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DANIEL'S LAST PROPHECY OF THE CONSUMMATION.
§ 1.- THE FIRST HALF OF THE PROPHECY,
FROM DAN. X. 1-xi. 32.
The date of the vision that I am now about to notice, I mean Daniel's last vision, given in chapters x, xi, and xii of his prophetic Book,-is stated by the Prophet to have been the third year of the reign of Cyrus ;' its local scene by the banks of the Hiddekel or Tigris. Now it appears from Ezra that it was in the first year of his reign that Cyrus issued his memorable edict for the Jews' emancipation from Babylon, and that Zerubbabel and other Jews, acting on it, returned to Jerusalem :3 also that it was in the seventh Jewish month (or October) that they set up an altar there, 4 and in the second month of the second year of their coming that they laid the foundation of the new Temple : 5-after which there began from the people of the land a system of harassing and interruption,-in part by personal opposition, in part through the agency of accusers sent to vilify them at the Persian Court, which at once put a stop to the work; and suspended it through what remained of the reign of Cyrus, and for some years after, till the accession of Darius son of Hystaspes. Such then had already begun to be the state of things at Jerusalem in the April? of that 3rd year of Cyrus, in which Daniel (now, like St. John in Patmos, an old man of eighty or ninety) 8saw the vision we are about to consider. It seems important to bear this in mind in examining the prophecy before us. We can scarce but suppose that his fasting and prayer, which preceded and was answered by the present vision, had reference, like that which preceded a former revelation,' to the then state of trial and disappointment attending the returned remnant of his people. The Angel's words, on occasion of a former vision, about the street being built in troublous times,had already begun to have fulfilment. When were better times to come,the times of the Messiah promised ? His heart was set to understand the things predicted. Of the quadruple series of Gentile dominant empires, which, it had been previously foreshown to him, were to precede the full and final establishment of Messiah's kingdom, the third, that of Greece, had as yet not come forward. When was that next step in the great chain of events to take place? When the fourth empire to appear, under which apparently Messiah was to be manifested in humiliation, and cut off ; 5 and which was to introduce into the Temple, that had now been just founded anew, the abomination that would make desolate ? 6 When again the consummation of judgment to be poured out on the desolator ; ? and so that glorious restoration of Israel and of the Temple to take place, under the King Messiah, that had been prefigured to another holy prophet, the associate of Daniel's youth and captivity, I mean Ezekiel ? 8
1 Dan. x. 1.
3 Ezra i. 1, 5.
6 Ibid. iv. 1, 11, 24. ? The vision was seen on the 24th day of the Jewish first month, or month Abib; which was part March, part April.—Dan. x. 4.
8 Daniel was carried away from Jerusalem, on the first deportation of captive Jews, in the third year of Jehoiakim and first of Nebuchadnezzar. At this time he must have been nearly grown up; as we find him in Nebuchadnezzar's second year expounding to him his dream of the great quadripartite Image: after which there had now elapsed the seventy years and more of the captivity.
The vision accorded to Daniel at the expiration of these three weeks of fasting and humiliation, and which was avowedly intended to enlighten him on the subjects of his anxious searching,' opened with the view of some
| Dan. ix. 3, &c.
? Dan. ix. 25. Compare Hagg. i. 9. * Dan. x. 12.; "From the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand,” &c.
* Both in the symbol of the quadripartite image, and that of the four will beasts, Dan. ii, vii. 5 Dan. ix. 25, 26.
6 Ibid. verse 27. ? So the Margin.—This is allowed to be a perfectly admissible translation; as much so as that of the English Version,“ on the desolate." So Professor Lee in his Introduction to Eusebius' Theophania, p. cxiv.
8 Ezek. xl. &c. Dan. X. 12, 14 ; “From the first day that thou didst set thy heart to under
glorious Being of surpassing splendour, standing on the waters of the Tigris. Was it an Angel, or the Lord of Angels? Apparently the latter : as not in respect of his glory only, but of the priestly garb that he wore, the position he stood in, and the solemn oath that he uttered, the parallel was most close between what is here said of him, and what is in the Apocalypse said of the Covenant-Angel that long afterwards appeared to St. John in the visions of Patmos.2 Moreover the attendant Angels, who were also seen by Daniel in the vision, referred to him their questions as to a superior. Thus it seemed, I say, to be the LORD, the Messiah, Himself. His priestly garb marked him out in that character of the priest, the offering priest of the great propitiatory sacrifice, which it needed that he should fulfil ere he took the kingdom.“ His silence, all the while that an attendant Angel detailed the prediction we are about considering to the prophet, might seem to have been the silence of one meditating on the mighty work before him. Again his position, with his feet planted on the waters of the Hiddekel, now the great characteristic river of the dominant Persian Empire, symbolized apparently his claim to that domination and empire as his own: 5- on the realization of which claim those times of Eden that the river Hiddekel might suggest to the
stand, and to chasten thyself before God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”—"I am come to make thee understand what shall befal thy people in the latter days.”
