Lectures on the Second Coming of Christ

Delivered at Toronto, Canada.

J. N. Darby.

<11017E> 303

Lecture 6

On Daniel 2 19-49; Daniel 7

I have to read this chapter, dear friends, because it gives an outline of a part of prophecy of which other parts of Scripture are the detail. We began with the church's having a sure and certain hope, through the never changing promise of God, of being caught up to be for ever with Christ before He comes to judge the world; and we saw that the looking and longing (where the heart is truly for Christ) for His coming again is the bright and cheering influence of the Christian's path. Last evening we saw the professing church looked at as in the world (that which is called the church) to be at last utterly rejected of God, fearfully judged for its corruption, or spued out of Christ's mouth as nauseous.

When we turn to the ways of God on the earth, we have seen that His direct government had always been exercised with the Jews as a centre. Providential government He always exercises. He makes all things work together for good to those that love Him. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him who is our Father. But when we come to direct government, the immediate dealings with men on the earth according to their conduct, and the direct public interference of God to shew His ways on earth, then the Jews come on the scene and are the pivot round which those ways turn. But they, when fully displayed, extend necessarily to the Gentiles, who surround them and fill the earth, the great body of whom have now long oppressed them. Hence, the same passages which refer to the Jews refer to the Gentiles also, as those who come up before God when He begins that government in which the Jews have the first and principal place on earth. These passages I will now refer to, some of which, by reason of what I have just noticed, have already been quoted in reference to the Jews.

304 But, before doing so, I must point out two classes of Gentiles to which they refer, in respect of whom there are two very distinct classes of prophecy in Scripture: that which refers to those who were enemies of the Jews when God was there with them on the earth - when He owned them, or will hereafter again own them as His people; and that which refers to those who oppress them when they are not - when God has written on them Lo-ammi, "not my people," and the times of the Gentiles have begun. These are entirely distinct. We get certain powers dealt with which are outside Israel, and are their enemies when the presence of God and His throne are still in the midst of that people, and the representatives of whom will be found in the latter days, when God has taken Israel up again. But after the Jews turned to idolatry, and, whatever had been God's patience, rising up early and sending His prophets till there was no remedy, He was obliged to give them up to judgment; He then set up Nebuchadnezzar, and the times of the Gentiles began; and they are still running on. The empire passed from Babylon to Persia, and Persia to Greece; and the Jews were slaves to the Romans when Christ came - slaves to the Gentiles. Their ecclesiastical polity was allowed to exist, but the civil power was in the hands of their oppressors. These times of the Gentiles run on, until Christ executes judgment, until those who were the oppressors of God's people when He does not own them shall be destroyed, and those who are their enemies outside these oppressors shall be brought to nought at a time when they think they have got it all their own way; and then the Jew is set free.

In a word, Scripture shews us that the Jews are the centre of God's earthly dealings; and that as regards the Gentiles there are two classes or prophecy, one referring to the enemies of God's people when He owns them, and the other to their oppressors when they are turned off and He does not own them. Deuteronomy 32 lays the prophetic ground, at the very origin of their whole history, of all that is to come to pass. In verse 8, as we have seen when speaking of the Jews, they are shewn to be the centre of His ways. "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people [peoples] according to the number of the children of Israel." Just connect it now with the general judgment of the Gentiles. The prophet first states that after his decease Israel would corrupt themselves; then he goes on in verse 21 to the wickedness, the fruit of which is going on now. In verse 27 He rises above the wickedness so as not to destroy them, to shew that He is God. Then he goes on to the time of His rising up to judgment, leading us to that of which we are speaking. When Israel is brought utterly low, He will indeed judge His people, but He will also repent Himself concerning His servants. His hand, as it is expressed, takes hold on judgment, rendering vengeance to His enemies; for such the Gentile powers are found to be, and apostate Jews too. He makes His arrows drunk with blood, and His sword devours flesh. Yet this it is brings in the millennial blessings, when the nations will rejoice with His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants (a thing we have not yet accomplished) - will render vengeance to His adversaries, and, mark the expression, be merciful to His land and to His people. Thus we have His people judged, His servants avenged, His adversaries brought under vengeance, yet His land and people Israel coming into mercy, and the Gentiles rejoicing with them - in a word, judgment, the Lord's adversaries destroyed, Gentiles and apostate Jews, His servants avenged, Israel restored, and the nations blessed with them, but Israel His people.

305 I will now turn, before distinguishing the enemies of Israel owned of God, and their oppressors when given up, to the general testimony of the judgment of the nations, and then shew you the two distinct. Turn to Isaiah 66:15, "For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire; for by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh." We have the great-general fact of the judgment of the nations; and, if you turn to verses 6-14, you will see the Jews set up again. "For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her [Jerusalem] like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream" (v. 12). Then you get the ungodly Jews in verse 17, and thence to verse 24 the manifestation of Jehovah's glory, those that escape the judgment that accompanies it going off to the nations and announcing the appearing of that glory, and bringing back the scattered Jews to Jerusalem. I get, then, thus the great fact that the Lord comes to judge all flesh; and those He finds interfering with Israel He cuts off.

306 Now turn to Psalms 9 and 10. They celebrate the judgment and destruction of the enemies of Israel in the land. The Psalmist introduces the whole subject in verses 4 and 5, "For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right. Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever . . . that I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation. The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God" (v. 14-17). "The Lord is king for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land," Psalm 10:16. These are the two psalms which, after speaking of the rejection of Christ as King in Zion, and His taking the character of universal headship as Son of man in Psalm 8, bring in the whole testimony of the Psalms, the state and feelings of the remnant of Israel in the last days, and the judgment which God executes upon the Gentiles.

