Studies on the Book of Daniel

J. N. Darby.

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Daniel 8

I reserve some further remarks on chapter 7 till we come to the end of chapter 9 and I proceed to chapter 8. In it the Spirit of God takes two empires, namely, the second and third of the four beasts previously seen, to give a more detailed history of them.

"In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me" (v. 1). "And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan, in the palace, which is in the province of Elam" (v. 2). This land of Elam, or Persia, was the body of the second beast. The bear of chapter 7 is now the ram. "The ram which thou sawest, having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia" (v. 20). These two kingdoms were united into one. In chapter 7 this kingdom is told to "arise and devour much flesh," whilst here the ram is said "to push westward, and northward, and southward." The he-goat of verse 5, who attacks the ram, is the empire of the Greeks, which commenced under Alexander. This "notable horn," having united the Greeks, led them into Asia against the empire of the Persians. In three years he overthrew it: it crumbled into nothing before his energy, which earned for him, among men, the name of Great. We know from history, that he died, whilst yet young, of a fever, the consequence of his excesses.

150 "When he [the he-goat] was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven" (v. 8). Alexander traversed the greater part of Asia, and penetrated as far as India, proving his capacity not only as a general, but as the founder of a solid empire. But God laid His hand upon him, and "for it came up four notable ones." The same truth is presented, chapter 7:6 under the figure of a leopard with four wings and four heads. After Alexander's death his kingdom was divided into four distinct monarchies, with two of which we have principally to do, because two of them came into connection with the Jews; just as lately the Turks and Egyptians were at war about this same Holy Land.

We must remember, if we would understand this prophecy, that even the geography of Scripture is always considered according to the position of the Holy Land. If we have a king of the south, it is a king to the south of Palestine; for Palestine is the centre of all God's thoughts as to the government of this world. Jerusalem is His chosen city. "For the Lord hath chosen Zion," it is said, "He hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever," Psalm 132:13-14. From one of the kingdoms designed under the four horns (it is not said from which, but distinctively from one) comes a little horn whose acts form the important part of this chapter.

"And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east and toward the pleasant land" (v. 9), viz. the Holy Land In considering Scripture, it is needful to place oneself, so to speak, in the point of view from which God looks. He says, in Deuteronomy 11:12, and 1 Kings 9:3, that He will never take His eyes off Palestine. Now the activity of faith always hangs upon this point of view of God. And this knowledge of God's thoughts is the power of service in the church. God keeps His sheep always; that is to say, He always loves them. If I see one of these sheep wander, it is very sorrowful; and looking at it with man's judgment only, one might be inclined to abandon it; but remembering that it is a sheep, I act towards it as God thinks of it: that is, faith takes up the thoughts of God as to the objects of His love.

151 As far as the world is concerned, Jerusalem is nothing; it is a city trodden down, with neither commerce nor riches nor aught else. Superstition is established there on the sepulchre of the Lord. It is true, indeed, that the kings of the earth are beginning to look that way, because providence is leading in that direction; but as for God, He ever thinks of it; it is always His house, His city. His eyes and His heart are there continually. Now faith understands this.

And what was Daniel's position? He was a captive among the Chaldeans at Babylon; but Palestine was for him the pleasant land. His captivity takes off nothing from its interest. It was a very small province of an immense empire, almost unknown in the empire, so small was it in comparison. But to God it was everything. His purposes were ever towards it.

"The little horn waxed exceeding great towards… the pleasant land." We shall never understand the Old Testament prophecies, if we do not see two things. First, the thoughts of God are upon the glory of Christ, who, on His re-appearance, will reign over the earth. If this thought be not kept in view, whilst considering the details and events of Scripture, nothing will be understood: for God will and does make all the events of the world work together to that end. Secondly, we shall equally fail in understanding prophecy if we forget that the Jews are the habitual object of the thoughts of God; for, although He cannot recognise them for the moment, as being under His chastening hand, they are nevertheless still His people; for "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29); and, however we may apply this assertion to the church - for it is true of every one who is possessor of divine life - yet the context shews that the Jews are meant, who, although supplanted during their judicial blindness by the church* on earth (the Gentile dispensation), yet will by and by be re-established in all their privileges.

{*I use the word "church" here in a popular and improper sense.}

When we have once laid hold on these two thoughts - that Christ is the aim and end of all the counsels of God, and that the Jews are the object of His counsels here below - there are a multitude of expressions that become easy of apprehension. For example, "the pleasant land" is the land of the Jews: nothing ennobles before God but His gifts and vocation. And who are the people and land which He has chosen? No other than the land and the people which He promised to Abraham (Gen. 15), and which Christ, as the Seed of Abraham, will inherit, together with Israel, who are the people whom God has chosen.

152 "And it [the little horn] waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them" (v. 10). There is an alteration in the next verse, to which I must here draw your attention, as it relates to a matter of no little importance, viz., the complete destruction of the worship of God at Jerusalem If we were meditating on doctrines connected with salvation; I would not trouble you with questions of criticism; but I venture to do so here, as we are occupied with the intelligence of Scripture, and much is, in this instance, dependent on a just translation of verse 11, the main correction of which is afforded by the margin of the English translation. I give what I believe to be correct. "And he* magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and from him (the prince of the host) the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place** of his sanctuary was cast down, and a certain time*** of distress was appointed to the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression." All this I should, moreover, put in parenthesis. The material change is that the taking away the daily sacrifice is not attributed to this little horn. The actings of the little horn are resumed after the word "transgression." "And it cast down the truth to the ground," etc.

{*The change from "it" to "he" is to be noted here. It does not agree immediately with the little horn.}

{**This word in the original gives the idea of something solid, permanent, established; and comes from a word meaning "to establish."}

{***Where, in verse 12, it is said, "an host was given him," I take the word in the sense in which it is used in Job 7:1; 14:14; and perhaps chap. 10:17 - an appointed time of distress, a miserable condition which is ordained to any one.}

In the actings, then, of the little horn it is not a question of uttering blasphemy and exalting itself against God, but of something very definite and precise: "it waxed great even to the host of heaven." It attacks those who, in those days, are there - the Jews who have a place around their chief (that is, those who in the moral heaven-surround the throne of God); I judge it to mean the priests and heads among the Jews at Jerusalem, or such as God owns there. Observe God's estimate of things. He attaches more importance to the priests and governors among this poor people, than to anything else which the beast has been doing in the world. He lifted himself up "even to the host of heaven." It is infinitely more dangerous to meddle with things that belong to God, and things upon which God looks - to endeavour to efface His glory, all tarnished though it may be in our hands, than to overturn or to found empires, or to achieve the greatest victories (although God in His providence may superintend these events). The little horn might overthrow nations; but to say there should be no worship of God was an event far more serious: it was to destroy the only link which made it possible for God to recognise the state of things on the earth.

