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CHAPTER VI. - THE DANIEL PROGRAM.

 

AS the Congo River in its onward flow across the ?Dark Continent? broadens and deepens when its great tributaries mingle their waters with its own, so the stream of prophetic revelation increases continually in volume as it rolls down through the ages. From the first, its theme was redemptionthe saving blessing in store for the human race; but to Adam and to Abraham the great benefitthe salvationonly was predicted, while little was said of the great Benefactor, the Savior Himself. To Moses and David visions of the blessed Coming One were granted, till, by degrees, His mediatorial work, His double nature, His wonderful personal experiences, and many features of His glorious kingdom were revealed, In the times of the Jewish kingdom especially, and during the captivity which followed its dissolution, the river of prophecy thus widened exceedingly. Its revelations concerned three main subjects

 

I. The fortunes of the JEWISH kingdom and people.

 

II. The person and work of MESSIAH THE PRINCE.

 

III. The GENTILE nationspagan kingdoms and empires.

 

I. THE JEWISH PROPHECIES included predictions of the dismemberment of the kingdom after Solomon?s reign; the overthrow of the ten tribes and its date; the deliverance of Judah from the Assyrian invasion; its subsequent conquest by Babylon; the captivity and its duration; the restoration and the means of it; the duration of its restored existence; the Roman overthrow and subsequent desolation; together with minor points so numerous that it may be safely asserted that Israel?s entire history was written in advance, and that nothing ever befell them that was not first foretold. Thus the providential government of God over His people was manifested, and the moral reasons for His dispensations expounded beforehand. The Jewish prophets combined pastoral care and spiritual exhortation with prediction in their ministry. They were the ambassadors for God of their day, pleading with His people of ?righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.? Like the apostles, they were witnesses for the truth, and often martyrs for its sake. Some of their predictions were accomplished speedily, attesting to the then living generation their Divine commission; others were recorded for ages to come, and demonstrate in our own day the Divine prescience which inspired them..

 

II. The MESSIANIC predictions increased in number and in variety during this period, and included revelations as to the nature of Christ?s person and mission, His birth of a virgin and the place where it should occur, His works of mercy, His meek and compassionate character, His sinlessness, His atoning self-sacrifice, His humiliation and rejection, His sufferings, death, and resurrection; the atonement wrought by these, with its results in the gift of the Holy Ghost; the propagation of the gospel among the Gentiles, and many other particulars.

 

III. The predictions as to the GENTILE nations and their rulers include those relating to Assyria, Babylon, Moab, Egypt, Tyre, Philistia, Kedar, Elam all of which had more or less direct and important connection with the Jewish people, together with others relating to individuals, such as Sennacherib, Cyrus, and Nebuchadnezzar, who influenced their fortunes seriously. Such prophecies taught the Jews that Jehovah was not their God only, but the Supreme Ruler over all the earth. The polytheism of the day had divided the countries

 

of the world among its false deities, and circumscribed the power of each to certain districts. The Assyrians when settled in Samaria complained that they ?knew not the manner of the God of the land.? The Israelites could never thus limit Jehovah in their thoughts, since the predictions of His prophets unveiled the future of the Gentiles around them as well as their own, and their fulfillment proved that Divine providence controlled the one as completely as the other. Moreover, such prophecies abated the doubts and conflicts which must have arisen in the hearts and minds of pious Jews under the dark providences of defeat and captivity. When the enemy was permitted to triumph, and to boast in his false gods as if of superior might to Jehovah, it was a consolation to know by prophetic revelation that the triumph would be of brief duration, that the spoiler would soon himself be spoiled and the captive delivered, to understand the moral reasons for the disciplinary portions of the providential government of God, and to be led to repentance for the sins that had incurred Divine judgments.

 

It lies, however, outside the province of this work to examine in detail these several classes of predictions, or to trace their fulfillment. On some of them it would not be easy to base arguments of evidential value; inasmuch as it might not at this distance of time be possible to prove that the date of the publication of the prediction was sufficiently remote from the event that fulfilled it, or that the event was so beyond the power of human sagacity to anticipate, as to demonstrate supernatural prescience. Moreover, none of these predictions properly fall under either of the great programs which we are here examining. They stand apart from the comprehensive foreviews given at the commencement of the great sections of human history, to the fathers, or founders, of the new order of things, and they need not therefore detain us.

 

After the establishment of Jewish monarchy in the reign of David and Solomon, at which crisis the previous foreview was granted, no great turn or change in the history of the chosen people through whom the world?s redemption was to be accomplished took place until the Babylonian captivity. The promise of the permanence of David?s dynasty as long as the kingdom existed was conspicuously fulfilled, as may be clearly seen by a comparison between his dynasty which reigned at Jerusalem and that which occupied the throne of Israel or the ten tribes.

 

Frequent and violent interruptions, owing to revolt and assassination, marked the succession in Samaria. Jeroboam?s line failed; Baasha?s house did, the same; the usurpers Zimri and Omri were cut off; so was the house of Ahab; Jehu?s succession was expressly limited to four generations; and from that time to the fall of the ten tribes before Assyria, there was only a series of successive conspiracies which placed strangers on the throne. In Judah, on the contrary, there was an unbroken descent in one line, so that the family of David occupied his throne for 450 years without interruption, until both king and people were carried to Babylon, The related kingdom of Israel, though it only lasted 250 years, saw three complete extirpations of the reigning family, the deposition of the house of Jehu, and perpetual confusion in the order of the kingdom. The stability of David?s throne was not owing to an absence of danger; insurrection and conspiracy arose, but they could not overthrow it. Athaliah?s domestic treachery did not defeat the promise of God; the confederacy of Syria and Ephraim to set up the son of Tabeal on the throne of Judah in the days of Ahaz, was foiled; and even the great invasion of Sennacherib, though it threatened Hezekiah, was not allowed to overthrow the dynasty of David before the appointed time. It was upheld when ruin was all around it. A very special providence preserved the throne of Judah and the dynasty that occupied it, until by its own act it forfeited all its privileges. But the temporal promises of the Davidic covenant had been made distinctly conditional, and held good only as long as David?s seed remained faithful to Jehovah. ?If he (i.e. the king) commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men, ? was one of the provisions of the original covenant; and to Solomon God had said, ?If thou wilt walk before Me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness... then will I establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever... but if ye go and serve other gods, and worship them, then will I cut off Israel out of the land that I have given them.? #1Ki 9:4. Hence, as long as the kings of Judah were even in the main faithful and obedient, they were upheld in spite of many and flagrant transgressions; but when Manasseh filled the land with idolatry and the blood of human sacrifices, when all the three sons of the good king Josiah ?did evil in the sight of the Lord, ? then it was formally announced to the king by the prophet that the covenanted blessings were forfeited, and the penalty predicted 450 years before about to descend. There is something specially sad and pathetic in the whole strain of Jereniiah xxii., where God reluctantly yet solemnly revokes the promises of the covenant. ?Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, 0 king of Judah, that sittest upon

the throne of David;? and then comes the terrible message. Jehoahaz (or Shallum) was to die an outcast in Egypt; his brother Jehoiakim to perish unlamented, and ?be buried with the burial of an ass?; Jehoiachin, the last independent king of David?s line, to be given into the hands of those that sought his life, cast out to die in another land. ?O earth, earth, earth, ? ends this touching passage, ?hear the word of the Lord. Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.?

 

The word ?childless? means here, without a successor on the throne, an heir-less king; officially childless. Personally Jehoiachin had a family, and his son Salathiel enters into the line of the ancestry of Christ; #Mt 1:12 ;#1Ch 3:17. The word might he rendered ?destitute? or ?deprived, ? not of offspring, hut of a successor.

 

Thus God revoked the title of David?s seed to the throne, but not for ever, for the passage goes on to speak of ?the Righteous Branch? that shall yet be raised to David, ?the king? that shall ?reign and prosper and execute judgment and justice in the earth.? ?The sure mercies of David? have not failed, his throne is only in abeyance, until He shall come whose right it is to reign.

 

A crisis of peculiar importance, a great turning-point in history, was reached at this juncture, which was an era of solemn and fundamental change to the chosen people. It was a fit crisis for a fresh outburst of prophetic light. The kingdom of Israel was over. The throne of Judah had fallen to rise no more until days yet to come. The times of the Gentiles were about to commence. The heritage of Jehovah lay waste, the temple of God was a heap of blackened ruins, the corporate nationality of the Jews was shattered, it was an hour of utmost gloom and deepest discouragement. The outward ordinances of religion were in abeyance, the typical ritual suspended, the Davidic covenant apparently broken how intensely the light of further revelation was required! The national apostasy which had sunk the people of God as low as the surrounding heathen in polytheism and idolatry, had brought down on them an early instalment of the curses of the Sinaitic covenant, as a discipline which should restore them to the faith of Abraham. A foretaste of their present longer and more terrible chastisement had been allowed to overtake themthe Babylonian captivity had been sent to wean them from their besetting sin of idolatry, and draw them back to their allegiance to God. Temporal supremacy was taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles at this time, just as later on rebgious supremacy, ?the kingdom of God, ? was similarly taken from them and given to a people bringing forth the fruits thereof. But mercy was mingled with judgment at this sorrowful crisis, and it was during this captivity that the sixth section of the Divine program of the world?s history, with its all-glorious issue and triumphant termination, was imparted to Daniel.

 

Before considering this gracious revelation, and in order to its better appreciation, we must take a brief glance at the then existing state of the civilized Gentile world, with whose future, prophecy thenceforth concerns itself as well as with the future of the chosen people.

 

The interest of history at that period centerd still around the original seats of population with which we have before had to dothe great valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Palestine, Egypt, and Arabia, though the Medes and Persians and Elamites to the east were also coming more prominently into notice. The balance of power among these nations was, however, materially altered since the epoch we last considered. The golden days of Egypt were over, though it was still a kingdom, and at times able to assume the aggressive. Days of decrepitude and disintegration had long since descended on the land of Ham. Twenty petty princes were sometimes ruling at the same time over feeble sections of the once mighty empire of the Pharaohs. The powerful dominion of David and Solomon had proved as brief in its duration as it was rapid in its rise, and had been early broken into two kingdoms; the northern portion of the divided realm of the Jews had fallen under the power of Assyria a hundred and thirty years previously to the Babylonian captivity. The strong, rapacious, and cruel monarchs, Tiglath Pileser, Shalmanezer, Sennacherib, and Esarhaddon, had, as we know from their own still extant inscriptions, successively ravaged both the Jewish territories east of Jordan, and the fair valleys and plains of Ephraim. They had gradually subdued the ten tribes, and, according to the cruel custom of the East (which happily has never obtained in Western warfare), they had deported the superior classes of the people to Assyria and Media. Only a poor and mongrel population, though probably a large one, dwelt in Samaria, which had become a tributary province of Assyria.