Hence, remark, it is that we find in the Psalms these appeals to judgment, and demands for it, which have often stumbled Christians, when urged by the enemies of Christianity. They are not the expression of Christian feelings. We leave the world and go to heaven. In no sense have we to demand the destruction of our enemies in order to pass into glory. But Israel cannot have their rest on earth until the wicked are destroyed; and therefore they do demand this righteous judgment, and this is the way they will be delivered.

To pursue our subject: turn to Jeremiah 25. This is a remarkable chapter; but first I will give you a few verses from the end of Isaiah 24:16: to shew the connection with Israel I will read from verse 13: "When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree: and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done: they shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly." There you get the world reeling like a drunkard under the terrible judgment of God, and (v. 21, 22) we see the judgment of the powers of evil on high, the prince of the power of the air and his angels, and of the kings of the earth on the earth; and then the Lord reigning in Zion and before His ancients gloriously.

307 Now turn to Jeremiah 25:15, "For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me: Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it." He speaks of the various nations in that way, and then goes on from verse 29 to 33 to declare the universal judgment of the heathen, describing the terrible coming down of Jehovah in judgment upon them.

Turn now to Micah 5:15. "And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard." But then, too, Israel is blessed and re-established in power in verses 7, 8, and that through Christ, great to the ends of the earth (v. 4, 5). "And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds and eight principal men."

308 Turn to Joel 3:9-17. "Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men; let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat [Jehoshaphat means judgment of Jehovah]: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more."

What makes this passage additionally important is, that Jerusalem is brought back to blessing and never to be trodden down again, no strangers shall pass through her any more, but the Gentiles who helped on her affliction are destroyed for ever. In the time of Nebuchadnezzar, when Jerusalem was in trouble, and again when Titus besieged and took it, the Gentiles were not destroyed at all. When Cyrus sent back a remnant to Jerusalem, they remained captive, and strangers are yet in Jerusalem. Again we find here all the nations gathered together, the Gentiles destroyed, and the Jews set up.

Zephaniah 3:3 to end: Jehovah's determination is to gather all the nations. They are to be devoured by the fire of His jealousy. Here again, too, we find that Israel will never be cast out again. He will bring back their captivity and make them the praise among all the people. He will cast out their enemy. They will not see evil any more. Jehovah is in the midst of Jerusalem, God will rest in His love. I will turn to one more passage before I shew the difference between the two classes of enemies to Israel.

309 Haggai 2:5-9: "According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house [properly, the latter glory of this house] shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." The apostle quotes this passage in the epistle to the Hebrews, shewing that it has not yet come. "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven." He is urging them not to rest on earthly and created things, shewing that that time of universal shaking of the first and changeable creation was yet to come, declaring that all would be shaken and pass away.

Let us now take a review of scripture as to the two classes of Israel's enemies of which I have spoken. The chief enemy of Israel, while Israel was still owned of God before the captivity of Babylon, was the Assyrian. There had been others, as Syria, but Syria succumbed to the Assyrian. Egypt then sought to fill the scene of the world, and came up, conquered Judea, and met the power of Babylon at Carchemish; but its power was broken, and Nebuchadnezzar became the head of gold over the whole earth, and the times of the Gentiles began, which are still running on, and will till the Lord takes His great power and reigns. No doubt the Jews came back, or a small remnant of them, from Babylon, to present Messiah to them. But they were so wicked and perversely idolatrous that God had given them up to captivity, and, even when in their land on their return, they were subject to the Gentiles. God's glory and His throne were no longer amongst them. When they came back, they never got the Shekinah (the Shekinah was the cloud that manifested the presence of God). They had no longer the ark, or the Urim and Thummim. What constituted the witness of God's presence was gone, and these things were never restored. There are the times of the Gentiles still; the four beasts constituted the times of the Gentiles. And this, as to the earth, was of the last possible importance. The throne of God ceased to be on the earth.

310 Prophecy, indeed, remained till the outward order was restored; but it is remarkable that the post-captivity prophets never set aside the judgment pronounced in Hosea - "Ye are not my people." They never call the Jews God's people in their then standing, doing so only when they prophesy of that future day when they will be restored to the divine favour, which is yet to come. Finally, when Christ came, He was rejected, and sat down on His Father's throne, and the divine power and glory is wholly above, the object of faith to the believing soul. The people whom God had called, and who had God's throne among them, were wholly cut off, though preserved.

Well, the throne of God had ceased on the earth at the beginning of these times of the Gentiles; and therefore, in Daniel you never get the God of the earth, but the God of heaven, because He was not there with them. The departure of God from the direct government of the earth with Israel for the centre, His throne being in their midst, sitting between the cherubim, as it is said, and His return to the government of the earth, are of immense importance.

In Ezekiel we see His judgment on Jerusalem. God comes (Nebuchadnezzar being the instrument), God comes on the cherubim in the way of providence (those wheels which were so high - they were dreadful), spares His own whom He has marked and gives up the rest to destruction. He executes judgment, leaves them, and goes into heaven. The Gentiles are left to rule, subject to God's providence and final judgment; Israel, with God's throne in their midst, is set aside.

Four great empires arise successively - Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The Roman Empire, while devastating everywhere, does not succeed in getting all nations under its power, but continues the great power of the world till the judgment, though in a special form.