153 Such, then, is the special conduct of this little horn. It magnifies itself even to the host of heaven, and casts down a part of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamps on them. At the end, he who fills the antitypical place of this little horn exalts himself even so as to rise up against the prince of the host. He aims even at Him who is the true head of all things. Those who were at Jerusalem in such a place represented God, whilst Christ will soon be manifested as the true prince of the host. God further permits that the daily sacrifice should be taken away from this prince. We see therefore who is this Prince. It is the Lord. The sacrifice is taken away from Him, and the place of His sanctuary cast down, in this time of terror.

God calls His house at Jerusalem the place of His sanctuary, the sanctuary of Christ. He was and is always the God of the Jews. It is not a simple treading down of the people by the permission of God, as chastisement on account of their sins; but that it should be so, the temple is allowed to be cast down, as indeed it was at the time of the captivity of Babylon; and this must be the case, in order that God may shew that He has completely abandoned His people to the fruit of their ways. While He owns His honour there, He must stand up in their defence, though He chastise; but if that be destroyed, and their city prostrate, then He leaves them indeed to the matured fruit of their sins, though He may still have the intention of bringing them back.

154 One might have supposed it impossible that His fixed habitation should be cast down; but the Spirit of God puts these facts in contrast, that we may see that the things which God Himself had established and preserved for centuries, He abandons, whilst still calling them His own. "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance." But He overturns everything that He has set as a witness, in the place which He has chosen for His dwelling, and breaks His bonds with the people, whilst still saying (Lam. 2:6-7), that they are His tabernacle, His place of assembly, His altar, and His sanctuary. Because of the unfaithfulness of the people, God no longer allows the worship which should have been offered to Him, and by permitting the daily sacrifice to be taken away, the visible and exterior link between Himself and the people is broken, and all that manifests His favour in the world - His house and worship - is set aside.

Verse 13. "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said to that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?" The question is about the length of the time of affliction. The thoughts of the inquirer are not upon the exploits of the little horn, but about the desolation of the Jewish worship and temple. This distinction is important. I do not say that such desolations do not announce the last days; only these two things are distinct, viz., the conduct of the little horn, and the desolation of the temple. In the explanation given in the course of the chapter concerning the end of the indignation, there is nothing on the subject of worship; it refers only to circumstances concerning the king of fierce countenance, understanding dark sentences, without speaking of the temple. And lastly, there is not a word said that it is this little horn who takes away the daily sacrifice.

This answer precedes and is distinct from the interpretation given to Daniel of the little horn. It is possible that in the history, the little horn may have done all these things (allowing Antiochus Epiphanes to have been the type), but the Holy Spirit does not use them all* when He speaks of what is to fill up the picture of the end.

{*I would remark here in passing, that we must not conclude that all the circumstances connected with the occasion of a prophecy apply to the events which accomplish it at the end of the age.}

155 Verse 14. "And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." We shall be helped in the consideration of these verses by recurring to verse 10. "It waxed great… it cast down some of the host… and stamped upon them"; and in verse 12 we again find the expression, "It cast down the truth to the ground." Now between these two expressions all is in parenthesis, that is, the whole of verse 11 and a part of verse 12. "It cast down the truth to the ground" is the conduct of this horn in the last days, of which we have an explanation at the end. "So he [Gabriel] came near where I stood" (v. 17). "And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be" (v. 19). The word "indignation" is often found in the prophecies, and is particularly mentioned in Isaiah 10. Iniquity had ripened, and its chastisement had begun in the days of the faithless successor of David, Ahaz. It went on increasing. The Jews would not repent, and the hand of the Lord was heavier upon them; and will continue (see Isaiah 10:5, 8, then 12, 17, 21, 25) until the people shall return to Him who smote them.

It began comparatively lightly with the attacks of the Syrians, and the loss of the provinces; to these succeeded the conquests of the Babylonians; after that, the captivity; but the Jews would not repent at these judgments. Afterwards God sent them His Son; you know how they treated Him. When they shall be again in their land, they will give themselves over to idolatry, and will receive Antichrist instead of Christ. At last, the abomination of desolation will be set up, until Christ Himself shall destroy the enemies of the people, and then the indignation will be accomplished. This time of indignation consists in the people being abandoned by God to the power of their enemies more or less; but that which is specially called "the indignation" is the attacks to which the Jews, on account of their sins, are subjected in the last days - the days of Antichrist. I do not say that Antichrist is the indignation; but the Jews are delivered to the instruments of the indignation of God on account of their relationship with him. God has determined its duration beforehand. (Compare Isaiah 10:5-25.)

156 Daniel 8:20-23. "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up." I have no doubt, dear friends, that the type was the king of the Syrians - the king of the race of the Seleucidae; but it is quite certain that this was not the end of the indignation; and, in the explanation which Daniel gives, he confines himself to what the antitype will do at the time of the end (v. 17) - the end of the indignation against the Jews (v. 19). We must put the church altogether on one side in this case: it is a question of the Jews in the latter days, at the end of the indignation.

"In the latter time [v. 23] of their kingdom [namely, of the kings who divided the Greek empire]… a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up." These kingdoms, then, must be re-established; there will again be the king of the south and the king of the north. Turkey in Asia, at this moment, embraces the territory of the king of the north, and Egypt that of the king of the south. They must reappear as two kingdoms. We must apply this prophecy to that which is called "the end," "the time of the end"; that is, the end of the ways of God towards the Jews - "the end of the age," as a general term. Egypt will then be on the scene, but particularly the king of the north, whoever may then possess that dignity.

An important fact in the accomplishment of prophecy in the latter day is, not only the return of the Jews to their land, but that, being found there, their wickedness will still increase. Those words of the Saviour will be accomplished in them, "If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive," John 5:43. And again, "when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation," Matt. 12:43-45. That is, the Jews having returned to their land, the wicked spirit, the spirit of idolatry which had left them (for there was no idolatry at the time of Jesus Christ), enters into his house, empty, swept, and prepared, and brings with him seven other impure spirits, and the last state of the nation shall be infinitely worse than the first. This may be true of others, but the Saviour applies the passage to the Jews; "Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." Thus "the transgressors will have come to the full," the transgression of the Jews against Jehovah will be at its height. It will be, speaking generally, the end of the age, and particularly the end of those four monarchies of the divided empire of Alexander; the Jews having become absolutely apostate, and in rebellion against God - not only as seen in their present condition, but much worse, having also returned to their land. And this scene will be in Palestine, and with a king out of one of the Greek monarchies, of whom the king of Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes, has certainly been a type.

