MUCH has been, written, on the prophecies relating to the Gentile Empires; little has been said of them in these impressions. The idea of -writing has been to arouse interest and thought in these days bordering on the accomplishment of the last great everts, not to teach, rather to a-waken criticism.
The Church is near the end of her earthly sojourn, and -while not the subject of prophecy, the revelation is given to her to keep her separate from a scene upon which judgment is coming. The Church is morally separated now, by the understanding that prophecy gives, from a world on which judgment will fall.
The Lord is coming, so is the man of sin; the Lord for His saints, the man of sin to deceive the world for its judgment.
The prophecy of Daniel is not a direct call to the nation of the Jews to repent, such as Jeremiah's testimony at Jerusalem was, nor even a warning to the individual as Ezekiel gave. The nation was now Lo-ammi (not my people), power and dominion were given by God into the hands of the Gentiles. An Empire was set up. Jehovah's throne was no longer at Jerusalem, the glory had departed, and the Imperial system had begun amongst the Gentiles. The "times of the Gentiles" had begun (Luke 21:24).
Nebuchadnezzar was not merely a great king amongst the many kings of the many nations. Assyria was a kingdom amongst others, great, but one of many (Ezekiel 31:3, 8). Pharaoh was a king amongst kings (Ezekiel 31:18), but Nebuchadnezzar was the head of Kingdoms; all had to submit to him, he held absolute sway on earth under God (Daniel 2: 37, 38, and Habakkuk 1:6, 10). He did not sit on Jehovah's throne at Jerusalem as Solomon had done (1 Chronicles 29: 23). David's family had broken down and the former order had passed away; the government for God on earth had been given over to the Gentiles; King Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Chaldeans at Babylon, was King of the World.
God had governed from Jerusalem; the ordinances of God in the hands of Israel were the means of blessing; Israel had failed and all was over; man could not be blessed under the old order. Israel awaits the New Covenant blessing (Jeremiah, chapters 1 – 24); Jerusalem set aside, especially chapter 24, and also Lamentations; for the New Covenant see Jeremiah 31: 31-34).
Daniel is amongst the captives at Babylon, the vision is given to an individual, a faithful captive in a heathen court.
Daniel is to the Old Testament what the apostle John is to the New. Daniel stands out in the fall of the nation as John stands amidst the ruins of the Church.
An exile at Babylon has the comfort and support of communion with God, intelligence of the ways and purpose of God; an exile at Patmos is found in the same position and has like intelligence.
The first chapter of Daniel is a preface; in it we see a godly remnant of Jews (for it is the Jew and the Empire here, not Israel and the nations) subsisting at Babylon, and they are captives all the time of the Babylonish dominion, until the reign of Cyrus the Persian (Daniel 1:21). All this is typical, there will be a godly remnant of Jews at the end, amidst the apostate mass of the nation, and they continue until delivered. There was a godly remnant in Judea waiting for the hope of Israel when the Lord was born (see the early chapters of Luke). These got better blessings, the Church took the place of the remnant. "When the Church period is over, and the Church gone from the earth, then a remnant will appear again. God is no doubt preparing the ground amongst the Jews now.
Daniel lived into the reign of Cyrus, for we read of the third year of Cyrus. It is interesting to see that Daniel lives on through the time of the Empire set up by God, and is still receiving communications from God when Cyrus is reigning. Isaiah (44:28 and 45:1) had pointed out the coming anointed one, who would restore the people, even naming him —Cyrus. Cyrus was but a type of a greater to come who will permanently establish the people in the land.
Daniel in type is a picture of the remnant existing by the grace and faithfulness of God, who is faithful to His promises, until the Empire is overthrown according to Jeremiah's prophecy (chapters 1 and 2. See also chapters 1. 4, 5, 18, 19, 34 for the restoration of all Israel). But the historical fulfilment has only shown a partial result of what will finally take place when the full history of the succeeding Empires is run, the last form of the Empire is broken, God in faithfulness to His promises has taken up His earthly people again, and the world made to own the God of heaven, the Most High, as the only true God (See Psalm 91).
Who is the Most High? Abraham's God, the Almighty, says one who has found the secret. The Messiah says, "I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust" (Psalm 91:2). Israel says it is Jehovah, he hears His voice. "The LORD (Jehovah) which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation" (verse 9). To the remnant Jehovah says "He shall call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble" (verse 15, see verses 14-16). The name of Father is absent, that is the name of special relationship to Christians.
The history of the "times of the Gentiles" includes the history of our own times, this Church parenthesis when the Church on earth is filling in the period of her responsible history. Therefore the moral features of the book of Daniel can be expected to have a profound significance for the individual believer, in the days of his sojourn in a Godless world, surrounded as he is by all that can and will defile if he walks with the world and falls, in with its ways even in a religious way. The world has its' religion.
The book is divided into two nearly equal divisions, chapters 1-6 and 7 - 12. The first chapter is a preface, the last a conclusion.
In the first the remnant is seen in subjection to the powerful ruler of the world. In the last the people of God are seen entering into the promises of a faithful God, Who has wrought out His own purposes making the wrath of man to praise Him, and preserving miraculously through all their trials a remnant to have their portion with Him at the end.
Chapters 2-6 give the broad external view of the Gentile Empire history and the trials of the remnant as afflicted at the close. Chapters 7 - 1 the internal details of the Empires and their relation to the people of God.
Daniel and his companions were carried away from Jerusalem in the first invasion of the Chaldeans (verse 1). Renamed by the monarch who is in the place of power and authority, they submit without complaint even though their new names have reference to the heathen gods of their masters.
Adam, the head of the race, names the animals and birds; Nebuchadnezzar exhibits the same headship over men. Christ renamed Peter, He had the authority; the Christian in a new creation gets a new name from the Head of the new creation.
The world's dainties may make the citizens of this world fair, but they can only defile the man of God. Daniel purposes not to touch the King's good things which were truly defiling to the faithful Jew. We are not Jews and do not look on the outward thing (see 1 Corinthians 8i and 10: 25 etc.), yet for a Christian, friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4: 4). Although a Christian may reason that there is much that is legitimate in a natural way, how careful he must be in handling the things of the world. Satan is called the god of this world, and he has a vast system clothed in enticing and subtle guise.
