Studies on the Book of Daniel

J. N. Darby.

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Daniel 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

184 Now, on the occasion of the last expedition here noticed (chap. 11), these ships of Chittim arrive on the scene. A power from the west mixes itself up with these two eastern powers (viz., the king of the north and the king of the south) - some power from the other coast of the Mediterranean, whether Italy or Greece. But further, we also find apostates from the holy covenant. Thus there are, first, Jews, allowed to be the objects of the covenant of God, and those who are apostates to it; secondly, those from the west, north of the Mediterranean, who enter into the previous quarrel; and by these new elements the scene is completely changed. Then in verse 31 we have the last of these kings, viz., of the kings of the north, brought before us. "And arms shall stand on his part," or more literally "forces [arms] shall rise from [out of] him." The expression "shall rise from him," or "shall come from him," may be used in two senses: a king's lieutenant, one who takes his place as commandant; or one who succeeds him in the government. "Arms shall rise from him, and they [the arms] shall pollute the sanctuary of strength [or, which is the fortress], and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and shall place the abomination which maketh desolate."

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

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

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

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

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

{*If "shall rise or come from him" be interpreted as of a power who shall take his (the king of the north's) place, this would no longer be the case.}

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

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

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

{*De Wette, a good German translator, applies it to the Maskilim.}

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Daniel 7 * we saw him in yet another point of view, viz., head of the last monarchy - the little horn of the fourth beast, whilst here he is seen as a king who has to do geographically with the eastern countries, and is among the Jewish people. I shall quote two other passages, where this idea of the king is found. Observe, he is not called the king of the north, though occupying geographically his territory; he is called "the king," because in the eyes of the prophet he holds that position. He it is who exalts himself, and pretends to be the king and the pastor of the people of God - a pretender, and a bad one, to these two offices; but as such he will present himself, and he is so called in Isaiah 30:33: "Yea, for the king it is prepared." Consult also Isaiah 57:9: "Thou wentest to the king with ointment." This passage speaks of the condition of the Jews, and of the accusations of God against them. Both these portions touch upon the history of the Antichrist after he has become king.

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

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

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

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

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

<05034E> LECTURE 8

Daniel 11:36; 12:1, 2

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

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

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

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

{* I have before noticed the question which arises to my mind here.}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We continue our history of this king from Revelation 12. There the dragon is seen (who is the devil or Satan, and seduces the whole world) cast out of heaven, v. 10, 12. This malicious power no longer occupies the heavenly places,* but when this occurs, it will be a time of fearful woe to the earth. It is the beginning of his "great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."

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

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

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

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

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

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

{*All the best editions of the Greek Testament employ here the word elsewhere used for the "coming" of Christ.}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<05035E> 197 LECTURE 9

Daniel 12:2-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But besides, among those who are delivered will be some who will be in the front of the battle, as being occupied with the things of God, and who will discern the times. Thus, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever." If you have paid attention to the preceding chapter, you will recognise these wise ones: they are a remnant who have been often mentioned; as in chapter 11:35, "and some of them of understanding," etc.: verse 33 also, "they that understand," Maskilim. It will be an enlightened remnant - persons who will discern the times, and who will occupy themselves with the welfare of the mass of the people, and that faithfully, according to the light they will possess. "And they that turn [the] many to righteousness" [or rather, "instructed the many in righteousness," this was the object of their labours]. There is no thought about evangelising, nor of those who are blessed through evangelising. The prophet is speaking solely of those Jews who shall be engaged in the instruction of the mass of the people, with a view of withdrawing them from the deceitful ways of Antichrist, and from all the evil which he will carry on. Those who have thus laboured among the many will "shine as the stars for ever and ever." This special remnant is mentioned, as before said, in Isaiah 65, and 66.* These are the closing circumstances of the remnant: viz., this time of distress; the people delivered, that is, the remnant; many who were buried, as it were, among the nations, who shall awake, whether for good or evil; and the special lot of the understanding ones. There is still, at the end of the chapter, the reply to the question of Daniel as to the duration of these things, of which the solution, for the Jews, was concealed until the time of the end.

{*Some little doubt has been thrown on my mind as to this.}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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