Vision of the Four Beasts.
This chapter treats of the same subject as the second
chapter. But there the four kingdoms, and Messiah's final kingdom, were
regarded according to their external political aspect, but here
according to the mind of God concerning them, and their moral
features. The outward political history had been shown in its general
features to the world ruler, whose position fitted him for receiving
such a revelation. But God's prophet here receives disclosures as to
the characters of the powers of the world, in a religious point of
view, suited to his position and receptivity. Hence in the
second chapter the images are taken from the inanimate sphere; in the
seventh chapter they are taken from the animate. Nebuchadnezzar saw
superficially the world power as a splendid human figure, and the
kingdom of God as a mere stone at the first. Daniel sees the world
kingdoms in their inner essence as of an animal nature lower
than human, being estranged from God; and that only in the kingdom of
God ("the Son of man," the representative man) is the true
dignity of man realized. So, as contrasted with Nebuchadnezzar's
vision, the kingdom of God appears to Daniel, from the very
first, superior to the world kingdom. For though in physical
force the beasts excel man, man has essentially spiritual
powers. Nebuchadnezzar's colossal image represents mankind in its own
strength, but only the outward man. Daniel sees man spiritually
degraded to the beast level, led by blind impulses, through his
alienation from God. It is only from above that the perfect Son of man
comes, and in His kingdom man attains his true destiny. Compare Ps
8:1-9 with Ge 1:26-28.
Humanity is impossible without divinity: it sinks to bestiality (Ps
32:9; 49:20; 73:22).
Obstinate heathen nations are compared to "bulls" (Ps 68:30); Egypt to the dragon in the Nile (Isa
27:1; 51:9; Eze 29:3). The
animal with all its sagacity looks always to the ground, without
consciousness of relation to God. What elevates man is communion with
God, in willing subjection to Him. The moment he tries to exalt himself
to independence of God, as did Nebuchadnezzar (Da 4:30), he sinks to the beast's level.
Daniel's acquaintance with the animal colossal figures in Babylon and
Nineveh was a psychological preparation for his animal visions. Ho 13:7, 8 would occur to him while viewing
those ensigns of the world power. Compare Jer 2:15; 4:7;
1. Belshazzar—Good Hebrew
manuscripts have "Belshazzar"; meaning "Bel is to be burnt with hostile
fire" (Jer 50:2; 51:44). In the history he is called by
his ordinary name; in the prophecy, which gives his true
destiny, he is called a corresponding name, by the change of a
visions of his head—not
confused "dreams," but distinct images seen while his mind
sum—a "summary." In predictions,
generally, details are not given so fully as to leave no scope for free
agency, faith, and patient waiting for God manifesting His will in the
event. He "wrote" it for the Church in all ages; he "told" it for the
comfort of his captive fellow countrymen.
2. the four winds—answering to the "four
beasts"; their several conflicts in the four quarters or directions
of the world.
strove—burst forth (from the abyss)
sea—The world powers rise out of the
agitations of the political sea (Jer 46:7, 8; Lu 21:25; compare Re 13:1;
17:15; 21:1); the kingdom of
God and the Son of man from the clouds of heaven (Da 7:13; compare Joh 8:23). Tregelles takes "the great sea" to mean, as always
elsewhere in Scripture (Jos 1:4; 9:1), the Mediterranean, the center
territorially of the four kingdoms of the vision, which all border on
it and have Jerusalem subject to them. Babylon did not border on
the Mediterranean, nor rule Jerusalem, till Nebuchadnezzar's time, when
both things took place simultaneously. Persia encircled more of
this sea, namely, from the Hellespont to Cyrene. Greece did not
become a monarchy before Alexander's time, but then, succeeding to
Persia, it became mistress of Jerusalem. It surrounded still more of
the Mediterranean, adding the coasts of Greece to the part held by
Persia. Rome, under Augustus, realized three things at
once—it became a monarchy; it became mistress of the last of the
four parts of Alexander's empire (symbolized by the four heads of the
third beast), and of Jerusalem; it surrounded all the
3. beasts—not living animals, as
the cherubic four in Re 4:7 (for
the original is a different word from "beasts," and ought to be there
translated, living animals). The cherubic living animals
represent redeemed man, combining in himself the highest forms of
animal life. But the "beasts" here represent the world powers, in their
beast-like, grovelling character. It is on the fundamental harmony
between nature and spirit, between the three kingdoms of nature,
history, and revelation, that Scripture symbolism rests. The selection
of symbols is not arbitrary, but based on the essence of things.