Then the Assyrian comes on the scene again at the close; that is, geographically what is now Turkey in Asia and part of Persia, but in the last days Assyria will appear on the scene in the Russian power, according to the testimony of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (a passage applied to this power one hundred and fifty years ago by the elder Lowth, before the present question arose). And the world, as connected with Israel and God's ultimate purposes on the earth, is divided into Western Europe and the basin of the Mediterranean, the Roman Empire, and Eastern Europe or the Russian. These two are never confounded in Scripture. The Assyrian was the power that warred against Israel when God owned them, and the other the power that oppressed and held them captive when they were not owned.

311 Now in Isaiah and the pre-captivity prophets you get the Assyrian all through, the beast being scarcely mentioned (once "the king," so as to complete the scene; and even that, I apprehend, as a subordinate ally of the beast). Whereas in Daniel you do not get the Assyrian, unless, possibly, obscurely in one chapter, and then not as such, the same thing being true of Zechariah, save that all nations are mentioned in both in a general way, brought as sheaves to the floor when rising up against Jerusalem. Thus far I have been speaking of the general judgment. Now, having distinguished between the beasts and the Assyrian power of the latter day, we have to cite those which apply to them distinctively.

Turning to Daniel, you get fully the beasts, but not the Assyrian. Let us examine first the chapter I read. Here we have Nebuchadnezzar the head of gold, the Persian Empire denoted by silver, the Grecian by brass, the Roman by iron (while the iron and clay represent the present state of things). Then after these last were formed, a stone is cut out without hands (God's sovereign work), smites the image, when all becomes as the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and no place is found for them; and then the stone that smote the image became a great mountain which filled the whole earth.

There is not here, remark, a trace of influence exercised over the previous component parts of the image so as to produce a change of character. The notion is that Christianity will spread and pervade these countries. Now the stone does not grow at all till they are entirely destroyed. There is no influence exercised, no modification takes place, no change at all is spoken of here. The little stone destroys all before it increases. It is the stone which has smitten the image, which grows.

What we have got here is the coming of Christ's kingdom in judgment, and a total destruction of the empires which preceded its action. That action was on the last, and more particularly on the toes of iron and clay - the last form which this image took, looked at in its geographical distribution on earth, and in the condition of its parts, partly strong, partly broken. What gives its specific character to the figure is, that the stone does not grow at all until it has done all these things, and after it has finished its work of judgment and destruction, it grows to be a great mountain.

312 What is going on now is not this. Christ has ascended up on high and He waits, in the spirit of grace, sitting on the right hand of His Father's throne, while the saints, His co-heirs, the church, is gathering out of the world; until, at the moment known to God alone, He rises up from the Father's throne, then to take to Him His great power and reign, His enemies being now put under His feet.

Turn now to the interpretation itself, which is perfectly clear on this point. Power in the world is entrusted to man in the person of Nebuchadnezzar; three empires succeed his, and at the end, though there be a strength in the last which breaks in pieces and subdues all around it, yet a conflict of principles characterises its latter form (I have little doubt the Teutonic and Latin elements); and it is partly strong and partly broken. But then the close comes, verse 44: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."

You will remember, beloved friends, that on the last evening we saw the general outline of God's dealings with the Gentiles in connection with His chosen earthly people, the Jews (they being the centre of all God's earthly dealings). First, that at the restoration of the Jews there would be the judgment of the Gentiles, the nations being divided into two classes, those that were enemies to God's people when God owned them and had His throne in their midst, and those who led them captive and oppressed them when God did not own them. Both will be cast out from the seat of power. It is evident that, as regards the world, it is an all-important fact, God's taking His throne from it. When that took place, He was no longer the God of the earth, though He over-rules all things providentially, but does not exercise direct government as in Israel when His throne was there. Hence Daniel calls Him the God of heaven, and it is not until He comes to judge the world that He takes His name of God of the earth, Lord of the whole earth. (See Zech. 14.) The time during which God gives up His throne on the earth is called "the times of the Gentiles." During these times the Jews, who were taken captive and made slaves to Nebuchadnezzar, have ceased to be God's people as a present position, and are always subject to the Gentiles, and the times of the Gentiles run on till He comes to take vengeance. Then He takes them up again, casting out (as we saw before) those who oppressed them when they were not owned, and those who were enemies when they were owned and His throne was in their midst.

313 The distinction of these two classes is important to us because we are in the times of the Gentiles. In the prophecies there is never the slightest confusion between the two. The Assyrian, and finally Gog, is the great enemy of Israel when the people is owned, the four beasts or Gentile empires their oppressors when they are not. The prophets up to the captivity and Ezekiel speak of the former, Daniel and Zechariah of the latter, to which (when we come to the New Testament) we must add Revelation. The whole New Testament history is under the last beast.

The first, fullest, and most general account of these is in chapter 7 of Daniel, which we have read. If we turn to it now for a moment, we shall see that it is divided into portions by the terms "I saw in the night visions." First, we have, verses 1-6, the fact of the four great empires and a brief account of three; the next division, beginning with verses 7-12, a particular description of the fourth beast, and then a throne set up and judgment. Verse 13 begins another division, in which the kingdom is given to the Son of man. After this we have the explanation given to Daniel by the angel, in which the condition of the saints under the beasts and particularly the last beast, and, finally under the Son of man, is given. They are beasts as having lost their intelligence towards God, not owning Him, and doing their own will in ravening power as far as they can. Of this the madness of Nebuchadnezzar was a figure.

