Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
VISION OF THE
This chapter treats of the same subject as the second chapter. But there
the four kingdoms, and Messiah's final kingdom, were regarded according
to their external political aspect, but here according to the mind
of God concerning them, and their moral features. The outward
political history had been shown in its general features to the world
ruler, whose position fitted him for receiving such a revelation. But
God's prophet here receives disclosures as to the characters of the
powers of the world, in a religious point of view, suited to his position and receptivity. Hence in the second chapter the images are
taken from the inanimate sphere; in the seventh chapter they are taken
from the animate. Nebuchadnezzar saw superficially the world power as a
splendid human figure, and the kingdom of God as a mere stone at the
first. Daniel sees the world kingdoms in their inner essence as of an
animal nature lower than human, being estranged from God; and that
only in the kingdom of God ("the Son of man," the representative
man) is the true dignity of man realized. So, as contrasted with
Nebuchadnezzar's vision, the kingdom of God appears to Daniel,
from the very first, superior to the world kingdom. For though in
physical force the beasts excel man, man has essentially
spiritual powers. Nebuchadnezzar's colossal image represents mankind
in its own strength, but only the outward man. Daniel sees man
spiritually degraded to the beast level, led by blind impulses, through
his alienation from God. It is only from above that the perfect Son of
man comes, and in His kingdom man attains his true destiny. Compare
with Ge 1:26-28.
Humanity is impossible without divinity: it sinks to bestiality
(Ps 32:9; 49:20; 73:22).
Obstinate heathen nations are compared to "bulls"
Egypt to the dragon in the Nile
(Isa 27:1; 51:9;
The animal with all its sagacity looks always to the ground, without
consciousness of relation to God. What elevates man is communion with
God, in willing subjection to Him. The moment he tries to exalt himself
to independence of God, as did Nebuchadnezzar
he sinks to the beast's level. Daniel's acquaintance with the animal
colossal figures in Babylon and Nineveh was a psychological preparation
for his animal visions.
Ho 13:7, 8
would occur to him while viewing those ensigns of the world power.
Jer 2:15; 4:7; 5:6.
1. Belshazzar--Good Hebrew manuscripts have "Belshazzar"; meaning
"Bel is to be burnt with hostile fire"
(Jer 50:2; 51:44).
In the history he is called by his ordinary name; in the
prophecy, which gives his true destiny, he is called a
corresponding name, by the change of a letter.
visions of his head--not confused "dreams," but distinct images
seen while his mind was collected.
sum--a "summary." In predictions, generally, details are not given
so fully as to leave no scope for free agency, faith, and patient
waiting for God manifesting His will in the event. He "wrote" it for the
Church in all ages; he "told" it for the comfort of his captive fellow
2. the four winds--answering to the "four beasts"; their several
conflicts in the four quarters or directions of the world.
strove--burst forth (from the abyss)
sea--The world powers rise out of the agitations of the political
(Jer 46:7, 8;
Re 13:1; 17:15; 21:1);
the kingdom of God and the Son of man from the clouds of heaven
TREGELLES takes "the great sea" to mean, as always
elsewhere in Scripture
(Jos 1:4; 9:1),
the Mediterranean, the center territorially of the four kingdoms
of the vision, which all border on it and have Jerusalem subject to
them. Babylon did not border on the Mediterranean, nor rule
Jerusalem, till Nebuchadnezzar's time, when both things took place
simultaneously. Persia encircled more of this sea, namely, from
the Hellespont to Cyrene. Greece did not become a monarchy
before Alexander's time, but then, succeeding to Persia, it became
mistress of Jerusalem. It surrounded still more of the Mediterranean,
adding the coasts of Greece to the part held by Persia. Rome,
under Augustus, realized three things at once--it became a monarchy; it
became mistress of the last of the four parts of Alexander's empire
(symbolized by the four heads of the third beast), and of Jerusalem; it
surrounded all the Mediterranean.
3. beasts--not living animals, as the cherubic four in
(for the original is a different word from "beasts," and ought to be
there translated, living animals). The cherubic living animals
represent redeemed man, combining in himself the highest forms of animal
life. But the "beasts" here represent the world powers, in their
beast-like, grovelling character. It is on the fundamental harmony
between nature and spirit, between the three kingdoms of nature,
history, and revelation, that Scripture symbolism rests. The selection
of symbols is not arbitrary, but based on the essence of things.