"What is wrong with music?" asks one. Nebuchadnezzar clothed the worship of his false god with music of all kinds to attract, but not to add truth. Nebuchadnezzar sought to add the beauty of music to the lie of his false worship; it did not make the false thing true, but took the value out of the music which must be attached to what is true to be beautiful. The world can produce plenty of music and a Christian has to go pretty much to the world to get it.
"What is wrong with gathering much knowledge?" asks another. Nebuchadnezzar's astrologers and magicians grew wise while living on his good things, but Daniel and his fellows were ten times wiser (Chapter 1: 20). They gathered not as the world, but in secret with God.
When that which a man gathers in a natural way masters him he becomes its slave, and the slave of him who feeds him.
We could not read without learning nor translate without study. But we must, but how and what?
Tried out on the simple foods the world despises, Daniel and his friends grow more favoured and ten times wiser than all the Chaldeans.
Feeding in simplicity and humility before God away from the eyes and pleasures of the world, the believer develops under the eye of God, and gains an understanding and knowledge which instead of puffing up renders him intelligent and useful both to God and man. Meet for the Master's use, having the tongue of the learned, wise as to that which is good, he can speak a word in season to the weary. God meets faith dependent on Him, in Daniel's case turning the heart of the chamberlain in Daniel's favour; he is heard, and the chamberlain acts on Daniel's advice. God always meets faith thus. True, grace works and turns us to the light, but as we take a step, God, Who is ahead of us, prepares the ground.
Separation from the world and the fear of the Lord are the first principles of intercourse with God and spiritual intelligence. Daniel, the special vessel of the Spirit of prophecy proves all we have been saying in chapter 2.
God is pleased to show the King of the world the whole course of Imperial rule from its inception to its breakdown, and until an everlasting kingdom, which shall never be moved, is set up.
God does this in such a way as to show the mighty monarch his dependence on the feeble captives of his kingdom.
No one part of Scripture contains its entire interpretation in itself; all must refer to the whole. While we see pictures of the past, to read them aright we have to see the end of all prophecy, which is Christ, and with Christ His people. The visions of Daniel, and especially the interpretations, all look on to Christ and His kingdom. Daniel and his companions depict for us the state not only of the captives of Babylon, but the future state of the remnant under the power of the Empire in its last form. Morally it is a state existing at all times; the secret of the Lord is only with those who fear Him.
Nebuchadnezzar's dream passes from his memory; this is the wisdom of Go who hides thoughts from man; here it is to show the King's dependence on the faithful, and on the vessel of prophecy. His own wise men have to confess that to tell a man's thoughts and interpret them, is an unreason able request in human affairs; in fact, it is only the gods whose dwelling is not with flesh who can help (chapter 2:11). It was beyond the ability of mere flesh. This only made Daniel's position the stronger; he walked in communion with his God.
The wise men own their incompetency, their miserable plight is made known to Daniel who at once enters the King's presence and asks for time to interpret the dream (verse 16). He knows the ways of his God, and counts fearlessly on the answer to faith.
He ask the prayers of his brethren, agreeing together in dependence on God, that lowly attitude for the creature, they await the answer (verse 17).
Daniel, the special vessel of faith, gets the answer and appears before the King. It is the captain who hurries (verse 25). God is unhurried and His servants are characterized by their communion.
Before appearing in the presence of the King, Daniel worships (verses 20-23); this is always the result of true communion with God in when God makes Himself known Daniel presents his God, a God in Heaven, to the King before he tells the dream (verse 28).
Disclaiming any special wisdom, not comparing himself with others, he attributes all to the wisdom and goodness of God Who desires the King to know the dream and interpretation that he might be aware of the events to come, and own the supreme power which had set him in the place of honour and power amongst the nations and over men; perhaps he would govern wisely for God on earth.
Nebuchadnezzar's dream has often been commented on; all that need be said with regard to the image is to state what is generally accepted by prophetic students.
The head of gold is the Babylon Empire, Nebuchadnezzar was its head; "Thou art this head of gold" (verse 38). The Medo-Persian Empire which followed showed deterioration in Imperial Power and is represented by the arms and breast of silver. The kings of this Empire were subject to their own laws.
The body of brass is the third Empire, the Macedonian or Grecian Empire which followed the Persian Empire. Alexander, the great leader of this power, often had to listen to his generals; he was not as absolute as Nebuchadnezzar.
The legs of iron represent the Roman Empire, the fou.th Empire, which overcame Greece, and the countries into which the Grecian Empire divided after the death of Alexander the Great. The Eastern and Western divisions of the Roman Empire are seen in the two legs. The feet of iron and clay show us the present state of Europe; the toes have yet to appear.
The Teutonic hordes brought into the Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D. their principles of democracy. The iron, or that which is really Roman, is the real strength of the Western Europe state system today. The clay element, introduced by the Teutons, and which has developed so greatly, weakens the system, and while "mixed" with the iron of the system never properly mingles with it. The Latin and Teuton elements divide the Empire, never cleave to one another, yet remain mixed to form a partly strong and partly brittle state.
The last form of the Roman Empire is seen in the toes composed of iron and clay in a ten-confederate-kingdom form of the Empire. Ten kings will lend their power to, and come under the authority of an imperial head—all blended into a conglomerate Empire partly strong and partly brittle; Imperial in part, representative of the people in part.
Ten constitutional kings will be confederate under one authority. This state has never been seen in the Roman world; it is future. In the days of these kings a stone cut out without hands will smite the image on the ten toes and break the whole Imperial system to pieces and grind it to powder. This stone is Christ, not the gospel; no human hands have shaped it. Then the Kingdom of Christ grows into a great mountain, a fifth and last Empire of everlasting character.
The Imperial system was set up in Nebuchadnezzar; it will be finally broken in the ten-kingdom-confederacy, the last form of the Imperial power.
Nebuchadnezzar was the only absolute Gentile king set up by God. None of the other Empires were established by the decree of God in the same way, they followed on providentially. The whole scheme was tested in Nebuchadnezzar, and in his failure, as we see later, the system is judged although other Empires followed in the wisdom of God, and will continue until the Kingdom of Christ breaks the Imperial system. The little stone grows to a great mountain after the image is broken.
The last of Rome's power has not been seen. The gospel did not break it.
The beasts of the field and the fowls of the air (not the fish of the sea) were given to the Imperial power. To it was given land and air supremacy, not sea supremacy; and it must go on until broken up.