4. lion—the symbol of strength and
courage; chief among the kingdoms, as the lion among the beasts.
Nebuchadnezzar is called "the lion" (Jer 4:7).
eagle's wings—denoting a widespread
and rapidly acquired (Isa 46:11; Jer 4:13; La 4:19;
Hab 1:6) empire (Jer 48:40).
plucked—Its ability for widespread
conquests passed away under Evil-merodach, &c. [Grotius]; rather, during Nebuchadnezzar's privation
of his throne, while deranged.
it was lifted up from the earth—that
is, from its grovelling bestiality.
made stand … as a man—So long as
Nebuchadnezzar, in haughty pride, relied on his own strength, he
forfeited the true dignity of man, and was therefore degraded to be
with the beasts. Da 4:16: "Let
his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's
heart be given unto him." But after he learned by this sore
discipline that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men" (Da 4:35,
36), the change took place in
him, "a man's heart is given to him; instead of his former
beast's heart, he attains man's true position, namely, to be
consciously dependent on God." Compare Ps 9:20.
5. bear—symbolizing the austere life of
the Persians in their mountains, also their cruelty (Isa 13:17, 18; Cambyses, Ochus, and other of the
Persian princes were notoriously cruel; the Persian laws involved, for
one man's offense, the whole kindred and neighborhood in destruction,
Da 6:24) and rapacity. "A bear is an
all-devouring animal" [Aristotle,
8.5], (Jer 51:48, 56).
raised … itself on one side—but
the Hebrew, "It raised up one dominion." The Medes, an
ancient people, and the Persians, a modern tribe, formed one united
sovereignty in contrast to the third and fourth kingdoms, each
originally one, afterwards divided. English Version is the
result of a slight change of a Hebrew letter. The idea then
would be, "It lay on one of its fore feet, and stood on the other"; a
figure still to be seen on one of the stones of Babylon [Munter, The Religion of Babylonia, 112];
denoting a kingdom that had been at rest, but is now rousing itself for
conquest. Media is the lower side, passiveness; Persia, the upper,
active element [Auberlen]. The three
ribs in its mouth are Media, Lydia, and Babylon, brought
under the Persian sway. Rather, Babylon, Lydia, and
Egypt, not properly parts of its body, but seized by Medo-Persia
[Sir Isaac Newton]. Called "ribs"
because they strengthened the Medo-Persian empire. "Between its teeth,"
as being much grinded by it.
devour much flesh—that is, subjugate
6. leopard—smaller than the lion; swift
1:8); cruel (Isa 11:6), the opposite of tame; springing
suddenly from its hiding place on its prey (Ho 13:7); spotted. So Alexander, a small king,
of a small kingdom, Macedon, attacked Darius at the head of the vast
empire reaching from the Ægean Sea to the Indies. In twelve years
he subjugated part of Europe, and all Asia from Illyricum and the
Adriatic to the Ganges, not so much fighting as conquering [Jerome]. Hence, whereas Babylon is represented
with two wings, Macedon has four, so rapid were its
conquests. The various spots denote the various nations incorporated
into his empire [Bochart]; or
Alexander's own variation in character, at one time mild, at another
cruel, now temperate, and now drunken and licentious.
four heads—explained in Da 8:8, 22; the four kingdoms of the
Diadochi or "successors" into which the Macedonian empire was
divided at the death of Alexander, namely, Macedon and Greece under
Cassander, Thrace and Bithynia under Lysimachus, Egypt under Ptolemy,
and Syria under Seleucus.
dominion … given to it—by God;
not by Alexander's own might. For how unlikely it was that thirty
thousand men should overthrow several hundreds of thousands! Josephus [Antiquities, 11.6] says that
Alexander adored the high priest of Jerusalem, saying that he at Dium
in Macedonia had seen a vision of God so habited, inviting him to go to
Asia, and promising him success.
