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The Seventy Weeks CHAPTER X MICHAEL THE GREAT PRINCE. THE TIME OF TROUBLE. MANY AWAKENING. MANY RUNNING TO AND FRO. KNOWLEDGE INCREASED. HOW LONG TILL THE END?
The first four verses of Daniel 12 should not be disconnected from chapter 11, for they are an integral part of the prophecy, there being no break at all at the place where the chapter division has been made. These concluding verses of the prophecy read as follows:"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people, and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book."And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise (lit. cause to be wise) shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."These are the last words of the long prophecy, and they bring it to an appropriate climax. They tell what will happen "at that time," emphasizing this by repetition. This expression connects the passage directly with verse 40 of the preceding chapter, where the words "at the time of the end" occur. The same words are repeated in verse 4 of chapter 12, just quoted. There is, therefore, no room to doubt that the events here foretold were to occur during the very last stage of "the latter days" of Jewish history. Moreover, the statement of verse 7, that when the power of the holy people should be scattered, then all these things should be finished, absolutely confines the fulfilment of the entire prophecy to the period anterior to the capture of Jerusalem by Titus. We specially ask attention to the great oath recorded in this verse, and trust that our readers will not miss the meaning of it.
Four things are specified in the passage last quoted. They are:
First. The standing up of Michael, the great prince who stands for the children of Daniel's people.
Second. A time of trouble such as never was, at which time those found written in the book were to escape.
Third. Many to awake from the dust of the earth, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt, in which connection is given a great promise to those who cause to be wise, and who turn many to righteousness.
Fourth. Many to run to and fro, and knowledge to be increased.
MICHAEL THE PRINCE
Many able and sound expositors hold that Michael is one of the names of the Lord Jesus Christ, and hence that this part of the prophecy was fulfilled by His first coming. But the reasons that have been advanced in support of this view do not seem to us sufficient to establish it. This prophecy makes several references to great angelic beings, which are deeply interesting. Thereby it appears that national destinies are in some way presided over, and shaped, by mighty angels; and that Michael is specially charged to care for the interests of the people of God.
Jude speaks of "Michael the archangel" as contending with the devil about the body of Moses (#Jude 9); and in (#Re 12:7), Michael is again seen in conflict with the devil. Paul mentions the archangel (without naming him) as having to do with the resurrection of the saints (#1Th 4:16).
In Daniel there are three references to Michael, all in this prophecy given by the angel who appeared to Daniel on the banks of the Tigris. The first reference is in (#Da 10:13,) where the angel says that the prince of the kingdom of Persia had withstood him, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to his aid. Again in the same chapter (#Da 10:20, 21) are the words: "And now I will return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come .... And there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince."
From these words it appears that the political destinies of the great heathen nations of earth are presided over by mighty beings, who are rebels against the authority of God, high potentates in the Kingdom of Satan. None of those angelic beings stands for God "in these things"--i.e., the affairs of the world--except Michael, the archangel. This is in accord with the words of the Lord Jesus who speaks of the devil as "the prince of this world" (#Joh 14:30, etc.).
Commenting upon Daniel 10:20, 21, Dr. Taylor says:"Then resuming his former theme, the heavenly revealer indicated that he had to return to fight again with the Persian evil angel, and that while he was going forth for (or continuing) that conflict, the prince of Grecia would come, and a new battle would begin with him, in which the representative of God's people would be left to his own resources, with the single exception of the assistance of Michael."This description of the conflicts in the spirit world between the rival angels foreshadows the opposition encountered by Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah and their compatriots during the reigns of the Persian kings Darius Hystaspes, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and also that which, at a later time, the descendants of the restorers of Jerusalem met with at the hands of the Syrian representatives of the Greek Empire. It prepares the way, therefore, for the literal statements which follow (in the eleventh chapter) and from which we learn that, while the Persian kingdom lasted, the enmity of the World power to the people of God would be largely restrained, and the monarchs would be either positively favourable to them, or at least indisposed to harm them. But with the Grecian Empire, especially in one of the four divisions into which it was to be broken up, a different course would be pursued, and the descendants of Israel would be reduced by it, for a season, to the most terrible extremities."There is no revelation of the precise part taken by Michael, the great prince, in the affairs of God's people in the critical days to which this part of the prophecy relates, that is to say, the beginning of New Testament times; for Michael is not mentioned by name in the Gospels or Acts. But it was a time of manifest angelic activity; and we may be sure that Michael had a leading part in the events which were connected with the coming of Christ into the World. Moreover, we read that "the angel of the Lord" appeared several times to Joseph; that "the angel of the Lord" came to the shepherds on Bethlehem's plain, announcing the birth of the Saviour; that "the angel of the Lord" opened the prison doors, setting the apostles free (#Ac 5:9), and again released Peter from the prison, into which he had been cast by Herod Agrippa I (#Ac 12:7); that the same "angel of the Lord" smote that king upon his throne when, upon a great public occasion, he gave not glory to God (#Ac 12:23); and the same angel came to Paul at the time of the great shipwreck with God's message of deliverance (#Ac 27:23). If this "angel of the Lord" was Michael, then we have many instances of his "standing up," in behalf of the people of God "at that time." But especially at the great crisis of danger--the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies, which was particularly and definitely revealed to Daniel--would there be need of intervention by those celestial beings who "excel in strength," and no doubt Michael then "stood up" for the deliverance of Daniel's people, even on behalf of "as many as were found written in the book."