The Roman power urged on by the Jews crucified the Messiah. He will come again to meet the Roman and Jewish combine at the end, to break down the Empire and chasten the Jews.
Nebuchadnezzar praised the God of Daniel and made Daniel a great man in the kingdom.
At the end the godly Jew by his superior knowledge and understanding of the mind of God will prove to the proud Gentile that the God of Israel is supreme in Heaven and on earth, the kings of the earth will be brought to acknowledge this.
Chapters 3, 4, 5 & 6 give historical pictures of the Empire, and in these pictures we see the principles that are at work. They are prophetic pictures, if not perfect types. We do not merely read a history of a state of the past, but get a picture of the Empire at its beginning, its character until judged, a prophetic view of the judgment, and its cause. Nebuchadnezzar set up an image of gold, whether suggested by the golden head of his dream we might well consider.
Here the uniting of church and state is seen as an early principle of uniting the Empire. Diverse religions within the state might tend to dismember it, but if the state religion is joined to the supreme head here is one way for the head to gain authority without seeming to exercise authority.
The King's absolute decree for all to worship is met by an absolute dependence of faith in the free captives. If all worship, the King's word and religion are supreme. If even one opposes, and introduces a higher authority all the King's system falls to the ground. Luther, facing the power of the Emperor and the Papacy, broke the whole system by his faith in God and His Word. The world powers were powerless.
Although all kinds of music are added to act on the senses and make the mind receptive to the false worship, the three captives are unmoved. "We are not careful to answer thee in this matter." Bold words; bold, yet dependent. "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O King. But if not, be it known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up " (verse 17).
What can the King do? Losing control of himself he commands the furnace to be heated seven times hotter (verse 19). God does not check the great monarch, but allows him to use his power. God is better known, in a fuller way, by allowing the forces of evil to expend themselves, but He enters into the affection Himself to preserve His own.
Punishment recoils on the instruments of violence, the mighty men of the army who cast the captives into the fire are themselves slain. Only the bonds are burned from off the captives, they walk unharmed amidst the flames. There is another, a fourth, with them, one like unto the Son of God (verse 25). How often we are reminded that the fear of man is a snare, and that we are not to be afraid of what man can do. God never deserts His own nor leaves faith unanswered.
Nebuchadnezzar- extols the God of the Jews and makes a decree that nowhere should this God be spoken against.
So it will be at the end when the godly remnant passes through the hour of its trial, the Lord will be with them to preserve them.
The Gentiles will then have two causes for extolling the God of the Jews, their greater intelligence and knowledge of the ways of God, and the manner in which God saves His people at the close out of the furnace of affliction. The Gentiles will own there is no God like the God of the Jews.
This chapter gives us not the affliction of the Jews but more the direct dealing of God with the Gentile Kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar dreams, the dream and the interpretation arc set out in detail in the chapter.
A great spreading tree is a common picture of a kingdom in Scripture (Matthew 8: 32). Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom was the greatest that had been set up amongst Gentiles. When Daniel interprets the dream he faithfully adds a word of admonition and warning (verse 27). Pride fills the heart of the King; "see the great Babylon I have built, my power, my majesty" (verse 30). God takes from him his reason, and Nebuchadnezzar gets the heart of a beast until full seven times (seven years) pass over his head (verse 25).
When his reason returns he blesses the Most High, and extols the God of Heaven; he is restored to dignity (verses 36, 37).
This will also take place at the end, when the Gentiles come to reason by the wisdom of God, who will at the close of the Empire's history, cause men to own that the Most High, the God of Heaven, overrules all things on earth.
Not only does the Empire become idolatrous, but without understanding also. Having the heart of a beast which looks down and not up to God, the government of this world goes on without God being owned. Much of the detail of the visions is passed over in these notes, some of the verses are self-explanatory, and it would require more than a few notes to cover them.
Belshazzar the King, the last of his line, offers a direct challenge to God; God answers immediately. In this we get a third characteristic of the Empire; it is impious, and as a result of its impiety judgment falls forthwith.
Holding high revelry, while his father Nabonadius is fighting in the open country, and while the Modes and Persians are besieging Babylon, secure in the impregnability of the defences of the great city, a sense of false security and blindness settles down on the king, but very near the surface is a horrible fear which the king covers by insolence.
It is not enough for this degraded man to anger God by worshipping his numerous gods, he adds insult by drinking wine to his gods out of the golden vessels taken from the temple which had been destroyed in Jerusalem (verse 2). Here was direct insult and challenge to God. Although Israel was no longer the seat of direct government, yet God never wholly forsakes His people. He could not, and to despise God in drinking wine in the temple vessels while praising the gods of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, was to pour contempt on the worship of Jehovah, exalting his own gods above the God of Heaven.
Will the world drink its wine of pleasure to the gods of its own making? Will it take the true forms of worship and bend them to its own use in false worship? Then God accepts the challenge. No longer is a warning given to turn the king to righteousness, no longer a word of a wakening admonition, but the word of judgment goes forth without mitigation.
The hand writes, and writes in the language of the Chaldeans. Why, then, could the king and his wise men not read? Total blindness had settled down on the morally decadent kingdom, and they did not know it.
The queen mother coming in speaks of Daniel (verse 10). Daniel is called and is promised great advancement if he can read the writing (verse 13-16).
Belshazzar does not know Daniel. How soon Saul forgot the youth David, he had not known him when he played and sang; neither had Belshazzar known Daniel grown old in his kingdom. The king's feasting halls were not the places where Daniel was to be found.
Daniel does not speak to Belshazzar as he did to Nebuchadnezzar, who had not been so vile and contemptuous of God. "Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to an-other" (verse 17) was Daniel's answer to the king. However, Daniel stood for God, and read the writing, giving the explanation as seen the chapter.
Mene = numbered, but the interpretation adds, "and finished." Only God could add this conclusion.
Tekel = weighed, and "found wanting," adds the Prophet of God.
Peres = divided, and "given to the Modes and Persians," is God's fiat (verses. 25-28).
That night Belshazzar is slain, and Darius the Mede takes the kingdom (verse 30). The river had been turned, and the enemy coming under the gates along the river bed found the gates of the city leading from the wharfs open, according to the word of Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 45:1).
Daniel's word of admonition to the king, telling him what he had known yet had not learned nor heeded, was but a word of final judgment; there was no remedy (verse 22).
