejoice and give thanks that the long-protracted period of "wearing out" is at an end. The fires of Smithfield and the tortures of the Inquisition, we may believe, are over. Even in Rome men may read the Bible and worship God according to it without being afraid. Let us thank God for liberty of conscience in Europe.

6. The prediction regarding the Little Horn, with its manifest fulfilment, another remarkable evidence of divine inspiration. That horn, as rising out of the fourth beast, and among the other ten, acknowledged not to be Antiochus Epiphanes, and must therefore be found long after the time when the prophecy was written. The prediction minute and detailed; and its fulfilment, in a power that for twelve centuries has been the most prominent and conspicuous one in Europe, singularly exact. The fulfilment of such prediction, though perfectly natural, yet partaking of the nature of a miracle, as being beyond any mere human power to foresee it, and as such an evidence of the divine origin of the prediction.


Verses 9-12

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXV.—THE JUDGMENT OF THE BEAST AND THE LITTLE HORN (Chap. Dan ; Dan 7:26)

Hitherto we have not met with much difficulty in the way of interpretation. Little room has been left either for doubt or hesitation. The case is somewhat different now. We approach the region of unfulfilled prophecy, naturally more difficult of interpretation, and leaving more room for mistake and difference of opinion. The field is interesting and inviting, but demands caution in its investigation. The word of prophecy is given for our guidance and comfort, as a light shining in a dark place. But we need the Spirit to interpret His own Word. "Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." "In Thy light we shall see light." "The Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God," and revealeth them unto us. "He knoweth what is in darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him." It is His to reveal the "deep and secret things," and to show us, as He has done in His Word, "things to come." We have before us a passage of overwhelming grandeur and sublimity; the description of a scene of awful solemnity. The passage exhibits the judgment-seat of God, with myriads of attendant angels, and the infliction of pronounced doom on a large portion of the human race. The judgment is not indeed, like that in Revelation 20, the general judgment, terminating the reign of Christ and His saints on earth, and resembling in some of its features the present one. It is rather the judgment on the fourth beast, or Roman Empire, with its ten horns or kingdoms, and more especially the "Little Horn," whose pride, persecution, and blasphemy are the special occasion of it.

4. The accompaniments. "A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him" (Dan ). A further indication of the character and object of the judgment—fiery indignation. "It shall be very tempestuous round about Him" (Psa 50:3). This probably indicative of and connected with the judgment to be inflicted on the Beast,—"his body given to the burning flame;" the earth, or as much of it as shall be involved in the judgment, to be "burned up;" the elements to "melt with fervent heat;" the earth "reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2Pe 3:7; 2Pe 3:10).

As suggested by the passage, we may notice—

1. It is our comfort to know that there is a God that judgeth in the earth. Men not worn out by tyranny, oppression, and persecution, without an eye being kept upon their wrongs and the perpetrators of them. Flesh and sense ready at times to say, "My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over by my God." A sore trial for faith when the oppressor and persecutor prosper, and the cause of truth and righteousness seems well-nigh crushed. But God only appears to take no notice. Christ is in the ship, and though apparently asleep in the storm, He will awake at the right time, at the cry of His people, rebuke the oppressor's wrath, and change the storm into a calm. Patience is to have her perfect work, that when we have done and suffered the will of God, we may inherit the promises. "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." The hour of deliverance shall arrive. The judgment will sit—is now indeed sitting. He who is "higher than the highest" takes not His eye from the haughty oppressor and persecutor of His people, and will, when the proper time arrives, "awake to the judgment which He has commanded."

2. The infinite majesty of God and the awful consequences of His displeasure. The Lord is a God of judgment. His eyes, which are as a flame of fire, behold, and His eyelids try, the children of men. A fiery stream issues and goes forth from before Him. Who can stand when once He is angry? Our God is a consuming fire. How terrible to meet Him as an adversary! Yet sin makes Him our adversary. Prepare, then, to meet thy God. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with Him. There is one, and only one, way of doing so. The Jews, to be reconciled to their offended king, made Blastus, his chamberlain, their friend. God has given His own Son as a sacrifice and Mediator, that we may make Him our friend, accept of Him, and put our trust in Him, and so be reconciled to God. This is God's own way for meeting Him. Blessed are all they that put their trust in that provided Mediator. Such can see the fiery stream that issues from before Him, ready to devour the adversaries, without alarm. They can go forward to meet it singing, with the Apostle, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." Or, with Count Zinzendorf in the well-known hymn—

"Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress.

Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in that great day;

For who aught to my charge shall lay?

Fully absolved through these I am,

From sin and guilt, from fear and shame."

3. The wisdom of preparing for a judgment to come. Whatever may be the case in regard to the judgment we have been considering, and whatever share we may or may not have in it, it is certain that we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, to receive according to the things done in the body, whether good or bad. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment." Each must then give account of himself to God. For all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Are our works those of the flesh or of the Spirit? Are they wrought in God or out of Him? Am I renewed or still unrenewed? Am I pardoned and accepted now in the Surety, the Lord our Righteousness? A place in the New Jerusalem or the Gehenna of fire depends on the question. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to enter in through the gates into the city;" or, as the Revised Version reads, "Blessed are they that wash their robes." This is the beginning of doing His commandments. "Come now, let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as wool; though they be red as crimson, they shall be white as snow." Reader, the fountain for sin and uncleanness is still open; if not already washed, wash now, and prepare for the judgment. "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Trust in that blood and be clean.


Verse 11

APPENDIX

IN relation to the prediction in Dan , regarding the destruction by fire of the body of the Beast or fourth universal empire, that immediately preceding the kingdom of the Son of Man, and of the saints—his body being "given to the burning flame"—science has recently indicated another way in which this judgment might be inflicted on apostate Christendom and the Antichristian kingdoms. The following extract from the Spectator, in relation to a recent conclusion of astronomy, only met the writer's eye while the preceding work was in the press:—"We sometimes doubt whether the world's belief in science is quite as genuine as it seems. Here is Mr. Proctor, whose astronomical authority and ability nobody doubts, has told the world for some time back, we believe, that there is really a very considerable chance of a catastrophe only fifteen years hence, which may put an end to us and our earthly hopes and fears altogether; and, so far as we can see, the world has blandly treated Mr. Proctor's warning as it would have treated an interesting speculation on the future of electricity—that is, has regarded it with a certain mild, literary satisfaction, but has not made any change in its arrangements in consequence.… Yet, supposing Mr. Proctor's facts to be correctly stated—on which we should like to have the judgment of other astronomers—there does seem a remarkably good chance that in 1897 the sun will suddenly break out into the same kind of intensity of heat and light which caused the conflagration in the star of the Northern Crown in 1866, when for a day or two the heat and light emitted by it became suddenly many hundreds of times greater than they were before, after which the star relapsed into its former relative insignificance. Those few days of violence, however, must have been enough to destroy completely all vegetable and animal life in the planets circulating round that sun, if such planets were in existence; and Mr. Proctor shows no little reason to believe that the same catastrophe may very probably happen to us, doubtless from a precisely similar cause, if the astronomers who believe that the comet of 1880 was identical with the comet of 1843 and the comet of 1668 should be right,—which would imply that the same comet, with a rapidly diminishing period, is likely to return and fall into the sun, with all its meteoric appendages, in or about the year 1897. Mr. Proctor tells us that Professor Winnecke believes that the identity of the comets of 1843 and 1880 hardly admits of a doubt; while Mr. Marth thinks that both may be identical with the comet of 1668, its velocity having been reduced by its passing through the corona of the sun; so that on its next return, in a considerably reduced time, it may be altogether unable to pass out of the sphere of the sun's influence, and may precipitate itself, with all its meteoric train, into the mass of the sun. If this event occurs—as at some return or other Mr. Proctor believes to be nearly certain—(the next but one, we suppose, if not the next), there will certainly be an abrupt arrest of an enormous momentum as the long train of meteors enters the sun, which arrest would show itself in the shape of enormously increased heat,—the probable result whereof would be the burning up of all vegetable and animal life existing on the planets of the solar system. It is true that Mr. Proctor is not quite sure how the absorption of this comet and its train into the sun would really affect us. He is by no means certain that our sun would burst into flame, as the star in the Northern Crown did in 1866, but he evidently thinks it much more likely than not. And he does not seriously doubt that in the behaviour of the star in the Northern Crown, which so suddenly broke into flame in 1866, we have the example of a real sidereal catastrophe which from time to time either actually destroys, or would destroy, if they existed, such worlds as ours, if they happen to be the planets of a sun thus suddenly fed with a great accession of cosmic heat."