157 Verse 23. "And… a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up." He will not only have force of arms, but also a spirit of wisdom, so as to be able to explain or interpret enigmas, a sort of prophet (though not, of course, in a good sense), who expounds profound and mysterious things. He acts by a deceitful and penetrating spirit, and in this way, upon the Jewish nation, as much as by his arms.

Verse 24. "His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power." He will be a king in dependence upon some other potentate - strong, but not entirely by his own force. "And he shall destroy the mighty and the holy people." Notwithstanding their state of perfidy and rebellion collectively, the Jews are, to the prophet, the holy people.*

{*Or people of the saints. (Compare chapter 7:27.)}

Verse 25. "And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many." That is, it will not be by force of arms, but he will deal with the Jews in the way of peace; and by penetration and subtility, as a kind of rabbi, he will exercise much influence over the Jewish nation.

Finally, "He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand." Christ is the Prince of princes - "the prince of the host." This king, then, will not only overthrow many Jews, but, at the same time, will obtain immense influence over the nation; and, setting himself against the Prince of princes, he will be destroyed without hand.

158 You will observe that in this explanation of the conduct of the little horn, the daily sacrifice is not mentioned, its taking away is not attributed to him; and thus we perceive the importance of the correction of verse 11. He oppresses the Jews, and triumphs over them by the subtility of his spirit; he will destroy many by peace and prosperity. This is the account of a power which emanates from the Greek monarchy in the east, one who will act in the midst of the Jewish people, and who will be destroyed because he exalts himself against Christ at the end. So much for his locality, his conduct, and his end. The only mention that Daniel makes of the daily sacrifice and of the sanctuary, is in the last two verses. "And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true."

A single remark will suffice concerning the calculations of dates that have been made; I have made them myself, and I have taken all possible pains to resolve that of the "two thousand three hundred days" (v. 14), so that I do not mean it as condemning others, when I avow that I do not think they can be counted as years, and I am inclined to believe that these days were accomplished of old. But, in any case, if dates are to be assigned, we must remember that the subject is the Jews and Jerusalem, and these dates must therefore be applied to the Jews and Jerusalem, and not to the affairs of Christendom.

There may be analogous circumstances in Christendom, because the mystery of iniquity has already set in, for although the wicked one has not yet been revealed, his principles and his pride are found in its developments, etc.; but if we are to speak with exactness, and to ask if these things have been precisely accomplished, then we must apply these passages to Jerusalem and the Jews, namely, to what is to occur at the end of the indignation. Now certainly the end of the indignation has not yet happened.

In conclusion, the subject of this lecture is one with which we may appear to have but little concern. The other little horn has more connection with us, because it belongs to the last beast; and we have to do with it, as living in those countries which will come under its dominion, as France, England, etc. (which formed a part of the Roman empire); and also, as being where Christianity has been developed, during the existence of this last beast; whereas we are not in the territory of the little horn spoken of in this lecture. But if it is important on the one hand to avoid the evil which is about to appear in the west, in the very midst of the circumstances in which we are placed; on the other hand, the necessity of doing so tends to pervert our judgment; for we are liable to attach a great importance to ourselves, and to suppose that we possess the whole scope of Scripture, whereas God, as far as regards the possession and promises of this world, has given the Jew a much larger place than ourselves. Nevertheless, we perceive at the close that our history again enters into what so much interests us, namely, the counsels of God as to His Christ; for the last thing which we see, in the great events which are to take place, is this little horn lifting up himself against the Lord of lords; and before this world can be blessed, it is necessary that the Lord should break this little horn, in order that under His own rule the blessings of peace may come upon all.

<05032E> 159 LECTURE 5

Daniel 9:1-19

In chapter 7 we traced the history of the four beasts in general, specially of the little horn who spoke great things, who blasphemed against God, who was the enemy of the saints, who represented the beast - that is, who acted as he chose, according to the power of this beast; and in chapter 8 we have the history of the horn who will be raised up from one of the four Greek monarchies, and who at the end will lift himself up against the Lord of lords, and will be destroyed without hand. The prophet now directs his thoughts and heart towards a subject, different from that in the midst of which he stood, namely, to the desolations of Jerusalem. Such is the theme of this chapter. And how was he led into this train of thought? Simply because those words were on his heart; How long, O Lord! It is a mark of faith thus to cry, when judgments are weighing heavily upon the people of God: for faith views the people according to the promises which God has made to them. A person who has laid hold of the mind of God, whose faith is in exercise, and whose heart responds, however imperfectly, to the heart of God, must desire that they should enjoy their proper blessings - the blessed consequences of their relationship with God, as it is said, "Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation," Isaiah 33:20.

160 Thus when affliction weighs heavily upon the people of God, and they are not enjoying all the privileges which faith realises as belonging to them, faith says, "How long, O Lord!" On the one hand, such a one cannot rest satisfied with the misfortunes under which the people of God are labouring; and upon the other, he knows that it is impossible for God to abandon His people. Faith says, This state of suffering will have an end; the wicked, it is true, will not be relieved, but the people of God must be. Hence the frequency of such expressions in the Psalms and Prophets as "How long, O Lord!" and "There is none to say, How long!" - there is no one who knows how to count on the faithfulness of God. When under chastening, there is no faith to use this expression, a worse one is used, "I have loved strangers, and after them will I go"; and the people abandon themselves to wickedness; Jer. 2:25.

Now Daniel is here acting in faith. He had, moreover, the consolation of knowing, that when God pronounced the judgment of captivity upon His people, He had also declared its limit. Jeremiah had predicted that it should last seventy years, and that afterwards God would judge Babylon by the hand of Cyrus. Hereupon, wrapped up in the interests of the people of God, his thoughts are occupied with this promised deliverance.

But the faith which comprehends the goodness of God, and sighs for the time when the people shall enjoy their privileges, always confesses the sin which has obliged God to deprive His people for a time of these privileges. Faith never becomes discouraged, as if God were unfaithful; on the contrary, it insists upon the blame being with the people, and that God has only acted faithfully in thus dealing with them. Our chapter begins in this way. The interest which Daniel felt in his people led him to the consideration of the prophet Jeremiah, and then he entreats the Lord to confirm this blessing which He had promised by Jeremiah, that is, that He would accomplish the deliverance of His people from captivity.

