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Daniel 7

Daniel 7:1-28 . VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS.

12. the rest of the beasts--that is, the three first, had passed away not by direct destroying judgments, such as consumed the little horn, as being the finally matured evil of the fourth beast. They had continued to exist but their "dominion was was taken away"; whereas the fourth beast shall cease utterly, superseded by Messiah's kingdom.
for a season . . . time--Not only the triumph of the beasts over the godly, but their very existence is limited to a definite time, and that time the exactly suitable one (compare Matthew 24:22 ). Probably a definite period is meant by a "season and time" (compare Daniel 7:25 , Revelation 20:3 ). It is striking, the fourth monarchy, though Christianized for fifteen hundred years past, is not distinguished from the previous heathen monarchies, or from its own heathen portion. Nay, it is represented as the most God-opposed of all, and culminating at last in blasphemous Antichrist. The reason is: Christ's kingdom now is not of this world ( John 18:36 ); and only at the second advent of Christ does it become an external power of the world. Hence Daniel, whose province it was to prophesy of the world powers, does not treat of Christianity until it becomes a world power, namely, at the second advent. The kingdom of God is a hidden one till Jesus comes again ( Romans 8:17 , Colossians 3:2 Colossians 3:3 , 2 Timothy 2:11 2 Timothy 2:12 ). Rome was worldly while heathen, and remains worldly, though Christianized. So the New Testament views the present æon or age of the world as essentially heathenish, which we cannot love without forsaking Christ ( Romans 12:2 , 1 Corinthians 1:20 , 1 Corinthians 2:6 1 Corinthians 2:8 , 3:18 , 7:31 , 2 Corinthians 4:4 , Galatians 1:4 , Ephesians 2:2 , 2 Timothy 4:10 ; compare 1 John 2:15 1 John 2:17 ). The object of Christianity is not so much to Christianize the present world as to save souls out of it, so as not to be condemned with the world ( 1 Corinthians 11:32 ), but to rule with Him in His millennium ( Matthew 5:5 , Luke 12:32 , 22:28-30 , Romans 5:17 , 1 Corinthians 6:2 , Revelation 1:6 , 2:26-28 , 3:21 , 20:4 ). This is to be our hope, not to reign in the present world course ( 1 Corinthians 4:8 , 2 Corinthians 4:18 , Philippians 3:20 , Hebrews 13:14 ). There must be a "regeneration" of the world, as of the individual, a death previous to a resurrection, a destruction of the world kingdoms, before they rise anew as the kingdoms of Christ ( Matthew 19:28 ). Even the millennium will not perfectly eradicate the world's corruption; another apostasy and judgment will follow ( Revelation 20:7-15 ), in which the world of nature is to be destroyed and renewed, as the world of history was before the millennium ( 2 Peter 3:8-13 ); then comes the perfect earth and heaven ( Revelation 21:1 ). Thus there is an onward progress, and the Christian is waiting for the consummation ( 13:33-37 Luke 12:35 Luke 12:36 Luke 12:40-46 1 Thessalonians 1:9 1 Thessalonians 1:10 ), as His Lord also is "expecting" ( Hebrews 10:13 ).

15. body--literally, "sheath": the body being the "sheath" of the soul.

17. kings--that is, kingdoms. Compare Daniel 7:23 , "fourth kingdom"; Daniel 2:38 , 8:20-22 . Each of the four kings represents a dynasty. Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Antiochus, and Antichrist, though individually referred to, are representatives of characteristic tendencies.

18. the Most High--the emphatic title of God in this prophecy, who delegates His power first to Israel; then to the Gentiles ( Daniel 2:37 Daniel 2:38 ) when Israel fails to realize the idea of the theocracy; lastly, to Messiah, who shall rule truly for God, taking it from the Gentile world powers, whose history is one of continual degeneracy culminating in the last of the kings, Antichrist. Here, in the interpretation, "the saints," but in the vision ( Daniel 7:13 Daniel 7:14 ), "the Son of man," takes the kingdom; for Christ and His people are one in suffering, and one in glory. TREGELLES translates, "most high places" ( Ephesians 1:3 , 2:6 ). Though oppressed by the beast and little horn, they belong not to the earth from which the four beasts arise, but to the most high places.