 

Sennacherib had also overrun Judea with his vast hosts, and threatened Egypt. He had, however, been checked by Divine intervention, in response to Hezekiah?s faith and prayer. His successor Esarhaddon had taken Judah?s wicked king Manasseh captive for a time, but he was restored on his repentance, for the throne of David had then to last a little longer. Assyria?s own predicted doom was also fast approaching, for Nineveh?s temporary respite was over, and the mighty city on the Tigris, whose magnificence, idolatry, corruption, tyranny, vainglory, and horrible cruelties have been revealed to us by its modern resurrection from the dust of ages, was about to fall. The government of Assyria had fallen into the weak hands of Sardanapalus, the provinces had risen in rebellion, the capital had been beleaguered by its foes. Its own great rivers, swelled by heavy rains, had broken down its walls for a length of twenty stadii; and the consequent exposure of his city had driven the miserable Sardanapalus in despair to burn himself, his family, and his treasures in his splendid palace. The prophecies of Nahum and Zephaniah had been literally and wonderfully fulfilled in the fall of the guilty capital and empire, and out of the ashes of Assyria on the Tigris in the north-east had arisen the great empire of Babylon on the Euphrates in the southwest.

 

It was during the siege of Nineveh that Nabopolassar, then the Assyrian viceroy in Babylonia, had asserted his independence, and established unopposed a new monarchy, which, under the circumstances of the times, grew with amazing rapidity. The fall of Nineveh and of the Assyrian empire had left its many provinces without a ruler and without defence. Babylon and Egypt both strove for the supremacy, and the latter at first secured some successes in Asia. The good Jewish king Josiah tried to oppose the armies of Pharaoh Necho in their career of Asiatic conquest, but he was defeated and slain at Megiddo in B.C. 609a defeat which his people bitterly mourned, and from which Judah never recovered. Necho?s triumph, however, was brief; for three years later he and his army were routed in the great battle of Carchemish on the Euphrates, where the young and talented prince Nebuchadnezzarthen acting for his father, Nabopolassarutterly defeated the Egyptian forces, and thus settled the question as to the future mastery of Asia (B.C. 605). This battle is prophetically and graphically described Jer. xlvi. 312. Necho retreated with the shattered remnant of his forces into Africa, resigned all pretension to the Asiatic conquests he had made, including Judea; and, as we read in the Book of Kings, he ?came no more out of his land.? Judea became shortly afterwards a mere Babylonian province; Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and its people taken captive (B.C. 606598).

 

After four hundred and fifty years of independence the kingdom of David had thus fallen. Israel, as predicted, had ?come down very low, ? and her enemies had risen very high. The curse causeless had not come; Israel, having broken her covenant, had justly incurred its penalties, but very terrible they were. Profoundly dark to every Jewish heart must have been the abyss of the Babylonish captivity. It had swallowed up their national existence for the present, but that was the smallest part of it. Had it also robbed them of their future? Had the promises of God failed? Was the covenant forsworn for ever? What, then, of the oath to Abraham? What of the promised seed and the blessing of the world through him? Had the throne of Judah fallen to rise no more? But what, then, of the sure mercies of David, and what of Messiah the Prince and His eternal rule over all nations? Jeremiah had indeed limited the captivity in Babylon to seventy years, but what was to follow? Were pagan Babylonian tyrants to lord it for ever over the earth? Was the worship of the only living and true God to be extinguished? Were polytheism and idolatry still to swamp mankind with their degrading floods of superstition? Power and permanence, wealth and wisdom, art and scienceall seemed to be on their side. But was this state of things to continue? What were the counsels of God, and the plans of providence? Thoughtful and godly souls must have longed and prayed for light and for the consolations of hope.

 

Most dazzling was the vision of Gentile grandeur on which the gaze of the Jewish exiles on the banks of the Euphrates rested in the meantime. Nebuchadnezzar their captor was not only a most energetic and successful military hero and mighty conqueror, but he was besides a builder as magnificent as Rameses II. or Menephtah of Egypt themselves! Scripture gives us on this point only his ones fatal soliloquy: ?Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?? but the speech was eminently characteristic of the man, and the boast was in harmony with the facts of the case, while the inscriptions he has left behind him abundantly explain and amplify the statement.

 

Babylon had, of course, been built ages before his day, for it was the city of the architects of the tower of Babel and though the confusion of tongues stopped their erection of the latter, the former continued to exist. It had indeed been a seat of government from the earliest days, and had experienced a variety of fortunes. Recently in the time of the Assyrian empire it had been the provincial capital of Babylonia. But just as Augustus built Romein the sense that he found it brick and left it marbleso Nebuchadnezzar built Babylon; he enlarged, adorned, enriched, and strengthened it to such an extent, that he might well speak of the magnificent city as his own creation. In a long and detailed account called the ?standard inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, ? he rehearses his various and splendid architectural undertakings. His father, after assuming the regal position and title, had laid the foundations of an imperial city as he fully admits, but he erected the splendid superstructures, as Solomon built the temple for which David had prepared. He calls the city ?the delight of his eyes, ? and exults in having made it ?glorious, ? and especially in the impregnable defences with which he had surrounded it. According to Herodotus, the walls formed a circuit of fifty-five miles, enclosing a square measuring fourteen miles each way. Other writers give different dimensions, but the lowest computation represents it as ten miles square, and with an area consequently of a hundred square milesfour times as large as Paris, and twice as big as London. London reckoned ?within the bills of mortality.? The whole of this immense space was not of course covered with buildings; gardens, orchards, and palm groves were interspersed among them, and the royal quarter alone extended over some miles. Outside it were streets cutting each other at right angles, like those of American citie; most of the houses were many storeys high; and the city of the poor, where dwelt the countless laborers of the great king, was at some little distance. The height of the walls is variously stated by ancient historians as from three hundred feet down to seventy-five feet; but even this lowest estimate is enormous when the width of the wall, which was fifty cubits, is remembered. More than five hundred millions of square feet of solid masonry were contained in these bulwarks at the lowest computation. The buildings they enclosedthe temples, palaces, ?hanging gardens, ? and towerswere gigantic and magnificent; artificial Water in abundance was stored within the city, one reservoir alone being a mile long. Nebuchadnezzar?s engineering operations were astonishing, and show how great the amount of knowledge and skill in those days, and how vast his resources in the ?naked human strength? of forced laborers, who were, of course, mostly captives taken in war. A tunnel was, it is said, carried under the bed of the Euphrates, fifteen feet wide and twelve feet to

the spring of the arch, and more than half a mile in length; and a magnificent drawbridge spanned the great stream, fully a mile wide at that point. Nor did Nebuchadnezzar confine his operations to the city itself. He connected the Tigris and Euphrates by a broad and deep channel called the NAHR MALCHA, or ?Royal River, ? and dug an artificial lake near Sippara, which was a hundred and forty miles in circumference, and nearly two hundred feet deep. He built quays and breakwaters along the shores of the Persian Gulf, and founded a city in the neighbourhood; he restored the temple of Belus, or ?tower of tongues, ? at Borsippa, eleven or twelve miles from Babylon; and its remains, the great Birs-i-Nimrud, are now the mightiest of all the ruins of Mesopotamia, and identified by many with the Tower of Babel, for it was already a vast and very ancient ruin when Nebuchadnezzar undertook its restoration. His works are spread over the entire country, and Sir Henry Rawlinson calculates that nine-tenths of the bricks brought from Mesopotamia are inscribed with his name. ?At least a hundred sites in the tract immediately about Babylon give evidence by bricks bearing his legend of the marvelous activity and energy of this king.? ?Altogether there is reason to believe that he was one of the most indefatigable of all the builders that have left their mark upon the world in which we live. He covered Babylonia with great works, he was the Augustus of Babylon. He found it a perishing city of unbaked clay, he left it one of durable burnt brick.? Canon Rawlinson: ?Egypt and Babylon, ? chap. vi.

 

?We trace the acropolis of the royal city, where stood the palaces from whose terraces Nebuchadnezzar surveyed the placid flood of the Euphrates twenty miles away north and as many south, with the city at his feet, the vast plain and palm groves along the river banks, the hanging gardens near, and temples and villages intermingled in the prospect. Closely adjacent were the mansions of Daniel and his friends, busy in the cares of state administration; and here, too, the Chaldee magicians and the Babylonian princes with their craft and superstitions. Here the banquet hall of Belshazzar, and not far off the dens and the furnaces where suffered the victims of tyranny and the witnesses to truth. Now, as the stranger treads the ground once trodden by king and prophet, he needs but little meditation to call up to view their familiar haunts; to see where once the wharves bordered the river, and where were the gates that opened to the soldiers of Cyrus, or erewhile to the captives from Jerusalem. Now a deadly silence broods over the scene.... All is one undistinguishable heap, and you can only be assured that on this spot Babel was first built, and the speech of man was first confounded; that the great captive of Judah found honour and consolation here, and that heathen scribes penned, even where you stand, proclamations of honour and worship to the God of Israel, and of deliverance to His captives.

 

?This was the proud and luxurious court of Babylon, the seat of dominion over the mightiest nation that was under heaven, at the time when its sovereign pronounced the brief soliloquy which brought down upon him the judicial insanity described by Daniel; and yonder, five or six miles south, Hillah, once a populous city, yet holds its place, and marks the memorable site where the plebeians of that age dwelt apart, with a broad intervening space to separate them from the courtiers and their lord.? Rule; ?Oriental Records, ? p. 220,

 

The captive Jews were for the most part, like all his other prisoners of war, forced to work for the Royal Builder in erecting these splendid structures, and carrying out these vast enterprises. Crowds of expatriated Egyptians, Phoenicians, Syrians, Jews, Ammonites, and Moabites were forcibly settled all over Babylonia, and especially near the capital, from whom forced labor was required, and whose condition was consequently one of slavery, not unlike that of Israel iii Egypt 1, 000 years previously. The slavery of the Jews had been predicted: ?Ye shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years:

 

Even after the restoration, the Jews in Jerusalem still speak of themselves as slaves. ?Behold, we are bondsmen this day, ?slaves in the land Thou gayest to our fathers; ?it yieldeth much increase to the kings whom Thou hast set over us:... they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.? {#Ne 9:36, 37}

 

Nebuchadnezzar was a cruel and tyrannical monarch, as his treatment of enemies, and his conduct to Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah proves. But we must imagine him, nevertheless, as a highly civilized and intelligent ruler. He is represented both in Daniel and on the monuments as ?at the head of a magnificent court, surrounded by ?princes, governors, and captains, judges, treasurers, councillors, and sheriffs, ? waited on by eunuchs selected with the greatest care, well favoured and carefully educated; attended, whenever he requires it, by a multitude of astrologers and other ?wise men, who seek to interpret to him the will of Heaven. He is an absolute monarch, disposing with a word of the lives and properties of his subjects, even the highest. All offices are in his gift. He can raise a foreigner to the second place in the kingdom, and even set him over the priestly order. His wealth is enormous, for he makes of pure gold an image, or obelisk, ninety feet high and nine feet broad. He is religious after a sort, but wavers in. his faith, sometimes acknowledging the God of the Jews as the only real deity, sometimes relapsing into an idolatrous worship, and forcing all his subjects to follow his example. Even then, however, his polytheism is of a kind which admits of a special devotion to a particular deity, who is called emphatically ?his god.? In temper he is hasty and violent, but not obstinate; his fierce resolves are taken suddenly, and as suddenly repented of; he is, moreover, capable of bursts of gratitude and devotion, no less than of accesses of fury; like most Orientals, he is vainglorious; but he can humble himself before the chastening hand of the Almighty; in his better moods he shows a spirit astonishing in one of his country and timea spirit of real piety, self-condemnation, and self-abasement, which renders him one of the most remarkable characters in Scripture.?