Another important fact which we remark here, and which was manifested in the Lord Jesus in perfection, is, that faith always thoroughly identifies itself with the affliction in which the people are found; and more even, with all the sins of the people of God. This is the distinguishing mark of the Spirit of Christ. Christ, indeed, went much further, inasmuch as He was able to make atonement for those sins, with which He identified Himself; but faith, according to its measure, always does so. The faith may be very feeble, but if there be any sense of the privileges of the people of God, and of the glory of God in His people, faith must have reference to this glory. But if it considers the glory, it considers also the sins which have been the occasion of the chastisement. Faith identifies itself with the state of the people, and by placing itself in their condition, perceives the cause of the judgment; for faith identifies the glory of God with His people, and itself with both; and the state of the people before God becomes the principle which animates the heart; and the more faith there is, according to the measure of its intelligence, the more does it enter into the depths into which the offenders have fallen, pass their sins in review, and confess them in identification with them; and if faith did not do this, there could be no presenting of these sins in confession, in order to their being pardoned. The Spirit which is in us (and yet more fully than the spirit of prophecy)* necessarily looks at the thing morally. My distress at the condition of the saints is in every sense incomplete, unless the cause of that condition in God's sight is taken notice of - just as the high priest confessed all the sins of the people upon the scape- goat.

{*When I speak of this spirit of prophecy, I mean, not a revelation, but the intelligence of the thoughts of God as to His people, and interest of heart in their blessing, as in God's behalf - the heart being the depository of these interests. This spirit is in the body. (Compare, too, Genesis 20 7.}

161 It is fully admitted, that there may be imperfection in the act; but according to the principles of faith, there must be identification - a full confession before God. If I thought to get remission of sins (in the sense of removing chastenings) by partial confession, or without having felt their enormity, it is evident I should be mocking the just government of God; so that it is absolutely necessary, if I wish to suffer with Christ, for His church (and the case of the Jews serves morally for us), if I am led by His Spirit in love and care for His sheep, that I should humble myself, recognising the fallen condition of the saints, and confess all their sins. Just this did Daniel.

161 Verses 2-4. "In the first year of his [Darius'] reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God … and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments."

Daniel has the prophecy of Jeremiah present before his mind.

When I speak of the spirit of prophecy, I do not speak of a revelation made to the prophet - it is not a question of the answer which God makes to a prophet when he presents the wants of His people. Daniel was a prophet, but there is, in this instance, no special revelation made to him. Hence we are told, that he had understood by books. He was simply one of the faithful studying prophecy. God afterwards gives him a direct revelation. But in the present instance, faith alone was acting, and he was only made to understand what God had already spoken about His people. All is revealed in the Bible, and in searching it we can, like Daniel, know and understand what God has already written about His people.

There are many questions which we cannot resolve, because we are not spiritual enough. The teaching of God is as necessary for the understanding, as for the revelation of His thoughts. It is interesting to remark this. Daniel had understood by books that the captivity was to last seventy years. As a faithful man he interests himself in the people of God, and searches, by the spiritual intelligence which is given to those who walk with God, what are His thoughts and ways.

I do not say that we have the same faith and intelligence, but we are upon the same ground. Daniel represents the faithful remnant, who have their hearts full of desires for His grace towards His people, and who, to this end, study the word of God. As a consequence, the Spirit of God leads him into supplications; for whatever be the intentions of God, there is always in His acts of government a recognition of the moral road which He has ever traced out for His people - certain moral principles by which He leads them. "I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock," Ezek. 36:37. Faith does not lead us into mere speculative knowledge - the head may be full of dates, etc., things, in a certain degree, useful - but when the Spirit of God really acts, we turn to the Lord with prayer and supplication, and with humbleness of soul, recognising the actual condition of His people. It was thus with Daniel. "I set my face," says he, "unto the Lord."

163 Daniel had been led captive when very young, and he had taken no part in the actual iniquity of Israel. There was, therefore, no ground for self-accusation. But the fact is, there is no such thing as a Christian separated from the interests of his brethren. This could not be. The Spirit of Christ, which, in a certain sense, is more powerful in us than among the faithful in the time of Daniel, is nothing else than the Spirit of Christ in Christ; that is to say, the principle on which He acts is the same. Christ has done, He alone, that which no other could have done; we know this well. But the tendency, the feelings, the affections, of the Spirit of Christ in us cannot be other than the Spirit of Christ in Christ. If, then, Christ identifies Himself with all that the people have done from the beginning, Daniel also can say, "We have sinned," (v. 5-7). He identifies himself with all, in the unity of the same people, though he had not been partaker of any of these sins: "O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings," etc. (v. 8). These kings were no longer in existence, but he saw the whole thing together; "we have not hearkened to the voice of thy servants the prophets." The prophets had not prophesied to him, and had a deaf ear turned to their words. Behold then the whole mass of Israel in this confusion of face - behold the justice which belongs to God. But there is another thing which the Spirit of Christ confesses: "To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him" (v. 9). This is a singular reason; but he had such a conviction of the goodness of God, that he says, It is not only the justice which punishes that is found in God, but, though we have sinned, there is mercy: as David says, "O Lord my God, pardon my iniquity, for it is great." As if to say, Nothing will do for me, or meet my case, but mercy; I cannot offer sacrifices like the Jews, I must have recourse to Thee - I must have mercy and pardon. The prophet draws this as a consequence - there is sin; well then, this can be met by mercy alone.

All have transgressed the law. It does not do to say, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, have not done so; Josiah had done much that was good; David was a man after God's own heart; but this or that instance is lost in the idea of a broken law. If the people of God are no longer in the enjoyment of their privileges, it is because they have sinned, and that sin is punished. Certain alterations for the better may have retarded the judgment, but judgment having once come in, the way of the Spirit is to say, that all have sinned. Besides all this, there is a government in detail, as we see in the case of Hezekiah, where chastisement was announced, and afterwards postponed. They were to go to Babylon, but not in his time. As to further matter of detail of government, consult the case of Josiah; he fell by the hand of Pharaoh-Necho, although it was said, "Thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace," 2 Kings 22:20. But he was taken from the evil to come. The circumstances were afflicting, for it would appear that he should have listened to Pharaoh. Josiah was chastened individually, but he did not see, like Daniel, all that came upon Jerusalem: what a sparing from sorrow was that! "The righteous man dieth … and none considereth that the righteous is taken away from the judgment to come."

