On Prophecy.

1866 166 There are two distinct parts in prophecy: the prophecies addressed to the people of God during the time they are owned of Him, and those which refer to that people when. they are not thus owned. In the first case, the prophecy appeals to the conscience of the people; in the second, there is a certain amount of truth containing the details of the ways of God during that time, and deposited in certain hands for the use of the people, when they will turn again to the Lord their God. But it is not addressed to the people. Such is the difference between Isaiah and Jeremiah on the one hand, and Daniel on the other. The difference is, that, in the first case, God addresses His people according to the principles of His government; while in the second, it is a sovereign government, outside His own special ways with His people. He acts in this way or in that way with the Chaldeans and divers nations, but it is not according to the acknowledged measure of His ways with His people.

This gives us two classes of prophecies. When the people are thus acknowledged in the prophecy, it is a question of the outward enemy that attacks them; in the other case, it is a question of certain powers of which God gives us the history, of powers which oppress God's people and hold them under bondage.*

[*When God addresses His people as acknowledged by Him, there are no miracles.]

Then, when it is a question of the people, if we come to details, there are two things. First, the responsibility of the people as such — their responsibility to own Jehovah, His law, etc. Secondly, the responsibility of the family of David, which is quite another thing, because God gave David in grace, when the people had altogether failed. We may add besides (but it is a special point), the responsibility of having rejected Christ.

We have spoken of the Jews; but there is another subject of prophecy, that is, the Gentiles. The distinction, already made between the people as owned or not owned, is again found here. Men having exalted themselves at Babel, God judged them by scattering them. But, by means of languages, God forms the nations as a circle round Israel which becomes their centre. (Deut. xxxii. 8.) On the other hand, the nations do not own Israel; on the contrary, they rise up against them, and make war against them, yet without success as long as they are faithful to their God. But later on Israel fails also, and all is changed. Men not having retained the blessing through obedience, God introduces a different thing altogether: He commits power unto man; then the Gentiles come in. (See proofs in Jer. xxvii. 6; Dan. 2:37; Dan. 5:18.) This is not the general rule of God's government, it is only a special case. In the case of the Gentiles, it is not a centre for God, like Israel, nor is it any longer a people forming the centre; it is a man who is centre, and, moreover, the centre is no longer for God; it only becomes a centre for man.

In Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah, we find prophecy when the people are owned, but Judah is threatened with Ephraim's fate; Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel looking at the crisis of Jerusalem.

Jonah is apart: Nahum and Obadiah also proclaim the judgment of the Gentiles.

Ezekiel is between the two, at the time when Israel are about to be led captives, and when they already go into captivity.

Joel and Habakkuk are occupied with the dealings of the last days.

Then we have the three prophets of the captivity. These hold a special place, because there was a small remnant that God had restored in the land. They are connected with this remnant according to the grace of God toward the latter. In the last three prophets God never says "My people." All these elements are found again at the end: the repentance of Israel, the acknowledgment of Christ, the judgment of the nations, the Assyrian, etc.

In Daniel we have the times of the Gentiles, and in particular the era of the head of gold, namely, government committed to man, and its consequences. This prophet never takes up the time of God's government; he goes as far as the limit and then stops.*

[* Many entirely forget the Jews in presenting the centre of God's government as among the Gentiles.]

In Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi you have the two things: the Gentiles and the remnant owned during the time of the power of the Gentiles. They are owned in judgment (so also the two witnesses in the Apocalypse).

Zechariah presents Christ and the nations.

Malachi has rather, it seems to me, a special character. It is with Jehovah that he has more particularly to do: he is occupied with the law, with the prophets, with Jehovah — he urges a return to Jehovah.

It is a most serious thing to see the government of God, because men pretend that, if only they had power, all would go on well; and God gives them power that they may make the trial. We shall only find details at that point of departure when God's government has ceased, and we find the beasts. (Dan. vii. — ix.)

The first six chapters of the book give us the historical circumstances, and Daniel does but interpret them. In the following, it is revelations given to Daniel, and the consequence is that here we have not only the history of the world, but the remnant and their connection with those who have power in the world.

Daniel vii. First, there are three visions in this chapter: the first vision, verse 2; the second vision, verse 7; the third vision, verse 13. After this we have the explanation.

But, in verse 9, translate "the thrones were set," not "cast down" on earth. The thrones were set for judgment. In verse 11 the question is not about the manner in which the judgment is executed. Verse 12 is literally, "As to the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; but a prolongation of life was granted unto them for a season and a time." Then, in verse 13, we have the introduction of the Son of man, and the fact that the kingdom is given unto Him. He does not yet judge the beasts. Verse 18. Who are the saints mentioned here? There are saints who belong to heaven by their calling, as there are saints of the high places on the earth. The first form the Church; the latter are saints who pass through the earth before the moment is come when God gives the reward; but then they do Hot on that account lose their reward. God finds them again, in resurrection, for heaven. These would be the saints in this verse, those whom the beast slays, etc.: but though slain here below, they fail not to have their reward on that account. They are named without anything about the Church, which is the body of Christ.

Here we have the fourth beast; but when we come to details, we have the last half week.

Verse 20. A horn represents the power of a beast; the ten horns are the power of the last beast. The tell horns arise from the beast; the barbarians did not arise from the empire, they entered into it.

Verse 24. "Another shall arise" (the little horn). This is its character: it subdues three kings; it speaks great words against the Most High; it wears out the saints. It is not the saints that are given into his hand, but the times and laws. I do not believe that, in the word, the saints are ever given up thus. This it is important to remark, because men have tortured their brains to find out in what circumstances they will be given up. Well, then, I say, Never.

It is very evident that in Revelation xiii. there are two powers which subsist together; here the little horn belongs rather to the beast. This applies much more to the first beast in Revelation xiii. I doubt whether the little horn be the Antichrist. The beast assumes the character of this horn, at least, in the eyes of God, for He judges the beast for what the horn did.

Daniel viii. Now we have the east.

Verses 11, 12. Included in a parenthesis is verse 11 and the beginning of verse 12. Read these verses as follows: "(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 time of distress was appointed [not to the Prince of the host] for the daily sacrifice on account of transgression). And it [the little horn] cast down the truth to the ground," etc. At all events, the daily sacrifice is taken away from the Prince of the host. It is not said that it is the horn which takes away the daily sacrifice. The writer begins the parenthesis by saying "he;" and after its close he returns to the little horn by saying "it" (as in connection with verse 10). Verse 12 "And a time" — it is a military term, so as to mark a time of distress.

Verse 19. It is at the time of the end. All this is for the end. It is impossible to apply it to Mahomet, although there is a certain similarity. Therefore we have here the time of the end clearly marked. It is God's indignation against Israel, and the Assyrian is the instrument of it. My desire has been to attach myself more particularly to the explanation that is given of the prophetic word, because it presents things very clearly, and it is well to lay hold of the things clearly given in the word.

In Daniel vii. the little horn subdues three kings, and of this the book of Revelation says nothing, because Daniel gives the history, and the book of Revelation that which is characteristic.

In Daniel ix. 27, "And he shall confirm a covenant with the mass [of the people]." In Hebrew, it is "to the many." The word "many" admits of the article in Hebrew; and when Daniel uses it with the article, it is to designate the mass of the people as contrasted with the remnant. Daniel xii. 3 means, "They that shall have instructed the many in righteousness," i.e., the mass of the people. Christ confirms the covenant only with the remnant; this prince makes his with the many, or mass,

Note the tenses of the participles in 1 John iii. 9, and 1 John 5:18. Gegennemenos is the state, gennethei is the fact, the consequence of which is that he keeps himself.