4. lion--the symbol of strength and courage; chief among the
kingdoms, as the lion among the beasts. Nebuchadnezzar is called "the
eagle's wings--denoting a widespread and rapidly acquired
plucked--Its ability for widespread conquests passed away under
[GROTIUS]; rather, during Nebuchadnezzar's privation
of his throne, while deranged.
it was lifted up from the earth--that is, from its grovelling
made stand . . . as a man--So long as Nebuchadnezzar, in haughty
pride, relied on his own strength, he forfeited the true dignity of man,
and was therefore degraded to be with the beasts.
"Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's
heart be given unto him." But after he learned by this sore
discipline that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men"
(Da 4:35, 36),
the change took place in him, "a man's heart is given to him;
instead of his former beast's heart, he attains man's true position,
namely, to be consciously dependent on God." Compare
5. bear--symbolizing the austere life of the Persians in their
mountains, also their cruelty
(Isa 13:17, 18;
Cambyses, Ochus, and other of the Persian princes were notoriously
cruel; the Persian laws involved, for one man's offense, the whole
kindred and neighborhood in destruction,
and rapacity. "A bear is an all-devouring animal" [ARISTOTLE, 8.5],
(Jer 51:48, 56).
raised . . . itself on one side--but the Hebrew, "It raised up one
dominion." The Medes, an ancient people, and the Persians, a modern
tribe, formed one united sovereignty in contrast to the third and
fourth kingdoms, each originally one, afterwards divided.
English Version is the result of a slight change of a Hebrew letter. The idea then would be, "It lay on one of its fore feet, and
stood on the other"; a figure still to be seen on one of the stones of
The Religion of Babylonia, 112]; denoting a kingdom
that had been at rest, but is now rousing itself for conquest. Media is
the lower side, passiveness; Persia, the upper, active element
[AUBERLEN]. The three ribs in its mouth are Media, Lydia, and
Babylon, brought under the Persian sway. Rather, Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, not properly parts of its body, but seized by Medo-Persia
NEWTON]. Called "ribs" because they strengthened the
Medo-Persian empire. "Between its teeth," as being much grinded by it.
devour much flesh--that is, subjugate many nations.
6. leopard--smaller than the lion; swift
the opposite of tame; springing suddenly from its hiding place on its
spotted. So Alexander, a small king, of a small kingdom, Macedon,
attacked Darius at the head of the vast empire reaching from the
Ægean Sea to the Indies. In twelve years he subjugated part of
Europe, and all Asia from Illyricum and the Adriatic to the Ganges, not
so much fighting as conquering [JEROME]. Hence,
whereas Babylon is represented with two wings, Macedon has
four, so rapid were its conquests. The various spots denote the
various nations incorporated into his empire [BOCHART]; or Alexander's own variation in character, at
one time mild, at another cruel, now temperate, and now drunken and
four heads--explained in
Da 8:8, 22;
the four kingdoms of the Diadochi or "successors" into which the
Macedonian empire was divided at the death of Alexander, namely,
Macedon and Greece under Cassander, Thrace and Bithynia under
Lysimachus, Egypt under Ptolemy, and Syria under Seleucus.
dominion . . . given to it--by God; not by Alexander's own might.
For how unlikely it was that thirty thousand men should overthrow
several hundreds of thousands! JOSEPHUS
[Antiquities, 11.6] says
that Alexander adored the high priest of Jerusalem, saying that he at
Dium in Macedonia had seen a vision of God so habited, inviting him to
go to Asia, and promising him success.