 

Rawlinson?s ?Ancient Monarchies, ? vol. iii. pp. 58, 59.

 

It was towards the close of his long reign of forty-three years that the remarkable episode of Nebuchadnezzar?s insanity occurred. It seems to have been an attack of what is termed lycanthropy, a disease not unknown to physicians. It was not to be expected that so proud a monarch would leave on record any account of his own lunacy; but strange to say, there is one passage in his inscription which seems to allude to the interruption which it occasioned in all his usual avocations. The monument is broken and defective, but the extant portion runs thus

 

??In all my dominions I did not build a high place of power. The precious treasures of my kingdom I did not lay up. In Babylon, buildings for myself and the honour of my kingdom I did not lay out. In the worship of Merodach my lord, the joy of my heart, in Babylon, the city of his sovereignty and the seat of my empire, I did not sing his praises, and I did not furnish his altars (with victims), nor did I clear the canals.? And there are other negative clauses, not yet translated. But these few lines suffice to tell of an utter abandonment of all royal care. No joy in his palace. No erection of a place of strength. No treasure laid up. An utter cessation of public works in unfinished Babylon. No observance of religion. Even the canals uncleansed are choked with mud and waterweed. Only suspension of reason, or a paralysis of all energy, could account for this.?Rule: ?Oriental Records, ? p. 224.

 

The king then goes on to describe how he subsequently resumed his great building works on his recovery, including the erection of the ?Ingurbel.? ?In a happy month and on an auspicious day its foundations I laid in the earth, ? he says. ?I completely finished its top... and made it the high place of my kingdom. A strong fort of brick and mortar in strength I constructed. Inside the brick fortification another great fortification of long stones, of the size of great mountains, I made. Like Shedim I raised up its head. And this building I raised for a wonder; for the defence of the people I constructed it.? Rule; ?Oriental Records, ? p. 225.

 

This, then, was the proud, pagan, cruel, conquering, busy, building, wealthy, and worldly monarch, into whose court the providence of God introduced at the crisis of the fall of Judah four young scions of the Jewish royal family, taken captive among others in the destruction of Jerusalem. This Babylon was the magnificent city in the midst of whose glory, iniquity, and idolatry, Daniel and his fellows grew up wiser than their teachers, prayerful and pious, pure and holy, steadfast to the God of their fathers, faithful unto death. Blessed illustration of the truth, that without taking His people out of the world, God can keep them from the evil!

 

The character of Daniel is lofty, beautiful, and gracious, a model character in many respects, and one befitting a prophet of peculiar privilege. It is not deliberately sketched, but comes out incidentally; it does not obtrude itself on the attention as we read his prophecy, the book being mainly autobiographical in its form, and the prophet having no desire to make himself prominent. This style of writing, in which it is peculiarly easy to fall unconsciously into egoism, serves only to exhibit Daniel?s singular self-abnegation and noble simplicity. We learn that he was an exile, a captive, and a slave like Joseph, as is indicated by the change of his name. This change, intended to remind the slave of his servitude, was a custom of the East and of the period, and continued even to Christian times. Chrysostom says: ? The master having bought a slave, wishing to show him that he is master, changes his name.? And again, ?that the imposition of names is a symbol of mastership is plain from what we too do? (St. Chrysostom, Serm. 22, Op. iii. in). And Daniel was, not only a slave, but a life-long sufferer at the hands of his captors, one of those in whom was fulfilled the prediction to Hezekiah, {#Isa 39:7} as appears from the fact stated in chapter i. 3. This makes his noble and faithful character all the more remarkable, as his class were proverbially addicted to intrigue, assassination, and conspiracies. Gibbon dwells on their notoriously pernicious influence on courts and kings.

 

He was only about fourteen when he came to Babylon, as we judge from the fact that it was at that age lads were committed to royal instructors to be trained for the king?s service, on which they entered at sixteen or seventeen. The three years during which he was ?taught the learning and tongue of the Chaldeans? early displayed his character manifesting a beautiful boyish simplicity of faith, and that high-principled self-denial in trifles for conscience sake, which is the sure earnest of future greatness, and gives the best promise of a grand career. His faith grew by exercise, till it prevailed to bring down the interpretation of the king?s dream, and it lasted through life, leading the prophet in his old age to ?continue in prayer, ? even when the den of lions was the penalty. Bold and uncompromising where allegiance to God was concerned, Daniel was, however, singularly respectful and deferential, sympathetic, polite, and patient. Though never dazzled or deluded by the splendours of Nebuchadnezzar?s court, he evidently both admired and respected his vast power. It had, indeed, elements of greatness as the first which changed the ?robber-tyrant domination of Assyrian and Babylonian might into organized rule.? This respect is consistently shownin his explanation of the king?s dream of the image, and subsequently in that of the tree cut down, which predicted Nebuchadnezzar?s insanity. How reluctant is the prophet to explain this latter vision He sat astonished for an hour, and his thoughts troubled him, not because he feared the results to himself of the unwelcome intelligence he had to deliver, but out of sincere sorrow for and sympathy with the proud monarch before him. Tenderly and respectfully he at last, when urged, reveals the counsel of God to the king, accompanying the announcement with words of gentle yet earnest exhortation, if perchance reformation of life might lead to a lengthening of tranquillity. The same deferential, respectful tone marks his words to the weak and unjust Darius: ?Before thee also, O king, have I done no hurt.? And especially it comes out in his interview with Belshazzar on the eve of the capture of Babylon, when he recalls the glory of Nebuchadnezzar as he had seen it in his own early days. ?The Most High God gave thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: and for (or on account of) the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.? Chapter v. 18, 19.

 

Daniel?s career of prosperity in a strange land never weaned his affections from his fatherland, or lessened his longing for the restoration of his people and the temple at Jerusalem. Three times a day he prayed ?towards Jerusalem, ? as we learn incidentally in his old age. He led a life of earnest, longing prayerfullness for Jewish interests, while all those seventy years doing faithfully the king?s business. So perfect was his fidelity that his enemies could find no fault in him in his official capacity, and the length of his career makes the statement remarkable.

 

The stripling of seventeen sat ?in the king?s gate (?in the Porte, ? as we say, retaining the oriental term), president over all the colleges of? the wise men, and of the whole province of Babylon. Daniel continued even unto the fist year of King Cyrus, are the simple words; but what a volume of tried faithfullness is unrolled by them! Amid all the intrigues, indigenous, at all times, in dynasties of oriental despotism, where intrigue too rolls round so surely and so suddenly on its author?s head; amid all the envy towards a foreign captive in high office as a king?s councillor; amid all the trouble incidental to the insanity of the king, or to the murder of two of his successors, in that whole critical period for his people Daniel continued.

 

?The force of the words is not drawn out; but, as perseverance is the one final touchstone of man, so these scattered notices combine in a grand outline of one, an alien, a captive, of that misused class who are proverbially the intriguers, favourites, pests of oriental courts, who revenge on man their ill-treatment at the hand of man; yet, himself; in uniform integrity, outliving envy, jealousy, dynasties; surviving in untarnished uncorrupting greatness the seventy years of the captivity; honored during the forty-three years of Nebuchadnezzar?s reign; doing the king?s business under the insolent and sensual boy Belshazzar; owned by the conquering Medo-Persians; the stay doubtless and human protector of his people during those long years of exile probably commissioned to write the decree of Cyrus which gave leave for that long longed-for restoration of his people, whose re-entrance into their land, like Moses of old, he was not to share. Deeds are more eloquent than words. Such undeviating integrity, beyond the ordinary life of man, in a worshipper of the one God, in the most dissolute and degraded of the merchant-cities of old, first minister in the first of the world-monarchies, ? gives him a place among the highest and holiest men the world has ever seen. Pusey: ?Lectures on Daniel the Prophet, ? pp. 20, 22.

 

This was the prophet to whom He who sees the end from the beginning, was pleased to reveal THE SIXTH SECTION OF THE PROGRAM OF THE world?s history.

 

This section was fuller and more detailed and definite than any which had preceded it, and extending from its own date, five to six centuries before Christ, to the end of the present state of things, the resurrection of the dead and the era of blessedness. It contains, with some unfulfilled predictions, a prophecy of the outline of history for twenty-five centuries, and a comparison of its statements with the well-known course of events must either attest its supernatural inspiration, or confute it even more clearly than any of the programs we have as yet considered.

 

Questions as to the date of the Book of Daniel have been raised by rationalistic critics to whom real prophecy in any sense is as incredible as real miracle. The objections raised are about as baseless as objections well could be; and the counter-theories as to the date of the prophecy are one and all incredible, some even ludicrous. The true date, as we will presently show, has been abundantly confirmed and verified both from external and internal evidence. No further proof of the authenticity of the accepted date ought to be demandednor can any be given, until further Babylonian exploration brings to light, as it probably will do, contemporaneous evidence of the existence and career of the prophet. But our present argument requires no consideration of this question. Because, even if we accept the latest date suggested for the publication of Daniel, it fails to abate the claim of the book to contain supernatural predictions which were published hundreds and some of them thousands of years before they were fulfilled, and remains therefore an unanswerable witness to the prescient wisdom of God, to the intense reality of His providential government of the world, and to the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures.

 

In treating on this subject, we must presume on an acquaintance with the Book of Daniel on the part of our readers. As a mere work of very ancient literature it is an intensely interesting one, while as an important part of the word of God it well repays study. Its life-like sketches of the state of things in which the writer lived, and of the characters of those with whom he came in contact; its graphic accounts of the tragic and wonderful incidents of his career; its pictures of saintly devotion, heroic self-sacrifice, calm faith, holy courage, and prevailing prayer, of fidelity under most ensnaring temptation, and of patriotism that nothing could shake; above all, its glorious witness to the delivering power and grace of God, and its lessons of lofty morality, to say nothing of its wonderful anticipations of the world?s historyall conspire to make it a document of surpassing attraction. The greatest and wisest philosopher may ponder its pages, as the incomparable Sir Isaac Newton loved to do; while the simplest child finds no stories more interesting than those of the den of lions, the Hebrew children, and the handwriting on the wall; and evangelists like Moody find no theme more moving than the experiences of the holy prophet. The book is partly historic and partly prophetic, facts and foreviews being blended in about equal proportions. The second and the last six chapters of the book are mainly prophecy, the remainder history, in which however detached predictions of events which were near at hand at the time occur.