7. As Daniel lived under the kingdom of the
first beast, and therefore needed not to describe it, and as the second
and third are described fully in the second part of the book, the chief
emphasis falls on the fourth. Also prophecy most dwells on the
end, which is the consummation of the preceding series of
events. It is in the fourth that the world power manifests fully its
God-opposing nature. Whereas the three former kingdoms were designated
respectively, as a lion, bear, and leopard, no particular beast is
specified as the image of the fourth; for Rome is so terrible as to be
not describable by any one, but combines in itself all that we can
imagine inexpressibly fierce in all beasts. Hence thrice (Da 7:7, 19,
23) it is repeated, that the
fourth was "diverse from all" the others. The formula of introduction,
"I saw in the night visions," occurs here, as at Da 7:2, and again at Da 7:13, thus dividing the whole vision into
three parts—the first embracing the three kingdoms, the second
the fourth and its overthrow, the third Messiah's kingdom. The first
three together take up a few centuries; the fourth, thousands of years.
The whole lower half of the image in the second chapter is given to it.
And whereas the other kingdoms consist of only one material, this
consists of two, iron and clay (on which much stress is laid, Da 2:41-43); the "iron teeth" here
allude to one material in the fourth kingdom of the image.
ten horns—It is with the
crisis, rather than the course, of the fourth kingdom
that this seventh chapter is mainly concerned. The ten kings
7:24, the "horns"
representing power), that is, kingdoms, into which Rome
was divided on its incorporation with the Germanic and Slavonic tribes,
and again at the Reformation, are thought by many to be here intended.
But the variation of the list of the ten, and their ignoring the
eastern half of the empire altogether, and the existence of the Papacy
before the breaking up of even the Western empire,
instead of being the "little horn" springing up after the other
ten, are against this view. The Western Roman empire continued till
A.D. 731, and the Eastern, till A.D. 1453. The ten kingdoms, therefore,
prefigured by the ten "toes" (Da 2:41; compare Re 13:1; 17:12), are the ten kingdoms into which Rome
shall be found finally divided when Antichrist shall appear [Tregelles]. These, probably, are prefigured by
the number ten being the prevalent one at the chief turning
points of Roman history.
8. little horn—little at first,
but afterwards waxing greater than all others. He must be sought "among
them," namely, the ten horns. The Roman empire did not represent itself
as a continuation of Alexander's; but the Germanic empire calls itself
"the holy Roman empire." Napoleon's attempted universal monarchy was
avowedly Roman: his son was called king of Rome. The czar
(Cæsar) also professes to represent the eastern half of the
Roman empire. The Roman civilization, church, language, and law are the
chief elements in Germanic civilization. But the Romanic element seeks
universal empire, while the Germanic seeks individualization. Hence the
universal monarchies attempted by the Papacy, Charlemagne, Charles V,
and Napoleon have failed, the iron not amalgamating with the clay. In
the king symbolized by "the little horn," the God-opposing, haughty
spirit of the world, represented by the fourth monarchy, finds its
intensest development. "The man of sin," "the son of perdition" (2Th 2:3). Antichrist (1Jo 2:18, 22;
4:3). It is the complete
evolution of the evil principle introduced by the fall.