7. As Daniel lived under the kingdom of the first beast, and
therefore needed not to describe it, and as the second and third are
described fully in the second part of the book, the chief emphasis falls
on the fourth. Also prophecy most dwells on the end, which is the
consummation of the preceding series of events. It is in the fourth that
the world power manifests fully its God-opposing nature. Whereas the
three former kingdoms were designated respectively, as a lion, bear, and
leopard, no particular beast is specified as the image of the fourth;
for Rome is so terrible as to be not describable by any one, but
combines in itself all that we can imagine inexpressibly fierce in all
beasts. Hence thrice
(Da 7:7, 19, 23)
it is repeated, that the fourth was "diverse from all" the others. The
formula of introduction, "I saw in the night visions," occurs here, as
and again at
thus dividing the whole vision into three parts--the first embracing
the three kingdoms, the second the fourth and its overthrow, the third
Messiah's kingdom. The first three together take up a few centuries;
the fourth, thousands of years. The whole lower half of the image in
the second chapter is given to it. And whereas the other kingdoms
consist of only one material, this consists of two, iron and clay (on
which much stress is laid,
the "iron teeth" here allude to one material in the fourth
kingdom of the image.
ten horns--It is with the crisis, rather than the
course, of the fourth kingdom that this seventh chapter is
mainly concerned. The ten kings
the "horns" representing power), that is, kingdoms, into
which Rome was divided on its incorporation with the Germanic and
Slavonic tribes, and again at the Reformation, are thought by many to
be here intended. But the variation of the list of the ten, and their
ignoring the eastern half of the empire altogether, and the existence
of the Papacy before the breaking up of even the Western
empire, instead of being the "little horn" springing up after
the other ten, are against this view. The Western Roman empire
continued till A.D. 731, and the Eastern, till
A.D. 1453. The ten kingdoms, therefore, prefigured
by the ten "toes"
Re 13:1; 17:12),
are the ten kingdoms into which Rome shall be found finally divided
when Antichrist shall appear [TREGELLES]. These,
probably, are prefigured by the number ten being the prevalent
one at the chief turning points of Roman history.
8. little horn--little at first, but afterwards waxing greater
than all others. He must be sought "among them," namely, the ten horns.
The Roman empire did not represent itself as a continuation of
Alexander's; but the Germanic empire calls itself "the holy Roman
empire." Napoleon's attempted universal monarchy was avowedly Roman: his
son was called king of Rome. The czar (Cæsar) also professes to
represent the eastern half of the Roman empire. The Roman civilization,
church, language, and law are the chief elements in Germanic
civilization. But the Romanic element seeks universal empire, while the
Germanic seeks individualization. Hence the universal monarchies
attempted by the Papacy, Charlemagne, Charles V, and Napoleon have
failed, the iron not amalgamating with the clay. In the king symbolized
by "the little horn," the God-opposing, haughty spirit of the world,
represented by the fourth monarchy, finds its intensest development.
"The man of sin," "the son of perdition"
(1Jo 2:18, 22; 4:3).
It is the complete evolution of the evil principle introduced by the
three of the first horns plucked up--the exarchate of Ravenna, the
kingdom of the Lombards and the state of Rome, which constituted the
Pope's dominions at the first; obtained by Pope Zachary and Stephen II
in return for acknowledging the usurper Pepin lawful king of France
"ten horns," Note. The "little horn," in his view, is to be
Antichrist rising three and a half years before Christ's second advent,
having first overthrown three of the ten contemporaneous kingdoms, into
which the fourth monarchy, under which we live, shall be finally
divided. Popery seems to be a fulfilment of the prophecy in
many particulars, the Pope claiming to be God on earth and above all
earthly dominions; but the spirit of Antichrist prefigured by Popery
will probably culminate in ONE individual,
to be destroyed by Christ's coming; He will be the product of the
political world powers, whereas Popery which prepares His way,
is a Church become worldly.
eyes of man--Eyes express intelligence
the serpent's promise was, man's "eyes should be opened," if he would
but rebel against God. Antichrist shall consummate the self-apotheosis,
begun at the fall, high intellectual culture, independent of God. The
metals representing Babylon and Medo-Persia, gold and silver, are more
precious than brass and iron, representing Greece and Rome; but the
latter metals are more useful to civilization
The clay, representing the Germanic element, is the most plastic
material. Thus there is a progress in culture; but this is not a
progress necessarily in man's truest dignity, namely, union and
likeness to God. Nay, it has led him farther from God, to self-reliance
and world-love. The beginnings of civilization were among the children
Antiochus Epiphanes, the first Antichrist, came from civilized Greece,
and loved art. As Hellenic civilization produced the first, so
modern civilization under the fourth monarchy will produce the
last Antichrist. The "mouth" and "eyes" are those of a man,
while the symbol is otherwise brutish, that is, it will assume man's
true dignity, namely, wear the guise of the kingdom of God (which comes
as the "Son of man" from above), while it is really bestial,
namely, severed from God. Antichrist promises the same things as
Christ, but in an opposite way: a caricature of Christ, offering a
regenerated world without the cross. Babylon and Persia in their
religion had more reverence for things divine than Greece and Rome in
the imperial stages of their history. Nebuchadnezzar's human
heart, given him
on his repentance, contrasts with the human eyes of Antichrist,
the pseudo son of man, namely, intellectual culture, while heart and
mouth blaspheme God. The deterioration politically corresponds: the
first kingdom, an organic unity; the second, divided into Median and
Persian; the third branches off into four; the fourth, into ten. The
two eastern kingdoms are marked by nobler metals; the two western, by
baser; individualization and division appear in the latter, and it is
they which produce the two Antichrists.