 

The prophecies, with the exception of the one great Messianic prediction, and the few closing ones of the book, are political in character; they relate to kings and kingdoms, victories and defeats, treaties and royal marriages, and the fortunes of different nations; and in this fact we have a fresh proof of the suitability of the instruments divinely selected for the work they are destined to do. Moses, trained in college and at court, and placed in command of armies and expeditions, familiarized subsequently with the mountains and valleys and resources of the Sinaitic peninsula, was appointed to lead the Exodus of Israel, and convey the law of God to the Jewish nation. David, the first great king of Israel, is chosen to receive revelations as to the kingdom, and as to the Messiah who should rule to the uttermost ends of the earth. And now Daniel with his noble Jewish lineage, his high and careful Gentile education and training, his familiarity with the imperial politics of Nebuchadnezzar and with the varied civilization of Chaldea, Daniel with his statesmanlike experience of government, with his personal faith and his pure aspirations, with his strong national sympathies, yet his wide acquaintance with the world, Daniel the royal exile, the ?ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon?, {#Da 2:48} is made the medium of revelations embracing the political outline of long centuries of Gentile history, the first and second advents of Messiah the Prince, the hope of Israel and the salvation of the world. His training and experience, his character and position, all adapted him peculiarly for his work, and to be the channel of the wonderful revelation which was committed to him.

 

So numerous are the predictions in this short book that it would require a volume to consider them in detail. We must take up the main outline only of its program of the future, and that outline is so clear and so comprehensive that subsequent history must have either definitely verified or absolutely falsified it. There can in this case be no possible uncertainty or doubtfullness as to the correspondence of prophecy and fulfillment. When a long series of consecutive events, embracing the political fortunes of all the leading nations of the world for twenty-five centuries, together with the characters and epochs of the greatest heroes of history, are predicted in succession as luminously and clearly as if the prophecy were a narrative, it must be either plainly fulfilled or not so. In this sixth section of the program there is evidence of greater strength than in any of the. previous ones of Divine foreknowledge, and of the control of the course of history by Divine power.

 

The program has four main divisions, the last of which is still unfulfilled

 

I. The twice-repeated prediction of a succession of FOUR GREAT EMPIRES, followed by the kingdom of God.

 

II. The full and chronological prophecy of the FIRST ADVENT OF CHRIST, and the DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.

 

III. A long and detailed prediction of the events connected with the second and third of the four great monarchies, including especially the wars of the Ptolemies and Seleucidæ, the Maccabean persecutions and martyrdoms, and the career of Antiochus Epiphanes.

 

IV. Predictions relating to events still futurethe second advent of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the restoration of Israel, the cleansing of the sanctuary, and the establishment of the kingdom of the Son of man.

 

We shall only have time to consider the first two of these sections in detail and to glance at the third, a large portion of which is fulfilled already, though it passes towards the close into the unfulfilled.

 

On the first pointthe four empiresthe following is the revelation which was given first in a dream to Nebuchadnezzar, and secondly in a vision to Daniel

 

?Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image?s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.? Dan. ii. 3135. ?Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle?s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man?s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo - another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

 

?I beheld till the thrones were set, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. (As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.?{#Da 7:2-14}

 

Both these prophecies are conveyed by means of symbols. Is their meaning doubtful, obscure, and uncertain on this account? By no means. The divinely selected symbols are divinely interpreted, and hence there is happily no room for doubt as to their precise signification. The following is Daniel?s interpretation of the king?s vision ?This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth, And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters? clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.? Dan. ii. 3645.

 

And again the angel?s interpretation of Daniel?s own vision is as follows

 

?These great beasts, which are four, are four kings (or kingdoms), which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.?

 

This explanation was comprehensive and clear, but went no further than the former revelation given fifty years previously to Nebuchadnezzar, though the vision had suggested much additional matter. Daniel consequently was not satisfied. He asks for fuller explanation, especially of certain features of the fourth beast.

 

?Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.?

 

The desired explanation was graciously givengiven with the brevity, authority, and clearness, which always characterize angelic communications, in which every word has weighty meaning.

 

?Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time, and times, and the dividing of time. But the judgment. shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

 

?And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.? {#Da 7:17-27}

 

The Jewish captivity was the occasion on which this pro. gramme was given, and its main object was to cheer aud sustain the people of God through the ages of delay, and the frequent times of tribulation that were to intervene prior, not to the first advent, but to the Kingdom of Messiah. The two prophecies each announce a succession of four Gentile empires to fill the interval between Nebuchadnezzar?s days and that Everlasting Reign; four, and four only, and then the Kingdom of the Son of man and of the saints. To Daniel and his fellows, and to others like him, this prediction must have brought strong consolation. Pagan wild-beast-like empires, cruel, ravening, destructive, and brutal in their degradation and ignorance of God, were not, however, fierce and strong to last for ever. After a brief succession of four, -of which one was already in existence, they were to cease and give place to the Kingdom of Messiah. The fall of Judah had not then abrogated the covenant! The dark and terrible experiences of the present were only an interlude, the sure mercies of David were not to fail, though there was room for the patience of hope. No chronology at all had been attached to the first prophecy; and though a mystical period was named in the second, it did not convey any such clear notion as to the duration of the four empires as would damp the hope that the time might be comparatively brief. In any case pagan dominion had its limits, idolatrous tyranny was not to endure for ever, the Kingdom of the Son of man and of the saints was the glad goal of human history.

 

On Nebuchadnezzar, too, the moral effect of the vision had a strong and wholesome bearing. It was given to him just after his great empire was established, when thoughts came into his mind upon his bed, ?What should come to pass hereafter, ? what should be the future of the dominion he had established, and the dynasty of which he was the head. It was a salutary lesson for a monarch so rich and mighty, for a man so proud and vainglorious, and for a worshipper so devoted to idols, to learn that he owed his dominion to ?the God of heaven, ? and that it was a very passing one; that he was merely the head of a great image, that other empires were destined to succeed the one he had founded, and that all such empires would be destroyed ere long by a dominion of a very different character, one which would last for ever. On him, however, the vision seems to have produced but little effect. He was pleased to have the dream which had so impressed him, recalled and interpreted; he duly rewarded Daniel, and accorded also a place in his pantheon to Daniel?s God, to whom the prophet had carefully attributed the revelation. But that was all. It needed a more painful and personal lesson to produce in the mind of this heathen despot the profound conviction which in his old age he so heartily expressed, of the glory and absolute supremacy of the God of heaven.Chapter iv. 34.

 

The two prophecies agree as to the fourfold succession; but the second adds expressly a marked and important feature which the first only intimates, i.e., that the fourth empire was to exist in two different stages, first as a single empire, and secondly as an association of ten kingdoms. The ten toes of the image had hinted this distinction, the angelic interpretation of the ten horns of the fourth beast emphasizes it, and seems to attach special importance to this stage of the history prefigured, for stress is laid on this feature. The fourth and last empire is interpreted much more fully than all the other three, and its last tenfold section is dwelt on more fully than its first.

 

The two predictions indicate unquestionably one and the same reality; they give one and the same simple definite outline of the future, they present an identical program, first in bare outline and then more filled in; they agree in the assertion that the Gentile age then beginning would witness first four successive universal empires, and that then the fourth would dissolve into a commonwealth of ten separate but associated kingdoms.

 

The question before us is, Has this program been fulfilled, and how? Did there actually and conspicuously occur such a succession, not of kingdoms merely, but of empires exercising by right of conquest dominion over many kingdoms empires universal as far as the known world of their day extendedempires that brooked no rival, but lorded it over all during their span of supremacy. Can four such be indicated, as having succeeded each other from Nebuchadnezzar?s day onwards? And was the last dissolved into a ten-kingdomed commonwealth?

 

It is notorious that four such universal empires did arise, and did rule the world in succession. Scripture itself names them all, as well as profane history. It speaks of four supreme ruling kingdoms, and of four only, as having existed from Daniel?s day to its own close. The first, that of Babylon; to whose king it was said, ?Thou art this head of gold.? The second, as the angel Gabriel told the prophet, was, ?The ram having the two horns, ? ?the kings of Media and Persia.? The third, symbolised by ?The rough goat, ? was ?The king of Grecia.? And in the Gospels we meet with the fourth: ?There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.? ?If we let him alone, all men will believe on him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.?

 

The testimony of profane history is equally clear.

 

One of the most invaluable relics of antiquity which we possess is the Syntaxis or Almagest of Ptolemy, an astronomer and chronologist who lived at the time of Hadrian?s destruction of Jerusalem. This accurate writer records in his Canon (in connection with astronomic data verified by modern observations and absolutely certain) the names and dates of fifty-five successive sovereigns whose reigns extended over 907 years, from Nabonassar, the first king of Babylon (B.C. 747), to Antoninus Pius, the Emperor of Rome, in whose days Ptolemy wrote. He traces thus the succession of the greatest monarchs in the world from before Daniel?s time to his own, a period of nine centuries, and presents in one unbroken line imperial rule as it was administered by different dynasties of monarchs from various centers of government, in Asia, Africa, and Europe. This Canon of Ptolemy is an unquestioned and unquestionable authority both as to history and chronology. He was not a Jew or a Christian, and had probably no knowledge of the prophecies of Daniel. How did the world?s history for those nine centuries present itself to him? He divides it into four successive parts, and enumerates twenty BABYLONIAN kings, ten PERSIAN (terminating with Alexander the Great, eleven in all); twelve GRECIAN, and ends with twelve ROMAN emperors, thus bringing the list down to his own time, which was that of the early Roman empire. He could not, of course, go any further, or foretell the fall of the empire, and the rise of the Gothic kingdoms of the middle ages. We append his celebrated Canon, a document of supreme importance to the historian.

 

THE CANON OF PTOLEMY

 

PTOLEMY?S CANON OF KINGS OF THE ASSYRIANS AND MEDES.