In connection with the same subject the writer has recently met with the following passage in Mr. Garrat's "Midnight Cry," written about twenty years ago:—"The fiery flood. So it is described in Peter's second epistle. The destruction of the ungodly will be by fire; and out of that fire will issue the new heavens and the new earth. The question is often asked, whether that event will happen at the commencement or the close of the millennium. Perhaps, in different degrees, at both. Isaiah says, speaking of a period prior to the thousand years, ‘By fire and by sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.' And he seems also to place the creation of new heavens and a new earth at the same period; while it is after the millennium, John says in Revelation, ‘I saw a new heaven and a new earth.' This and many other apparent difficulties of the same nature are easily explained. ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.' The whole millennium is, in God's eye, but a day—the great day of the Lord God Almighty. It is the ‘regeneration,'—the period of earth's new birth; and the events at its commencement and its close are sometimes looked upon as one. God will destroy His enemies with fire at the beginning of these thousand years. The conflagration at their close will be still more terrible. Both are looked upon as one event. And it is to both, regarded as one, that the words of Peter apply: ‘The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.' It will come as a thief in the night on the world. They will be alone, because the Church will have been translated. With what bitter remorse will men look on the fiery deluge as it comes sweeping along! They might have escaped, and they would not; and now escape is impossible."


Verse 13-14

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXVI.—THE KINGDOM OF THE SON OF MAN (Chap. Dan )

We come now to what is perhaps the most glorious part of the visions of Daniel, or even of the prophetic Word in general. We have here the plain and full announcement of that which constitutes the burden of the prophets from the beginning—the kingdom of God upon earth, the establishing of which in the place of the kingdom which God's adversary had introduced into the world was the great object of the incarnation of the Son of God. In another part of his prophecies Daniel speaks of "the sufferings of Christ" (chap. 9); here it is "the glory that should follow" (1Pe ). It is "the mystery of God according to the good tidings which He declared to His servants the prophets," which the trumpet of the seventh angel was to introduce (Rev 10:7, R.V.) It is "the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord," and of "the restoration of all things, whereof God spake by the month of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began" (Act 3:19; Act 3:21, R.V.) It is the consummation which John heard rapturously celebrated by the great voices in heaven when the seventh angel sounded, "The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev 11:15, R.V.) We have in these and the following verses the detailed account of the kingdom of the Son of Man, in its character, extent, and duration, as succeeding to and taking the place of the kingdoms of this world, including the dominion exercised by the Little Horn or Papal power. "The coming of Christ in His kingdom and glory," says Archdeacon Harrison, "is in truth that great and final consummation for which the whole course of God's moral government hath been ordered from the very beginning of the world's history; and every successive stage in the fall of earthly power is, in its degree, a fuller manifestation of the glory with which the Almighty would invest His incarnate Son, exalted in His human nature as the Son of Man to supreme dominion." In the sublime and magnificent passage before us we have—

II. The reality of the kingdom. It is something given to Him by the Father. That something is called "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." As the result of it, "peoples and nations and languages" were to "serve Him." The gift was as truly a kingdom as any of those that preceded it; as that, for example, which God "gave" to Nebuchadnezzar. It is represented as properly a fifth universal monarchy, abolishing and taking the place of the fourth, as that did in regard to its predecessor. As a kingdom or monarchy, it has, like the rest, its Ruler, its subjects, its laws, its administration. It is a kingdom or monarchy rather than a republic; for it has one Head or Ruler, the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords; and yet it is also true that the kingdom is given to "the people of the saints of the Most High," who shall reign along with Him (Dan ; Dan 7:22; Dan 7:27). The difference between this kingdom and those that preceded it is in its origin, its character, its blessings, its objects, its extent, and its duration.

III. The Head of the kingdom. This distinctly said to be the Son of Man. No question as to who this is. The title constantly appropriated by the Lord Jesus, though not given to Him by His disciples. The title given also to the Messiah in Psa . His title in virtue of His incarnation, marking Him truly man while He is as truly God. The Son of Man and Son of God in one person. The Son of Man par excellence. Pre-eminently the Man. The new Head and representative of humanity. The second Adam, taking the place of the first root and father of the race, by whom it fell. The sovereignty over creation given to man lost in the first Adam and regained in the second (Psalms 8; Heb 2:8-9). Sin and death our inheritance through the first man, righteousness and life through the second, called the Son of Man (Rom 5:12; Rom 5:17; 1Co 15:21-22). As Jesus declared Himself before the high priest to be the Son of Man of whom Daniel spoke in the text, so before Pilate He declared Himself to be a King, and the King of the Jews, though His kingdom was not then of this world (Joh 18:36-37). The world's blessedness is in this, that at length it shall be under the rule of the Son of Man as its King, the King of righteousness and Prince of peace, the Son of Man and yet the Mighty God, the Ruler for whom it has sighed for nearly six thousand years.

IV. The time of the kingdom. This appears to be plainly indicated as immediately succeeding the destruction of the fourth beast or Roman Empire with its ten kingdoms and little horn. The kingdom of the Son of Man, although set up in its commencement in the days of the fourth or last empire (chap. Dan ), yet is obviously intended to be the successor, and to take the place of, the four great monarchies. That Christ began to exercise His regal office immediately after His ascension, and has been doing so ever since, there can be no doubt. The foundation of His visible kingdom in the world seems to have been laid on the day of Pentecost, when, after the descent of the Spirit, the apostles declared, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Act 2:33). The kingdom, however, was perhaps then, and still is, rather in its preparation than in its manifestation and glory. The nobleman is receiving the kingdom in the far country. Thus Paul connects the kingdom that is in its full development and glory with His appearing when He shall judge both quick and dead (2Ti 4:1). It is "in the regeneration," or renewed state of the world, that "the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory," and the apostles shall "sit also on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Mat 19:28, R.V.) During this time of preparation, the dispensation of the Gospel, those were to be gathered out who, after overcoming in the fight of faith, shall sit with Christ on His throne, and receive from Him authority over the nations to rule them, as He also has received of His Father (Rev 2:26-27; Rev 3:21). The times of the Gentiles are to be fulfilled, and Israel is to be brought to receive in penitence their rejected king, before the times of refreshing can come from the presence of the Lord, and God can send again Jesus, whom till then the heavens were to receive (Act 3:19-21, R.V.) Then, according to the prophet, shall the Lord of hosts "reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously" (Isa 24:21-23). In this sense believers still have to pray, "Thy kingdom come," or, in the words that have for centuries been uttered at the open grave, that the Lord would "shortly accomplish the number of His elect and hasten His kingdom."