Babylon was judged according to its measure of responsibility, set up by God, it had closed in defiance of God, in setting its gods in opposition to the true God.
This indeed is the cause of the fall of the New Testament Babylon. Having a form of godliness, denying the power, using the true forms in opposition to God, denying the Father and the Son, it is truly anti-Christ according to the Apostle John. The apostate church, Rome in its last terrible ecclesiastical state, brings down the judgment on that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17).
There is yet a character of evil to be found in the Empire which is distinct, and follows on the fall of ecclesiastical Rome in its anti-Christian apostate state. Deceived into exalting himself above all that is called God, and by that which ministers to the pride of man, King Darius signs a decree that virtually puts him in the place of God, yea, even above God. Antichrist denies that Jesus is Christ, that is, its Jewish character, and in its anti-Christian character it denies the relationship of Father and Son. But there is a state of pride which will appear at the end analogous to the position Darius found himself in. When apostate ecclesiastical Rome is judged in its idolatrous Babylonish character, there will be nothing left for man, who will be without a God or even a false Christianity, but to exalt himself as the object of worship, as the possessor of supreme power, and as the centre of unity for the whole Empire.
Nebuchadnezzar made an image and demanded a united religious allegiance to his god. Darius in self-exaltation is himself the object of veneration. This is not the false religion of Nebuchadnezzar, nor the impiety of Belshazzar who renders to his gods what he ought to give to God and adds insult to his corruption, but it is man in the place of God. We do not now read of swift judgment as in the case of Belshazzar, but of God proving to man His greater power.
This takes place in connection with Daniel, the cared for and faithful man who forgets not his God, and even when far from Jerusalem; he remembers Solomon's prayer and prays toward the place where Jehovah had set up His sanctuary (verse 10).
Daniel's behaviour was beyond reproach. Where could fault be found? (Verse 5). The nobles acted with jealous subtlety; knowing Daniel's faithfulness to God they had to find a means of making that faithfulness clash with the laws of the land and the decree of a misguided ruler. They ministered to the pride of the King by means of the very laws he had made, to which he himself was subject by the constitution of the kingdom. These laws had been made to protect the subjects from the unreasonable whims of a monarch who otherwise would hold absolute sway.
Playing on the pride of the King, putting him in the place of the dispenser of all favours, no prayer or petition was to be addressed to any bu.t the King for thirty days; they caught him in a trap.
Though not knowing the God of the Jews, nor favouring them as God did later, still the King was more noble in character than Belshazzar. He did not foresee the result of the act of signing the decree. When Daniel was accused, he sought to save him from the lions' den (verse 14).
Daniel was unmoved. The King may have power, as indeed Pilate had power given him, but what did he do with it? How did he use it? (Verse 17).
Daniel made no compromise, but gave God His place. No man can dictate to another's conscience, much less come between man and God. God speaks by His Word and nothing can rob God's Word of its authority over man; no claim can come between the soul and God.
The law runs its course, and Daniel cast into the lions' den is left in the hands of God, Who sends His angel to close the mouths of the lions.
The judgment falls on the heads of Daniel's accusers. Darius not only extols the God of Heaven; this Nebuchadnezzar did, but he praises the living God. He decrees that all tremble before the God of Daniel, Who is the living God (verse 26). The Christian knows Him as the God of resurrection power.
When God miraculously preserves the Jews out of the lions' mouths at the time of the end, the Gentiles will fear, and own the God of the Jews as the God whose kingdom shall not be destroyed.
Daniel lives on to the year of Cyrus the anointed, which suggests the preservation of the godly remnant until Christ reigns. Half the book closes with chapter. 6. So far we have had a broad view of the times of the Gentiles (chapter 2). Then followed historical pictures which reveal the moral state of the Empire and succeeding Empires; what brings in the judgment and overthrow of the Empire; the saving power and mighty arm of God delivering the remnant from the powers of evil. Also a full picture of the evil working in the Empires and the way it reacts toward the feeble few who believe in God, and lastly the Gentiles brought to own the Most High Who rules in Heaven and on earth, even the living God Who preserves life in the presence of death.
Chapter 7i begins in Belshazzar's reign, going back before the date of the previous chapter, which closes the historical scenes of the Empire, and completes the general principles which govern in the Empire. We drop now the general principles to see more detail, and history given prophetically. We see, too, the Gentile power in relation to the people of God.
Now Daniel has the dreams and visions, not the Gentile King. Whereas Nebuchadnezzar had seen the kingdoms in the form of a man, and as metals, something which could be shaped by man's art; Daniel sees the same powers as ravening beasts.
The four winds strive, none can see them. They make the waters heave and out of the surging mass of waters come four beasts (verse 3). Daniel sees them all come up together; he sees the principle of Imperial rule as a whole. But they follow one after another in history, and he speaks of them as doing so (verse 4 on). It is not here the head of gold, as set up by God, but the thing developed in history. God overrules at all times, but what is now depicted is the historic rise and succession of the Empires.
In the first vision we get the appearances of the first three Empires. The horn with eagle's wings is the Babylonian Empire, strength and swiftness; both Jeremiah and Ezekiel speak of the eagle, meaning Babylon. The wings are plucked, Babylon lost its power, and appears as a mere man, strength and speed are gone.
A bear follows unwieldly, ferocious, and devouring, lifting itself on one side. The Medo-Persian Empire is clearly seen here; it increased on the Persian side.
The leopard represents the Grecian or Macedonian Empire subtle and swift having four wings. Who conquered like Alexander, who overthrew the Persian Empire in three years!
The four heads of the leopard show the break-up of the Grecian Empire into its four main heads under the generals of Alexander after his death. Two of these heads are much spoken of under the names of the King of the North, and the King of the South. That is, King of Syria, and King of Egypt, north and south of Palestine. God has His land always in mind, although not dealing openly and outwardly with His people.
The fourth beast is the subject of another vision (verse 7). There is a further vision (verse 13), in which the Ancient of Days is seen sitting in judgment and the Son of Man receives the Kingdom (verses 13, 14). This chapter is largely taken up with the fourth beast in its last state, and also with the active agent in this last state, until the beast is destroyed (verse 26).