It should be stated, in this connection, that the expression "written in the book" had been known since the days of Moses (#Ex 32:32) as a figurative description of those whom the Lord acknowledges as His own.
A TIME OF TROUBLE SUCH AS NEVER WAS
The prediction of "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time," is the last thing in the chain of national events revealed in this prophecy; and in perfect agreement with it is the well known fact that the Jewish nation came to its end with a time of tribulation, distress and sufferings, of a severity beyond anything that was ever heard since the world began. Of this period of unparalleled tribulation Josephus says, in the introduction of his Wars of the Jews:--"It had come to pass that our city Jerusalem had arrived at a higher degree of felicity than any other city under the Roman government, and yet at last fell into the sorest of calamities again. Accordingly it appears to me that the misfortunes of all men from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to those of the Jews, are not so considerable as they were."The sufferings of the Jews had this peculiar characteristic, namely, that they were mostly inflicted upon themselves by the warring factions within the city, concerning whom Joseph says in another place:--"It is impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men's iniquity. I shall, therefore, speak my mind here at once briefly: That neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world" (Wars V. 10:5).This "great tribulation" is commonly in our day assigned to the future; and this view was held by the present writer himself until he made a personal study of the question. Our observations on this point, however, belong to the second division of our subject, the Lord's Prophecy on Mt. Olivet (#Mt 24), so we will only say at present that so conclusive to our mind is the proof that the "great tribulation" of Matthew 24:21 was the then approaching siege of Jerusalem, that we are bound to believe that competent teachers who relegate it to the future have never examined and weighed the evidence.
Mr. Farquharson on this point says as follows:"Our Saviour certainly referred to the tribulations attendant on the fearful destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish people by the Roman arms under Titus; and when we understand Daniel's time of trouble as belonging to the same events, . . . then the whole of his prophecy in this twelfth chapter can be easily demonstrated to have received a signal and complete fulfilment in the Advent of Christ, in the deliverance wrought by Him, . . . in the awakening of men from the death of sin, . . . in the prophecy itself not being understood until explained by Christ (and then not understood by the unbelieving Jews, but understood by the Christian converts), in the continued impenitence and increasing wickedness of the unbelieving Jews, in the judgments at last sent upon them in the Roman war, in the duration of that war, and in the immediate abatement of the sufferings attending it upon Titus' getting unexpected possession of the last strongholds of Jerusalem."In the last clause of the above quotation the author had in mind the words of Christ "and except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved" (#Mt 24:22), upon all of which deeply interesting matters we hope to comment in the second part of our work.
MANY AWAKENING OUT OF THE DUST
The words "and many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake," etc. are commonly taken as referring to the bodily resurrection of the dead, and this is one reason why the entire passage is frequently relegated to the future. But there is nothing said here about either death or resurrection. On the other hand, it can be abundantly shown that the words "sleep" and "awake" are common figurative expressions for the condition of those who are at first oblivious to the truth of God, but who are aroused by a message from Him out of that condition. Isaiah describes the people of Israel as being under the influence of "the spirit of deep sleep" (#Isa 29:10); and again he says, "the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (Isa. 9:2), which words are declared by the evangelist to have been fulfilled by the personal ministry of Christ in Israel (#Mt 4:14-16). Paul paraphrases another word of Isaiah (#Isa 60:1) as having the meaning, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (#Eph 5:14). And the Lord Himself declared that the era of this spiritual awakening had come, when He said, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live" (#John 5:25). In both these last two passages the reference is to those who were spiritually dead, as all would agree.