V. The place of the kingdom. This is obviously the earth, the place of the preceding monarchies. The kingdom is said to be not in heaven, but "under the whole heaven" (Dan ). It is peoples, nations, languages, and dominions (marg., rulers) that are to serve and obey Him (Dan 7:14; Dan 7:27). But these only have their place and existence as such on earth. The expectation of the saints now in glory is that they shall reign with Christ on the earth (Rev 5:10; Rev 20:4). It is the kingdoms of the world that are to become "the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" (Rev 11:15). The stone, when become a great mountain, was to fill the whole earth. The earth, made to be inhabited by man, but seized and held by the great usurper, to be rescued and restored by the second Adam as the special seat and sphere of His kingdom. The earth not to be annihilated at His coming, but purified and delivered "from the bondage of corruption" (Rom 8:21). "We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2Pe 3:13). God's sending back Jesus connected with "times of refreshing" to the earth (Act 3:19, R.V.)

X. The certainty of the kingdom. This is as great as the word of the living God can make it. Its establishment and blessings the constant subject of the teaching both of Jesus Christ and His apostles. The keynote of the Apocalypse. The predictions regarding the previous four monarchies exactly fulfilled; those pertaining to the fifth will not be less so. Uncertainty may exist in regard to some things connected with the kingdom, none in regard to the kingdom itself. How Christ may come to set it up in its glorious manifestation and power, and at what time He may do so, and what shall be the concomitants of its establishment; how He will exercise His kingly rule, and how long it shall continue, whether a thousand years literally or otherwise, and what state of things shall follow; these and many other things connected with the kingdom may be uncertain, but the kingdom itself, in its more glorious manifestation and universal extension, is among the certainties of the word of Him who cannot lie. It has been already and still is in the world, and has for more than eighteen centuries blessed men with its precious fruits wherever it has been made known, and unbelief has not rejected it. It has indeed been but as the grain of mustard-seed, and the enemy has sadly mixed the tares with the wheat. But the mustard-seed shall become a tree, and the tares shall be rooted up, and the mystery of iniquity, that has so disfigured and changed the appearance of the kingdom, shall be destroyed; and the kingdom, which had been only a hidden one, and without observation, with perhaps only now and then a prelusive flash bursting forth from behind the cloud, shall be manifested in glory, and embrace all nations. The Gospel, or glad tidings of this kingdom, must first be preached for a witness to all nations, and then shall the long-desired end come. Even so come, Lord Jesus!

1. It is for believers to rejoice in the prospect revealed in the text. In the anticipation of a universal and endless reign of righteousness and peace to bless this poor, sin-stricken, and curse-laden earth, we may well rejoice. The prospect of a kingdom that shall bring glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and goodwill among men, instead of the wretchedness, and crime, and tears, and blood with which sin has stained and burdened it for six thousand years, may well make glad the heart of every lover of God and of his kind. In the midst of the groans and miseries of a world that yet lies under the power of the Evil One, who is a murderer from the beginning, infallible truth calls us to rejoice in the assurance that the day is hastening on when He who has been constituted Lord of all, because He has redeemed them by His precious blood, shall "make all things new," and establish a state of things far exceeding the anticipations of the most sanguine philanthropists. In the prospect of what it promises in connection with the kingdom of the Son of Man, inspiration calls upon us greatly to rejoice in sympathy with a renovated and rejoicing world: "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar and the fulness thereof. Let the fields be joyful, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord. For He cometh, for He Cometh to judge [to deliver and govern] the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth" (Psa ; see also Psa 97:1; Psa 98:4-9). In the midst of prevailing darkness and confusion, and scepticism and sin, it belongs to believers to rejoice that, not merely for themselves, but for the world, it is "better on before."

2. It is for us to make sure our place in that kingdom now. It is our privilege to be among the subjects of the Son of Man now, by accepting Him cordially as our King and our Saviour from sin. He has His kingdom now, into which He brings every penitent believing soul, or rather which He brings into such a soul. He has His kingdom of grace now, preparatory to the kingdom of glory hereafter. To be His loyal and loving subject now, secures that we shall be among His glorified subjects in the day of His appearing. It is ours to make this sure, through His Spirit's grace, by accepting Him as our King and Saviour, and giving ourselves up entirely to Him to save and rule us. "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (Joh ).

3. It is our privilege and duty to speed that kingdom by our prayers, and to prepare others as well as ourselves for a place in it. It is the King Himself who has taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come!" Offered with the heart, and not merely, as too often, with the lips, it will not be in vain. In answer to the prayer of His elect, who cry day and night to Him continually, He will hasten His kingdom. He will appear in His glory and build again Zion, "because He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer" (Psa ). A prayer to the same effect left us in the last words of the Bible, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." The Spirit exhorts us by Peter, not merely to "hasten unto," but to "hasten" the coming of the day of God (2Pe 3:12, margin). But it is ours also to seek to gather others into the kingdom, that so the number of His elect may be accomplished, and the kingdom in its glory be hastened. Peter urged the Jews to repent and be converted in order that the times of refreshing might come, and God might send again Jesus (Act 3:19, R.V.) The Bride, whom He is to receive and bring with Him, is to be gathered out and prepared for His coming. For this the Gospel is to be preached to all nations, and the Bride, already gathered out, is to say to all others, "Come." This loving and loved work of Jesus when on earth He has left for His saved people to do in His name and stead: "Ye shall be witnesses unto me unto the uttermost ends of the earth" (Act 1:6-8). The kingdom of grace, or rather Jesus Himself, like Noah's Ark, stands open as the only place of safety for sinners, and His people are with loving persuasion to "compel them to come in."


Verse 18

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXVII.—THE KINGDOM OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH (Chap. Dan ; Dan 7:22; Dan 7:27)

‘The saints shall take the kingdom." A striking feature in the kingdom predicted in this vision of Daniel is that, while it is distinctly said to be given to the Son of Man, it is just as distinctly said, and that twice over, to be given to the saints, or to the people of the saints of the Most High, and that the saints take the kingdom. Although this circumstance has been slightly referred to under the preceding section, in connection with the administration of the kingdom of the Son of Man, yet from the prominence given to it and its threefold repetition in the vision it demands a separate consideration. We notice—the saints to whom the kingdom is given; the kingdom itself; the sense in which it is given to the saints; the suitableness of the appointment; and the beneficial results.

II. The kingdom itself. This appears to be the same as that of which the interpreting angel had already spoken as the kingdom given by the Ancient of Days to the Son of Man—the kingdom of which Christ is the Head and King, and which was to take the place of the kingdoms of this world, or of the four monarchies, which shall have disappeared as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor (chap. 2) The same dominion, rule, and kingdom that is given to Christ is given to the saints as Christ's members, who are to reign and be glorified with Him, and to sit with Him on His throne; to whom He Himself was to give authority over the nations, to rule them along with Him, and whom He was to appoint a kingdom as His Father had appointed to Himself. The kingdom is given by the Ancient of Days to Christ, and by Christ is given to His Church or Bride, to possess it along with Him, and be associated with Him in its government. The kingdom is heavenly in its origin and character, but has its place not in heaven but on earth, over and among the nations and peoples inhabiting it. While having its earthly visible and material side, like its predecessors, it will be spiritual and holy in its character, consisting not in meats and drinks, but in righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; the kingdom that has been so long prayed for, when God's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. From heaven, wherever that may be, the saints will rule the earth with Christ, while the saints on earth shall rule subordinately with them. The "kingdom of the world" shall become "the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ," or His anointed members (Rev , R.V.)