164 "Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law" (v. 1). "Yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth" (v. 13); that is, not only have we transgressed, but when the chastening came we did not turn to the Lord with a true heart, to turn us from our iniquities. Here sin reached its height. "Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil and brought it upon us" (v. 14), as He watched upon the good to bless. How terrible, when the government of God watches upon the evil to make it come upon His people!

"And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly" (v. 15). "O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain" (v. 16). The words of Daniel are quite touching. He deeply felt that it was the sin of the people that had brought down all the evil. Nevertheless, he reiterates, It is a question of Thy name; he says nothing about the name of the people. He had truly felt their wretchedness and sin; moreover, he was humbled for it, but he insists upon this point, that Jerusalem is the city of God, and so he says "Let thine anger be turned away from thy city Jerusalem." In confessing the sins of his fathers, he could not bear the idea of the city of God being in desolation; but these sins being the cause, they must be forgiven before the city can be restored. It was called by God's name, and in the eyes of Daniel, his people were, so to speak, the name of God in the earth, as it is said, "This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob," Psalm 24:6.

165 This, then, was the pleading of Daniel; he confesses all the sins of Israel. Thus, "for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach," etc., etc. (v. 16). "O my God, incline thine ear and hear … for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies" (v. 18). "Defer not, for thine own sake, O my God, for thy city and thy people are called by thy name" (v. 19). God Himself is made the motive. That faith which perceives the sins of the people, by reason of the glory of God which identifies itself with such people, can claim deliverance from the results of these sins; because this very glory necessitates the forgiveness, God having identified Himself in goodness with the people: and so much the more, inasmuch as it is this glory on which faith feeds and with which it is pre-occupied, and which, as before said, causes the extent of sin and failure to be felt. But if God is to act for His name, He must deliver Jerusalem, for there was no other place on the earth which bore His name.

If the same spirit animated us, as Christians, we should be saying, It is for the sins of the church that we are suffering, and that we are held in contempt by all the world.

Something remains to be said, dear friends, as to the place which Daniel takes prophetically. It has struck me, in reading the chapter, that he does not take the position in which the promises made to Abraham would have placed him. The full blessing of the Jews will be grounded on another truth than that which Daniel pleads here.

The blessings of the Jews, such as they are yet to enjoy, are based upon the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, without condition. These are not touched upon here by Daniel. They have never possessed the land under the law, properly speaking; but they have had it, according to the promises made to Moses in favour of the people, at the time of the mediation at Sinai. The land has never been possessed on the principle of obedience to the law, for immediately after it was given, the apostasy of the golden calf came in. Moreover they have never yet enjoyed the land in quality of Messiah's people. In order to enjoy the land according to the promises, they must enjoy it according to the new covenant; but as yet, neither the Messiah nor the new covenant has introduced the people into it. The new covenant is not yet established with the Jews. The promises cannot yet have been accomplished, because Christ is the true seed of Abraham. The Jews have been rejected, and the accomplishment has never yet taken place. These, viz., the Messiah and the new covenant, are two great elements of the future blessing of this people.

166 The fact is, that God, after the idolatry of the golden calf, placed His people Israel (consult Exodus 32, 33, 34), under a government, founded, half upon law, and half upon grace, for when Moses ascended the mount of Sinai, God declared His name (Exodus 34:6) as "the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." This was grace, whilst at the same time He gave him the law of the ten commandments, so that the people were placed under a condition of obedience. This was the condition under which Israel was placed from the time that Moses ascended Sinai the second time. Although he had previously confessed the sins of Israel, and, by his intercession, obtained the pardon, through grace, of the people, yet God, notwithstanding, replaces them under a condition of obedience to the law.

In all that there was no question of Jerusalem, but only of the great principles which were the groundwork of the relationship between God and His people. Later, as in Leviticus 26, we have threats made to the people should they fail in their conduct. It is a long chapter, where blessings are promised in the event of obedience. He engages even to place His tabernacle in their midst, and every earthly blessing was promised them (v. 3-13), "but if ye will not hearken to me," (v. 14) they are menaced with the heaviest judgments and at last are to be cast out of their land (v. 31-39). This was precisely what befell them, when they were carried captive to Babylon (compare 2 Chron. 36:21, with Lev. 26:34), and the land enjoyed her Sabbaths, during the time of the desolation of Jerusalem. Once every seven years there was to be a year of rest, but the people had not faith in God to observe it; and the consequence of their not believing God in not allowing the sabbatic years was, that God found this means of enforcing obedience to His law. A promise succeeds this threat, "If they shall confess their iniquity … then I will remember my covenant with Jacob," etc., etc. (v. 40-42), that is, they would be brought back. The same principle is presented in Deuteronomy 28, 29. We have conditional blessings and cursings, and subsequently (chap. 30) promises; that is, grace for those who repent in the land whither they have been carried captive.

167 It was this special case that Daniel had to do with - the case, namely, foreseen in the threatenings. I would call your attention also to 1 Kings 9, for there God shews, in answer to Solomon, what He would do in case of infidelity, and He identifies His name with the city of Jerusalem, and particularly with the temple; 1 Kings 8:29. In his prayer he does not ask for the accomplishment of the promises made to Abraham, but only of those made to Moses, which place the people under the condition of obedience when in their land (v. 56). It was this prayer which was answered.

We have seen what passed with Moses. And when Solomon dedicates the temple to God, he asks Him to acknowledge it always according to His principles of government as revealed to Moses. Now, the people having sinned, Jeremiah had prophesied that there should be a special chastisement for seventy years, and Daniel takes this up. He does not go back to the promises made to Abraham, but only as far as the words of Solomon and Moses; Dan. 9:11.

Verse 16. "Let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain." God had, according to Solomon's prayer, chosen Jerusalem. We will not now enter into the answer which God gives, except to say that He declares all that should happen to Jerusalem; but in taking as His occasion the return to that city of the captives, He goes on much farther, even to the circumstances of that city to the very end. He does it, as it were, under a Mosaic point of view, and not in revealing its final state of blessedness, as being an answer to the prayer respecting the judgments which had befallen the holy city, on account of the violation of the law of Moses; the result of which was, that the city was placed under the judgments which Moses had threatened.