The first three great empires are, Babylon (the head of gold); the bear, Persia (silver); the leopard, Grecian (brass). On these I do not dwell: they are past. The fourth beast, described as we have seen apart more particularly, is the Roman; you find him represented as fierce and powerful, tearing and devouring - not simple conquest, but putting all down under it, treading down what it did not devour; and where has not Western Europe sought to place its power? But, which is far more important still, we find direct antagonism to God.

314 Verses 7, 8: "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots, and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things." You will remark that there is a special power here (a horn, the symbol of power or a kingdom); before it three of the kingdoms fall. Its general character is given here. We shall see the details farther on. It has eyes of man: eyes here mean intelligence, insight into things. His mouth speaks great things, saying, Who is Lord over us? Nor is this all - that his lips are his own, as the psalm speaks; but he will not allow of God.

"I beheld till the thrones were cast down [here with the LXX and best judges we must read "set," which falls in with the. sense indeed of the whole passage], and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." The first three powers, you may remark, had their dominion taken away (their power was destroyed), but subsisted afterwards as subject kingdoms; whereas, when the Roman Empire is put an end to, it is destroyed utterly.

To this we must now turn. It has an importance which none of the others have, though Babylon has a special character. It was the Roman Empire that was in power when Christ was born and took part in His rejection through Pilate, and hereafter they will join Antichrist when he comes. The prophet regards till the thrones are set and the Ancient of days sits. The Roman Empire will then subsist, and, whatever its form or its apparent subversion, is not supplanted by any other beast till the judgment comes. The prophet beholds till the thrones are set and the Ancient of days sits. This is an important element in the fourth beast's history; the consequence is, that it is utterly destroyed when it ceases to be an empire.

315 Remark, too, the clear proof we have of what I drew your attention to as so important in speaking of chapter 2, namely, that the kingdom is not assumed by the Son of man till the judgment is executed. He may and will destroy the beast by His power; but it is only when it is destroyed that His own kingdom is established. It cannot be along with evil. This is the question of the expectant and suffering Jew in Psalm 94:20. It is not now, but after the judgment, that the growth of Christ's kingdom takes place. He is sitting at the right hand of God, but comes thence to take the kingdom with glory and power; He is gathering in now the joint-heirs.

Next, we find here that what is brought out as the cause of this judgment is the great words of blasphemy of the little horn. There cannot be a more definite statement that the glory and kingdom of Christ is consequent on the judgment. I insist upon this, because it bears upon everything we are treating of, and determines our whole view of the nature of Christ's kingdom. There is no change in the principle of sin, in the first Adam, but it goes on to the end. It was lawless at the beginning, breaking law when law was given, rose up against the Lord in hatred to God when He was made flesh and dwelt among us; and, Satan having throughout corrupted the church as we have seen, his power is allowed to unfold itself in the beasts, and in the last beast ripens to a head, and leads the kings of this earth to make war with the Lamb (the lawless one, the man of sin, being then openly revealed). Our portion, as we have seen, is in the Lord, nor will the fruitful power of His grace towards us cease till we shall be like Himself.

But though the kings of the earth stand up together, and the rulers take counsel together, yet God will set His King upon His holy hill of Zion. Here, however, the aspect of His power is somewhat different, He is seen as Son of man, a term of wider dominion than Son of David, in which Psalm 2 views Him; but even there the heathen are given to Him for an inheritance, and He breaks them in pieces like a potter's vessel. The difference is this, that here the kingdom is given and possessed as a dominion, in Psalm 2 it is established by judicial power.

316 We now come to the interpretation in which this very judgment is spoken of, some immensely important truths besides being brought out. In the prophecy nothing had been said of the saints, heavenly or earthly: here we shall find both - I do not say the church, but still heavenly saints. Indeed, when God's mind is thus given, and not merely the outward facts, the connection of these events with the saints is the principal point. Verse 17, "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." The saints will do it, not the Son of man only. Verse 21, "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom."

Here you will first remark the extremely important point that the Ancient of days Himself comes. For though Christ, as man, is gone to receive a kingdom and to return; yet the Son of man is the Ancient of days. So it is said in Timothy that the King of kings and the Lord of lords would shew Christ in glory. But in the Revelation Christ comes as King of kings and Lord of lords: and I may add, in another relationship, the traits of the Ancient of days in Daniel are found in the Son of man who walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks. He is there distinctly both - Son over His own house who built all things.

Another term calls for remark here - the saints of the Most High; or, as in the margin, heavenly places, which we find again in Ephesians as the place of the saints; yet it is immediately connected with the name God takes as possessor of heaven and earth. It is not here the church, but all the saints who have their dwelling in heavenly places in connection with the kingdom, yet in a state of eternal glory. God took the name of God Almighty in relationship with Abraham, of Jehovah with Israel, of Father, in grace, with us. Thus Abraham was to be perfect, walking before God Almighty: Israel was to be perfect with Jehovah their God. We are called to be perfect as our Father which is in heaven is perfect. We are before God as Christ; but as He is in us, we are called to display the divine nature, to be imitators of God as dear children, and walk in love as Christ loved us. But the name of Most High is the expression of God's sovereign dominion, above all that is called God, the Supreme. So, when Abraham returned from the slaughter of the kings (figure of Israel's deliverance and final victory in the latter day), Melchizedek (the figure of Christ as King and Priest, Priest upon His throne in the world to come, King of righteousness, King of peace) comes forward and blesses Abraham on the part of the Most High God possessor of heaven and earth, and blesses the Most High in Abraham's name. In our chapter the saints have their name in connection with this; and indeed it is applied to God (with the difference then of being singular, instead of plural).