The whole nation of Israel was "awakened" out of a sleep of centuries through the ministry of John the Baptist, followed by that of the Lord Himself, and lastly by that of the apostles and evangelists, who "preached the gospel unto them with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." It will be observed that the prophecy does not indicate that those who are "awakened" shall all be saved. On the contrary, it says that for some the awakening would be "to everlasting life," and for others "to shame and everlasting contempt." In agreement with this is the fact which the Gospels so clearly set forth that, although multitudes came to John's baptism, and "all men mused in their hearts concerning him," and while multitudes also followed Christ because of the miracles done by Him, and for the sake of the loaves and fishes, yet the outcome was that Israel was divided into two classes, those who "received Him," and those who "received Him not." Thus "there was a division because of Him." His own words distinguish the two classes: "He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the Name of the only begotten Son of God" (#Joh 3:18). The former class awoke to "everlasting life" (#Joh 3:16), and the latter "to shame and everlasting contempt" (#Joh 3:36).
To the same effect the apostle John writes: "Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God" (#Joh 12:42,43). These, though awakened, refused to meet Christ's simple conditions of salvation by confessing Him (#Mt 10:32); therefore they awoke unto "shame," even as He Himself declared, when He said: "For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels" (#Lu 9:26).
The next verse of the prophecy strongly confirms the view we are now presenting; for there we have mention of the reward of those who "cause to be wise," and who "turn many to righteousness." What class of persons could possibly be meant but those who spread the truth of the gospel? There are none others, and never will be others, who cause their fellows to be "wise" unto salvation, and "who turn many" from sin "to righteousness." Seeing, therefore, that we have the awakening foretold in verse 2 connected closely with a clear reference to those who preach the gospel of Christ, we have good reason to conclude that the passage had its fulfilment in that great and wonderful era of Jewish national existence, "the time of the end" thereof, during which Christ was announced and manifested, was rejected and crucified, was raised up and glorified, and finally was preached to the whole nation in the power of the Holy Ghost.
The nature of the reward promised to those "who cause to be wise" and "who turn many to righteousness" helps also to illustrate the meaning of the passage. These are to shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars forever and ever. This reminds us that the people of God are to let their light shine before men, and that they are "the light of the world." In holding forth the word of life they "shine as lights in the world." Once they were darkness, but now are they "light in the Lord;" and their reward shall be to shine as the stars for ever and ever; for as "one star differeth from another star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead" (#1Co 15:41,42).
MANY SHALL RUN TO AND FRO
Various meanings have been assigned to the words "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." These words bring the prophecy to an end; and it is not difficult to see the resemblance they bear to the final words of the first Gospel, "Go ye, teach (or make disciples of) all nations." Another Gospel records their obedience to this command; for it is written that "They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them" (#Mr 16:20).
The word "run" in Daniel 12:4 is not the usual word for the action of running. Strong's Concordance says it means primarily to push, hence to travel or go about. What helps fix the meaning is that, in nearly all its occurrences in the Bible, it is joined, as here, with the words "to and fro," which signify a complete covering of the ground. Thus, the prophet said to King Asa, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth" (#2Ch 16:9). Jeremiah says, "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek," &c. (#Jer 5:1); and again, "Lament, and run to and fro by the hedges" (#Jer 49:3). Amos says, "They shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it" (#Am 8:12), this being just the reverse of the Word of the Lord seeking after them. Zechariah also has the expression, "They are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth" (#Zec 4:10), signifying His discerning presence in every place.
By these scriptures, therefore, it appears that the words we are considering are most appropriate to describe that world wide activity in spreading the truth of the gospel which the Lord specially pressed upon His disciples, and to which the apostle Paul refers in the words, "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things" (#Ro 10:14,15, quoting #Isa 52:7). The gospel messenger is frequently figured as one who runs, because of the urgency of the tidings he bears (#Hab 2:2,3).