It may be well to point to two or three passages, as to this choice of Jerusalem: for instance, Psalms 78:68; 87 and 132. This last opens with a description of finding and bringing back the ark, and giving it a place. Then Jehovah speaks, "If thy children will keep my covenant. … For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it," (v. 12-14). Nothing can be more striking than the goodness of God throughout this Psalm. God goes beyond all that is asked of Him. The prayer is, "Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy" (v. 9). But the answer is, "I will also clothe her priests with salvation; and her saints shall shout aloud for joy" (v. 16). Again, the prayer had been, "Arise, O Lord, into thy rest, thou and the ark of thy strength" (v. 8-10). And the reply is, as we have seen, "The Lord hath chosen Zion: this is my rest for ever," etc. Again the prayer is, "For thy servant David's sake, turn not away the face of thine anointed" (v. 10): to which God answers, "There will I make the horn of David to bud." In every case the answer largely surpasses the request. There is yet a passage (Zech. 2:11) which shews the exceeding joy which Christ will feel over Jerusalem in the last days. "And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again."* These blessings follow upon all the trying and humbling circumstances of which Daniel treats, for it must be remembered that in Zechariah it is "after the glory" (v. 8), that is, beyond the period included in Daniel's prophecy. Again, in Zechariah 12:2, "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about." It is an elect city, just as Israel is an elect people, or the church an elect bride.

{*See also Zephaniah 3:17.}

168 Let it be again observed, that whilst Daniel is personally concerned with the return of Israel from Babylon under the circumstances predicted by Moses, the Spirit of God uses this thought to continue the history of the people, or rather of the city (introducing the chief events of the first coming of Christ), as far, but only as far, as the point where final blessing commences; for the matter of Zechariah and the Psalms, just now touched upon, is not entered into. The essential point, however, is the spirit in which Daniel identifies himself with the people of God, confessing all their sin as his own before God.


Daniel 9:20 - 27

These verses relate the answer to the confession and prayer of Daniel. The faithfulness of God is in full action, exactly as promised in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and in the answer to the prayer of Solomon. He had promised that if they were led into captivity, and should, in the midst of their enemies, turn to Him with all their heart (He never said, if they kept the law to the letter, for this would not have been possible to them) He would bring them back.

Verse 21. "Whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation." He repeats twice, "whiles I was speaking"; he had not finished before Gabriel appeared and arrested it by the delivery of the prophecy following.

It is not, we may say in passing, always so. On another occasion, Daniel spent three weeks in fasting and prayer, for God was trying his faith. The angel was to accomplish the purpose of God before communicating it, the Lord permitted that the prince of Persia should hinder its accomplishment for three weeks. It was a question of deciding something at the court of Persia, and those there, who were opposed to an edict for favouring the Jews, could put obstacles to its promulgation. When the angel of God had prevailed in these counsels, he came and said so. This is very instructive to us, for God always governs the world. Whilst the throne of God was at Jerusalem, He governed the world immediately (not only Israel but the world, and this according to the good or bad conduct of Israel); whilst after that, although He did not cease to govern everywhere, already (even in this book - Israel being in captivity) He is seen acting by the secret springs of His providence, and not by the immediate action of the revealed rule of His law, as in the midst of His people.*

{*The book of Esther is a striking instance of the secret government of God, at a time when He could not recognise His people publicly; and I judge this to be the reason why God does not permit His name to appear throughout the book. If He had been named, He would not, so to speak, have permitted Esther to remain the wife of Ahasuerus.}

170 Although the child of God is able to confide entirely in Him, for "the very hairs of our head are numbered," it is happy to see the government of God manifested openly in the world. It will be the case in the millennium; the government will be immediate and direct, so that the justice of God will be seen by men, whilst now, all goes on secretly. His ways are often a labyrinth to us now, for our normal position, as being saints, is quite different. God is perfecting us for heaven, and has no object in manifesting in us His righteousness upon earth. The heavenly thing is much better and more precious. He makes us pass through all kinds of earthly trial with this object in view. A Christian is often astonished at what he suffers individually for righteousness' sake - it is a general case. But for the Jews God will appear, according to His promise, the moment they turn with humility and confession to Him. Thus does He answer Daniel. We have already observed, that faith never forgets that Jerusalem is the city of God's holiness, and that His eyes are there continually. Even when the Israelites have failed, and when God is obliged to abandon them for the time, to faith it ceases not to be the holy city of God.

Verse 21. "About the time of the evening oblation." This expression makes us feel the Jewish atmosphere we are in, for of course there was no evening sacrifice at Babylon. Jerusalem was burnt, but faith remained. It was the time of the evening sacrifice - the Jewish scene fills his thoughts.

Verse 22. "And he informed me and talked with me and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding." Verses 23, 24. "For thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city" - observe how the angel accredits the faith of Daniel, making him the representative both of Jerusalem and the people - "to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies."

Many Christians find great difficulty in this entire passage, from their not seeing that whilst it has already had an accomplishment (as far as is needed for the establishment of its truth), on the other hand, it has not been fulfilled at all. If we do not see this, it is impossible to understand the events that are still future. All that was necessary on the part of God, in order that the events announced in the verse we have been reading should take place, has been accomplished, and even proposed to the Jewish people; but still nothing has taken place as to the actual accomplishment of them, the train of circumstances having been interrupted, and the church (the heavenly people) having been introduced in the interval, until the time decreed of God, when these events shall be taken up again with the Jewish people, when the due time comes, whether by the apostasy which exists in Christendom or by the ripe state of the Jewish people in a bad sense and in a good one.

171 Let us consider, for example, the new covenant. It will be established with Israel and Judah; Jer. 31. This is not yet accomplished. The Jews are dispersed towards the four winds of heaven. Now a covenant must be established by the blood of a victim; and so the blood of the new covenant has been shed, and therefore all that is necessary for the bringing in of this covenant with the Jews has been done on the part of God. But actually nothing as to this nation receiving it has taken place; for they rejected the Messiah both personally and under the preaching of the apostles. Meanwhile the counsels of God as to the church have occupied and do occupy the interval, this heavenly people having nothing in common, as to their position, with that which God did and will do for the Jews.

This point being ascertained, beloved friends, the verse becomes comparatively easy; indeed, we may say, that the special difficulty disappears, for we perceive that as to fact God has completed everything. He has sent the Messiah, He has presented Him to the people, the blood of the covenant has been shed, and propitiation made. But if it be asked, whether these blessings have been efficacious with regard to the Jews as a nation, it must be answered, that nothing has been done; and this is our present question. We must not here, then, consider a satisfaction apart from its application, but rather its efficacy as regards the Jewish nation; and thus we shall be led to consider whether the nation is in those circumstances which should precede the time when the application of this blood shall be made to them. "He [Christ] died not for that nation only, but that he should gather together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad," John 11:51-52. Now in Daniel we have to consider the application of this blood to the Jewish people, and in the explanation of all the prophecies, we must take this fact into consideration. It is clear that the death of the Messiah is, in a certain sense, a fulfilment of this prophecy, for His death is a propitiation made for sin. But what is here said of it, taking into account the object of the passage, is in nowise accomplished. Having prefaced with these remarks, let us examine what is the result of all this for the people.