IV. The suitableness of the appointment. There is something suitable in the thrice-repeated declaration that the saints of the Most High, or truly holy persons, shall take the kingdom. In the preceding empires, and ever since Nimrod, the "mighty hunter before the Lord," began to be "a mighty one on the earth," the "vilest of men" have often been "exalted" to kingly power, and, as a consequence, the "wicked have walked on every side" (Psa ). For wise and holy reasons, God, in His mysterious providence, often sets over kingdoms the "basest of men," when, as a natural result, the land is filled with misery and crime (Dan 4:17). Selfish and godless rulers have constituted a part of the present state of earthly things. Natural, so long as "the whole world lieth in the evil one" (1Jn 5:19, R.V.) Evil rulers a part of the evil entailed by the Fall, and often the chastisement of the sins of the people. What the world wants and longs for, but seldom obtains, is wise, upright, disinterested rulers, ruling in the fear of God and for the best interests of their subjects. Such is the state of things predicted in the text. Something suitable and becoming when holy men, separated from sin and selfishness, bearing the image and character of the God whose name and nature is love, and who is "righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works," shall take, and, by divine gift, possess the kingdom. Such have learned to rule by being first taught how to obey, and have been trained to reign with Christ hereafter by suffering with Him here. Such fitted to rule by imbibing the spirit and walking in the steps of Him who was meek and lowly in heart, and who pleased not Himself, but went about doing good. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Mat 5:3; Mat 5:5).

1. Cause of rejoicing in the prospect presented by the text. It was as a ground of comfort and a matter of rejoicing that it was three times announced to Daniel that the saints should take and possess the kingdom. It was intimated as good tidings not only for the saints themselves, who, instead of being given into the hands of oppressors and persecutors, despised and down-trodden, and often counted as sheep for the slaughter, should have the rule and government of the nations committed to them, but for the world who should reap the benefit of such a state of things. Whether it be the saints that have finished their course of suffering and service on earth, and now are glorified according to the promise, or whether it be the saints still living in the flesh, be it Jews or Gentiles, or both, it is for every lover of his kind to rejoice that a day is coming when truly holy persons, and only such, shall hold the reins of government, and administer a righteous and beneficent rule over the nations, in loyal and loving subordination and obedience to the Prince of Peace. That saints, renewed and sanctified in Christ, transformed into His image, and breathing His spirit of meekness, humility, and love, and at the same time guided by a wisdom that is from above, pure, peaceable, and gentle, full of mercy and of good fruits, instead of the wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and devilish—that such shall be the only rulers that the earth shall know, and that their rule shall be at the same time the rule of the Son of Man, with all power in heaven and earth, is surely a consummation devoutly to be wished, and a prospect greatly to be rejoiced in.

2. The blessed consequence of a faithful adherence to the Saviour. The saints shall take the kingdom. Believers are made kings and priests already. They are princes even now, but in disguise. They travel to their inheritance incognito. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we do know that a crown of glory awaits every faithful follower of Jesus, however poor his condition may be now. If we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him. Suffering with Him now, we shall be also glorified with Him hereafter. When He who is our life shall be manifested, we shall also "with Him be manifested in glory" (Col , R.V.) The humblest follower of Jesus, faithful unto death, shall receive a crown of life, and shall sit down with Christ in His throne, sharing with Him in His kingly glory, and in the government of a renewed world. They shall reign with Christ. "The saints shall judge the world. Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (1Co 6:2-3). It matters not how the saints shall reign or exercise the kingly authority that shall be committed to them. What we know not now we shall know hereafter. Enough that the thing is true. If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him. Let this be our comfort under the burden and heat of the day, and let it animate us to use unfaltering perseverance in a cause of faithful self-denying service, till the Master shall please to call us from the field.

3. The character of the future blessedness of the saints. They shall possess the kingdom. They shall thus have noble work to do, honourable and dignified service to employ them. His servants shall still serve Him, and they shall serve Him in the highest form of service. They shall find abundant scope for the sanctified faculties which they shall possess, and have ample field for the exercise of the Christ-like disposition which shall animate them. Renewed in the image of the universal Ruler, they shall have the employment restored to them which was originally bestowed upon man at his creation, but was lost through the Fall. Their blessedness will not be mere rest, but rest from trouble, sin, and bondage, with a holy and happy employment which shall become their position as sons of God and brethren of the King of kings, and in which they shall with Him still contribute to the glory of the Creator and the happiness of His creatures. They will thus not only be made to resemble their Lord and Husband, but be kept in closest sympathy and fellowship with Him, as sharing in the government that shall be upon His shoulders. What was their chief happiness on earth will thus be perfected in glory. Their kingly and princely office they will also be enabled to discharge without fatigue, and without the grief of being continually opposed and thwarted in their benevolent endeavours by the wily and watchful enmity of him who was the great adversary of God and man, but who shall then be under a divine restraint, so as no more to deceive the nations (Rev ).

4. The privilege of believers to be employed now in a way that shall be both an anticipation of their future blessedness and their preparation for it. This is that of seeking, according to our gifts and opportunities, to promote the objects aimed at by Christ Himself and the saints that shall reign with Him over the earth—the glory of the Creator and the happiness of men, as experienced in His favour and service. To promote this twofold object is the work given to believers to do now, more especially by communicating the knowledge of the Saviour, and persuading men to be reconciled through Him to God. The Saviour's parting commission to His Church, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth." "Preach the Gospel to every creature." "Shine as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of life." "Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire." For this blessed though now often trying and self-denying service He has promised and bestowed abundant qualification in the gift of His Holy Spirit: "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Act ). Such employment here, in whatever way and in whatever circumstances, a blessed anticipation of and preparation for our future employment when the saints shall take the kingdom. It was the faithful servant to whom it was said, "Have thou authority over ten cities." Nor will the painful trials and deep sorrow which we may be called to experience in connection with a faithful endeavour to serve Christ and our fellow-men in the present state, be the least part of our preparation for the higher service that awaits us when all tears shall be wiped away.

5. Our interest to make sure our place now among the saints who shall possess the kingdom. Regard to one's own interest makes this the first object we should be concerned to secure. The day is hastening when to have neglected this will appear the height of madness. To throw a fortune, a dukedom, a kingdom away, will one day soon appear to be reason and sense compared with the throwing away the opportunity of obtaining a place among those who shall in a few short years possess a kingdom that shall never pass away. That place is to be secured simply by a sincere and cordial acceptance of the Saviour whom God in His love has provided for a lost and guilty world, that Son of Man who came to seek and to save that which is lost. "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." That Son of Man who shall come one day in His glory and all His saints with Him, comes now in His Gospel to each man and woman who hears it, and offers him freely Himself, and along with Himself a place among His saints who shall hereafter with Himself possess the kingdom. Reader, have you cordially accepted Him? Is He yours? Are you among His redeemed people? If not, accept Him now, and take no rest till by His grace you are enabled joyfully to say, "My Lord and my God!"


Verses 19-25

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXIV.—THE LITTLE HORN (Chap. Dan ; Dan 7:19-25)

I. Its rise. It is said to rise among the other ten horns, and so to be contemporaneous with them; and also after or behind them, and so in the time of its appearance posterior to the rest, as well as gradual in its growth and for a time unobserved. Before it, three of the ten were "plucked up by the roots and fell," or, as it is interpreted by the angel, it subdued three out of the ten kings or kingdoms, and so made room for itself by occupying their place (Dan ; Dan 7:10; Dan 7:24). The other horns obtained their place as kingdoms out of the body of the fourth beast or Roman empire; this one was to obtain its place out of that beast only indirectly, by gaining it out of the others.

II. Its character and description.

(1.) A "little" horn; small in comparison with the rest, especially in its commencement, and humble, perhaps, in its profession.