And what was the purpose, and what the result of this going forth of the disciples to every part of the world with the gospel? It was the increase of knowledge; and certainly, in such a prophecy, it is the knowledge of the true God that is spoken of (#Joh 17:4; 1Co 15:34; Col 1:10). The world lay in the darkness of ignorance. Paul describes those times as "the times of this ignorance," wherein even the cultivated Athenians erected an altar to "the Unknown God" (#Ac 17:23-30); and God Himself had said, even of the Jews, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (#Ho 4:6). Thus we see the direct relation of the two clauses, "Many shall run to and fro," and "knowledge shall be increased," and how both are clearly fulfilled in the activities of the first gospel preachers.
As to this Mr. Farquharson remarks:"The Divine 'knowledge,' which the apostles and first Christians ran to and fro to communicate to all nations, maintains, and ever will maintain, a lofty and unapproachable superiority over all the knowledge that man can discover for himself .... In this way then the prediction of Daniel was literally fulfilled. The day spring of true knowledge from on high waited upon the footsteps of the apostles of Christ, as they traversed the Gentile world, dispelling darkness, and doubt and fear, and diffusing light, and confidence and joy over every condition of human life."Thus understood, the words "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased," bring the prophecy to a most appropriate conclusion, and one that is strictly in keeping with its announced purpose, and with its purport as a whole; whereas, to make those words refer to the multiplication of rapidly moving conveyances, as rail road trains, automobiles, etc., and to the spread of "education" by means of schools, colleges, and books, is to introduce into the prophecy an element that is incongruous, almost to the point of absurdity.
HOW LONG THE END?
With verse 4 of chapter 12, the long prophecy, which had proceeded without interruption, and without passing over any important event in the history of "the latter days" of the Jewish people, comes to an end. But a remarkable incident follows, and it affords help to the understanding of this part of the prophecy. At this point Daniel looked and beheld two others besides the one clothed in linen, which two were standing the one on the one side, and the other on the other side of the bank of the river (the Tigris). And thereupon one of these two put to the man who was clothed in linen a question, to which evidently it was desired that special attention be paid. Furthermore, the reply was given by the man in linen in the most solemn and impressive manner; for in replying he held up both hands to heaven, and sware by Him Who liveth for ever. This further goes to show that we have here a matter of exceptional importance. Let us then give special heed to it.
The question was, "How long the end of these wonders?" In quoting it thus we have omitted the words, "shall it be to," which the translators have supplied, and which materially change the sense. We have seen that the expression "the time of the end" means, not the actual termination, but the period of time at the very end, the last stage of the entire era of the renewed national life of Israel. Evidently it is the duration of that "time of trouble," spoken of in verse 1, and concerning which the Lord Himself when on earth was so deeply distressed and grieved, as we shall point out more particularly hereafter. It is the same period as that to which He was referring when He said, "these be the days of vengeance that all things that are written may be fulfilled" (#Lu 21:22); and again, "And except those days be shortened there should no flesh be saved, but for the elects' sake those days shall be shortened" (#Mt 24:22). So it is concerning the duration of those days of unparalleled distress for Israel that the question was asked.
Let us then note carefully the reply of the one clothed in linen, which was in these words, "that it shall be for a time, times, and a half (or a part, marg.); and when He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished" (v. 7).
Here we have information, very clearly stated, which, if we give heed thereto, will make perfectly plain to us the time when this entire prophecy was to be fulfilled. For the celestial messenger, in answering the question, made known first what would be the duration of the closing period of "trouble such as never was," and second what was to be the end of the whole series of events, "all these things," predicted in the entire prophecy. The words are clear and precise. They tell us that the last act of all was to be the scattering of the power of the holy people, and that when God had accomplished that, then would "all these things be finished." To the same effect are the words of Christ, Who, in telling His disciples what the very end of those "days of vengeance" would be, said that "they shall be led away captive into all nations" (#Lu 21:24).
This makes it certain that the entire prophecy spoken to Daniel by the one clothed in linen, including the time of trouble such as never was, and the awakening of many from the dust of the earth, was fulfilled at and prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the scattering of the power of the holy people by the Romans in A. D. 70. It also affords substantial help in understanding the Lord's discourse on Mount Olivet, to which we will shortly come.