172 "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people." There is no reference here to us Christians; the verse refers to the people of Daniel, and to the holy city of Daniel. The seventy weeks are only applicable to them. There may be, in this portion, many events which will also affect us, the Antichrist for example, for both Jews and Gentiles have had to do with that wicked one and still more have they to do with the cutting off of the Messiah. But the aim of the prophecy is "thy people and thy holy city" (that is, the Jews and Jerusalem). Once put aside this people and city as objects of the thoughts of God here below, and there is no longer applicability in the prophecy; so that we must set aside Christianity for the moment, as not being the object here. And why? Because Christianity has, in its position before God, nothing to do with either Jew or Gentile. London has as much to do with Christianity as Jerusalem. Jerusalem is, to a Christian, no more holy than any other city. There may be deeply interesting associations connected with it; but it is in no sense whatever our "holy city." "Seventy weeks," then, "are determined upon thy [Daniel's] people."

Now for the details. Verse 25, "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." In the first period, the space of seven weeks, Jerusalem was to be rebuilt, and that, in troublous times. This has been accomplished, as we find from Ezra and Nehemiah.

173 Verse 26. "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not* for himself." We know that this has likewise been accomplished. As the Head of the Jewish people, He has been on earth, and been rejected. As to His inheritance, as to the holy city, particularly as Messiah, He has had nothing at all. He was cut off; He has had nothing as the Messiah except spittings and death. And as the Son of David, He has had absolutely nothing. He is now at the right hand of the Father, but in His title of King of the Jews, He has not yet been owned. He entered Jerusalem as king, riding upon an ass, and was rejected.

{*I read, "and shall have nothing," i.e., shall have nothing of His dominion as Messiah.}

Verse 26. "And the people of the prince that shall come." This is some new person, not the Messiah; otherwise how could it be said of this person, "he shall come?" According to this prophecy, Messiah had already come, and had been cut off. Besides, it is not the people of Christ who is cut off, that "shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." This happened according to the saying of the chief priests and Pharisees; John 11:48. "The Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." Neither is it the prince himself who thus acts. It is the people of the future prince who do this-of the prince that shall come - the chief of the empire (Roman), of the last beast. The fourth monarchy, viz., the Roman, destroyed the city and the sanctuary, as it is the body of which he, as prince, will be the head.

Verse 26. "And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." Verse 27. "And he shall confirm the ["a," margin] covenant." If it had been said the covenant, one might suppose it of some covenant already existing, whereas there is no such thought in the expression. "He shall confirm covenant" - that is, establish it, not with many, but with "the" many, or the mass. As Christ had but a very small remnant, whilst the mass of the Jews rejected Him, the prince who shall come shall establish a covenant with the mass. A remnant will undoubtedly escape, but the covenant which this prince shall confirm will be with the mass of the people.

"And he shall confirm a covenant with the* many for one week." This is the week which still remains, for Christ was cut off, it is said, after the sixty-nine weeks. After this period, we are told of "the people of the prince" (the Romans under Titus), who destroy the city, and then we have the prince himself confirming a covenant for one week, which is the last or seventieth week. We are to leave off counting from the time the Messiah was cut off, viz., at the end of the sixty-nine weeks. After this period, time, so to speak, does not go on: God does not take count of it; it is indefinite. But the seventieth week still remains to be fulfilled. [See footnote page 32.]

{*The Hebrew has the article.}

174 "And in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" (v. 27). It is evident that at this time the Jews are re-established with their sacrifices and oblations. The "prince that shall come" will establish an alliance with the Jews during one week. But at the expiration of the half, he will completely change his conduct, and will cause their sacrifices to cease. He thinks, as before explained, to change the times (Jewish festal days) and the laws; they are delivered into his hands, and he effaces them. This is the history as far as facts go.*

{*Properly speaking, Matthew 24 and Mark 13 only take account of the last half of this week; for the first half is a time of testimony and belongs to the period of the beginning of sorrows and of testimony in general, and of the labours mentioned previously to Matthew 24:14.}

We, as believers, comprehend that the Lord Jesus made the (Jewish) sacrifice cease to those who believed on Him, just as to them, that is, to faith, John the baptist was Elias, according to those words, "If ye can receive it, this is Elias which was to come." In like manner to faith, Christ was the Messiah, the Son of man, to His disciples looked at as believing Jews. Nevertheless, He adds, "ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, before the Son of man shall come."* But as to the Jewish people itself, the Spirit omits entirely all that we Christians enjoy, because in fact they rejected Jesus.

{*He supposes the continuation of their testimony (which will be stopped, at least at Jerusalem, when "the abomination of desolation" shall be set up there), omitting the whole period and the testimony properly called Christian.}

If interpreters insist that Jesus Himself laboured during the first half of the seventieth week, and that account is taken of it (the half week), for those who believed, but that as to the nation this half week has been lost, on account of their unbelief, and that they will receive the Antichrist, who will present himself in a like manner, I am far from objecting. He certainly did establish divine relationships with the little remnant of His disciples, whether one hundred and twenty, or five hundred, and in consequence, as to their labours, He speaks but of the last half of the seventieth or last week. At the beginning of this last half their labours are interrupted; the other half is lost in the general history of their previous labours. For the Jews the whole week is yet to come, because they have not received Christ at all. All that can be said as concerning them is, that the Messiah has been cut off and has had nothing. For (whatever computation we may incline to, as to the disciples), it is said, there shall be sixty and two weeks (besides the previous seven), unto Messiah the prince, and after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off. The Holy Spirit leaves the matter in the shade, because He counts with reference to the nation, for whom the last week has been null and void, and it is the false prince* (Antichrist), in whom the thread of the narrative is resumed, as if it were at the end of the sixty-ninth week; although, as we know, the church, the heavenly people, have meanwhile been introduced and already occupied a period, considered as to earth, of more than eighteen hundred years. Thus a place is left for faith, whilst as to the history, it is one of unbelief (Compare Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:19.) Christ the Prince has never yet been Prince, nevertheless He was so to faith in His disciples. A question for the consideration of those who examine this most interesting detail of prophecy, is, whether the Lord presented Himself officially to the Jews as Prince or Ring, before His entry into Jerusalem, according to Zechariah 9:9. Upon that, we know, He was cut off.