317 Meanwhile tribulation and trial is the portion of those on earth. The little blasphemous horn who speaks such great things makes war with the saints. This is the general character. Of course they must be down here. Those on high he can only blaspheme. I do not believe this little horn to be Antichrist; the source of persecution is ever the traditional religious power. Antichrist will be in direct association with him and urges him to it: of this hereafter. But this is the last active power of evil in the Roman Empire or beast whose names of blasphemy are on it: of this also farther on. This persecution will continue till God's power interferes. This is stated in a very important verse: he prevails till the Ancient of days came (here we see that the Son of man is the Ancient of days, for we know that the Son of man comes); and thus a total change takes place, judgment is given to the saints of the high places, and the time is come that the saints possess the kingdom. He does not say saints of the Most High here, for on earth and in blessing the earthly saints will possess the kingdom, as in Matthew 25; but judgment is given only to the saints of the Most High. The Ancient of days then comes, judgment is given to the heavenly saints (compare Revelation 20:4, where we read that judgment was given unto them, and they live and reign with Christ a thousand years), and the saints possess the kingdom.

When will Christians learn their place? He is never called our King, but He is the King of the nations, of the world. We reign with Him. Nothing is so hard as to get the saints to accept the place they have in Christ - to know that in Him, through the price of His own most precious blood, they are one with Him in God's sight and purpose now, and (after having been caught up to Him in the clouds, as we have already seen in a previous lecture) will come with Him when He comes to judge the nations.

318 But I pursue the explanation. Verse 24, "And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise, and another shall arise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Most High, the first time it is mentioned here, is God Himself. "Times and laws" refer to Jews entirely; the words are terms which refer to their statutes and ordinances. These (not the saints) are given into his hands. God never gives His saints into their enemies' hands, though He may use these as a rod.

When that time comes, the beast at first makes his covenant with Israel, according to Daniel 9:27 - first joins with them, then breaks with them, and makes the sacrifice and oblation to cease. All the Jewish order which had been set up in pride will be completely upset, as in Isaiah 18: "They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them." They are brought into such trouble as never was since there was a nation, no, nor ever will be. It is the time, times, and half a time - the great tribulation. The verse gives in few words, but precisely, the state of things when the little horn is wearing out the saints of God.* Satan will be cast out of heaven and have come down, as we have seen, in great rage, having but a short time. Before that period everything is given into the power of the beast. Then the Lord, the Ancient of days, who is come, takes all into His hands. "A short work will the Lord make upon the earth." For the judgment shall sit; the kingdom shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High - that is, to the Jewish people, now brought into connection with the rule of heaven, and secured by it.

{*"The saints of the Most High" here, I do not doubt, are specially those spoken of in the last part of Revelation 20:4, who, refusing to worship the beast, will, being killed, have their place on high.}

319 In order to get that clear a little, we turn to the Revelation, for there we find the history of this beast unfolded in chapter 13. I shall refer to it fully farther on; here, only to notice its character and what it is. It is the Roman beast, with seven heads and ten horns. It receives its power from the dragon, blasphemes God and those in heaven, and makes war with the saints. It is ministered to spiritually by the deceitful power of Satan. It is the instrument of Satan's power in the earth when he is cast out of heaven. Already, as the dragon, the Romans had joined in rejecting Christ. The Roman beast is the only one which has done it in the person of Pilate. But then Christ owned the power as of God, as it was. He said "Thou couldest have no power at all against me except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11), though Satan's influence, as prince of this world, was guiding the use of that power. Then judgment was on one side, perfect righteousness on the other. When Christ comes again, judgment will return to righteousness. They will be reconciled in one, as it is in Psalm 94: "The Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness, and all the upright in heart shall follow it." Till then the saints must not expect it. God may hold the reins and control to His own purposes the powers that be whom He has ordained - may give thus all quietness, as we surely experience it and have to thank Him for; but we must not expect the motives of government to be righteousness as God sees it. It is the time to do well, suffer for it, and take it patiently, as Jesus did; and when God looses the reins to evil, when Satan is come to the earth, then the full true character of evil power from Satan will be manifested. "The dragon gave him his power, and his seat and great authority," Rev. 13:2. Such is the Roman beast in its final state during the time, times, and half a time.

The distinct and definite place and character of this period become as plain as possible if we consult the end of Daniel 9. The prophet receives from the heavenly messenger the assurance that the Jews will be restored. "Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times: and after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off and shall have nothing," as in margin; "not 'for himself'" is not the sense. "And he shall confirm covenant with the many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." First, seven weeks, during which time Jerusalem is rebuilt, then sixty-two weeks - making sixty-nine weeks - Messiah was cut off; but there was a week or part of one left. After the close of the sixty-ninth week Messiah was cut off, and He took nothing. Thereupon the Jewish nation, instead of being restored, was completely subverted. So we find in Luke, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

320 The last week thus remains. In the first half indeed Messiah was there, but rejected by the nation and owned only by the remnant. At the end Antichrist is owned by the nation, rejected by the remnant. The beast makes a covenant with the Jews for that week, but breaks it in the midst of the week, the half-week remains unaccomplished. You get then three and a half years that remain to be accomplished, when abominations (i.e., idolatry) will overspread the Jewish people, the times and laws will be changed. At that very time Satan is come down (in chapter 12 of Revelation), and the woman, the true remnant in Jerusalem, flees into the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time. This is Daniel's half-week. You get it thus perfectly clear. The remnant owned Christ, but the Jews did not. You get the sixty-nine weeks, and then a long parenthesis in which Christ is set aside and the Jews on the earth, "desolations being determined," which goes on until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. During this period the church, the heavenly thing, is called.