A TIME, TIMES AND A PART
But before the scattering of the holy people--a judgment which Moses had predicted (see #De 28:49-68, and particularly the words, "And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even to the other," v. 64) a certain period of extreme distress, "the days of vengeance," was to run. This is given by the angel as "a time, times, and a part," which is understood by nearly all expositors to be three full years and a part (not necessarily the half) of a fourth. But no event was mentioned from which this era of three years and a fraction was to run. So Daniel says, "I heard, but I understood not;" and therefore he asks, "What shall be the end of these things? (#Da 12:6)
In replying to this question the one clothed in linen gave information additional to that asked for; but we will notice first what he said in direct reply to Daniel's question. This is found in verses 11, 12, (#Da 12:11,12) where we read: "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth (i.e., survives, or endures) and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days."
It is to be noted that the two measures of time here given, 1290 days and 1335 days, both fall within the period of three years and a part, given in verse 7 as the full measure of the time of the end. This tends still further to confirm the view that by "a time, times, and a part" is meant three full rounds of the annual feasts of the Jews, and part of a fourth.
It will further be seen from this answer that Daniel's question had reference to the very last epoch of Jewish history; for it was in that very last stage of their national existence that the daily sacrifice was caused to cease, which was by them regarded (when it came to pass in the days of the siege of Jerusalem, as we shall presently show) the harbinger of some dire calamity.
THE TAKING AWAY OF THE DAILY SACRIFICE
We take the marginal reading (which is the more literal) as giving the sense, the words of the margin being "and to set up the abomination," &c. This reading would make the 1290 days the measure of time between the two specified events. But we have lately seen an interpretation, based on the text of the A. V., which makes the taking away of the daily sacrifice, and the setting up of the abomination that maketh desolate, simultaneous events, both governed by the preposition "from." But this obviously leaves the verse without meaning; for it gives a measure of time from two specified events, without stating to what that measure brings us.
The "daily sacrifice" was the sacrifice of a lamb every morning and evening. This was to be kept up by the children of Israel throughout all their generations, and a special promise was given upon condition that this offering be continued (#Ex 29:38-45). (It should be observed that the causing of the sacrifice and oblation to cease, as foretold in Daniel 9:27, is a very different thing.)
Now, as a matter of historic fact, the daily sacrifice was taken away during the siege of Jerusalem; and this was counted by the Jews an event of such importance, and such a portent of approaching disaster, that Josephus has recorded the very date on which it occurred, saying:"And now Titus gave orders to his soldiers that were with him to dig up the foundations of the tower of Antonia, and make a ready passage for his army to come up, while he himself had Josephus brought to him; for he had been informed that, on that very day, which was the seventeenth day of Panemus, the sacrifice called 'the daily sacrifice' had failed, and had not been offered to God for want of men to offer it; and that the people were grievously troubled at it" (Wars, VI. 2.1.).The Roman army, which, by comparison of the Lord's words in (#Mt 24:15,16 Lu 21:20,21,) is clearly seen to be "the abomination which maketh desolate," encompassed Jerusalem before the failure of the daily sacrifice; whereas it might appear from the wording of the prophecy that those events occurred in the reverse order. But Mr. Farquharson shows that "there is nothing whatever in the verbs of the sentence to indicate which of the events should precede the other; the interval of time between them only is expressed."
The first approach of the Roman armies under Cestius is described by Josephus in his book of Wars, II 17, 10. This was in the month corresponding to our November, A.D. 66. The taking away of the daily sacrifice was in the month Panemus, corresponding to the Hebrew Tammuz, and our July, A.D. 70 (Hartwell Horne's Chronological Table). Thus the measure of time between the two events was three years, and part of a fourth.
But more than this: the measure 1290 days is exactly 43 great months (30 days each, according to the Hebrew method of reckoning), and inasmuch as their practice was to reckon by even weeks, months, and years the fulfilment of this part of the prophecy is seen in the fact that it is just 43 even months between the two events, ignoring the parts of the two months in which the events severally occurred.
In verse 12 those are pronounced "blessed," or happy, who survive a further period of 45 days, and thus come to the 1335 days. In correspondence with this is the recorded fact that, about a month and a half after the daily sacrifice failed, the siege was ended by Titus' getting sudden and unexpected possession of the upper city, the last stronghold of the besieged. This last action took place, according to Josephus, the seventh day of the Hebrew month Elul, answering to our September; so that the further duration of the siege after the failure of the daily sacrifice was approximately one month and a half (Wars, VI 8, 4, 5).