The fourth beast is great and terrible, and justly represents the Roman Empire treading down all it could not devour. Then it is seen as a ten-horned Empire even as Nebuchadnezzar's image is finally found in a ten-toed form. When the fourth Empire is in the ten-horned state an eleventh horn rises up amongst the ten, plucked up three by the roots.
This horn has eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things. He has penetration, intelligence, reflection, and gains great control of men in a moral way, speaking great and impressive words. A little horn to begin with, yet he has strength and political power, subduing three kingdoms; his look is more stout than his fellows. He stands in the power of Imperial Rome, and wields this power as his own. Yet it is a peculiar Empire, the seven remaining Kings are his helpers.
Daniel sees the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment until the body of the beast, the body of the Empire, is burned and ended (verse 11). This closes the rule of the Gentiles in Imperial power.
The Son of Man in Revelation has the same character as the Ancient of Days in Daniel. He is man; He is God, but in Daniel we get the distinction made between the Ancient of Days as the supreme authority, and the Son of Man who receives the Kingdom from Him. Further on we see the distinction between the Son of Man and the Messiah who is cut off, having- nothing.
The lives of the first three Empires are prolonged, but without dominion. Iraq has its king; Persia its Shah [king]; Greece for the moment is without a king, who has been lately driven from his throne by the Germans [in 1947 – the monarchy was abolished n 1973]. Their lives have been prolonged, but all will be judged at the close of this age when the Lord comes to set up the Kingdom of the Son of Man, the fifth and last Empire.
Verse 13 begins another vision. The Son of Man appears with the clouds of heaven before the Ancient of Days to receive an everlasting kingdom. His is not a Kingdom of earthly origin. He comes with the clouds of Heaven. The interpretation adds a new element to the prophecy; the saints of the Most High (places) share in possession of the Kingdom (verse 18). The rule is from Heaven, and the heavenly saints from Enoch to the end of the first resurrection, share in the reign of the Son of Man (see Revelation 20).
Daniel seeks knowledge of the fourth beast and the little horn. It is the last form of Empire descended from Babylon the head, and in a ten-confederate-kingdom form under the moral and political dominion of a man of surpassing ability and intellect. We have much more about this man in Revelation, where he is called the beast; he represents it, the beast, in its activity that is all in him.
This horn makes war with the saints and prevails, many will be martyred for not acknowledging the beast and his religion, or rather his self-exaltation above all forms hitherto prevailing amongst the people of the Empire (verse 21). The saints who are fought against are the godly Jews, and others who refuse to worship the beast and his image. Many will be martyred and these will have a heavenly place. Those who refuse the mark of the beast and are killed, reign with Christ for a thousand years (see Revelation).
The Ancient of Days comes and gives judgement into the hands of the saints of the Most High (places); that is, the saints who have a heavenly portion. Not the Church merely, but all who have a heavenly portion. Know ye not the saints shall judge the world? (1 Corinthians 6:2); the saints judge angels (see also Revelation 2: 26-27). Then in a general term the saints possess the Kingdom, not the heavenly ones only, but the earthly holy ones too in its earthly sphere, and that is what we have in Daniel. Judgment is given to the heavenly saints only, the Kingdom to the saints in general.
Again in verse 24, we have a full description of the fourth beast and its rise in ten Kingdom Empire form, a new form never yet seen.
The little horn comes up after them, roots up three kings, rules in their power, speaks great words against the Most High, and wears out the saints within reach. He cannot touch the heavenly ones, he blasphemes them. He changes the feasts and laws of the Jews, who, though in unbelief not owning Christ, yet return to their former worship, and he will be allowed to go on until his dominion is taken away and his kingdom destroyed.
Then the Kingdom is given to the people of the saints of the Most High (places), that is, to the Jews (verse 27).
Chapter 7 has given us the leader of the West, the great man who by his surprising power and teaching will deceive many. All the world will wonder after the beast, which will be the Roman Empire revived in a new form, led by a very clever man coming from a small kingdom to blend eventually the whole into a loosely bound Empire, but his sphere of influence will be in Western Europe.
Chapter 8 takes up the second and third Empire, which as we are told in this chapter are Medo-Persian and Grecian. The Medo-Persian Empire (the bear and also the arms and breast of silver of Nebuchadnezzar's image), is here likened to a ram with two horns (Medes and Persians); one horn was higher than the other, the higher coming up last, the Persians came up after and rose higher than the Medes.
The he-goat with one horn represents the Macedonian or Grecian Empire and Alexander the first great King, who conquers the Medo-Persian ram coming eastward with great personal enmity. The Persians had fought in Greece, now the Greeks come with fury to fight the Persians on their own ground. The one horn of the he-goat is broken, and four notable horns stand up in its place. The Grecian Empire divided into four main divisions. Two of these, Syria and Egypt, have a prominent place in Jewish history.
A little horn is seen to come out of one of these four, and from the direction in which it developed to be a great horn, we can see it sprang from the Syrian kingdom.
The little horn, east down some of the host of heaven and the stars, and stamped on them. As the prophecy concerns not only the Empires, but the people, of God, we, might ask who are these exalted ones, composing the host of heaven and the stars?
Though the people are still in unbelief, yet God is mindful of them. Some of the Jews returned in the reign of Cyrus to rebuild the temple, and later in the reign of Artaxerxes to build Jerusalem once more, and also to have the Messiah presented to them; in such a place God owned them. Not yet as "My people", but as responsible representatives of the nation to receive the Messiah. He told the lepers to go and show themselves to the high priest. Forms of worship were going on, as witness the early chapters of Luke. When the Church is rapt away and many Jews have returned to the land, they will sacrifice again in their temple (not yet Ezekiel's temple, but the one spoken of in Isaiah 66:6) and will be thus recognized as Jews responsible to God. They are those on earth who have a regard for God, and He regards them as the exalted, the high ones, those who have a connection with the heavens. In short, the leaders of Jewry.
Hebraists tell us the gender of "it" in Hebrew is feminine, and the "he" in the eleventh verse is masculine. "He" magnifies himself against the Prince of the host (Christ), and from Him, the Prince, is taken the daily sacrifice, and the place of the sanctuary is cast down. We are not told who the "he" is, and in the 12th verse we go back to "it", the little horn; it cast the truth to the ground, it did exploits and prospered.