(3.) The mouth uttered "great words against the Most High;" hence proud, arrogant, and blasphemous; while from the eyes was a "look more stout than his fellows," also indicative of pride and haughtiness above that of the other powers, and an overbearing demeanour in respect to them.

(4.) He was to "make war with the saints of the Most High, to wear them out, and prevail against them;" a persecuting power, and one whose persecutions should be persevering and successful, against such as adhered to a holy life and the worship of God according to His Word.

(5.) He was to "think to change times and laws;" lofty in his pretensions, as superior to laws both human and divine, and affecting a power which is the prerogative of God (chap. Dan ).

5. The saints were to be "given into his hand" for a definite period, prophetically and enigmatically described as a "a time, times, and the dividing of a time;" his power over the saints or true worshippers of God to be absolute for a time, but that time a limited one. "To form a well-grounded judgment regarding the appearance of this last enemy," observes Keil, "we must compare the description given of him here with the apocalyptic description of the same enemy under the image of the beast out of the sea or out of the abyss" (Rev ; Rev 17:7-13); and we may add, with the description of the "Man of Sin" given by the apostle (2Th 2:4, &c.), with an obvious allusion to the passage before us.

"The tempter," says Gavazzi, "came over the Alps in the Gallic Pepin; he showed from a pinnacle of earthly power and aggrandisement the kingdoms of this world, and pledged himself to secure their homage, if, falling prostrate before God's adversary, ‘Christ's Vicar' should adore him. The sacrilegious bargain was struck; the ark of the Lord was placed in the temple of Dagon; the bishops of Rome, who over and over again suffered death rather than offer incense to Pagan idols, fell into the palpable snare of Satan; and the hand that bore on its finger the brightest of sacerdotal gems in the ‘ring of the fisherman' was outstretched, with scandalous avidity, to burn a fatal frankincense on the altar of secular ambition. A visible change fell on the Papacy. The gory crown of martyrdom was exchanged for the glittering tiara."

Mr. Mede supposed the three "uprooted" or "depressed" horns to be, first, the Greeks, that is, the entire kingdom of Italy, which in 554 was ended by the Exarchate or dependent government of the Greek emperor, which continued for fifteen years; second, the Lombards, who possessed the country for about 200 years; and, third, the Franks, who stretched their authority into the immediate vicinity of Rome.

2. In the character of the Papacy.

(2.) It was "diverse from the first" (Dan ), having the eyes and mouth of a man. The difference of the Papacy from the other powers, as already noticed, conspicuous in this, that it was at the same time both a temporal and a spiritual power, the Pope being both a secular prince and a spiritual teacher, or, as Gibbon expresses it, "a Christian bishop invested with the prerogatives of a temporal prince." The Pope claimed both swords, the civil and the ecclesiastical; a combination perhaps indicated in the Revelation by the two separate beasts, the one rising out of the sea and the other out of the earth (Rev 13:1-11), or in the fact that the latter had two horns like a lamb, while it spake like a dragon (Dan 7:11).

As yet probably they had no idea that the Bishop of Rome was to be he; for his coming was to be a "mystery of iniquity," and "mystery" was to be the name of the system of which he was the head, as the word is said to be actually found on the Papal mitre. But a few centuries awoke the suspicion. In the Middle Ages it was believed by many that the Antichrist had already appeared in the person of the Popes. In the tenth century Arnulph, Bishop of Orleans, addressing a Council at Rheims, said: "O deplorable Rome, who in the days of our forefathers produced so many burning and shining lights! thou hast brought forth in our times only dismal darkness worthy of the detestation of posterity.… What think you, reverend fathers, of this man, the Pope, placed on a lofty throne, shining with purple and gold? Whom do you account him? If destitute of love and puffed up with pride of knowledge only, he is Antichrist sitting in the temple of God." It is said in a work published in 1120, "The great Antichrist is already come; in vain is he yet expected; already by the permission of God is he advanced in years." Roman Catholic writers, of course, refuse to believe that the Papacy is "the Little Horn or Antichrist;" and some few Protestants agree with them in thinking that that power is still future; while others, as the German Rationalists, would see in it only Antiochus Epiphanes. In reference to this last opinion, it is enough to say, with Auberlen, that the Little Horn is found among the ten kingdoms of the fourth beast or Roman Empire, while Antiochus Epiphanes belonged to the third or Grecian, which, according to chap. 8, is well known to have been divided, not into ten, but into four kingdoms. That the Roman Empire was broken up into about ten different kingdoms many centuries ago, and that the Papacy, as a temporal power, sprung up among them, are facts not to be disputed.

From the prophecy regarding the Little Horn we may notice—

1. The providence of God as ruling both in the world and in the Church. "He putteth down one and setteth up another." Even the Little Horn, which was to prove such a scourge to the Church and to the world, was entirely under His control, and employed as His instrument in accomplishing the purposes of His infinite wisdom. The saints were to be "given" into His hand, as Judah and its king were given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar (chap. Dan ). The same Providence limited the continuance of the subjection in both cases. What is done wickedly by man is permitted and controlled wisely and holily by God.

2. The comfort of God's people to know that their sufferings are meted out, both in intensity and duration, by a Father's hand. It was a fiery trial that was to try the saints when they were to be given into the hand of the Little Horn, who was to make war upon them, and prevail against them, and wear them out. But it was to continue only for a time, a long time indeed, as indicated in the expression "a time, times, and the dividing of a time;" but still it was to come to an end. "Thou shalt have tribulation ten days,"—not more. "In measure when it shooteth forth, Thou wilt debate with it: He stayeth His rough wind in the day of His east wind" (Isa ). The "time to favour Zion, even the set time," comes.

3. The preciousness and power of divine grace in sustaining the people of God under protracted persecutions and afflictions. No small affliction to the saints who held fast the Word of God to have war made upon them by a mighty and prevailing power, and to be worn out by exile, imprisonment, and loss of goods, year after year, the same thing being continued century after century. No small amount of grace needed to sustain them in the conflict, so as to be faithful unto death. But the promise is sure. "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness." "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." Though appointed as sheep to the slaughter, we are made more than conquerors through Him that loved us. "They overcame through the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony."

4. The divine, and therefore indestructible, nature of the Church and religion of Jesus Christ, which has held out under centuries of cruel persecution. To exhibit this, probably one reason why such a state of things is permitted to take place. The bush burns, but is not consumed, because the Lord Himself is in it. The gates and power of hell unable to prevail against the Church of Christ, because founded on the Rock of Ages. The Church outlives the furnace, because One like the Son of God—the Son of God Himself—is with it there. "If this counsel or work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it." "Although," says Sismondi, himself a Roman Catholic, "for two hundred years the fires were never quenched, still every day saw Catholics abjuring the faith of their fathers, and embracing the religion which often guided them to the stake. In vain Gregory IX., in 1231, put to death every heretic whom he found concealed in Rome."

5. Cause for joy and thanksgiving that the wearing out of the saints by the Little Horn is at or near its close. There may yet be possibly a period of intense suffering from that same Little Horn under a changed aspect; but if so, it will be but of short continuance; perhaps the "time, times, and dividing of a time," on the shorter literal day scale. But we may well rejoice and give thanks that the long-protracted period of "wearing out" is at an end. The fires of Smithfield and the tortures of the Inquisition, we may believe, are over. Even in Rome men may read the Bible and worship God according to it without being afraid. Let us thank God for liberty of conscience in Europe.