Each. Sum

1. Nabonassar 14 14

2. Nadius 2 16

3. Khozirus and Porus 5 21

4. Jougaius 5 26

5. Mardocempadus 12 38

6. Archianus 5 43

7. First Interregnum 2 45

8. Belibus 3 48

9. Apronadius 6 54

10. Regibelus 1 55

11. Mesesimordachus 4 59

12. Second Interregnum 8 67

13. Asaridinus 13 80

14. Saosduchinus 20 100

15. Khuniladanus 22 122

16. Nabapolassar 21 143

17. Nabokolassar 43 168

18. Ilvaradamus 2 188

19. Nerikassolasar 4 192

20. Nabonadius 17 209

PERSIAN KINGS

21. Cyrus 9 218

22. Cambyses 8 226

23. Darius I. 36 262

24. Xerxes 21 283

25. Artaxerxes I. 41 324

26. Darius II. 19 343

27. Artaxerxes II. 46 389

28. Ochus 21 410

29. Arogus 2 412

30. Darius III. 4 416

31. Alexander of Macedon 8 424

YEARS OF THE KINGS AFTER THE DEATH OF KING ALEXANDER

1. Philip, after 7 7

Alexander the Founder

2. Alexand. AEgus 12 19

KINGS OF THE GREEKS IN EGYPT

3. Ptolemy Lagus 20 39

4. Ptolemy Philadelphus 38 77

5. Ptolemy Euergetes I. 25 102

6. Ptolemy Philopator 17 119

7. Ptolemy Epiphanes 24 143

8. Ptolemy Philometor 35 178

9. Ptolemy Euergetes II.29 207

10. Ptolemy Soter 36 243

11. Ptolemy Dionysius 29 272

12. Cleopatra 22 294

KINGS OF THE ROMANS

13. Augustus 43 337

14. Tiberius 22 359

15. Caius 4 363

16. Claudius 14 377

17. Nero 14 391

18. Vespasian 10 401

19. Titus 3 404

20. Domitian 15 419

21. Nerva 1 420

22. Trajan 19 439

23. Adrian 21 460

24. Antoninus 23 483

Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome; this was the order Ptolemy saw in looking back; this was the retrospect of the historian, and it accords -absolutely with the outline seen beforehand by the prophet. Moreover, as Faber points out:?

 

"In each case the principle of continuous arrangement is identical."

 

Where Ptolemy makes the Persian Cyrus the immediate successor of the Babylonic Nabonadius, or Belshazzar, without taking into account the preceding kings of Persia or of Media, there, in the image, the silver joins itself to the gold; where Ptolemy makes the Grecian Alexander the immediate successor of the Persian Darius, without taking into account the preceding kings of Macedon, there, in the image, the brass joins itself to the silver; and where Ptolemy makes the Roman Augustus the immediate successor of the Grecian Cleopatra, without taking into account the long preceding roll of the consular Fasti and the primitive Roman monarchy, there, in the image, the iron joins itself to the brass. In short, the Canon of Ptolemy may well be deemed a running comment upon the altitudinal line of the great metallic image. As the parts of the image melt into each other, forming jointly one grand succession of supreme imperial domination, so the Canon of Ptolemy exhibits what may be called a picture of unbroken imperial rule, though administered by four successive dynasties, from Nabonassar to Augustus and his successors.?

 

The same Divine care which raised up Herodotus and other Greek historians to carry on the records of the past, from the point to which they had been brought by the writings of the prophetsthe same providence which raised up Josephus, at the termination of New Testament history, to record the destruction of Jerusalemraised up also this Ptolemy, to show the historian?s view of the four great empires of their succession and chronology. Nor does Ptolemy stand alone in his review of history. Ancients and moderns all are agreed as to the main outline of the history of those nations of which prophecy takes cognisance; i.e., the nations which formed the environment of the people of God in the world, and have had to do with the Jews and the Christian Church. The ancient Jewish Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel, written shortly before the first advent; the writings of Josephus, who was born during the lifetime of our Lord, the Commentary of Jerome, and the writings of other Fathers, of the early centuries of our era, the histories of Sulpiciusall give the same outline. In fact, ancient history is written on this principle; all the best writers divide their subject thus, and the experience of school and college teaches us the truth of Daniel?s outline. Do we not study as four separate branches the histories of Rome, of Greece, of Persia, and of Babylon?

 

The latter is often combined with the Assyrian empire which preceded it, for until recent archeological discovery made it comparatively plain, -the successions and distinctions of the earliest monarchies of the East were obscure, and their annals were often combined under the general title of ?Ancient History.? The four empires of this prophecy start with the later Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar.

 

Moreover, these empires, and especially the two latter, are the sources whence we derive the laws and politics and the foundation of the literature still prevailing among us, the arts of sculpture and drawing, and especially that of architecture. But little is known comparatively of the history of the other nations of antiquity, and there can be no question that these four had a special relation to the people of God and to the history of redemption. It was Babylon who led the Jews captive, Medo-Persia who restored them to their own land; Alexander who in his turn conquered Jerusalem and held Palestine, in and about which his successors the Ptolemies and the Seleucidae were always warring; it was under the empire of Rome the glorious redemption itself was accomplished, and the Christian Church founded, while Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jewish people were finally expelled from Palestine. So general is the consensus of opinion on this point among all who have any acquaintance with history, that it is needless to dwell on it. The succession of Normans, Plantagenets, Tudors, and Stuarts in our own history is not more patent than that of Babylonians, Persians, Grecians, and Romans in the history of the world since the days of Daniel, including in the last, the modern nations of Latin Christendom, the tenfold commonwealth of European nations which arose out of the ruins of the old Roman empire.

 

For it must be borne in mind that the double prophecy not only presents these four empires as successive, but as filling the whole interval until the second advent of Christ in glory, and the establishment of the everlasting kingdom of Messiah on earth. They exclude by implication any other or different state of things. The last, or Roman rule, continues in its tenfold state to the end of the existing order; there is nothing in the image lower than the feet, and there is no ?beast? subsequent to the fourth. What follows is another age altogether. It is the kingdom of the Mountain that fills the whole earth the kingdom of the God of heaven, to which we must revert presently. Meantime, a few details as to the history which has justified and fulfilled this first leading feature of Daniel?s program must be given, to recall the familiar facts.

 

The expressions used in ver. 38 about THE FIRST BABYLONIAN EMPIRE denote universality, but they must not be taken in a strict but in a popular sense, and with reference to the then known world only. As a matter of fact, Nebuchadnezzar?s kingdom never extended even at all into Europe, nor into Africa beyond the bounds of Egypt; and even over the Asiatic countries he conquered, his dominion did not descend into the actual administration of government in them allit was simply a general control, a superior power, and the exaction of tribute. As we have seen in other cases, Scripture occasionally uses unlimited terms in limited senses, and this principle must always be borne in mind in considering such statements as those in this prophecy. The principal conquests of Nebuchadnezzar were Syria, Palestine, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Lydia, and Egypt. His successors were none of them equal to himself in administrative ability, and the empire did not last long. It was coterminous in its duration with the Babylonish captivity, seventy years: the conquest of Babylonia and capture of Babylon by Cyrus brought it to an end in accordance with Jeremiah?s predictions.

 

It should be realized that during the period of its dominion, and while the exploits of Nebuchadnezzar were engaging the minds of men, Greece and Romemuch more Spain, France, and Britainwere merely occupied by nomadic tribes, and not known even by name to the kingdoms of the East, The birthplace and nursery of mankind was the sphere in which the first empires were developed. The two rivers of Paradise, the Tigris and Euphrates, had numerous and populous cities all along their courses; and Mesopotamia was the busy, rich, and influential part of the world, when Europe had not yet emerged from obscurity, and was unknown even by name to the Assyrians and Babylonians. How wonderful the contrast with the present state of things! What remains of all this ancient wealth and power? The mounds of Babylon, the ruins of Nineveh, the shattered temples of Mesopotamia, a few traditional sites and names, broken tablets and buried inscriptions, and a history contained for the most part in a few chapters of the word of God. The spirit which inspired Daniel foresaw the transitory nature of the glory of the then existing empires; his predictions dwell very briefly on them, mention them only in a verse or two, and pass on rapidly to the more important dominion of the fourth empire. An uninspired writer would have done the reversedwelt on the then absorbing present at length, and paused lightly over the dim, uncertain future. But things are not what they seem. The glory of Babylon was the passing incident, the mighty king would soon be forgotten. The true greatness is moral, not material. The fame of Daniel remains; his writings are pondered and studied to this day; the record of the faith and fortitude of the Hebrew children stimulates and influences mankind even now; while the doings of -Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, except in as far as their histories were a fulfillment of prophecy, are simply matters of literary curiosity.

 

THE SECOND, OR MEDO-PERSIAN, EMPIRE, represented by the breast and arms of silver, and by the bear which raised itself up on one side, is in the subsequent vision (chap. viii.) represented as a ram having two horns, interpreted as ?the kings of Media and Persia? (ver. 20). History shows us that Media was originally the stronger power of the two, but that it yielded to the ascendant of Persia in the days of the talented and enterprising young Cyrus. The way in which he rapidly obtained empire is well described by Herodotus, recalling the words of this prediction that ?no beasts could stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand, but he did according to his will and became great? (ver. 4). He says of his prosperity in war: ?Wherever Cyrus turned himself to march, it was impossible for that nation to escape.? Xenophon also describes in detail his conquests

 

?But Cyrus, receiving the tribes of Asia in a similar state, under their own laws, and starting with a small army of Persians, ruled the Medes and the Hyrcanians by their own consent; and subverted the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, both the Phrygias, the Lydians, Carians, Phenicians, Babylonians; and ruled also over the Bactrians, and Indians, and Cilicians in like manner over the Sacae, and Paphlagonians, and Mariandyni, and many other tribes, whose very names one can scarcely mention. And he ruled also over the Greeks in Asia, having come to the sea coast, and over the Cyprians and Egyptians. He reigned, therefore, over these nations, which were neither of the same language with himself nor with each other; and yet he was able to range over so great a territory by the fear he inspired, so that he struck all with dread, and none assailed him; and was able to infuse such a desire into the minds of all men to obtain his favour, that they consented continually to be ruled by his judgment. And he subverted so many tribes as it is troublesome to recount, in whatever direction we start from the royal palace, to the east and west, north and south.?

 

THE THIRD, OR GRECIAN, EMPIRE is represented in the image by ?the belly and thighs of brass, ? and in Daniel?s own vision by ?a leopard with four wings of a fowl and four heads.? Both are remarkably suitable emblems for the Grecian empire. Brass is frequently used as a symbol of eloquence, a feature in which Greece surpassed all other nations, and one which was applied by the Greeks to themselves, Theodoret writes: ?The prophet has very fitly compared Alexander to the leopard, for swiftness, speed, and variableness.? The empire of Greece in another part of the prophecy is compared also to a he-goat with a notable horn on his head, on the breaking of which four other horns appear. Rapidity of conquest, irresistible power, and geographical origin are all expressed in the words: ?A he-goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground. He ran unto the ram in the fury of his power, smote him and brake his two horns. There was no power in the ram to stand before him; he cast him down to the ground and stamped upon him, and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he-goat waxed very great; and when he was strong, the great horn was broken.? The history could not be more exactly symbolised. Its period is that following the close of Scripture history. Thucydides tells the story and traces the struggle between the he-goat and the ram. The rapidity of Alexander?s conquests in Asia was marvelous; he burst like a torrent on the expiring Persian empire, and all opposition was useless. The gigantic armies collected to oppose him melted like snow in the sunshine. The battles of Granicus B.C. 334, Issus in the following year, and Arbela in B.C. 331, settled the fate of the Persian empire, and established the wide dominion of the Greeks.