19. Balaam, an Aramean, dwelling on the Euphrates, at the beginning of Israel's independent history, and Daniel at the close of it, prophetically exhibit to the hostile world powers Israel as triumphant over them at last, though the world powers of the East (Asshur) and the West (Chittim) carry all before them and afflict Eber (Israel) for a time ( Numbers 23:8-10 Numbers 23:28 , Numbers 24:2 Numbers 24:7-9 Numbers 24:22-24 ). To Balaam's "Asshur" correspond Daniel's two eastern kingdoms, Babylon and Medo-Persia; to "Chittim," the two western kingdoms, Greece and Rome (compare Genesis 10:4 Genesis 10:11 Genesis 10:22 ). In Babel, Nimrod the hunter (revolter) founds the first kingdom of the world ( Genesis 10:8-13 ). The Babylonian world power takes up the thread interrupted at the building of Babel, and the kingdom of Nimrod. As at Babel, so in Babylon the world is united against God; Babylon, the first world power, thus becomes the type of the God-opposed world. The fourth monarchy consummates the evil; it is "diverse" from the others only in its more unlimited universality. The three first were not in the full sense universal monarchies. The fourth is; so in it the God-opposed principle finds its full development. All history moves within the Romanic, Germanic, and Slavonic nations; it shall continue so to Christ's second advent. The fourth monarchy represents universalism externally; Christianity, internally. Rome is Babylon fully developed. It is the world power corresponding in contrast to Christianity, and therefore contemporary with it ( Matthew 13:38 , 1:15 , Luke 2:1 , Galatians 4:4 ).

20. look . . . more stout than . . . fellows--namely, than that of the other horns.

21. made war with the saints--persecuted the Church ( Revelation 11:7 , 13:7 ).
prevailed--but not ultimately. The limit is marked by "until" ( Daniel 7:22 ). The little horn continues, without intermission, to persecute up to Christ's second advent ( Revelation 17:12 Revelation 17:14 , Revelation 19:19 Revelation 19:20 ).

22. Ancient of days came--The title applied to the Father in Daniel 7:13 is here applied to the Son; who is called "the everlasting Father" ( Isaiah 9:6 ). The Father is never said to "come"; it is the Son who comes.
judgment was given to . . . saints--Judgment includes rule; "kingdom" in the end of this verse ( 1 Corinthians 6:2 , Revelation 1:6 , 5:10 , 20:4 ). Christ first receives "judgment" and the "kingdom," then the saints with Him ( Daniel 7:13 Daniel 7:14 ).

24. ten horns--answering to the ten "toes" ( Daniel 2:41 ).
out of this kingdom--It is out of the fourth kingdom that ten others arise, whatever exterior territory any of them possess ( Revelation 13:1 , 17:12 ).
rise after them--yet contemporaneous with them; the ten are contemporaries. Antichrist rises after their rise, at first "little" ( Daniel 7:8 ); but after destroying three of the ten, he becomes greater than them all ( Daniel 7:20 Daniel 7:21 ). The three being gone, he is the eighth (compare Revelation 17:11 ); a distinct head, and yet "of the seven." As the previous world kingdoms had their representative heads (Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar; Persia, Cyrus; Greece, Alexander), so the fourth kingdom and its Antichrists shall have their evil concentrated in the one final Antichrist. As Antiochus Epiphanes, the Antichrist of the third kingdom in Daniel 8:23-25 , was the personal enemy of God, so the final Antichrist of the fourth kingdom, his antitype. The Church has endured a pagan and a papal persecution; there remains for her an infidel persecution, general, purifying, and cementing [CECIL]. He will not merely, as Popery, substitute himself for Christ in Christ's name, but "deny the Father and the Son" ( 1 John 2:22 ). The persecution is to continue up to Christ's second coming ( Daniel 7:21 Daniel 7:22 ); the horn of blasphemy cannot therefore be past; for now there is almost a general cessation of persecution.