three of the first horns plucked
up—the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards and
the state of Rome, which constituted the Pope's dominions at the first;
obtained by Pope Zachary and Stephen II in return for acknowledging the
usurper Pepin lawful king of France [Newton]. See Tregelles' objections, Da 7:7, "ten horns," Note. The "little
horn," in his view, is to be Antichrist rising three and a half years
before Christ's second advent, having first overthrown three of the ten
contemporaneous kingdoms, into which the fourth monarchy, under which
we live, shall be finally divided. Popery seems to be a
fulfilment of the prophecy in many particulars, the Pope claiming to be
God on earth and above all earthly dominions; but the spirit of
Antichrist prefigured by Popery will probably culminate in ONE individual, to be destroyed by Christ's
coming; He will be the product of the political world powers,
whereas Popery which prepares His way, is a Church become
eyes of man—Eyes express intelligence
1:18); so (Ge 3:5) the serpent's promise was, man's "eyes
should be opened," if he would but rebel against God. Antichrist shall
consummate the self-apotheosis, begun at the fall, high intellectual
culture, independent of God. The metals representing Babylon and
Medo-Persia, gold and silver, are more precious than brass and iron,
representing Greece and Rome; but the latter metals are more useful to
civilization (Ge 4:22). The
clay, representing the Germanic element, is the most plastic material.
Thus there is a progress in culture; but this is not a progress
necessarily in man's truest dignity, namely, union and likeness
to God. Nay, it has led him farther from God, to self-reliance and
world-love. The beginnings of civilization were among the children of
Cain (Ge 4:17-24; Lu 16:8). Antiochus Epiphanes, the first
Antichrist, came from civilized Greece, and loved art. As Hellenic
civilization produced the first, so modern civilization under
the fourth monarchy will produce the last Antichrist. The
"mouth" and "eyes" are those of a man, while the symbol is otherwise
brutish, that is, it will assume man's true dignity, namely, wear the
guise of the kingdom of God (which comes as the "Son of man"
from above), while it is really bestial, namely, severed from God.
Antichrist promises the same things as Christ, but in an opposite way:
a caricature of Christ, offering a regenerated world without the cross.
Babylon and Persia in their religion had more reverence for things
divine than Greece and Rome in the imperial stages of their history.
Nebuchadnezzar's human heart, given him (Da 4:16) on his repentance, contrasts with the
human eyes of Antichrist, the pseudo son of man, namely,
intellectual culture, while heart and mouth blaspheme God. The
deterioration politically corresponds: the first kingdom, an organic
unity; the second, divided into Median and Persian; the third branches
off into four; the fourth, into ten. The two eastern kingdoms are
marked by nobler metals; the two western, by baser; individualization
and division appear in the latter, and it is they which produce the two
9. I beheld till—I continued looking
thrones … cast down—rather,
"thrones were placed" [Vulgate and Luther], namely, for the saints and elect angels to
whom "judgment is given" (Da 7:22), as
assessors with the Judge. Compare Da 7:10, "thousand thousands ministered unto
Him" (Mt 19:28; Lu 22:30; 1Co 6:2, 3;
1Ti 5:21; Re 2:26; 4:4). In
English Version the thrones cast down are those of the
previously mentioned kings who give place to Messiah.
Ancient of days—"The everlasting
9:6). He is the Judge here, as THE
Son does not judge in His own cause, and it is His cause which
is the one at issue with Antichrist.
sit—the attitude of a judge about to
white—The judicial purity of the
Judge, and of all things round Him, is hereby expressed (Re 1:14).
wheels—as Oriental thrones move on
wheels. Like the rapid flame, God's judgments are most swift in falling
where He wills them (Eze 1:15, 16). The judgment here is not the last
judgment, for then there will be no beast, and heaven and earth
shall have passed away; but it is that on Antichrist (the last
development of the fourth kingdom), typical of the last judgment:
Christ coming to substitute the millennial kingdom of glory for
that of the cross (Re 17:12-14; 19:15-21; 11:15).