 

The entire and wonderful career of Alexander the Great was comprised in twelve brief years and seven months; he was only thirty when he drank. himself to death. From the straits of Gibraltar to the banks of the Indus, ambassadors came to congratulate him on his glory and to seek his friendship. He had himself traversed Asia victoriously from the Hellespont to India, stamped upon the Persian ram destroyed its power, and none could deliver out of his hand. But when the world lay at his feet, and its suppliant embassies came seeking his favour, ? when the he-goat was strong, the great horn was broken.?

 

The connection of this great conqueror with the Jewish people is peculiarly interesting. The story is related by Josephus, and there seems no ground for questioning its truth. The Jews had taken an oath of allegiance to Darius, and did not feel at liberty to provision the troops of Alexander engaged in the siege of Tyre as he had ordered them to do. He was enraged, but could not at once punish them. As soon as he was at liberty, he started on this errand, however; and the fate of Jerusalem would have been that of Tyre but for a remarkable providential deliverance.

 

Jaddua, the high priest, warned of God in a dream, opened the gates and decorated the city, and dressed in his official robes, and with the priests and people dressed in white following him, he went forth to meet Alexander. On seeing them, the conqueror?s anger was at once abated, and he told Parmenio, his general, that while still in Macedonia he had in a dream seen this person Jaddua, who had promised him victory. He entered Jerusalem in company with the priest, who then showed him this very prophecy of Daniel (then between two and three hundred years old), thereby greatly encouraging his hope of overthrowing the Persian empire. ?When the Book of Daniel was shown him wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended.?(Antiq. Bk. XI. viii.5.)

 

Alexander not only did no harm to the Jews and their city and temple, but granted them immunities and gave them gifts.

 

It is interesting to observe that in the two visions we are specially considering, the whole history of this heroic period from Cyrus to Alexander, a period more celebrated probably than any other in history, is again passed over in a few verses. Profane historians and poets have dwelt on the glorious epoch which included the conquests of Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius, the wars of Greece, the expedition of Xerxes, the battles of Marathon, Thermopyke, and Salamis, the names of Miltiades, Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, and Pericles, the struggles of Athens and Sparta, of Sparta and Thebes, the eloquence of Demosthenes, and the victories of Alexander. Arts and arms, taste and genius, conspire to make the era memorable for ever in the eyes of men. And yet how briefly does the Spirit of God dismiss the whole narrative. Alexander?s empire was divided on his death among his generals, and formed the four kingdoms of Asia Minor, Syria, Greece, and Egypt. The mutual relations of these kingdoms are given in a later prophecy (chaps. x. and xi.), which we must not here attempt to consider fully. The prediction of the fourfold division was fulfilled, when Ptolemy Seleucus, Lysimachus, and Cassander shared Alexander?s dominions between them, and assumed the title of kings.

 

THE FOURTH, or iron, kingdom symbolised the great EMPIRE OF ROME, which was to exist in two different stages: the first united with a strength like that of iron, which would devour the whole earth and break it in pieces; the second divided into ten, the iron sharing the weakness of clay. The first or unbroken stage covers a period of about six centuries, from the conquests of Scipio, Sylla, and Pompey to the fall of the last emperor of Rome, Romulus Augustulus, AD. .476. Jerome at the beginning of the fifth century clearly perceived, not only the fulfillment of the first part of the prediction, but the commencement of the second, which was observable even in his day, though abundantly more clear afterwards. He says ?

 

?But the fourth kingdom, which clearly relates to the Romans, is iron, which breaks in pieces and subdues all things. But its feet and toes are in part iron and in part clay; which is proved very plainly at this time (A.D. 400). For as in the beginning nothing was harder and stronger than the Roman empire, so in the end of things nothing is weaker.?

 

Marvelous was the announcement in the days when it was given, before even Greece had risen into notice, and when Italy was the home of only a few feeble and constantly warring tribes, that an empire born among-those barbarians was to extend its sway over the East, and be endued with a firmness of which oriental monarchs knew nothing. So little known was Rome even two hundred years later that Herodotus, in describing the earth with all its towns and cities, rivers and mountains, etc., never once mentions either the city of Rome or the Tiber on which it stands. For five centuries from its foundation there was very little indication that the Roman power would ever become a great one. Even when the empire of Alexander was falling into decay, Rome was nearly brought to destruction by the Punic wars; and not till just before the end of the Macedonian monarchy were the Romans sufficiently free from domestic enemies to enter on a career of conquest. But then indeed it fulfilled to the letter the remarkable predictions in the prophecy, carried its victorious arms throughout the world by conquest, and by its singular power of governing subdued all nations and attained dimensions that had never before been equalled, and a degree of power which has never been paralleled since. When the victories of Trajan carried the power of Rome to its height, all nations were merely vassals to the mistress of the world. Gibbon?s description of the might and majesty of the Roman empire should be read in the light of the prophecy in order to a real appreciation of the wonderful fulfillment of the latter. After reviewing in detail the different countries subjected to its sway, he says

 

?This long enumeration of provinces, whose broken fragments have formed so many powerful kingdoms, might almost induce us to forgive the vanity or ignorance of the ancients. Dazzled with the extensive sway, the irresistible strength, and the real or affected moderation of the emperors, they permitted themselves to despise, and sometimes to forget, the outlying countries which had been left in the enjoyment of a barbarous independence; and they gradually usurped the licence of confounding the Roman monarchy with the globe of the earth. .. . That empire was above two thousand miles in breadth, from the wall of Antoninus and the northern limits of Dacia to Mount Atlas, and the Tropic of Cancer. It extended, in length, more than three thousand miles from the Western Ocean to the Euphrates. It was supposed to contain above sixteen hundred thousand square miles, for the most part of fertile and well-cultivated land. The arms of the republic, sometimes vanquished in battle, always victorious in war, advanced with rapid steps to the Euphrates, the Danube, the Rhine, and the ocean; and the images of gold, or silver, or brass, that might serve to represent the nations and their kings, were successively broken by the iron monarchy of Rome..

 

?The empire of the Romans filled the world; and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. The slave of imperial despotism, whether condemned to drag his gilded chain in Rome and the senate, or to wear out a life of exile on the barren rock of Seriphus, or the frozen banks of the Danube, expected his fate in silent despair. To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master. Beyond the frontiers his anxious view could discover nothing except the ocean, inhospitable deserts, and hostile tribes of barbarians of fierce manners and unknown language, or dependent kings who would gladly purchase the Emperor?s protection by the sacrifice of an obnoxious fugitive.?Gibbon: ?Decline, ? chaps. i. and 3: #Da 7:26, 27

 

We have seen that Daniel?s fourfold image and the vision of the four beasts both represent the Roman power as continuing in existence up to the time of the second advent, and as being destroyed and succeeded only by it. They represent the fourth, or Roman empire, as rising on the fall of the Grecian, and as occupying the whole interval between that date and the close of the times of the Gentiles. There is no break or gap in the image, and the fourth beast it is distinctly said continues till the establishment of the kingdom of the Son of man and of the saints.{#Da 7:26, 27}

 

Now the old empire of Rome ended in the fifth century; has any other form of power exercised from Rome arisen and is it now in existence, and has this revived power of Rome been exercised over a commonwealth of ten kingdoms? This is evidently an exceedingly interesting and most important part of our inquiry into the fulfillment of this Daniel program, because if history has realized this part of the foreview as exactly as the former portion, the fulfillment must embrace our own times, since the tenfold condition of the Roman world is to continue to the end of the age. Now it is one thing to read of a fulfillment in the past, and another to see it with our own eyes in the present. The Canon of Ptolemy and Gibbon?s history of the Decline and Fall are doubtless good and trustworthy evidence; but, after all, ?seeing is believing, ? and there is nothing like experience for producing conviction. Present phenomena must needs impress the mind more than past; hence the importance of the inquiry, Was the Roman world divided into ten kingdoms on the fall of the empire? Has this division continued from that day to this clearly traceable? Is it evident even now? What were the ten kingdoms at first? What have they been ever since? and what are they at present? The answer to these inquiries is profoundly interesting, because among other reasons it must needs afford an indication of our present position in the stream of time with regard to the second advent. That indication may be to some extent indefinite, but it must be there, and it is the clearest information on the all-important subject which is attainable. The program presents five episodes the four empires and the tenfold commonwealth and then follows the second advent. The four empires are past. When we have examined history on the subject of the tenfold commonwealth, we shall see how much of that is also past, and be able to judge to some extent how much remains; and this, though not the main object of our investigation, is a deeply interesting incidental result. To trace the fulfillment of the prophecy as an evidence of the inspiration of Scripture is our object; but who can fail to welcome any light on the subject of our Lord?s return?

 

The first question that arises for consideration is, In what sphere are we to look for the ten kingdoms? Shall we seek for them in the whole extent of the Roman empire at the time of its widest dominion? or in that part of its territory which was properly Roman as distinguished from the countries belonging to previous empires subjugated by Rome?

 

A very little consideration will show that prophecy regards the four empires as being as distinct in territory as in time; as distinct in geographical boundaries as in chronological limits. They rise in a definite sequence; the supreme dominion of one does not in point of time overlap the supreme dominion of the following one, nor is the territory of a former ?beast? or empire ever regarded as belonging to a later one, though it may have been actually conquered. Each has its own proper theatre or body, and the bodies continue to exist after the dominion is taken away. This is distinctly stated, both in connection with the fourfold image and with the four beasts, In the first case the stone falls upon the clay and iron feet only, but the iron legs, the brazen body, the silver breast, and the golden head, are all by it ?broken to pieces together.? Now the empires represented by these have long since passed away. They cannot therefore be ?broken to pieces? by the second advent. But the territory once occupied by them is still existing and still populous, and exposed to the judgments of the day of Christ just as much as Rome itself.

 

Similarly we read that the three earlier beasts did not cease to exist when the fourth arose. ?Their dominion was taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.? {#Da 7:12} That is to say, the first three empires are regarded as co-existing with the fourth after their dominion has ended. This proves that they are regarded as distinct in place as well as in time. They continue to be recognized as territorial divisions of the earth after the disappearance of their political supremacy. Now the eastern empire of Rome which it acquired by conquest occupied precisely the same territory as the Grecian empire had done, and its conquests in Asia occupied the territories which originally formed the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires. None of this territory belongs to ?the legs of iron.? It constitutes the golden, silver, and brazen portions of the image. It cannot be regarded as forming any part of the empire proper and peculiar to Rome.

 

The ten horns or kingdoms of the fourth empire must none of them be sought in the realms of the third, second, or first, but exclusively in the realm of the fourth, or in the territory PECULIAR to ROME, and which had ne&er formed part either of the Grecian, Medo-Persian, or Babylonian empires. Sir Isaac Newton says on this point: ?Seeing the body of the third beast is confined to the nations on this side the Euphrates, and the body of the fourth beast is confined to the nations on this side of Greece, we are to look for all the four heads of the third beast among the nations on this side the Euphrates, and for all the eleven horns of the fourth beast among the nations on this side of Greece. Therefore we do not reckon the Greek empire seated at Constantinople among the horns of the fourth beast, because it belonged to the body of the third.?