25. Three attributes of Antichrist are specified: (1) The highest worldly wisdom and civilization. (2) The uniting of the whole civilized world under his dominion. (3) Atheism, antitheism, and autotheism in its fullest development ( 1 John 2:22 ). Therefore, not only is power taken from the fourth beast, as in the case of the other three, but God destroys it and the world power in general by a final judgment. The present external Christianity is to give place to an almost universal apostasy.
think--literally, "carry within him as it were the burden of the thought."
change times--the prerogative of God alone ( Daniel 2:21 ); blasphemously assumed by Antichrist. The "times and laws" here meant are those of religious ordinance; stated times of feasts [MAURER]. Perhaps there are included the times assigned by God to the duration of kingdoms. He shall set Himself above all that is called God ( 2 Thessalonians 2:4 ), putting his own "will" above God's times and laws ( Daniel 11:36 Daniel 11:37 ). But the "times" of His wilfulness are limited for the elect's sake ( Matthew 24:22 ).
they--the saints.
given into his hand--to be persecuted.
time . . . times and . . . dividing of time--one year, two years, and half a year:1260 days ( Revelation 12:6 Revelation 12:14 ); forty-two months ( Revelation 11:2 Revelation 11:3 ). That literally three and a half years are to be the term of Antichrist's persecution is favored by Daniel 4:16 Daniel 4:23 , where the year-day theory would be impossible. If the Church, moreover, had been informed that 1260 years must elapse before the second advent, the attitude of expectancy which is inculcated ( Luke 12:38 , 1 Corinthians 1:7 , 1 Thessalonians 1:9 1 Thessalonians 1:10 , 2 Peter 3:12 ) on the ground of the uncertainty of the time, would be out of place. The original word for "time" denotes a stated period or set feast; or the interval from one set feast to its recurrence, that is, a year [TREGELLES]; Leviticus 23:4 , "seasons"; Leviticus 23:44 , "feasts." The passages in favor of the year-day theory are Ezekiel 4:6 , where each day of the forty during which Ezekiel lay on his right side is defined by God as meaning a year. Compare Numbers 14:34 , where a year of wandering in the wilderness was appointed for each day of the forty during which the spies searched Canaan; but the days were, in these two cases, merely the type or reason for the years, which were announced as they were to be fulfilled. In the prophetic part of Numbers 14:34 "years" are literal. If the year-day system was applied to them, they would be 14,400 years! In Ezekiel 4:4-6 , if day meant year, Ezekiel would have lain on his right side forty years! The context here in Daniel 7:24 Daniel 7:25 , is not symbolical. Antichrist is no longer called a horn, but a king subduing three out of ten kings (no longer horns, Daniel 7:7 Daniel 7:8 ). So in Daniel 12:7 , where "time, times, and half a time," again occurs, nothing symbolic occurs in the context. So that there is no reason why the three and a half years should be so. For the first four centuries the "days" were interpreted literally; a mystical meaning of the 1260 days then began. WALTER BRUTE first suggested the year-day theory in the end of the fourteenth century. The seventy years of the Babylonian captivity foretold by Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 25:12 , 29:10 ) were understood by Daniel ( Daniel 9:2 ) as literal years, not symbolical, which would have been 25,200 years! [TREGELLES]. It is possible that the year-day and day-day theories are both true. The seven (symbolical) times of the Gentile monarchies ( Leviticus 26:24 ) during Israel's casting off will end in the seven years of Antichrist. The 1260 years of papal misrule in the name of Christ may be represented by three and a half years of open Antichristianity and persecution before the millennium. Witnessing churches may be succeeded by witnessing individuals, the former occupying the longer, the latter the shorter period ( Revelation 11:3 ). The beginning of the 1260 years is by ELLIOTT set at A.D. 529 or 533, when Justinian's edict acknowledged Pope John II to be head of the Church; by LUTHER, at 606, when Phocas confirmed Justinian's grant. But 752 is the most likely date, when the temporal dominion of the popes began by Pepin's grant to Stephen II (for Zachary, his predecessor's recognition of his title to France), confirmed by Charlemagne. For it was then first that the little horn plucked up three horns, and so became the prolongation of the fourth secular kingdom [NEWTON]. This would bring us down to about A.D. 2000, or the seventh thousand millenary from creation. But CLINTON makes about 1862 the seventh millenary, which may favor the dating from A.D. 529.

26. consume . . . destroy--a twofold operation. Antichrist is to be gradually "consumed," as the Papacy has been consuming for four hundred years past, and especially of late years. He is also to be "destroyed" suddenly by Christ at His coming; the fully developed man of sin ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ) or false prophet making a last desperate effort in confederacy with the "beast" ( Revelation 16:13 Revelation 16:14 Revelation 16:16 ) or secular power of the Roman empire (some conjecture Louis Napoleon): destroyed at Armageddon in Palestine.

27. greatness of the kingdom under . . . whole heaven--The power, which those several kingdoms had possessed, shall all be conferred on Messiah's kingdom. "Under . . . heaven" shows it is a kingdom on earth, not in heaven.
people of . . . saints of . . . Most High--"the people of the saints," or "holy ones" ( Daniel 8:24 , Margin): the Jews, the people to whom the saints stand in a peculiar relation. The saints are gathered out of Jews and Gentiles, but the stock of the Church is Jewish ( Romans 9:24 , 11:24 ); God's faithfulness to this election Church is thus virtually faithfulness to Israel, and a pledge of their future national blessing. Christ confirms this fact, while withholding the date ( Acts 1:6 Acts 1:7 ).
everlasting kingdom--If everlasting, how can the kingdom here refer to the millennial one? Answer: Daniel saw the whole time of future blessedness as one period. The clearer light of the New Testament distinguishes, in the whole period, the millennium and the time of the new heaven and new earth (compare Revelation 20:4 with Revelation 21:1 and Revelation 22:5 ). Christ's kingdom is "everlasting." Not even the last judgment shall end it, but only give it a more glorious appearance, the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, with the throne of God and the Lamb in it (compare Revelation 5:9 Revelation 5:10 , 11:15 ).

28. cogitations . . . troubled me--showing that the Holy Spirit intended much more to be understood by Daniel's words than Daniel himself understood. We are not to limit the significance of prophecies to what the prophets themselves understood ( 1 Peter 1:11 1 Peter 1:12 ).

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