That those days were "shortened" (as the Lord had promised) by some Divine interference, is indicated by the abrupt and unexpected manner in which the last stronghold fell. Josephus tells how the "tyrants" (the dominant faction in the city)"Did now wholly deprive themselves of the security they had in their own power, and came down from those very towers of their own accord, wherein they could never have been taken by force. * * * They left those towers of themselves; or rather they were ejected out of them by God Himself. * * * The Romans, when they had gotten on the last wall without any bloodshed, could hardly believe what they found to be true" (ibid).As regards the promised blessing of verse 12 (#Da 12:12), it may be observed that Titus immediately extended clemency to the survivors and he set free those who had been bound by the tyrants (Wars, VI, 9, 1).
But we agree with Farquharson that blessing of a higher sort is here intended. For we would recall words of like import spoken by the Lord when, referring to the same period of unequalled distress, He said, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (#Mt 24:13). As to this Mr. F. says:"Unquestionably this is His promise to the faithful and persevering and obedient in all ages of His Church; but, as being comprehended in His prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, it has special reference to those who should endure under the trials peculiar to the last great war, in which that city was to be trodden down. Those trials, He intimated, would be very severe. He said, 'There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect'."But to those who should endure all those trials there was the assurance of special blessing.
In concluding our comments under this heading we would observe that, in Daniel's deep concern regarding this time of "the end," as to which he inquired with such anxiety, we see a further and a convincing reason for the view that the period in question was that of the unparalleled calamities which were to accompany the extinction of his nation and the destruction of the beloved city, as foretold also in the preceding prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. It is most unlikely that Daniel would have evinced such concern regarding the end of some far off Gentile dispensation characterized by the wide diffusion of secular knowledge, and by the many automobiles and other swiftly moving conveyances of this present time. Daniel had the spirit of the Lord Himself in showing acute sorrow because of the unequalled distresses which were to befall his people and their holy city and temple.
THE PERIOD OF THREE AND A HALF YEARS
In commenting upon the period of three and a half years, and upon the various theories to which it has given rise, Dr. Taylor says:"We cannot pass this note of number without remarking on the singular coincidences presented by its frequent occurrence both in history and prophecy. The drought in the days of Elijah lasted three years and six months. The little horn which appeared on the head of the fourth beast was to have the saints given into his hands 'until a time, and times, and the dividing of time.' The public ministry of the Messiah was to continue for half a week (or heptad) of years; that is, for three years and a half. His Gospel was to be preached to the Jews after His ascension for another half heptad before it was proclaimed to the Gentiles. Then, in the Book of Revelation, it is said that the woman shall be nourished in the wilderness 'for a time and times and a half a time,' and that the holy city should be trodden under foot forty and two months, which are three and a half years.*
"Now all these are marvellous coincidences, and they point to the existence of some hidden harmony which has not yet been discovered. I might add that three and a half is the half of the number seven, which (found in the week) has been recognized as the symbol of completeness. The sacred lamp has seven branches; the seventh was the Sabbatic year; and at the end of seven sevens came the Jubilee. So also the seventy years of the captivity were made the basis of the seven seventies of years which were to run their course from the time when the edict to rebuild Jerusalem went forth until the appearance of the Messiah upon the earth. I do not know what to make of all this. I frankly acknowledge that it baffles me to find a reason for it. I merely state the fact, and leave you to ponder it for yourselves, that you may learn how much there is, not only in prophecy, but also in history, which lies beyond our understanding.
"If any choose to regard all this as being not only applicable to Antiochus, but also through him, as typical of the New Testament Antichrist, and should take the days of the history of the one for years in the history of the other, I have only to say that I find nothing, either here or in the New Testament, to sanction such a procedure. For me, the interpretation which I have endeavoured to give is sufficient. They who go further leave the domain of certainty for that of speculation, and the very number of their conflicting opinions is a warning to every expositor not to venture beyond his depth into these dark waters. For myself, I am content to stand upon the shore and wait, like him to whom were first addressed these reassuring words, 'Go thy way; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.'"
* Also God's two witnesses (#Re 11:3) are to prophecy a thousand two hundred and threescore days (the same period stated in terms of days): and of the ten horned Beast it is said that power would be given unto him to continue forty and two months. (#Re 13:5.)
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