 

Our question then becomes more definite and takes this form was the territory peculiar to Rome, the territory which is sometimes spoken of as the Western Empire, and of which Rome itself was the capital, divided on the fall of the old empire into ten kingdoms? It is notorious that such was the case. From the rise of the Roman empire to its fall in the fifth century it was one and undivided; since its decline and fall as an empire, the territory peculiar to Rome has been broken up into many independent sovereignties, bound together into the one family of Latin Christendom by a common submission to the popes of Rome, The number of distinct kingdoms has always been about ten at times exactly ten, sinking at intervals to eight or nine, rising occasionally to twelve or thirteen, but averaging on the whole ten. The prophecy distinctly predicted that the number would not be constantly or invariably ten. It represents a little horn springing up among the ten, then there must have been eleven. It represents that three of the horns were plucked up before this little horn, then there could have been for a time eight only. Fresh horns must however have taken the place of the uprooted ones, for at the close of the beast?s history the number is represented as still ten.

 

Hence the number of the kingdoms was to be generally, but not rigidly or unvaryingly, ten; there would as a rule throughout the whole period be ten kingdoms, occupying the sphere of the western empire of Rome; but the number would be elastic, sometimes less, sometimes more, but always about ten, so that no other number of horns would as correctly represent the facts of the case. Alexander?s empire was represented by one notable horn, the dynasties that arose amidst its broken fragments by four horns; but Rome was to break up into a larger number, and ten different kingdoms would appear upon the scene, and occupy even till the end, the territory belonging to the fourth beast, still having Rome as in some sort their center and bond of union, for they were to be horns of the Roman beast.

 

Such are the symbols, and they are the more remarkable because they foretell a state of things which had never existed in the world at the time when the prophecy was given, and which never did exist till a thousand years afterwards. Babylon Persia, Greece, and Rome in its first phase, all sought and obtained universal dominion, and could brook no rival power. The prophecy foretold that in the distant future another state of things should arise, and that co-existing side by side, a family of ten kingdoms should divide the heritage of Rome, and while no longer in subjection to it as provinces, should yet, as independent kingdoms, continue to have a common connection with Rome. The fact that the portion of the prophecy devoted to the detailed history of these horns is two or three times as long as that devoted to the history of the undivided empire, suggests that their actual history might probably extend over a much longer period than that of the undivided empire; and there is no question that they continue in existence until the coming of Christ, and the establishment of His millennial kingdom.

 

They rise on the fall of the empire, for there is no gap in the image, and no break in the continuity of the history of the fourth beast, no indication whatever that any interval is to exist between the united and the dismembered conditions of the Roman world, The iron legs run right on to the ten toes, and the story of the beast is continued without a break in the story of the ten horns.

 

What now have been the facts of history? Was the Roman empire on its fall divided into a number of separate kingdoms, and has it continued to be so ever since? Has the number of such kingdoms averaged ten? Have they retained a common connection with Rome? And how many such kingdoms now occupy the scene?

 

The ten kingdoms must first of course be sought among the Gothic dynasties of the fifth and sixth centuries by which the empire of the West was overthrown; and then at intervals ever since. Should we find that Europe has for ages been united under one monarch, or should we on the other hand find that it has been divided as a rule into thirty or forty kingdoms, we shall be driven to conclude that the prophecy has failed of fulfillment. But should we on the contrary find that amid incessant changes the number of the kingdoms of the European commonwealth has, as a rule, averaged ten, we must surely admit that this portion of the prophecy is as much fulfilled as the earlier portion of the four undivided empires. What further evidence of. fulfillment can be desired, than that the thing predicted has come to pass?

 

As it would be impossible to note the exact number of kingdoms for each year of the thirteen or fourteen centuries which have since elapsed, we must content ourselves with taking a census each century.

 

The historian Machiavel, without the slightest reference to this prophecy, gives the following list of the nations which occupied the territory of the Western Empire at the time of the fall of Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of Rome.

 

The Lombards, the Franks, the Burgundians, the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, the Vandals, the Heruli, the Sueves, the Huns, and the Saxons; ten in all.

 

After a time the Huns disappeared, but other powers arose and obtained a home in the domains of old Rome. The changes were incessant, as horde after horde of barbarian invaders pressed in on every side to share the spoils; but still the number of established kingdoms was again and again ten. It never rose to twenty or thirty, it never fell to two or three. Charlemagne in his day reduced it for a time, and attempted, like Napoleon in a later age, to restore unity; both utterly failed, and after a very few years the normal ten kingdoms reappeared.

 

The following list gives the contemporary kingdoms existing in Western Europe at intervals of a hundred years apart, from the 9th to the 19th centuries. It is extracted from a much longer series in ?The Four Prophetic Empires, ? by the Rev. T. R. Birks, and is introduced by the remark that a measure of uncertainty must exist as to whether some of the States should be included, as ?it is sometimes doubtful whether a kingdom can claim an independent sovereignty on account of the complex and varying nature of its political relations.? But as exactly as it can be estimated from the records of history, the following lists present the members of the family of kingdoms as they appeared from century to century. Where a note of interrogation follows a name, it implies that there are some elements of doubt as to whether it should be included or not.

 

A.D. 86o.

 

Italy, Provence, Lorraine, East France, West France, Exarchate, Venice, Navarre, England, Scotland. Total, 10.

 

A.D. 950.

 

Germany, Burgundy, Lombardy, Exarchate, Venice, France, England, Scotland, Navarre, Leon. Total, so.

 

AD. 1050.

 

Germany, Exarchate, Venice, Norman Italy, France, England, Scotland, Arragon, Castile, Normandy (?), Hungary (?). Total, 9 to 11.

 

A.D. 1150.

 

Germany, Naples, Venice, France, England, Scotland, Arragon, Castile, Portugal, Hungary, Lombardy (?). Total, 10, or perhaps 11.

 

A.D. 5250.

 

Germany and Naples, Venice, Lombardy, France, England, Scotland, Arragon, Castile, Portugal, Hungary. Total, so.

 

A.D. 5350.

 

Germany, Naples, Venice, Switzerland (?), Milan (?), Tuscany (?), France, England and Scotland, Arragon, Castile, Portugal, Hungary. Total, 9 to 12.

 

AD. 5453.

 

Austria, Naples, Venice, France, England, Scotland, Arragon, Castile, Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland (?), Savoy (?), Milan (?), Tuscany (?). Total, is to 14.

 

A.D. 1552.

 

Austria, Venice, France, England, Scotland, Spain, Naples, Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland (?), Lombardy (?). Total, 9 to 11.

 

A.D. 1648.

 

Austria, Venice, France, Britain (?), Spain and Naples, Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland (?), Savoy, Tuscany, Holland. Total, 8 to 10.

 

A.D. 1750.

 

Austria and Hungary, France, Savoy and Sardinia, Venice, Tuscany

 

Spain, Portugal, Switzerland (?), Naples (?), Britain (?), Holland.

 

Total, 8 to Is.

 

A.D. 1816.

 

Austria, Bavaria, Wurtemburg (?), Naples, Tuscany, Sardinia, Lombardy (?), France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Britain (?), Switzerland (?). Total, 9 to 13.

 

An examination of this list reveals the surprising fact, which would only become more apparent were the list lengthened ten times, so as to present a census of each decade instead of each century, that, amidst unceasing and almost countless fluctuations, the kingdoms of modern Europe have from their birth to the present day averaged ten in number. They have never since the break-up of old Rome been united into one single empire; they have never formed one whole even like the United States. No scheme of proud ambition seeking to reunite the broken fragments has ever succeeded; when such have arisen, they have been invariably dashed to pieces. Witness the legions of Napoleon buried beneath the snows of Russia, the armadas of Spain wrecked by Atlantic storms, and all the futile royal marriage arrangements by which monarchs vainly sought to create a revived empire. In spite of all human effort, in defiance of every attempt at reunion, the European commonwealth for thirteen or fourteen centuries has numbered on an average ten kingdoms.

 

And the division is as apparent now as ever! Plainly and palpably inscribed on the map of Europe this day, it confronts the sceptic with its silent but conclusive testimony to the fulfillment of this great prophecy. Who can alter or add to this tenfold list of the kingdoms now occupying the sphere of old Rome?

 

ITALY, AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, ENGLAND, HOLLAND, BELGIUM, SPAIN, and PORTUGAL.

 

Ten, and no more; ten, and no less! The Franco-Prussian war and the unification of Italy have once more developed distinctly the normal number of the kingdoms of Europe.

 

Nor is this all. The most marked feature of this prophecy is neither the four beasts nor the ten horns of the fourth, but the little horn with eyes and mouth that came up among them; it is neither the four empires nor the ten kingdoms, but the one supremely influential and singularly wicked dynasty that rises with, and rules over, the latter; exalts itself; blasphemes God, wears out His saints, and ultimately brings down Divine judgment on the beast and all his horns, itself included; i.e., on apostate Latin Christendom, and its centerROME.

 

What was this little horn? To answer this question we ask another. What was the central ruling power in the European commonwealth of nations throughout the thousand years of the dark ages from the sixth to the sixteenth centuries? It was a power that ruled from Rome as did the Caesars. It was the succession of Roman pontiffs, the line of tiara-crowned monarchs who for more than twelve centuries governed papal Rome; who ranked as temporal sovereigns as well as high priests in the Church, and who united under their sway the separate kingdoms of Latin Christendom. Every feature of the prophecy was fulfilled in their dynasty, and in no other. Those features are eight in number. The prophecy lays its finger on the place where we are to find the great enemyRome; on the point of time in the course of history at which we may expect to see him rise the fall of the empire and the division of the Roman territory into a commonwealth of kingdoms; it specifies the nature of the powerpolitico-ecclesiastical, a horn, and yet an overseer or bishop; its character blasphemously self-exalting, lawless and persecuting; it measures its durationa time, and times, and the dividing of time (or 1, 260 years); and it specifies its doomto have its dominion gradually consumed and taken away, and then be suddenly destroyed for ever by the glorious epiphany of Christ and the introduction of the kingdom of God on earth.

 

The proof that the Papacy is the power intended is strictly cumulative. If it answered to one of these indications, there would be a slight presumption against it; if to several, a strong one; if to the majority, an overwhelming one; while if it answer to all, then the proof that it is the power intended becomes irresistible. There is not a single clause in the prophecy that cannot be proved to fit the Roman Papacy exactly, except the last, which is not yet fulfilled.