9. I beheld till--I continued looking till.
thrones . . . cast down--rather, "thrones were
placed" [Vulgate and LUTHER],
namely, for the saints and elect angels to whom "judgment is given"
as assessors with the Judge. Compare
"thousand thousands ministered unto Him"
1Co 6:2, 3;
Re 2:26; 4:4).
In English Version the thrones cast down are those of the
previously mentioned kings who give place to Messiah.
Ancient of days--"The everlasting Father"
HE is the Judge here, as THE
SON does not judge in His own cause, and it is His
cause which is the one at issue with Antichrist.
sit--the attitude of a judge about to pass sentence.
white--The judicial purity of the Judge, and of all things round
Him, is hereby expressed
wheels--as Oriental thrones move on wheels. Like the rapid
flame, God's judgments are most swift in falling where He wills them
(Eze 1:15, 16).
The judgment here is not the last judgment, for then there will
be no beast, and heaven and earth shall have passed away; but it is
that on Antichrist (the last development of the fourth kingdom),
typical of the last judgment: Christ coming to substitute the
millennial kingdom of glory for that of the cross
(Re 17:12-14; 19:15-21; 11:15).
10. thousand . . . ministered unto him--so at the giving of the law
ten . . . thousand before him--image from the Sanhedrim, in which
the father of the consistory sat with his assessors on each side, in the
form of a semicircle, and the people standing before him.
judgment was set--The judges sat
books . . . opened--
Forensic image; all the documents of the cause at issue, connected with
the condemnation of Antichrist and his kingdom, and the setting up of
Messiah's kingdom. Judgment must pass on the world as being
under the curse, before the glory comes; but Antichrist offers glory
without the cross, a renewed world without the world being
11. Here is set forth the execution on earth of the judgment
pronounced in the unseen heavenly court of judicature
(Da 7:9, 10).
body . . . given to . . .
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
Probably a definite period is meant by a "season and time" (compare
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
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
Col 3:2, 3;
2Ti 2:11, 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
1Co 1:20; 2:6, 8; 3:18; 7:31;
1Jo 2:15, 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
but to rule with Him in His millennium
Lu 12:32; 22:28-30;
Re 1:6; 2:26-28; 3:21; 20:4).
This is to be our hope, not to reign in the present world course
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
Even the millennium will not perfectly eradicate the world's
corruption; another apostasy and judgment will follow
in which the world of nature is to be destroyed and renewed, as
the world of history was before the millennium
then comes the perfect earth and heaven
Thus there is an onward progress, and the Christian is waiting
for the consummation
Lu 12:35, 36, 40-46;
1Th 1:9, 10),
as His Lord also is "expecting"
13. Son of man--(See on
Not merely Son of David, and King of Israel, but Head of restored
humanity (corresponding to the world-wide horizon of Daniel's
prophecy); the seed of the woman, crushing Antichrist, the seed of the
serpent, according to the Prot-evangel in Paradise
The Representative Man shall then realize the original destiny of man
as Head of the creation
(Ge 1:26, 28);
the center of unity to Israel and the Gentiles. The beast, which taken
conjointly represents the four beasts, ascends from the sea
the Son of man descends from "heaven." Satan, as the serpent, is
the representative head of all that bestial; man, by following the
serpent, has become bestial. God must, therefore, become man, so that
man may cease to be beast-like. Whoever rejects the incarnate God will
be judged by the Son of man just because He is the Son of man
This title is always associated with His coming again, because the
kingdom that then awaits Him in that which belongs to Him as the
Saviour of man, the Restorer of the lost inheritance. "Son of man"
expresses His VISIBLE state formerly in his
humiliation hereafter in His exaltation. He "comes to the Ancient of
days" to be invested with the kingdom. Compare
"The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength (Messiah) out of Zion."