Using "he" makes the subject more personal, and what follows in the 13th and 14th verses applies to the casting down of the sanctuary for a period of 2,300 evenings and mornings. This refers no doubt to Antiochus Epiphanes, who placed an image of Jupiter Olympus in the temple and sacrificed a pig on the altar, commanding the Jews to cease their sacrifice.
At the close of the chapter in the explanation, no mention is made of the King of fierce countenance taking away the sacrifice at the time of the end, and the only reference made to the evening and morning statement is that it is true. There is much that belongs to the historical past in the vision, but, as always, other elements are added in the interpretation.
The ram, as we have seen, is the Medo-Persian Empire; the two horns the Kings of Media and Persia. The rough goat is the King of Greece; Alexander, the great horn. Four kingdoms rise out of the fall of the great horn, but none have his power; this is confirmed by history.
Daniel was to be made to known "what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end shall be."
"In the latter time of their Kingdom", that is, the time of the kingdoms that rose out of Alexander's, "when the transgressors are come to the full", there world arise a fierce King in one of these four kingdoms. A great man, mighty in the power of another greater power, not in power in his own right, as the Man of the West, but supported and backed by another. He will be strong militarily, and a great teacher, but he deceives the Jews who rest in a false sense of security and many are destroyed by him. The overflowing scourge will pass through and overtake them in the indignation.
Those who have read Isaiah will understand what the "indignation" and "the overflowing scourge" mean (Isaiah chapters 5, 7, 8, 1, 28 and others). They will see in those references the reasons for Jehovah's indignation and chastenings.
This fierce King from the North will rise against the Prince of princes (Christ when He is there), but he will be broken without hand and find his place in Tophet with, the King (Isaiah 30:33). The King is the antichrist (Daniel 11:36).
Daniel is told to shut up the vision, "For it shall be for many days".
In these two chapters, 7 and 8, we have portrayed the two leaders at the time of the end. Chapter 7 gives the Man of the West, the Western portion of the Roman Empire, in its last form, making war against the saints and overcoming some. Chapter 8 gives the Man of the East, the portion of the Grecian Empire north of Palestine, in short, Syria.
Two notable men appear, one in the West, with whom Jewry will ally itself; the other in the East, who will take Jewry by guile and war, then destroy many. The man of the West is the leader of the Apostate Empire. Apostate Christendom, that is, ecclesiastical Rome, then thoroughly apostate, is hated by the ten kings and the beast and is destroyed by them. The ten kings lend their power to the beast after the woman is made desolate and burned with fire (Revelation 17:16, 17). The man of the East is the King of the North of Chapter 11, the one who comes in the power of the Assyrian, first to invade the land through Ephraim, overflowing all the land, then again to invade the land after the Lord comes and is at Jerusalem. The Russians come later, when the ten tribes are gathered in (Ezekiel 38, 39), and the Lord judges Russia and its confederates separately from the other nations (Ezek. 32: 26, 27).
From Chapter 2:4, to the end of Chapter 7 is written in Syriac or Aramaic; from Chapter 8 to the close is again in Hebrew. What interests Jewry in the East is written in Hebrew.
Daniel studies prophecy from the same source from which the spiritual minds receive their ordinary instruction, the Word of God, the Scripture of Truth. He learns from Jeremiah's writings that seventy years had been prophesied as the term of the desolations of Jerusalem. This time was almost complete, and he turns to the Lord in intercession for the people (verse 2, 3).
It is wonderful how God in grace, raises up a prophet to intercede for His people in order to bless them at the time that His wisdom had set for the end of their chastening. Apart from this intercession nothing could be done, and it coincides with God's intervention.
God had purposed to bless Israel when He led them out of Egypt; they sinned, but the intercession of Moses on the mount saved them from destruction. He must chasten, above all He must bless. It was not that God was about to call His people Ammi (my people), but that like the husbandman of the parable, who said, "What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will reverence him when they see him" (Luke 20:13), He re-gathered a portion of the people to present to them His Son. They killed the Son, and then suffered a worse judgment than Nebuchadnezzar's, under the fourth Empire.
But for this return after Babylon's fall (a partial fulfilment of the future destruction of the last Empire), there must be an intercessor. In this, Daniel was a type of Christ.
Daniel confesses the sin of the princes and people, he bears on his heart the burden of their failure, he says not they but we have sinned. Taken captive at a very early age, what part had he in the national sins of the people? Yet he says, "Confusion of face belongeth unto us". He takes up the people and the city as God's though guilty and looks to the mercies of the Lord (verse 9). It is a Daniel, a David, an Elijah, who feel the depths of sin's separating distance from God. Faithful and beloved, yet who mourn like these Godward in the Old Testament? Which other in the New Testament felt the Church's departure like Paul?
Daniel says, Thy people, Thy city. "0 Lord, hear, 0 Lord, forgive; 0 Lord, hearken and do; defer not for Thine Own sake, 0 my God; for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy Name" (verse 19). Appealed to for His mercies' sake, and for His Name's sake, because of "Thy sanctuary that is desolate" (verse 17). God answers speedily. Daniel pleads not for himself, but for the holy mountain of the Lord and the sanctuary, and he is immediately answered. "Whiles I was speaking" (verse 20).
There would be an immediate return as prophesied by Jeremiah, but seventy weeks or seventy sevens are determined on "Thy people".
The prophecy indicates that it is of the Jews, Gabriel speaks, Daniel's people, "To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity" (so far up to the cross, but not completely realized on earth until the future day), "and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy" (verse 24). This last is distinctly future.
All students of prophecy know the extended period of these seventy sevens, or 490 years, taking a year for a day as the only interpretation possible; dating as the prophecy itself says, from the commandment to rebuild the city until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured on the desolate, or as better translated, "And because of the protection of abominations (idols) [there shall be] a desolator, even until that, the consumption and what is determined, shall be poured out upon the desolate" (verse 27, latter half).
We find these 490 years broken into three; 7 weeks, 62 weeks, 1 week; or 49 years, 434 years, and 7 years.
Cyrus gave the command to rebuild the temple and Ezra went over to do it, but it was not until the twentieth year of Artaxerxes that Nehemiah received the royal commandment to rebuild the city. This is the date from which to begin the 70 weeks of years, namely 455 B.C. The city took 46 years to build, which comes in the period of the 7 weeks or 49 years. Then 62 weeks or 434 years are numbered until the Messiah comes, and is cut off, having nothing, as the margin reads 49 years and 434 years give us a period of 69 weeks of years or 483 years, subtract 455 B.C. from this and we have 28 A.D., adding one year for the adjustment of the last year B.C. and the first year A.D. brings us to 29 A.D.