1 " Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked; and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. His body also was like the beryl ; and his face as the appearance of lightning; and his eyes as lamps of fire; and his arms and his feet like in colour to the polished brass; and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. Dan. x. 5, &c.
2 See Apoc. i. 13 and x. 1, 6. 3 Dan. xii. 5—7.-1 have drawn out this evidence because neither his appearance in splendour, nor his likeness to man, would of itself distinguish him from a created angel: created angels having sometimes so appeared to men. (See, for example, in Matt. xxviii. 3, 4, the description of the angels that attended Christ's resurrection.)—Similarly in Apoc. xiv. 14 one on the white cloud like to a Son of Man, appeared from the adjuncts of the vision, to be Christ: and so too Apoc. i. 13. See p. 79 suprà.
4 Compare Dan. ix. 26: a prophecy of Messiah given him about four or five years before; it being dated in the first year of Darius the Mede, or two years before the first of Cyrus,
Compare Apoc. x. ).
prophet's mind? would return; and its waters flow again through a Paradise restored.
It is generally supposed by commentators that the Angel who touched and strengthened the prophet, when struck down by the glory of the vision, and then in a predictive narrative informed him respecting the coming future, was the Angel Gabriel. And as Gabriel is specifically mentioned twice before as the appointed communicator with the prophet,” this seems very probable. He tells him that on the first day he chastened himself before God his prayer was heard : and, after a mysterious intimation or two on what for awhile hindered him from coming, and what he was afterwards about to do, in regard both of the Prince of Persia and then the Prince of Greece, 4-intimations indicating the fact of angelic ministration in influencing men's minds, and so bringing about the appointed issue of events in human affairs, 5he proceeds, in the remarkable prophecy of chap. xi and xii, to unfold the then coming future, first under Persian, and then under Greek supremacy ; (the second and third in the great tetrarchical succession of prophecy ;) with the addition of a sketch of the sequel of events, specially with reference to the future fortunes of Daniel's own people, (whether that meant the Jews, or the true people and Church of God,) even until the consummation.
The prophecy thus naturally divides itself into two parts : Ist that from xi. 1 to xi. 32, sketching the times of the Persians and Greeks ; 2ndly that from xi. 32 to
Gen. ii. 14.-Wintle places the scene near its confluence with the Euphrates. ? Dan. viii. 16, ix. 21.-It is observable that in the former of these two passages, it was “a man's voice from between the banks of the Ulai” that directed Gabriel to make Daniel understand the vision then given : just as here the Covenant-Angel stood on the waters of the Hiddekel ; while the angelic attendants were on its banks.
3 Dan. x. 13 ; “ But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days," &c.
“And now will I return to fight with the Prince of Persia : and when I am gone forth, lo, the Prince of Grecia shall come.”
5 The Jews supposed angels to have their distinctive appointments over nations. See Dr. M'Caul's Kimchi on Zechar. ii. 3.-So too Jerom on Isaiah xv: “Angeli qui singulis præsunt gentibus." (Tom. iii. p. 277.)
6 "I am come to make thee understand what shall befal thy people in the latter days.” Dan. x. 14.
4 Dan. X. 20.
the end of chap. xii, sketching the sequel. Now it is not my intention to enter fully into the details of the earlier half of the prophecy. For these I refer to Bishop Newton. My object is only to give such a general view of this part, in respect of its literal meaning, and its historic fulfilment, as may serve fitly to introduce that second and more difficult part which has a direct bearing on the time and manner of the consummation ; questions which we have hitherto been considering simply by the light of the Apocalyptic prophecy: It may be well to consider the two divisions of the prophecy each in a separate Section: and I now proceed accordingly, without further delay, to the discussion of that which belongs to the present Section ; viz.
THE EARLIER HALF OF THE PROPHECY.
The Angel's prophetic narrative begins from the time then present. Three Persian kings, he says, were to rise after Cyrus, (these were Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspes,) before any mutation needing notice in the world's affairs :3 then a fourth, (Xerxes,) pre-eminent for his riches and power ; who, by stirring up the whole empire against Greece, was to bring Greece directly into contact with Persia; an aspirant thenceforward for the supremacy.
And then “a mighty king
1 Dr. Keith too has a full chapter on this subject in his Signs of the Times. But I rather refer to Bishop Newton, as he gives his authorities : a point in which Dr. K. seems to me grievously defective. See too Wintle on Daniel.
2 I purpose to subjoin the prophetic text in detached passages beneath the comment that illustrates them; making such critical remarks on each as may seem to me useful for readers unskilled like myself in Hebrew. I must trust to the courtesy of Hebrew scholars to excuse it, if of these Notes some appear to them to be needlessly particular, or relative to points clear in themselves.
* The prophecy, Dan. xi. 2, begins thus.
xi. 2. “And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all : and by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all * against t the realm of Grecia." I
On the peculiar suitableness of this phrase to depict the preparations for Xerxes' expedition into Greece, see Vol. iii. p. 395 Note '.
tnx. The sense of against, here given, attaches to the word in 1 Chron. xx. 5 ; “There was war with (nn) the Philistines.”
:77, Javan ; the usual word for Greece. So in Dan. x. 20 just before.