175 The seventieth week is, then, still to have its accomplishment under Antichrist. The Jews at first, with fair appearances before them, acknowledge him as their chief;* as Jesus Christ said, John 5:43, "If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Thus Antichrist offers himself, and the Jews receive him. For the first half of the week** all goes on well, but then he turns in anger against them, destroys their system, and exalts himself against God.

{*I would reserve here, as before, a question arising in my mind as to the first and second beasts of the Revelation, as well as the wilful king of chapter 11 of this book. See pages 215-224.}

{**You will find this same date of twelve hundred and sixty days repeated several times: as with regard to the little horn (chap. 7), also to the beast of the Apocalypse (Rev. 13), and in Daniel 12 with thirty days added, as to the abomination of desolation.}

That which Jesus did on the part of God, Antichrist counterfeits, according to the word just quoted: "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come," etc. Therefore I allow, in a certain sense, that to faith this cessation of sacrifice (alluded to previously, "he shall cause the sacrifice to cease") has taken place. For the little remnant did own Christ to be there; but for the entire nation there has been as yet no accomplishment of any part of the week.

176 Scripture is not silent concerning this covenant of the Jews with Antichrist, and their consequent judgment. In Isaiah 28:14, we read, "Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. …" "Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it" (v. 18). These are the threats, as to the moral position in which they shall be found in that day.

It is the last half of the week which occupies the mind of the Spirit of God as to these terrible events at the end. Thus the little horn is to continue "a time, times, and half a time" (viz., three years and a half, or the half of a week). Power is given to him for this time. So in Revelation 13:5, "There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months."

I do not cite here the similar period of the two witnesses, because I believe that their time of prophesying is during the first half week.* It is a time of testimony in order that the remnant may withdraw themselves from the influence of Antichrist;* and during that time God preserves those who bear testimony, as well as the sanctuary and the altar, and those who worship there.

{*[There are various statements here which the author would now modify, chiefly as to the distinction of the Antichrist from the Roman imperial chief, and as to the time of the two witnesses. See pages 215-224 and footnote page 32. - Ed.]}

I have said that the sacrifice and oblation would be restored. This is noticed in prophecy, although at the same time their re-establishment will be utterly rejected by God. It is written in Isaiah 66, "The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made" - an intimation of the restoration of the temple, but then - "to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (viz., the remnant).

177 The sacrifices are offered but rejected: read Isaiah 66:3-6. Again, Daniel 11:31, "And [they] shall take away the daily sacrifice," etc. Again, in Daniel 12, "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." This is thirty days over. It will take thirty days more for purification, and yet forty-five more for complete peace; verse 12, "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." This latter half week is still referred to, in which, the daily sacrifice being taken away, Antichrist will be there, and the abomination of desolation set up in the holy place. (Compare chap. 8:11.)

In Matthew 24 we find this same circumstance exactly. The Lord, having alluded to wars and rumours of wars, becomes more precise. He had spoken until verse 14 in quite a general way, and, like Daniel, declared that the city and temple should be destroyed, and also the people. But as He goes on to speak of the labours of His disciples, He enters more fully into the general history. "Many shall be offended," etc.; and He counsels His disciples as to their conduct, as witnesses of the truth, and tells them that before the end came "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness."

All this was to happen, not at a given time during the seventy weeks, but, generally speaking, before the end, but of course after the discourse and departure (death) of Jesus. Afterwards He says, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand)" (v. 15). Here is the abomination of desolation placed at Jerusalem, the testimony is over, and the disciples have only to flee: "then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains." Jerusalem is then delivered over to the judgment which awaits it.

There is yet another important and interesting circumstance, as to this last half week. We find it in Revelation 12. We shall see that this date of the abomination fits in exactly with the time of Satan being driven out of heaven. The woman flees into the wilderness (v. 6), where she is fed one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Verse 7. "There was war in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon"; read to the end of verse 12, "knowing that he [Satan] hath but a short time." Now it is exactly during this half week that the abomination of desolation is set up in the holy place. This is given more in detail in chapter 11.

178 Further, "He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, shall be poured upon the desolate." That is, by means (or on account) of the abominable wings, or literally, "on account of the wing of abominations." The word "abomination" is always in the Old Testament simply "an idol." For example: the abomination of the Moabites was the idol of the Moabites. Solomon put the abomination of the Ammonites upon the mount of Olives, that is, the idol. The word "wing" always gives the idea of "protection." "Under his wings shalt thou trust," Psalm 91:4.

"On account of the wing of abominations," means as it appears to me, on account of the protection of idols. They take refuge in idolatry for a protection; and this is the finishing stroke of their wickedness, and the consequence is, the desolation which descends upon the desolated one, until the end of these seventy weeks - a desolation always increasing, for it is not alone the destruction of the city, but also Antichrist who deceives the people, who makes a covenant with them, and, as it were, holds them in his grip. God is set aside and denied; Antichrist even makes himself God; the sanctuary, if not destroyed, is at least profaned, and degraded in every way. The abomination is put into the holy place, and thus idolatry is introduced. At last Antichrist sits there as God, he allows or confesses nothing at all but himself, until God is no longer able to endure him, or those who are subject to him.

There is no account of this in our present chapter. But there is in Daniel 7; and in the New Testament the Lord thus speaks of the Jewish generation, "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places," etc. (Matt. 12:43). Consult the whole passage. They enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. "Even so shall it be also with this wicked generation." This is the history of the Jews. I do not say there may not be other applications of the passage. What was this wicked spirit? It was idolatry. After the Babylonish captivity there had been no more idol worship; the unclean spirit had gone out, and the house was empty, though there was every kind of profession. Then the spirit of idolatry which found no rest returns to the house at the end. It will be the case with the Jews, and then there will be an open rebellion against God; they will be joined with Antichrist, who makes war upon their Messiah. And it will be then on account of the protection of these abominations, that "the desolation shall be poured out upon the desolate one." See Isaiah 54:1; Lam. 1:13 and 3:11.

179 Compare Daniel 10, 11 and 12. In the last chapter we have the complete deliverance, and he adds in this last, thirty days, and forty-five days, to the half week. Then all will be happy and blessed. There will be a certain time necessary after the destruction of Antichrist to re-establish everything in order. The whole of this chapter is in affinity with the end of Daniel 7, and with Revelation 13 and 17. We shall have to consider it again in connection with chapter 1.