Thus the time we are in is not reckoned at all. So the prophets (who do not speak of the times of the Gentiles as Daniel does) pass it over altogether and connect Christ's second coming to earth with His first. We have a very remarkable proof of this from the Lord Himself, when quoting from Isaiah 61: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." The prophet adds, "and the day of vengeance of our God." This Christ does not read, though in the same sentence, but stops short in the midst of a sentence, when He had read as far as "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord," and then ceased. "He closed the book, and sat down," because the remaining part of the prophecy extended beyond the period in which they then were, and in which we still are, to a time which is yet to come - the time of vengeance of the Lord.

321 All this time the interval in the midst of Daniel's week runs on without being counted. We do not count by time in heaven, and this is the time of the heavenly calling. This is evident from the passage in Daniel 9, for the weeks go on to sixty-nine; then all is vague to the one week at the end; but as soon as ever God takes the Jews up again, Daniel's week begins again. If you apply therefore the time, times, and half a time, or the forty-two months, or the twelve hundred and sixty days (which are precisely the same time, three hundred and sixty days being counted to a year, and the five intercalary days or next days being left out), to the intervening epoch, you are necessarily on false ground. I believe there is an analogy, as there are many Antichrists though they are not the Antichrist, proving in a moral sense we have been in the last days since the apostle's time. But the moment you come to be precise, it all falls to the ground, although there is an analogy. The counting of time belongs entirely to the Jews, and the three years and a half begin to run when they are again on the scene, when Satan has been cast down, and the beast has assumed a diabolical character - is come up out of the abyss.

If you take Revelation 13 you get the details of this beast. "And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority" (v. 2). There I get the direct authority of Satan. The saints of the Most High did not take the kingdom then: we shall be caught up and be entirely out of the way of that power of evil. "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast" (v. 3). I do not doubt that we get here the imperial head once destroyed but now revived. "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" (v. 4). That is, the direct power of Satan, as dominant, is publicly owned, and the Roman Imperial beast thus restored carries all the world enthusiastically after it. "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven" (v. 5, 6). Mark here, he cannot touch them in heaven, but he blasphemes them. Satan had been cast out, he was no longer an accuser, and those above he can only blaspheme. There will be some who will have a place in heaven, and whose hearts are weaned from earth, whom he will injure. Those whom he can hurt and kill will be taken up, or they would have lost earthly blessings by their faithfulness, and not get heavenly ones. Such there will be, who refuse to worship him. But this is a detail into which I do not enter here, as our subject is the Gentile powers and their judgment. But "all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain" (verse 8 - for such I have no doubt is the true force of the passage). Complete power (only God preserves a remnant) is in the hands of Satan and his instruments.

322 But, connected with this, we have now another power coming out of the earth. "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon." In this, I have no doubt, we have the Antichrist, or false Messiah, the direct exercise of Satan's falsehood on earth; he is not a priest, or anti-priest, here; that he exercised in heaven. He is a false prophet (compare chap. 19:20), and he has two horns like a lamb. Horns are the power of a kingdom; and he sets up to have that like the Lamb. He pretends to the power of Messiah's kingdom and to be the hoped for king; but when his voice was heard, it was evidently Satan's. Antichrist denies the Father and the Son (i.e., Christianity); he openly denies its truths, and he openly denies that Jesus is the Christ; the first, so to speak, the Jewish form of Christianity, though ever, of course true, but what a Jew was and will be called on to own. "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound r was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men" (v. 12, 13).

323 How solemn this, as the power of delusion, remark. It was the proof Elijah gave that Jehovah was the true God, not Baal. Here this active power of Satan is shewing by the same sign that his witness is to be received, and that they are to own the beast and worship him, and they are so given up that they do believe the lie. We have seen elsewhere that he did falsely what Christ did to prove His mission. He leads them thus further to open denial of Christ, denies Christianity altogether, and says he is Christ himself; but, at the same time, leads them by these means into idolatry, and to make an image to the restored beast, "and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live: and he had power to give [not life, none can do that but God, but] breath unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads" (v. 14-16): that is, he forces them to be his avowed slaves, and make an open profession of his service.

In sum, we have a second beast, using diabolical spiritual energy, and playing into the hands of the beast who held his throne from Satan. You get a kind of trinity of evil and resurrection. The dragon gives the throne to the beast, as the Father to Christ; and the second beast exercises in spiritual energy the power of the first beast in his presence, as the Holy Ghost with Christ. This is the fruit of the falling away - the apostasy of Christianity. So the first beast was slain and his deadly wound is healed.

In chapter 17 we have other aspects of the beast, or Gentile power. The empire is given, but it will ascend out of the bottomless pit, become definitely diabolical, and go into perdition. "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings [forms of power], five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, and when he cometh he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition" (v. 9-11). That is, five forms of government were fallen in the apostle's time; and one was the imperial; a sixth was to come and abide a short time; and the last, who is of the seven, as a form I suppose imperial, but is an eighth. In this last form he comes out of the bottomless pit - as a diabolical character. It will be a Roman emperor; he is the eighth head, and is the beast (that is, concentrates all the power in his own person). After him the world, save only the elect, will go, seeing the long-lost form of power revived in his eighth head. It is Rome; for the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits: of her anon. But another important element is added, "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. 12).