6. The prediction regarding the Little Horn, with its manifest fulfilment, another remarkable evidence of divine inspiration. That horn, as rising out of the fourth beast, and among the other ten, acknowledged not to be Antiochus Epiphanes, and must therefore be found long after the time when the prophecy was written. The prediction minute and detailed; and its fulfilment, in a power that for twelve centuries has been the most prominent and conspicuous one in Europe, singularly exact. The fulfilment of such prediction, though perfectly natural, yet partaking of the nature of a miracle, as being beyond any mere human power to foresee it, and as such an evidence of the divine origin of the prediction.


Verse 22

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXVII.—THE KINGDOM OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH (Chap. Dan ; Dan 7:22; Dan 7:27)

‘The saints shall take the kingdom." A striking feature in the kingdom predicted in this vision of Daniel is that, while it is distinctly said to be given to the Son of Man, it is just as distinctly said, and that twice over, to be given to the saints, or to the people of the saints of the Most High, and that the saints take the kingdom. Although this circumstance has been slightly referred to under the preceding section, in connection with the administration of the kingdom of the Son of Man, yet from the prominence given to it and its threefold repetition in the vision it demands a separate consideration. We notice—the saints to whom the kingdom is given; the kingdom itself; the sense in which it is given to the saints; the suitableness of the appointment; and the beneficial results.

II. The kingdom itself. This appears to be the same as that of which the interpreting angel had already spoken as the kingdom given by the Ancient of Days to the Son of Man—the kingdom of which Christ is the Head and King, and which was to take the place of the kingdoms of this world, or of the four monarchies, which shall have disappeared as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor (chap. 2) The same dominion, rule, and kingdom that is given to Christ is given to the saints as Christ's members, who are to reign and be glorified with Him, and to sit with Him on His throne; to whom He Himself was to give authority over the nations, to rule them along with Him, and whom He was to appoint a kingdom as His Father had appointed to Himself. The kingdom is given by the Ancient of Days to Christ, and by Christ is given to His Church or Bride, to possess it along with Him, and be associated with Him in its government. The kingdom is heavenly in its origin and character, but has its place not in heaven but on earth, over and among the nations and peoples inhabiting it. While having its earthly visible and material side, like its predecessors, it will be spiritual and holy in its character, consisting not in meats and drinks, but in righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; the kingdom that has been so long prayed for, when God's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. From heaven, wherever that may be, the saints will rule the earth with Christ, while the saints on earth shall rule subordinately with them. The "kingdom of the world" shall become "the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ," or His anointed members (Rev , R.V.)

IV. The suitableness of the appointment. There is something suitable in the thrice-repeated declaration that the saints of the Most High, or truly holy persons, shall take the kingdom. In the preceding empires, and ever since Nimrod, the "mighty hunter before the Lord," began to be "a mighty one on the earth," the "vilest of men" have often been "exalted" to kingly power, and, as a consequence, the "wicked have walked on every side" (Psa ). For wise and holy reasons, God, in His mysterious providence, often sets over kingdoms the "basest of men," when, as a natural result, the land is filled with misery and crime (Dan 4:17). Selfish and godless rulers have constituted a part of the present state of earthly things. Natural, so long as "the whole world lieth in the evil one" (1Jn 5:19, R.V.) Evil rulers a part of the evil entailed by the Fall, and often the chastisement of the sins of the people. What the world wants and longs for, but seldom obtains, is wise, upright, disinterested rulers, ruling in the fear of God and for the best interests of their subjects. Such is the state of things predicted in the text. Something suitable and becoming when holy men, separated from sin and selfishness, bearing the image and character of the God whose name and nature is love, and who is "righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works," shall take, and, by divine gift, possess the kingdom. Such have learned to rule by being first taught how to obey, and have been trained to reign with Christ hereafter by suffering with Him here. Such fitted to rule by imbibing the spirit and walking in the steps of Him who was meek and lowly in heart, and who pleased not Himself, but went about doing good. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Mat 5:3; Mat 5:5).

1. Cause of rejoicing in the prospect presented by the text. It was as a ground of comfort and a matter of rejoicing that it was three times announced to Daniel that the saints should take and possess the kingdom. It was intimated as good tidings not only for the saints themselves, who, instead of being given into the hands of oppressors and persecutors, despised and down-trodden, and often counted as sheep for the slaughter, should have the rule and government of the nations committed to them, but for the world who should reap the benefit of such a state of things. Whether it be the saints that have finished their course of suffering and service on earth, and now are glorified according to the promise, or whether it be the saints still living in the flesh, be it Jews or Gentiles, or both, it is for every lover of his kind to rejoice that a day is coming when truly holy persons, and only such, shall hold the reins of government, and administer a righteous and beneficent rule over the nations, in loyal and loving subordination and obedience to the Prince of Peace. That saints, renewed and sanctified in Christ, transformed into His image, and breathing His spirit of meekness, humility, and love, and at the same time guided by a wisdom that is from above, pure, peaceable, and gentle, full of mercy and of good fruits, instead of the wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and devilish—that such shall be the only rulers that the earth shall know, and that their rule shall be at the same time the rule of the Son of Man, with all power in heaven and earth, is surely a consummation devoutly to be wished, and a prospect greatly to be rejoiced in.

2. The blessed consequence of a faithful adherence to the Saviour. The saints shall take the kingdom. Believers are made kings and priests already. They are princes even now, but in disguise. They travel to their inheritance incognito. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we do know that a crown of glory awaits every faithful follower of Jesus, however poor his condition may be now. If we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him. Suffering with Him now, we shall be also glorified with Him hereafter. When He who is our life shall be manifested, we shall also "with Him be manifested in glory" (Col , R.V.) The humblest follower of Jesus, faithful unto death, shall receive a crown of life, and shall sit down with Christ in His throne, sharing with Him in His kingly glory, and in the government of a renewed world. They shall reign with Christ. "The saints shall judge the world. Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (1Co 6:2-3). It matters not how the saints shall reign or exercise the kingly authority that shall be committed to them. What we know not now we shall know hereafter. Enough that the thing is true. If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him. Let this be our comfort under the burden and heat of the day, and let it animate us to use unfaltering perseverance in a cause of faithful self-denying service, till the Master shall please to call us from the field.

3. The character of the future blessedness of the saints. They shall possess the kingdom. They shall thus have noble work to do, honourable and dignified service to employ them. His servants shall still serve Him, and they shall serve Him in the highest form of service. They shall find abundant scope for the sanctified faculties which they shall possess, and have ample field for the exercise of the Christ-like disposition which shall animate them. Renewed in the image of the universal Ruler, they shall have the employment restored to them which was originally bestowed upon man at his creation, but was lost through the Fall. Their blessedness will not be mere rest, but rest from trouble, sin, and bondage, with a holy and happy employment which shall become their position as sons of God and brethren of the King of kings, and in which they shall with Him still contribute to the glory of the Creator and the happiness of His creatures. They will thus not only be made to resemble their Lord and Husband, but be kept in closest sympathy and fellowship with Him, as sharing in the government that shall be upon His shoulders. What was their chief happiness on earth will thus be perfected in glory. Their kingly and princely office they will also be enabled to discharge without fatigue, and without the grief of being continually opposed and thwarted in their benevolent endeavours by the wily and watchful enmity of him who was the great adversary of God and man, but who shall then be under a divine restraint, so as no more to deceive the nations (Rev ).