10. thousand … ministered unto
him—so at the giving of the law (De 33:2; Ps 68:17; Heb 12:22; Jude 14).
ten … thousand before him—image
from the Sanhedrim, in which the father of the consistory sat with his
assessors on each side, in the form of a semicircle, and the people
standing before him.
judgment was set—The judges sat (Re 20:4).
books … opened—(Re 20:12). Forensic image; all the documents of
the cause at issue, connected with the condemnation of Antichrist and
his kingdom, and the setting up of Messiah's kingdom. Judgment
must pass on the world as being under the curse, before the glory
comes; but Antichrist offers glory without the cross, a renewed world
without the world being judged.
11. Here is set forth the execution on earth
of the judgment pronounced in the unseen heavenly court of judicature
body … given to …
12. the rest of the beasts—that is, the
three first, had passed away not by direct destroying judgments,
such as consumed the little horn, as being the finally matured evil of
the fourth beast. They had continued to exist but their
"dominion was was taken away"; whereas the fourth beast shall
cease utterly, superseded by Messiah's kingdom.
for a season … time—Not only the
triumph of the beasts over the godly, but their very existence is
limited to a definite time, and that time the exactly
suitable one (compare Mt 24:22).
Probably a definite period is meant by a "season and time" (compare
7:25; Re 20:3). It is
striking, the fourth monarchy, though Christianized for fifteen hundred
years past, is not distinguished from the previous heathen monarchies,
or from its own heathen portion. Nay, it is represented as the most
God-opposed of all, and culminating at last in blasphemous Antichrist.
The reason is: Christ's kingdom now is not of this world (Joh 18:36); and only at the second advent of
Christ does it become an external power of the world. Hence Daniel,
whose province it was to prophesy of the world powers, does not treat
of Christianity until it becomes a world power, namely, at the second
advent. The kingdom of God is a hidden one till Jesus comes again
(Ro 8:17; Col 3:2, 3; 2Ti 2:11, 12). Rome was worldly while heathen, and
remains worldly, though Christianized. So the New Testament views the
present æon or age of the world as essentially heathenish, which
we cannot love without forsaking Christ (Ro 12:2; 1Co 1:20; 2:6, 8; 3:18; 7:31; 2Co 4:4; Ga 1:4;
Eph 2:2; 2Ti 4:10; compare
2:15, 17). The object of
Christianity is not so much to Christianize the present world as to
save souls out of it, so as not to be condemned with the world (1Co 11:32), but to rule with Him in His
5:5; Lu 12:32; 22:28-30; Ro 5:17; 1Co 6:2; Re 1:6; 2:26-28; 3:21;
20:4). This is to be our
hope, not to reign in the present world course (1Co 4:8; 2Co 4:18; Php 3:20; Heb 13:14). There must be a "regeneration" of the
world, as of the individual, a death previous to a resurrection, a
destruction of the world kingdoms, before they rise anew as the
kingdoms of Christ (Mt 19:28).
Even the millennium will not perfectly eradicate the world's
corruption; another apostasy and judgment will follow (Re 20:7-15), in which the world of
nature is to be destroyed and renewed, as the world of
history was before the millennium (2Pe 3:8-13); then comes the perfect earth and
21:1). Thus there is an
onward progress, and the Christian is waiting for the
consummation (Mr 13:33-37; Lu 12:35, 36, 40-46;
1Th 1:9, 10), as His Lord
also is "expecting" (Heb 10:13).
13. Son of man—(See on Eze 2:1). Not merely Son of David, and King of Israel,
but Head of restored humanity (corresponding to the world-wide
horizon of Daniel's prophecy); the seed of the woman, crushing
Antichrist, the seed of the serpent, according to the Prot-evangel in
3:15). The Representative Man
shall then realize the original destiny of man as Head of the creation
28); the center of unity to
Israel and the Gentiles. The beast, which taken conjointly represents
the four beasts, ascends from the sea (Da 7:2; Re 13:1); the Son of man descends from
"heaven." Satan, as the serpent, is the representative head of all
that bestial; man, by following the serpent, has become bestial. God
must, therefore, become man, so that man may cease to be beast-like.