This investiture was at His ascension "with the clouds of heaven"
(Ac 1:9; 2:33, 34;
which is a pledge of His return "in like manner" in the clouds"
and "with clouds"
The kingdom then was given to Him in title and invisible
exercise; at His second coming it shall be in visible
administration. He will vindicate it from the misrule of those who
received it to hold for and under God, but who ignored His supremacy.
The Father will assert His right by the Son, the heir, who will hold it
TREGELLES thinks the investiture here
immediately precedes Christ's coming forth; because He sits at
God's right hand until His enemies are made His footstool,
then the kingdom is given to the Son in actual investiture, and
He comes to crush His so prepared footstool under His feet. But the
words, "with the clouds," and the universal power actually, though
invisibly, given Him then
agree best with His investiture at the ascension, which, in the
prophetic view that overleaps the interval of ages, is the precursor of
His coming visibly to reign; no event of equal moment taking place in
15. body--literally, "sheath": the body being the "sheath" of the soul.
17. kings--that is, kingdoms. Compare
Da 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
(Da 2:37, 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
(Da 7:13, 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"
(Eph 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
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
(Nu 23:8-10, 28; 24:2, 7-9, 22-24).
To Balaam's "Asshur" correspond Daniel's two eastern kingdoms, Babylon
and Medo-Persia; to "Chittim," the two western kingdoms, Greece and
Ge 10:4, 11, 22).
In Babel, Nimrod the hunter (revolter) founds the first kingdom of the
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
20. look . . . more stout than . . . fellows--namely, than that of the
21. made war with the saints--persecuted the Church
(Re 11:7; 13:7).
prevailed--but not ultimately. The limit is marked by "until"
The little horn continues, without intermission, to persecute up
to Christ's second advent
(Re 17:12, 14; 19:19, 20).
22. Ancient of days came--The title applied to the Father in
is here applied to the Son; who is called "the everlasting Father"
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
Re 1:6; 5:10; 20:4).
Christ first receives "judgment" and the "kingdom," then the saints
(Da 7:13, 14).
24. ten horns--answering to the ten "toes"
out of this kingdom--It is out of the fourth kingdom that ten
others arise, whatever exterior territory any of them possess
(Re 13:1; 17:12).
rise after them--yet contemporaneous with them; the ten are
contemporaries. Antichrist rises after their rise, at first "little"
but after destroying three of the ten, he becomes greater than them all
(Da 7:20, 21).
The three being gone, he is the eighth (compare
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
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"
The persecution is to continue up to Christ's second coming
(Da 7:21, 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
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
change times--the prerogative of God alone
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
putting his own "will" above God's times and laws
(Da 11:36, 37).
But the "times" of His wilfulness are limited for the elect's sake
given into his hand--to be persecuted.
time . . . times and . . . dividing of
time--one year, two years, and half a year: 1260 days
(Re 12:6, 14);
(Re 11:2, 3).
That literally three and a half years are to be the term of
Antichrist's persecution is favored by
Da 4:16, 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
1Th 1:9, 10;
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];
"feasts." The passages in favor of the year-day theory are
where each day of the forty during which Ezekiel lay on his right side
is defined by God as meaning a year. Compare
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
"years" are literal. If the year-day system was applied to them, they
would be 14,400 years! In
if day meant year, Ezekiel would have lain on his right
side forty years! The context here in
Da 7:24, 25,
is not symbolical. Antichrist is no longer called a horn, but a
king subduing three out of ten kings (no longer horns,
Da 7:7, 8).
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
(Jer 25:12; 29:10)
were understood by Daniel
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
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
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
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
or false prophet making a last desperate effort in confederacy with the
(Re 16:13, 14, 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"
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
(Ro 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
(Ac 1:6, 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
with Re 21:1
and Re 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
Re 5:9, 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
(1Pe 1:11, 12).