4. The privilege of believers to be employed now in a way that shall be both an anticipation of their future blessedness and their preparation for it. This is that of seeking, according to our gifts and opportunities, to promote the objects aimed at by Christ Himself and the saints that shall reign with Him over the earth—the glory of the Creator and the happiness of men, as experienced in His favour and service. To promote this twofold object is the work given to believers to do now, more especially by communicating the knowledge of the Saviour, and persuading men to be reconciled through Him to God. The Saviour's parting commission to His Church, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth." "Preach the Gospel to every creature." "Shine as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of life." "Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire." For this blessed though now often trying and self-denying service He has promised and bestowed abundant qualification in the gift of His Holy Spirit: "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Act ). Such employment here, in whatever way and in whatever circumstances, a blessed anticipation of and preparation for our future employment when the saints shall take the kingdom. It was the faithful servant to whom it was said, "Have thou authority over ten cities." Nor will the painful trials and deep sorrow which we may be called to experience in connection with a faithful endeavour to serve Christ and our fellow-men in the present state, be the least part of our preparation for the higher service that awaits us when all tears shall be wiped away.

5. Our interest to make sure our place now among the saints who shall possess the kingdom. Regard to one's own interest makes this the first object we should be concerned to secure. The day is hastening when to have neglected this will appear the height of madness. To throw a fortune, a dukedom, a kingdom away, will one day soon appear to be reason and sense compared with the throwing away the opportunity of obtaining a place among those who shall in a few short years possess a kingdom that shall never pass away. That place is to be secured simply by a sincere and cordial acceptance of the Saviour whom God in His love has provided for a lost and guilty world, that Son of Man who came to seek and to save that which is lost. "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." That Son of Man who shall come one day in His glory and all His saints with Him, comes now in His Gospel to each man and woman who hears it, and offers him freely Himself, and along with Himself a place among His saints who shall hereafter with Himself possess the kingdom. Reader, have you cordially accepted Him? Is He yours? Are you among His redeemed people? If not, accept Him now, and take no rest till by His grace you are enabled joyfully to say, "My Lord and my God!"


Verse 26

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXV.—THE JUDGMENT OF THE BEAST AND THE LITTLE HORN (Chap. Dan ; Dan 7:26)

Hitherto we have not met with much difficulty in the way of interpretation. Little room has been left either for doubt or hesitation. The case is somewhat different now. We approach the region of unfulfilled prophecy, naturally more difficult of interpretation, and leaving more room for mistake and difference of opinion. The field is interesting and inviting, but demands caution in its investigation. The word of prophecy is given for our guidance and comfort, as a light shining in a dark place. But we need the Spirit to interpret His own Word. "Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." "In Thy light we shall see light." "The Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God," and revealeth them unto us. "He knoweth what is in darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him." It is His to reveal the "deep and secret things," and to show us, as He has done in His Word, "things to come." We have before us a passage of overwhelming grandeur and sublimity; the description of a scene of awful solemnity. The passage exhibits the judgment-seat of God, with myriads of attendant angels, and the infliction of pronounced doom on a large portion of the human race. The judgment is not indeed, like that in Revelation 20, the general judgment, terminating the reign of Christ and His saints on earth, and resembling in some of its features the present one. It is rather the judgment on the fourth beast, or Roman Empire, with its ten horns or kingdoms, and more especially the "Little Horn," whose pride, persecution, and blasphemy are the special occasion of it.

4. The accompaniments. "A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him" (Dan ). A further indication of the character and object of the judgment—fiery indignation. "It shall be very tempestuous round about Him" (Psa 50:3). This probably indicative of and connected with the judgment to be inflicted on the Beast,—"his body given to the burning flame;" the earth, or as much of it as shall be involved in the judgment, to be "burned up;" the elements to "melt with fervent heat;" the earth "reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2Pe 3:7; 2Pe 3:10).

As suggested by the passage, we may notice—

1. It is our comfort to know that there is a God that judgeth in the earth. Men not worn out by tyranny, oppression, and persecution, without an eye being kept upon their wrongs and the perpetrators of them. Flesh and sense ready at times to say, "My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over by my God." A sore trial for faith when the oppressor and persecutor prosper, and the cause of truth and righteousness seems well-nigh crushed. But God only appears to take no notice. Christ is in the ship, and though apparently asleep in the storm, He will awake at the right time, at the cry of His people, rebuke the oppressor's wrath, and change the storm into a calm. Patience is to have her perfect work, that when we have done and suffered the will of God, we may inherit the promises. "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." The hour of deliverance shall arrive. The judgment will sit—is now indeed sitting. He who is "higher than the highest" takes not His eye from the haughty oppressor and persecutor of His people, and will, when the proper time arrives, "awake to the judgment which He has commanded."

2. The infinite majesty of God and the awful consequences of His displeasure. The Lord is a God of judgment. His eyes, which are as a flame of fire, behold, and His eyelids try, the children of men. A fiery stream issues and goes forth from before Him. Who can stand when once He is angry? Our God is a consuming fire. How terrible to meet Him as an adversary! Yet sin makes Him our adversary. Prepare, then, to meet thy God. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with Him. There is one, and only one, way of doing so. The Jews, to be reconciled to their offended king, made Blastus, his chamberlain, their friend. God has given His own Son as a sacrifice and Mediator, that we may make Him our friend, accept of Him, and put our trust in Him, and so be reconciled to God. This is God's own way for meeting Him. Blessed are all they that put their trust in that provided Mediator. Such can see the fiery stream that issues from before Him, ready to devour the adversaries, without alarm. They can go forward to meet it singing, with the Apostle, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." Or, with Count Zinzendorf in the well-known hymn—

"Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress.

Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in that great day;

For who aught to my charge shall lay?

Fully absolved through these I am,

From sin and guilt, from fear and shame."

3. The wisdom of preparing for a judgment to come. Whatever may be the case in regard to the judgment we have been considering, and whatever share we may or may not have in it, it is certain that we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, to receive according to the things done in the body, whether good or bad. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment." Each must then give account of himself to God. For all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Are our works those of the flesh or of the Spirit? Are they wrought in God or out of Him? Am I renewed or still unrenewed? Am I pardoned and accepted now in the Surety, the Lord our Righteousness? A place in the New Jerusalem or the Gehenna of fire depends on the question. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to enter in through the gates into the city;" or, as the Revised Version reads, "Blessed are they that wash their robes." This is the beginning of doing His commandments. "Come now, let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as wool; though they be red as crimson, they shall be white as snow." Reader, the fountain for sin and uncleanness is still open; if not already washed, wash now, and prepare for the judgment. "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Trust in that blood and be clean.


Verse 27

HOMILETICS

SECT. XXVII.—THE KINGDOM OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH (Chap. Dan ; Dan 7:22; Dan 7:27)

‘The saints shall take the kingdom." A striking feature in the kingdom predicted in this vision of Daniel is that, while it is distinctly said to be given to the Son of Man, it is just as distinctly said, and that twice over, to be given to the saints, or to the people of the saints of the Most High, and that the saints take the kingdom. Although this circumstance has been slightly referred to under the preceding section, in connection with the administration of the kingdom of the Son of Man, yet from the prominence given to it and its threefold repetition in the vision it demands a separate consideration. We notice—the saints to whom the kingdom is given; the kingdom itself; the sense in which it is given to the saints; the suitableness of the appointment; and the beneficial results.