Our Lord was born 4 B.C. by our present reckoning and was crucified in 29 A.D., which corresponds with 69 of Daniel's weeks. At the end of 69 weeks when the Messiah would be cut off, wars and destruction would follow, the city be taken and the sanctuary which though rebuilt would be destroyed. This would be done by the "people" of the Prince without saying who the Prince is. The Romans in 70 A.D. fulfilled this prophecy and there has followed nothing but wars and desolations. But the "Prince'" looks on to the leader of those same people, he will be the Roman leader of the last days. He makes a (not, the) covenant with (the) many (that is, the majority of the Jews, not the godly and wise, but the mass); he breaks the covenant, and sets aside the established order allowed to the worshipper (Jew) in the middle of the week, takes away their sacrifice, and causes the Jews to turn to idolatry.
Turning to idolatry, and as we know from other Scriptures, worshipping an image of the beast set up in the temple, destruction comes upon them, desolation from the north, indignation and the overflowing scourge, the King of the North, the Assyrian, so strongly marked out in Isaiah and elsewhere, seeking protection in idols, the abomination that makes desolate is the cause of their judgment, when indeed Jerusalem and Judea will be desolated.
In this chapter we go once more to the East. Chapters 10, 11 and 12 are continuous. God gives the visions of Chapters 7 and 7 at a time when it pleases Him. He gives the visions of Chapters 9 10 and 11 on the intercession of the Prophet, and in these latter visions we get what is more intimate and detailed; much more of the connection of the Empire and the King of the North with Jewry; the Messiah, too, is brought in as being cut off, having nothing. Daniel indicates a final state of blessing, but does not go on to develop that state.
Chapter 10 is an introduction to Chapter 11 and in it we see God preparing the vessel for the Divine communication. This preparation is more striking in this chapter than anywhere else in the book.
The vision is given in the third year of Cyrus. In his first year Cyrus gave the commandment to rebuild the temple, Daniel had not gone back. He was old, and on his spirit weighed the burden of many' visions. He saw the long future ahead, no matter how blest at the moment there was a waiting time, and much to come before the hour of final blessing.
There was an occasion to rejoice, Daniel stayed to mourn. This is instructive. Some had returned to rebuild the temple, why did not Daniel rejoice? He looked on to the day of a rejected Messiah, could he rejoice? The glory will dawn. Though a prophet points on to a day of gladness, yet he knows with God what kind of reception his testimony will receive, and the consequent chastening if it is refused.
A glorious person appears; surely Daniel was used to visions; how often had he communed with his God, yet he is on his face in a stupor. Strengthened by a touch, he rises to his hands and knees, later he stands trembling. Old, and through grace, faithful, yet feeling even more deeply his own nothingness, each new communication reveals to his own soul the utter worthlessness of the creature in the presence of the glory of the Lord.
It was the same with the Apostle John, he leaned on the bosom of the Saviour, so near that he was able to ask questions for others; he calls himself the disciple whom Jesus loved, yet in the Book of the Revelation John falls at the feet of the Lord in His glory, as a dead man, and needs the strengthening touch. The vessel cannot endure the glory of the vision; it has to be strengthened, but it is first emptied. It is always thus, man exalts himself in the presence of man; he cannot in the presence of God. Here is a criterion as to whether the knowledge we have is of God or of mere nature. Does it bow our hearts, yea, even break us, or does it puff up?
Spoken to by one who stands by, Daniel is dumb. When God speaks let man be silent. Daniel is experiencing all the moral effect of being in the presence of God and of being made the vessel of divine communications.
We have the treasure in earthen vessels that the power might be of God and not of us. The vessel is nothing, and is only of use when it knows it. No matter the age, no matter the experiences of the past, the new, and here, final knowledge has a deeper effect than all before. It is truly a solemn thing to stand in the presence of God, the flesh can have no place there; it would be death.
Without life, dead in sins and iniquities, the living God quickens and gives life, but now the believer with life, has to turn and mortify his members that are upon the earth. Hold self in the place of death, this gives true liberty. A Christian's place and portion are heavenly, he walks on earth where the flesh in him will have its way, unless put to death daily; not by monkish seclusions and scourgings, but by applying the truth of death with Christ to the motions of his will, always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus. The effect of this will be a deepened consciousness of powerlessness and nothingness within. God helps to this knowledge and Daniel is here seen bearing in himself the effect of the knowledge of God; he was being prepared for the Divine communication.
A scene of tremendous import and interest is shown us in the conflict of spiritual forces which are at work outside the vision of men. Daniel was heard as soon as he prayed, but the answer to his prayer did not come for full three weeks. Patience does its perfect work; the waiting time coincides with his time of fasting. Faith is always heard and answered, but circumstances may not always keep pace. The angel of the prince of Persia withstood for three weeks the one sent to answer Daniel (not the man in shining garments, but one that stood by) (verse 16). Michael, who is named as the Angel who has special interest in Israel's affairs (v, 21) helped him (verse 13).
Conferences on earth between men are not decided by the mere intellect or physical energy of the participants, but they are fought out between spiritual agents in heavenly places. How this affects men (see 1 Kings 22: 19-23).
Satan and his angels have access to heaven (see Job 1:6 and chapter 2:1), and he deceives earth-dwellers, making them think that what he does is the act of Providence; the worship of demons he disguises as the worship of saints. When cast out of Heaven (Revelation 22: 9) in a day yet to come, he will no longer be able to deceive men as though Heaven spoke when he propagates lies; he will deceive by power and subtlety through men on earth.
Daniel, a man greatly beloved, is strengthened to receive the vision and interpretation. All power seemed on the side of evil, the angel stood alone, Michael came to help. What Daniel received in answer to his prayer was a detailed history of the conflict between Syria and Egypt as far as it affected Palestine. It was no heavenly picture, but an earthly scene of war and strife.
Were we to ask God for an explanation of the Church's state and responsible life here, what would He show us? How would He prepare us? Surely the answer would be much as He prepared Daniel. And as for the history of the Church—is not its history merely a mass of European political history, especially through the Middle Ages? Church and State at war for temporal and spiritual supremacy. How broken-spirited one must be to judge of such a period, separating that which is good from the mass of evil.