Whoever rejects the incarnate God will be judged by the Son of man just
because He is the Son of man (Joh 5:27). This title is always associated with
His coming again, because the kingdom that then awaits Him in that
which belongs to Him as the Saviour of man, the Restorer of the lost
inheritance. "Son of man" expresses His VISIBLE state formerly in his humiliation hereafter
in His exaltation. He "comes to the Ancient of days" to be invested
with the kingdom. Compare Ps 110:2:
"The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength (Messiah) out of Zion."
This investiture was at His ascension "with the clouds of heaven"
(Ac 1:9; 2:33, 34; Ps 2:6-9; Mt 28:18), which is a pledge of His return "in
like manner" in the clouds" (Ac 1:11; Mt 26:64), and "with clouds" (Re 1:7). The kingdom then was given to Him in
title and invisible exercise; at His second coming it
shall be in visible administration. He will vindicate it from
the misrule of those who received it to hold for and under God, but who
ignored His supremacy. The Father will assert His right by the Son, the
heir, who will hold it for Him (Eze 1:27; Heb 1:2; Re
19:13-16). Tregelles thinks the investiture here immediately
precedes Christ's coming forth; because He sits at God's right hand
until His enemies are made His footstool, then the
kingdom is given to the Son in actual investiture, and He comes to
crush His so prepared footstool under His feet. But the words, "with
the clouds," and the universal power actually, though invisibly, given
Him then (Eph 1:20-22), agree best with His investiture at the
ascension, which, in the prophetic view that overleaps the interval of
ages, is the precursor of His coming visibly to reign; no event of
equal moment taking place in the interval.
15. body—literally, "sheath": the body
being the "sheath" of the soul.
17. kings—that is, kingdoms. Compare
Da 7:23, "fourth kingdom"; Da 2:38;
8:20-22. Each of the four
kings represents a dynasty. Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Antiochus, and
Antichrist, though individually referred to, are representatives
of characteristic tendencies.
18. the Most High—the emphatic title of
God in this prophecy, who delegates His power first to Israel; then to
the Gentiles (Da 2:37, 38) when Israel fails to realize the idea
of the theocracy; lastly, to Messiah, who shall rule truly for God,
taking it from the Gentile world powers, whose history is one of
continual degeneracy culminating in the last of the kings, Antichrist.
Here, in the interpretation, "the saints," but in the vision (Da 7:13,
14), "the Son of man," takes
the kingdom; for Christ and His people are one in suffering, and one in
glory. Tregelles translates, "most high
places" (Eph 1:3; 2:6). Though oppressed by the beast and
little horn, they belong not to the earth from which the four beasts
arise, but to the most high places.
19. Balaam, an Aramean, dwelling on the
Euphrates, at the beginning of Israel's independent history, and Daniel
at the close of it, prophetically exhibit to the hostile world powers
Israel as triumphant over them at last, though the world powers of the
East (Asshur) and the West (Chittim) carry all before them and afflict
Eber (Israel) for a time (Nu 23:8-10, 28; 24:2, 7-9,
22-24). To Balaam's "Asshur"
correspond Daniel's two eastern kingdoms, Babylon and Medo-Persia; to
"Chittim," the two western kingdoms, Greece and Rome (compare Ge 10:4, 11,
22). In Babel, Nimrod the
hunter (revolter) founds the first kingdom of the world (Ge 10:8-13). The Babylonian world power takes
up the thread interrupted at the building of Babel, and the kingdom of
Nimrod. As at Babel, so in Babylon the world is united against God;
Babylon, the first world power, thus becomes the type of the
God-opposed world. The fourth monarchy consummates the evil; it is
"diverse" from the others only in its more unlimited universality. The
three first were not in the full sense universal monarchies. The fourth
is; so in it the God-opposed principle finds its full development. All
history moves within the Romanic, Germanic, and Slavonic nations; it
shall continue so to Christ's second advent. The fourth monarchy
represents universalism externally; Christianity, internally. Rome is
Babylon fully developed. It is the world power corresponding in
contrast to Christianity, and therefore contemporary with it (Mt 13:38; Mr 1:15; Lu 2:1; Ga 4:4).