II. The kingdom itself. This appears to be the same as that of which the interpreting angel had already spoken as the kingdom given by the Ancient of Days to the Son of Man—the kingdom of which Christ is the Head and King, and which was to take the place of the kingdoms of this world, or of the four monarchies, which shall have disappeared as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor (chap. 2) The same dominion, rule, and kingdom that is given to Christ is given to the saints as Christ's members, who are to reign and be glorified with Him, and to sit with Him on His throne; to whom He Himself was to give authority over the nations, to rule them along with Him, and whom He was to appoint a kingdom as His Father had appointed to Himself. The kingdom is given by the Ancient of Days to Christ, and by Christ is given to His Church or Bride, to possess it along with Him, and be associated with Him in its government. The kingdom is heavenly in its origin and character, but has its place not in heaven but on earth, over and among the nations and peoples inhabiting it. While having its earthly visible and material side, like its predecessors, it will be spiritual and holy in its character, consisting not in meats and drinks, but in righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; the kingdom that has been so long prayed for, when God's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. From heaven, wherever that may be, the saints will rule the earth with Christ, while the saints on earth shall rule subordinately with them. The "kingdom of the world" shall become "the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ," or His anointed members (Rev , R.V.)

IV. The suitableness of the appointment. There is something suitable in the thrice-repeated declaration that the saints of the Most High, or truly holy persons, shall take the kingdom. In the preceding empires, and ever since Nimrod, the "mighty hunter before the Lord," began to be "a mighty one on the earth," the "vilest of men" have often been "exalted" to kingly power, and, as a consequence, the "wicked have walked on every side" (Psa ). For wise and holy reasons, God, in His mysterious providence, often sets over kingdoms the "basest of men," when, as a natural result, the land is filled with misery and crime (Dan 4:17). Selfish and godless rulers have constituted a part of the present state of earthly things. Natural, so long as "the whole world lieth in the evil one" (1Jn 5:19, R.V.) Evil rulers a part of the evil entailed by the Fall, and often the chastisement of the sins of the people. What the world wants and longs for, but seldom obtains, is wise, upright, disinterested rulers, ruling in the fear of God and for the best interests of their subjects. Such is the state of things predicted in the text. Something suitable and becoming when holy men, separated from sin and selfishness, bearing the image and character of the God whose name and nature is love, and who is "righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works," shall take, and, by divine gift, possess the kingdom. Such have learned to rule by being first taught how to obey, and have been trained to reign with Christ hereafter by suffering with Him here. Such fitted to rule by imbibing the spirit and walking in the steps of Him who was meek and lowly in heart, and who pleased not Himself, but went about doing good. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Mat 5:3; Mat 5:5).

1. Cause of rejoicing in the prospect presented by the text. It was as a ground of comfort and a matter of rejoicing that it was three times announced to Daniel that the saints should take and possess the kingdom. It was intimated as good tidings not only for the saints themselves, who, instead of being given into the hands of oppressors and persecutors, despised and down-trodden, and often counted as sheep for the slaughter, should have the rule and government of the nations committed to them, but for the world who should reap the benefit of such a state of things. Whether it be the saints that have finished their course of suffering and service on earth, and now are glorified according to the promise, or whether it be the saints still living in the flesh, be it Jews or Gentiles, or both, it is for every lover of his kind to rejoice that a day is coming when truly holy persons, and only such, shall hold the reins of government, and administer a righteous and beneficent rule over the nations, in loyal and loving subordination and obedience to the Prince of Peace. That saints, renewed and sanctified in Christ, transformed into His image, and breathing His spirit of meekness, humility, and love, and at the same time guided by a wisdom that is from above, pure, peaceable, and gentle, full of mercy and of good fruits, instead of the wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and devilish—that such shall be the only rulers that the earth shall know, and that their rule shall be at the same time the rule of the Son of Man, with all power in heaven and earth, is surely a consummation devoutly to be wished, and a prospect greatly to be rejoiced in.

2. The blessed consequence of a faithful adherence to the Saviour. The saints shall take the kingdom. Believers are made kings and priests already. They are princes even now, but in disguise. They travel to their inheritance incognito. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we do know that a crown of glory awaits every faithful follower of Jesus, however poor his condition may be now. If we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him. Suffering with Him now, we shall be also glorified with Him hereafter. When He who is our life shall be manifested, we shall also "with Him be manifested in glory" (Col , R.V.) The humblest follower of Jesus, faithful unto death, shall receive a crown of life, and shall sit down with Christ in His throne, sharing with Him in His kingly glory, and in the government of a renewed world. They shall reign with Christ. "The saints shall judge the world. Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (1Co 6:2-3). It matters not how the saints shall reign or exercise the kingly authority that shall be committed to them. What we know not now we shall know hereafter. Enough that the thing is true. If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him. Let this be our comfort under the burden and heat of the day, and let it animate us to use unfaltering perseverance in a cause of faithful self-denying service, till the Master shall please to call us from the field.

3. The character of the future blessedness of the saints. They shall possess the kingdom. They shall thus have noble work to do, honourable and dignified service to employ them. His servants shall still serve Him, and they shall serve Him in the highest form of service. They shall find abundant scope for the sanctified faculties which they shall possess, and have ample field for the exercise of the Christ-like disposition which shall animate them. Renewed in the image of the universal Ruler, they shall have the employment restored to them which was originally bestowed upon man at his creation, but was lost through the Fall. Their blessedness will not be mere rest, but rest from trouble, sin, and bondage, with a holy and happy employment which shall become their position as sons of God and brethren of the King of kings, and in which they shall with Him still contribute to the glory of the Creator and the happiness of His creatures. They will thus not only be made to resemble their Lord and Husband, but be kept in closest sympathy and fellowship with Him, as sharing in the government that shall be upon His shoulders. What was their chief happiness on earth will thus be perfected in glory. Their kingly and princely office they will also be enabled to discharge without fatigue, and without the grief of being continually opposed and thwarted in their benevolent endeavours by the wily and watchful enmity of him who was the great adversary of God and man, but who shall then be under a divine restraint, so as no more to deceive the nations (Rev ).

4. The privilege of believers to be employed now in a way that shall be both an anticipation of their future blessedness and their preparation for it. This is that of seeking, according to our gifts and opportunities, to promote the objects aimed at by Christ Himself and the saints that shall reign with Him over the earth—the glory of the Creator and the happiness of men, as experienced in His favour and service. To promote this twofold object is the work given to believers to do now, more especially by communicating the knowledge of the Saviour, and persuading men to be reconciled through Him to God. The Saviour's parting commission to His Church, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth." "Preach the Gospel to every creature." "Shine as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of life." "Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire." For this blessed though now often trying and self-denying service He has promised and bestowed abundant qualification in the gift of His Holy Spirit: "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Act ). Such employment here, in whatever way and in whatever circumstances, a blessed anticipation of and preparation for our future employment when the saints shall take the kingdom. It was the faithful servant to whom it was said, "Have thou authority over ten cities." Nor will the painful trials and deep sorrow which we may be called to experience in connection with a faithful endeavour to serve Christ and our fellow-men in the present state, be the least part of our preparation for the higher service that awaits us when all tears shall be wiped away.

5. Our interest to make sure our place now among the saints who shall possess the kingdom. Regard to one's own interest makes this the first object we should be concerned to secure. The day is hastening when to have neglected this will appear the height of madness. To throw a fortune, a dukedom, a kingdom away, will one day soon appear to be reason and sense compared with the throwing away the opportunity of obtaining a place among those who shall in a few short years possess a kingdom that shall never pass away. That place is to be secured simply by a sincere and cordial acceptance of the Saviour whom God in His love has provided for a lost and guilty world, that Son of Man who came to seek and to save that which is lost. "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." That Son of Man who shall come one day in His glory and all His saints with Him, comes now in His Gospel to each man and woman who hears it, and offers him freely Himself, and along with Himself a place among His saints who shall hereafter with Himself possess the kingdom. Reader, have you cordially accepted Him? Is He yours? Are you among His redeemed people? If not, accept Him now, and take no rest till by His grace you are enabled joyfully to say, "My Lord and my God!"

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Daniel 7:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/daniel-7.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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