324 "One hour with the beast" - mark this, because it is the definite evidence that it had not been going on since the fall of the Roman Empire through the inroad of the northern nations. Those nations broke up, and, for the time, destroyed the beast - gave it its deadly wound. These receive power one hour with the beast: therefore the beast must come up again. It existed at the first without these kings. Then these kings existed without it, and you have the ten kings without the beast. At the end you get the ten kings with the beast. Men form schemes; but the moment I get scripture, I can surely say we have not the beast in this form yet. What is presented here is subsisting kingdoms, but kingdoms which have given their power, without ceasing to be kingdoms, to one head, who leads all as a whole. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful." This beast, with his subordinate kingdoms, rises up in open hostility against the authority of Christ; while Christ comes with His armies to judge and destroy them all. God's mighty ones come down, the saints come with Christ. "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire" (v. 15, 16).

325 This introduces us to the judgment of Babylon, of Rome, of the great whore, the mother of harlots and abominations. We see, not a spiritual change, but her utter destruction by the beast and the ten kings - the ruin of priestcraft. They pull it all to pieces and devour its wealth and destroy it utterly, wearied with its dominion and falseness. It had deserved it. But it is not the power of good. "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." It is a perfect riddle how people who profess to receive the Scripture have invented all sorts of notions as to the course of events connected with Christianity in this world. The moment I come to Scripture, they are all gone. Men may talk as they like about the steady growth of religion in the world, and the way in which God's word will remove the power of evil from it. It is directly stated, that when the beast and the horns destroy the corrupt power which had long ruled them and made the nations drunk with her fornications, they give their kingdom to the beast.

You will find at the end of chapter 19 God's dealings with the beast (v. 14-20), "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. And I saw an angel standing in the sun: and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." And the false prophet, which is the second beast. Verse 21, "And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth, and all the fowls were filled with their flesh" - a strong figure, drawn from Ezekiel, of judgment and destruction. There we see that power has come, not the influence of the word, whether law or gospel; but power has come in which puts down evil power.

326 In chapter 20 We have a full development of what we read in Daniel 7. We get in the Revelation the history of the last beast more fully developed (that is, of the Roman Empire, which had already rejected Christ when on earth in conjunction with the Jews). Consequent on the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God, the Jews being set aside as a nation, the church was formed. She does not belong to the world, but is the bride of Christ in heavenly places. Then when the church is caught up, the beast which seemed to have been destroyed is found in a new form - still as such - its deadly wound being healed; and as he had joined in rejecting Christ, he is now in the closest connection with Antichrist. At the first he deals with the Jews, makes a covenant with them, but in the last half week of Daniel turns against them, persecutes them, changes times and laws, makes the sacrifice and oblation to cease. The king, the Antichrist, establishes idolatry, and divides their land. You read his character in this point of view in Daniel 11:36: "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that that is determined shall be done." In a word, in Daniel, as in the part of Revelation I have referred to, is the testimony of the beast, the last form of the power which oppresses Israel when they are captive, and does so until the Lord comes and delivers, though He judges them.

Now another power, the Assyrian, comes before us, Israel's great enemy when God owns them, and who will also appear on the scene in his last form in the last days, thinking, when the beast is destroyed, to possess all, but he comes to his end. In Isaiah 10:5 we read, "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation." After giving the various instruments which God has used to chasten Israel, he comes to the last and terrible invader. That was God's indignation against the rebellious people (the indignation describing the last terrible visitation of God). Compare Isaiah 26:20, 21 with Daniel 11:36, the last words of which are also a technical expression for the short work which God will, at the end, make on the earth, as in Daniel 9:27, and this chapter - Isaiah 10:23. (Compare Isaiah 28:22.) If you look now at verse 25, you will see what will make the force of it quite clear, "For yet a very little while and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction." That is, the whole judgment of God on Israel - His indignation - is closed in the destruction of the Assyrian.

327 Now, beloved friends, we will turn to Isaiah 30; but before we do so, let us, just in passing, look at the passage I have referred to in chapter 28:14-16, "Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement, when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste." That is, they made, as we have seen, a covenant with the power of evil, but to no purpose. But the remnant who trusted the Lord and counted on His promise, though not yet delivered or knowing redemption as we do, yet looking, through the testimony then given, to the Son of man, the Branch whom Jehovah had made so strong for Himself (at any rate the wise ones of Daniel and all true-hearted ones resting on such testimonies as this and Isaiah 8) did not make haste or join the Antichrist, while as to the mass, the hopes they had put in him and the beast are confounded, and the scourge of this invader flows through. Afterwards at the end, as we see in the following chapter (293, it is exactly the opposite (v. 4-7); the enemies who were ready to devour are destroyed.

Now look at the end of chapter 30, and you will find this enemy and his end: "For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king [or, as I believe, "also for the king"] it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." The grounded staff is God's decreed rod. When this is laid on the Assyrian, it is the source of joy and triumph because of deliverance - the end of the indignation.

328 Turn now to Micah 5, where we shall see the connection of Christ with the judgment of the Assyrian and the subsequent blessing of Israel. Nothing so laid hold of a Rabbi I was conversing with as this passage. Verses 1-9: "Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us; they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth; then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies-shall be cut off."