20. look … more stout than …
fellows—namely, than that of the other horns.
21. made war with the saints—persecuted
the Church (Re 11:7; 13:7).
prevailed—but not ultimately. The
limit is marked by "until" (Da 7:22). The
little horn continues, without intermission, to persecute up to
Christ's second advent (Re 17:12, 14; 19:19, 20).
22. Ancient of days came—The title
applied to the Father in Da 7:13 is
here applied to the Son; who is called "the everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6). The Father is never said to
"come"; it is the Son who comes.
judgment was given to …
saints—Judgment includes rule; "kingdom" in the
end of this verse (1Co 6:2; Re 1:6; 5:10; 20:4). Christ first receives "judgment" and
the "kingdom," then the saints with Him (Da 7:13, 14).
24. ten horns—answering to the ten
out of this kingdom—It is out
of the fourth kingdom that ten others arise, whatever exterior
territory any of them possess (Re 13:1; 17:12).
rise after them—yet contemporaneous
with them; the ten are contemporaries. Antichrist rises after their
rise, at first "little" (Da 7:8); but
after destroying three of the ten, he becomes greater than them all
21). The three being gone, he
is the eighth (compare Re 17:11); a
distinct head, and yet "of the seven." As the previous world kingdoms
had their representative heads (Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar; Persia, Cyrus;
Greece, Alexander), so the fourth kingdom and its Antichrists shall
have their evil concentrated in the one final Antichrist. As Antiochus
Epiphanes, the Antichrist of the third kingdom in Da 8:23-25, was the personal enemy of God, so
the final Antichrist of the fourth kingdom, his antitype. The Church
has endured a pagan and a papal persecution; there remains for her an
infidel persecution, general, purifying, and cementing [Cecil]. He will not merely, as Popery,
substitute himself for Christ in Christ's name, but
"deny the Father and the Son" (1Jo 2:22). The persecution is to continue up
to Christ's second coming (Da 7:21, 22); the horn of blasphemy cannot therefore
be past; for now there is almost a general cessation of
25. Three attributes of Antichrist are
specified: (1) The highest worldly wisdom and civilization. (2) The
uniting of the whole civilized world under his dominion. (3) Atheism,
antitheism, and autotheism in its fullest development (1Jo 2:22). Therefore, not only is power taken
from the fourth beast, as in the case of the other three, but God
destroys it and the world power in general by a final judgment. The
present external Christianity is to give place to an almost universal
think—literally, "carry within him as
it were the burden of the thought."
change times—the prerogative of God
2:21); blasphemously assumed
by Antichrist. The "times and laws" here meant are those of religious
ordinance; stated times of feasts [Maurer]. Perhaps there are included the times
assigned by God to the duration of kingdoms. He shall set Himself
above all that is called God (2Th 2:4), putting his own "will" above God's
times and laws (Da 11:36, 37). But the "times" of His wilfulness are
limited for the elect's sake (Mt 24:22).
given into his hand—to be
time … times and … dividing of
time—one year, two years, and half a year: 1260 days (Re 12:6,
14); forty-two months (Re 11:2, 3). That literally three and a half
years are to be the term of Antichrist's persecution is favored by
23, where the year-day theory
would be impossible. If the Church, moreover, had been informed that
1260 years must elapse before the second advent, the attitude of
expectancy which is inculcated (Lu 12:38; 1Co
1:7; 1Th 1:9, 10; 2Pe 3:12)
on the ground of the uncertainty of the time, would be out of place.
The original word for "time" denotes a stated period or set
feast; or the interval from one set feast to its recurrence, that
is, a year [Tregelles]; Le 23:4, "seasons"; Le 23:44, "feasts." The passages in favor of the
year-day theory are Eze 4:6, where
each day of the forty during which Ezekiel lay on his right side is
defined by God as meaning a year. Compare Nu 14:34, where a year of wandering in the
wilderness was appointed for each day of the forty during which the
spies searched Canaan; but the days were, in these two cases, merely
the type or reason for the years, which were announced as they were
to be fulfilled. In the prophetic part of Nu 14:34 "years" are literal. If the year-day
system was applied to them, they would be 14,400 years! In Eze 4:4-6, if day meant year,
Ezekiel would have lain on his right side forty years! The context here
7:24, 25, is not symbolical.