Daniel is shown the limit of Persian rule. Three kings are named in Ezra 4:5, 6, 7, and the fourth king, a rich king, (see Esther), Ahasuerus, known in history as Xerxes, invaded Greece.
A mighty king, Alexander (verse 3) should stand up and be broken, and his kingdom be divided into four. Ptolemy I (Soter) of Egypt, the king of the South, is spoken of (verse 5). Seleucus I (Nicator) of Syria proved stronger. Antiochus II made peace with Ptolemy II, a divorce and marriage (verse 6), was included in the peace terms. Ptolemy III, brother to the Egyptian Berenice, who was killed by the divorced wife Laodice, revenges his sister (verse 7), taking captives and treasure from Syria. A number of unimportant Egyptian and Syrian rulers are omitted, as their actions did not influence the history of Palestine.
Antiochus III and Ptolemy IV warred up and down the land (verses 10-12). Rome intervened (verse 18). Another marriage, this time a Cleopatra of Syria, is given to Ptolemy. She deserts her father Antiochus and is faithful to her husband. Antiochus is killed (verse 19). Seleucus IV raises taxes to pay a war-tax to Rome. He was poisoned (verse 20) by Heliodorus after ordering him to rob the temple. Antiochus IV, Epiphanes, follows, and his history continues down to verse 36. He was a vile person (verses 21-24). He invades Egypt (verses 25, 26, 27), enters Jerusalem, spoiling the temple (verse 28). The ships of Chittim (Roman ships) stop his entering Egypt (verse 29, 30).
Antiochus set up an image of Jupiter Olympus in the temple (see Chapter 8: 9-12); the "little horn" refers to Antiochus and his actions, and in this chapter (verse 31). The history of the Maccabees is in verses 32-34.
Verse 35 looks on to the end, when another like Antiochus shall invade the land, though he is not the one who sets up the abomination that makes desolate. Verse 31 is not the verse that the Lord quotes in Matthew 24:15, but Daniel 7:11.
The Antichrist sets up an image of the beast (Revelation 8: 14, 15). This is the abomination (idol) that makes desolate, of which the Lord speaks of as a future thing. The act of Antiochus is a past event. Verse 36 introduces another actor "at the time of the end" (verse 40); the wilful king who exalts himself above every god, and speaks marvellous thing against the God of gods. He is identified in verse 37; he regards not the God of his fathers, this could be said most pointedly of an Israelite. Neither does he regard the desire of women; that is, has no thought of Christ; every Jewish mother hoped for the Messiah. Regarding no god inwardly he honours the God of forces outwardly, and pays tribute to a god his fathers knew not (verse 38).
He is the antichrist, the false king, beginning as a beast, with pretension to empire power or kingship; he ends as a false prophet (Revelation 8 and 9). Not being able to ignore the Western beast (Revelation 8 and Daniel 7), he honours what he cannot suppress or defy. He divides the land amongst his supporters (verse 39). At the time of the end the King of Egypt will push at him, and the Northern King in Syria shall come against him as a whirlwind (verse 40).
Syria has not its king yet (1944/2016), but will yet have a King standing in the power of another (chapter 8:22). The King of the North presses on to Egypt, Ethiopia, and Libya, taking them by swift conquest (verses 40, 42, 43). Edom, Moab and Ammon escape this invasion; the Lord Himself will deal with these in the laud, when He comes as David the warrior King, before He takes His throne as Solomon.
Tidings from the north and east trouble the King of the North, and he returns to destroy all in his path. Perhaps the Lord has come to Zion and the King of the North hears of it in his southern conquests, but does not realize what it means. Perhaps the Lord coming to fight the armies of the nations has met the Western Empire and destroyed both beast and false prophet. Whatever has happened, the news brings the northern king back, but only to fall in Palestine. Isaiah 30:33 tells us, "For Tophet is prepared of old, for the king also it is pre-pared" (JND). Both the Assyrian (Isaiah 30:31) and the King find their place in Tophet.
Michael the prince who stands up for Israel is not merely helping, but taking up the cause of the people during the time of trouble, Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), to save him out of It. Verse 2 is not a general resurrection, but the rising of Israel from the dust of the earth, their sleep of death amongst the nations (Ezekiel 37: 11-14). The wise shall shine, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever (verse 3). The wise are a class especially endowed with knowledge for the time (Daniel 11:33, 12:3, 10).
Daniel was to close the book to the time of the end (verse 4). To the Church the book of prophecy is open, and we learn in Revelation 12:10, "Seal not the sayings of this book; for the time is at hand." Many would seek to know and knowledge be increased. Yes, and many will be away buying oil when the Bridegroom comes.
Daniel seeks to know the time of the end, and is instructed until time, times, and half a time; three and a half years, when all these things shall be finished. With the light of the Revelation, we can understand the period which is the same as the time of the last judgments, of the beast's supremacy, and the treading down of the Jewish testimony.
All was to be closed up until that last period (verse 9). None of the wicked shall understand; the wise shall (verse 10).
A further thirty days on to the twelve hundred and sixty days of trial ends the days without sacrifice; another forty-five making in all thirteen hundred and thirty-five days brings the Jews into blessing.
The time of the power of the beast or Roman leader is for 1,260 days, forty-two months, three and a half years. An extra month makes up the odd five days of each year over the period of the covenant not counted in the prophetic year; the remaining forty-five days may serve for clearing the land of its enemies, Philistines, etc. Daniel was to rest, but would have his portion at the end of the days; he still waits.
This last chapter is a conclusion, in which the remnant who wait have their portion with God, "Who is faithful to His promises and will bring to pass His purposes of blessing for Israel. God is faithful, He always hears the cry of the feeble and oppressed, and answers, though the waiting time for faith has the most blessed results, God is waited on, the vessel learns its dependence, and the strength given to receive the gift is known to be more of God, the blessing more from Him, the knowledge more truly Divine.
It is a privilege to prove God and His truth in this way. It gives an understanding that angels do not possess, and enables the heavenly saint to give a reason for his worship (Revelation 4:11; 5:9, 10; 11:17). Angels worship as simple creatures, but give no reason; the four and twenty elders can say "for", "because", they have the intelligence and understanding. Angels look on and learn in the Church the all-various wisdom of God.
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