The rejected Christ is now to be great to the ends of the earth. He is the peace, secures the peace of Israel, when the Assyrian (their last rod whose destruction puts an end to the indignation) is in the land. He will at first tread in Israel's palaces; but at the end Messiah's power destroys him; and Israel will be as a lion among the Gentiles, though as the dew of divine blessing also. The enemies of the Lord will be cut off. He will judge fully rebellious Israel, indeed, but execute vengeance and fury upon the heathen such as they have not heard. At this time, remark, the Jews are owned, seen in their land, and judged as the people of God there.

329 Daniel, we have seen, is occupied with the Gentiles when Israel is in captivity, and Jerusalem and the land desolate. He brings all these powers to an end, but never takes up the consequent blessing. His subject is the times of the Gentiles.

Ezekiel does exactly the contrary. He goes, himself a captive, up to the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and goes then right over to the end, when Israel would be restored and the enemies go up against them in their land. We shall turn now to his prophecy, where you will find largely developed this other great power. Chapter 38:1, 2, "And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him." The chief prince of Meshech is properly interpreted prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal;* and then follow the names of countries which agree with the names of those of the present day under the influence of Rosh (Russia). You will remark that, in the two preceding chapters, 36 and 37, you have the restoration of the people and divine revival of Israel. Now, when restored and quiet in the land, Gog comes up against them (chap. 38:8) to plunder and possess the land; but it is that the heathen may know Jehovah when He is sanctified in Gog before their eyes (v. 16). They will then know by His judgments that He is Jehovah (v. 23). In chapter 39 God leaves a sixth part of them, and when judgment is thus executed, God's holy name is known in the midst of His people Israel. He will not let them pollute His holy name any more, "And the heathen shall know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One in Israel." He then calls on all the fowls of the air to come and feast on the slaughtered victims whom He has slain for a sacrifice; so many are they that it is seven months before the land is clean. This also is the one of whom He has spoken in old times by His servants the prophets, the Assyrian of the last days, in whom, as these passages plainly shew, the indignation ceases.

{*This translation, of the correctness of which I have no doubt, is that of the elder Lowth, some hundred and fifty years ago, before these prophetic views were mooted.}

Chapter 38:14-20: "Therefore, son of man prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God, In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army. And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land. It shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord God, Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence; and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground."

330 Chapter 39:1-8: "Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel. And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God: this is the day whereof I have spoken." "And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward" (v. 21, 22). "Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God" (v. 28, 29).

331 I get here this other fundamental principle: When Israel is restored, then the heathen themselves - judged that it may be so - understand that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is the Most High over all the earth, and submit to Him. You will see how Psalm 8 expresses this: "O Jehovah our Lord," says Israel, when Christ is set up, not simply as Son of David, according to Psalm 2, which will indeed now be accomplished, but as Son of man, "how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" This is the prayer of Psalm 67. I should multiply quotations too much were I to quote all the Psalms which speak of this. I will allude to a remarkable series - Psalms 94-100. Psalm 94 calls for judgment; Psalm 95 summons Israel to repentance; Psalm 96 the heathen are called to own Jehovah, for He is coming to judge the world in righteousness; in Psalm 97 He is actually coming in clouds; in Psalm 98 the Lord is come and has made known His salvation; in Psalm 99 He is known upon the earth again, and is sitting between the cherubim; and Psalm 100 calls on all nations to come and worship Him now that His throne is set up on earth for blessing. The cry for vengeance and deliverance is the cry of the remnant, from the time of God's bringing back the people till His sitting on the throne of judgment. He will send deliverance by power. The throne of iniquity will not share the power with Him. Now, grace calls souls from the evil, to come to God and go to heaven, and grace characterises the Christian, though he knows vengeance will come.

I have now gone through the passages which give us the history of the beast, and a sufficient number of those which speak of the Assyrian, to have a distinct idea of these two powers, now concentrated in Western and Eastern Europe. Zechariah never speaks of the Assyrian. He belonged to the captivity of Israel, though the Jews were restored that Messiah might be presented to them. But the post-captivity prophets do not call the Jews God's people, unless speaking of their future; and the other prophets, those before the captivity, never speak of the beast as such, because Israel was owned, God's throne still there. Ezekiel, we have seen, goes over from Babylon to Israel again in the land. We have more directly to say to the beast because the time is going on in which they rule: only that in result it becomes open rebellion. There is a raising up of the beast from a seemingly fatal wound in an utterly diabolical character. God has put into the hearts of a little remnant of the Jews then to look to Him. But the nation blossoms and buds, and seems as if it were beginning a time of full prosperity in its own land. But then it is browsed and eaten down, the resort of beasts and birds of prey. These are judged and Israel is received and blessed. And if, says the apostle, the falling away of them be the riches of the Gentiles, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead to the world?

332 All this calls our hearts, beloved, to a far more divine apprehension that our portion is in heaven while Christ is rejected; and that, Christ having been rejected, Christians are; and that, Christ being in heaven, their conversation or citizenship is there also. No living here any more, though we pass through it as pilgrims and strangers. What I have to do is to convince the world that there is a power which delivers from it, to manifest Christ and Christ's motives in it. "If ye do well and suffer for it, and take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." The danger for the saints now is that, instead of seeing evil going on and rising up to a head against the Lord, man is thinking of improving the world and bringing in good. What is before us is, that in the last days perilous times shall come. But men are wise in their own conceits, and fancy they will do better than Christ and the apostles - not make Christians for God, but improve the earth. The testimony of God is, that the professing church and the world are both ripening up to evil, and that the Lord is coming, to receive us to Himself, and to judge the habitable earth in righteousness, and reign for its blessing, and primarily over the restored Jewish people.