Antichrist is no longer called a horn, but a king subduing three
out of ten kings (no longer horns, Da 7:7, 8). So in Da 12:7, where "time, times, and half a time,"
again occurs, nothing symbolic occurs in the context. So that there is
no reason why the three and a half years should be so. For the first
four centuries the "days" were interpreted literally; a mystical
meaning of the 1260 days then began. Walter
Brute first suggested the year-day theory in the end of the
fourteenth century. The seventy years of the Babylonian
captivity foretold by Jeremiah (Jer 25:12; 29:10) were understood by Daniel (Da 9:2) as literal years, not symbolical, which
would have been 25,200 years! [Tregelles]. It is possible that the year-day and
day-day theories are both true. The seven (symbolical) times of
the Gentile monarchies (Le 26:24)
during Israel's casting off will end in the seven years of Antichrist.
The 1260 years of papal misrule in the name of Christ may be
represented by three and a half years of open Antichristianity and
persecution before the millennium. Witnessing churches may be succeeded
by witnessing individuals, the former occupying the longer, the latter
the shorter period (Re 11:3). The
beginning of the 1260 years is by Elliott set at A.D.
529 or 533, when Justinian's edict acknowledged Pope John II to be head
of the Church; by Luther, at 606, when
Phocas confirmed Justinian's grant. But 752 is the most likely date,
when the temporal dominion of the popes began by Pepin's grant
to Stephen II (for Zachary, his predecessor's recognition of his title
to France), confirmed by Charlemagne. For it was then first that the
little horn plucked up three horns, and so became the prolongation of
the fourth secular kingdom [Newton]. This would bring us down to about A.D. 2000, or the seventh thousand millenary
from creation. But Clinton makes about
1862 the seventh millenary, which may favor the dating from A.D. 529.
26. consume … destroy—a twofold
operation. Antichrist is to be gradually "consumed," as the
Papacy has been consuming for four hundred years past, and especially
of late years. He is also to be "destroyed" suddenly by Christ
at His coming; the fully developed man of sin (2Th 2:3) or false prophet making a last
desperate effort in confederacy with the "beast" (Re 16:13, 14,
16) or secular power of the
Roman empire (some conjecture Louis Napoleon): destroyed at Armageddon
27. greatness of the kingdom under … whole
heaven—The power, which those several kingdoms had possessed,
shall all be conferred on Messiah's kingdom. "Under … heaven"
shows it is a kingdom on earth, not in heaven.
people of … saints of … Most
High—"the people of the saints," or "holy ones" (Da 8:24, Margin): the Jews, the people to
whom the saints stand in a peculiar relation. The saints are gathered
out of Jews and Gentiles, but the stock of the Church is Jewish (Ro 9:24;
11:24); God's faithfulness to
this election Church is thus virtually faithfulness to Israel, and a
pledge of their future national blessing. Christ confirms this fact,
while withholding the date (Ac 1:6, 7).
everlasting, how can the kingdom here refer to the millennial
one? Answer: Daniel saw the whole time of future blessedness as one
period. The clearer light of the New Testament distinguishes, in
the whole period, the millennium and the time of the new heaven and new
earth (compare Re 20:4 with Re 21:1 and Re 22:5). Christ's kingdom is "everlasting." Not
even the last judgment shall end it, but only give it a more glorious
appearance, the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, with
the throne of God and the Lamb in it (compare Re 5:9, 10;
28. cogitations … troubled
me—showing that the Holy Spirit intended much more to be
understood by Daniel's words than Daniel himself understood. We are not
to limit the significance of prophecies to what the prophets themselves
understood (1Pe 1:11, 12).