 

Rome, which in her pagan phase defiled and destroyed the literal temple of God at Jerusalem, in her papal days defiled and destroyed the anti-typical spiritual temple of Godthe Christian Church. Was it not worthy of God to warn that church beforehand of the coming of this dreadful anti-Christian power, and to cheer her in all the sufferings she would have to endure from its tyranny by a knowledge of the issue of the great and terrible drama? Was it not right that the Roman power, pagan and papal, should occupy as paramount a place on the page of Scripture as it has actually done on the page of history? The eighteen Christian centuries lay open before the eye of the omniscient God, and no figure stood out so prominently in all their long course as that of the great Antichrist. The pen of inspiration sketched him in a few bold, masterly strokes; and there is no mistaking the portrait. The prophecy identifies the greatest power of evil that has ever arisen in the earth and unmasks the most treacherous and deceptive foe which the Church has ever had to meet; for if the ten horns be the kingdoms of modern Europe, there can be no question as to what the little horn is. Throughout Western Europe and throughout the dark ages all men reverenced, served, and obeyed the popes of Rome, whose dominion was exceeding evil, and whose pretension was the blasphemous one to be quasi Densas God on earth. The idolatry of ancient Babylon was revived under this modern Babylon in another form, and the judgment that descended on the former will ere long descend on the latter according to this prophecy. We must, however, refer to another work for the full exposition of the subject, as space forbids our going further into it here.? ?Romanism and the Reformation from the Standpoint of Prophecy, ? also ?The Approaching End of the Age, ? part 3.

 

We have now reviewed the predictions of the course of Gentile empire in the earth and the leading events of the last twenty-five centuries. Is there any harmony between the two? The reply must needs be, never did key fit a complicated lock better than Daniel?s foreview fits this extended series of facts We have not paused to point out the precise agreement which actually exists between the minor items of the program and the corresponding parts of the history, as in this brief sketch space compels us to confine ourselves to the broad outlines only. This we regret, for we are painfully conscious that such an outline must needs fail to exhibit the full correspondence between the prophecy and its fulfillment. No skeleton can convey the life-like appearance of the man. Vague and slight must be the impression produced by such brief reminders of long-lasting, important, and influential historical episodes. We are so apt to live in our own days and the days of our immediate ancestors, and to lose sight of the far-reaching family traditions of our race; yet we are the outcome of all that long past, and when we go into its records sufficiently to realize what it was, we are impressed with its absolute similarity to the present in all essential features. The men and women of Egypt and Assyria were precisely what the men- and women of Europe in this nineteenth century are. We see them in all their domestic, social, and public life, in their fashions and foibles, their virtues and vices, their work and their worship, their ambitions, hopes and fears, and we realize that conquest and captivity, barbarian inundations, bloody persecutions, political struggles, religious revivals, and similar changes, meant to them precisely what they would mean to us. The revolutions of history, the changes of dynasty, the ascendancy of one race over anotherthese seem little matters when we merely read of them, but what would they be if we experienced them? Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, the Gothic invasions, the papal tyranny and the dark ages, the Reformation, the French Revolutionare these things mere words to us, or do we conceive the realities they recall? Who would imagine from the outlines of the four continents in a student?s blank map the variety, beauty, wealth, and glory of the world? Every square inch of the map means a thousand square miles perhaps of land and water, mountain and valley, city and town and village; it means forests, lakes, caverns and mines, rocks bearing gold and silver, cornfields and flowers, pastures and gardens, countless living creatures, and millions of mankind, each man and woman of those millions being as precious as we ourselves are in the sight of God, and equally redeemed by the death of Christ. So as to history. These four Gentile empires mean a hundred generations of mankind, each one of which numbered millions of individuals. These historical changes so little to us were to them all important. Marvelous is the

variety and magnitude of the events condensed into the words Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, with its second still extant stage, Latin Christendom. And God foresaw each and all. He marked the ravages of these wild beasts; He noted how they would destroy wonderfully in the earth; He anticipated their oppressions and persecutions of His people; every page of the long and terrible story lay naked and open to His eye. His wisdom saw fit to suffer so long the reign of monsters, but His purpose to destroy this evil state of things and to follow it by one as blessed as this has been the reverse, is revealed for the comfort of His people and the Vindication of His providence. The four empires are but the brief and passing introduction to the fifth, to the eternal kingdom of the Son of man and of the saints.

 

It is most important to observe that the introduction of Christianity into the world as a religion at the time of the first advent of Christ is not the fulfillment of this last blessed prophecy, though it is often alleged as such to the great weakening of the prediction, as if it taught that human history was to wind up with Christianity as we now have it become universal! This is not what Daniel?s program presents as the outline of the future, but very far from it. The symbol of the falling stone cannot predict this reality; first because of its own intrinsic nature, and secondly because of the period at which it is placed in the prediction.

 

As to the first point, its nature. The sudden descent of a stone massive enough to crush a great image to powder and annihilate it utterly would be a most inappropriate symbol, and one wholly inapplicable to represent the slow and gradual spread of the healing, having faith of Christ. He came at His first advent, not as a mighty victor overthrowing the hosts of evil, but as a helpless babe, a suffering witness to the truth, and a dying Savior of mankind; and He sent forth His disciples as sheep amid wolves. It is an insult to Divine intelligence to suppose that such a symbol would have been selected to foreshadow such an event. A sudden and awful catastrophe making an end at once and for ever of all monarchiesthe symbol of what happened to the world, when ?Jesus of Nazareth went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, ? and saying, ?I came not to judge the world, but to save it?? Impossible. Besides, after the catastrophe the stone becomes a mountain and fills the whole earth, taking the place of the image. This did not happen after the first advent. A spiritual religion spread among men, it is true, but not by force. Christianity destroyed no kingdoms or nations. Force was arrayed against it. The Roman empire sought to destroy the faith of Christ. The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church, but neither Christ nor His disciples tried to overthrow the Roman empire. The fall of the stone cannot possibly represent something thus wholly distinct and even contrasted in character. Its gradual cutting out without hands, while the image still stood in all its imposing majesty, its silent and mysterious formation by an unseen power in preparation for its subsequent descent, may indeed represent the present spiritual process of the separation of the Church of Christ out of the world, and its spiritual union with Him through the invisible power of the Holy Ghost. But the fall of the stone must represent something very different, even the coming of the Lord from heaven hereafter with ten thousand of His saints in glory and judgment. The first advent and the introduction of Christianity into the world did not do to Gentile empires what the fall of the stone did to the image. The thing prefigured is a sudden crushing blow of final judgment. Nothing of the kind has ever happened under the influence of Christianity. Its operation and its results have been of another kind altogether. Mohammedanism overthrew kingdoms in abundance, though it never filled the earth, but Christianity never overthrew one. The empire of the Caesars, under which it was born, stood firm for centuries after its birth, and Gentile empire still exists as much as in Daniel?s day.

 

And, secondly, the first advent did not occur at the time predicted in these prophecies. The stone falls on the clay-iron feet of the image. The kingdom of the mountain, the kingdom of the God of heaven, is in both visions set up at the end of the last or tenfold state of the fourth monarchy, and is in itself a fifth, more universal and more enduring than they all. It does not co-exist with the Roman power, but it follows it in chronological sequence. Now the tenfold condition of the Roman world did not commence until the sixth century, and the first advent took place five hundred years too soon for it to fulfil this prediction. The ten kingdomed state continues still, so the fifth monarchy, or kingdom of the mountain, cannot have commenced as yet. It is a future manifested kingdom of God on earth, which is predicted herethe same kingdom which had previously been predicted to David, the universal and eternal kingdom of the Son of David and Son of God? the kingdom of the Son of man and of the saints.?

 

Is then the first advent silently ignored in Daniel?s program of the future? Though only five hundred years distant from his own day, do his comprehensive foreview~ take no notice whatever of so all-important an event? On the contrary, Daniel?s program devotes an entire chapter to the great theme, or rather Daniel?s God granted him a distinct and supremely important revelation about it. The first advent, as we shall presently see, forms the sole subject of a separate prophecy; but this prediction of the four empires does not introduce it at all. It were altogether beneath its inherent dignity to mention the supreme event of time and of eternity as a mere incident in the history of the fourth empire. Incarnation and redemption are properly passed by in silence here, where the succession of earthly monarchies is the subject; but the second advent of Christ to judge and rule the world as King to establish the kingdom of Godis presented as the grand terminus of all Gentile dominion. His is the fifth monarchythe mountain that fills the whole earth and stands for everand it is introduced by the sudden and complete destruction of the image whose very dust is blown into oblivion.

 

THE PROPHECY OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS.

 

But we must turn now to a consideration of the second great feature of the Daniel program. If the first be, as we have seen, a world-wide and most comprehensive outline of the political changes of twenty-five centuries, the second is an absolute contrast to it.

 

The Messianic revelation of the ninth of Daniel relates mainly to a single half-century of history, to Daniel?s own people, to one individual among them, and a few years of his one brief life. If the earlier visions threw their beams abroad over the known world, and onward through the ages of history, this concentrates its rays on one limited spot, sheds its brilliant blaze of prophetic light on one specified era, on one human life, the life of all livesthe life on which the salvation of the world depends. The political prophecies were like a wide landscape painting, with a Babylonian and Persian foreground, a Greek and Roman middle distance, and a papal extreme distance, stretching away to a glorious golden horizon line where earth and heaven meet and mingle in the coming kingdom of God. But this Messianic prediction is? On the contrary, like a beautiful portrait, and the eye, that like Noah?s dove could only rove restlessly over the blood-stained scenes of earth?s ever-shifting empires, can rest with joy on this matchless miniature, for the impress of Divinity sits on the holy brow, and the light of infinite love and benevolence beams from the eye, while the lips have language and utter wondrous words of pardon, peace, reconciliation, renewal, and everlasting righteousness. Of all the prophecies in the Bible, Daniel?s of the ?seventy weeks? is the most wonderful and the most important. It stands erect among the ruins of time like the solitary and colossal obelisk amid the mounds of Heliopolis, grandly evident, archaic in its rugged simplicity, covered with an ancient script, whose decipherment demands indeed some study, but richly repays it; its authoritative assertions cut clear and deep in the hard granite, defying time?s power to efface their record; its sentences few, but full of meaning, their very style betraying their origin and Divine authority.

 

Not dynastic but personal, not Gentile but Jewish, not temporal so much as spiritual, this prophecy is framed in a setting altogether unlike that of the previous ones. They were given in dreams and visions, and expressed by hieroglyphic signs. This falls gently from angelic lips on the ear of the man greatly beloved, and comes at a moment when the prophet?s heart is tender from recent prayer, his spirit contrite after heartfelt confession, his hope fresh kindled by study of previously given predictions, and his faith strengthened by earnest supplication. Daniel had set his face unto the Lord, with prayer and fasting, sackcloth and ashes; making a confession remarkable in its fullness of the sins of his people. Thirteen times over in the course of his prayer he uses expressions confessing sinwe have done wickedly, we have rebelled, we have transgressed, we have sinned. He speaks of ?our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, ? ?my sin and the sin of my people, ? and makes earnest supplication for pardon. ?O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! Let Thine anger and Thy fury be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate.? He urges the Christian argument, if we may so say, ?for the Lord?s sake, ? and pleads, ?We do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses, but for Thy great mercies.?

 

Daniel was an old man at this time. The monarch whom he had served so faithfully for over forty years, Nebuchadnezzar, had long since passed away, with all his weak and unworthy successors. The short-lived empire of Babylon was over, and Darius the Median was now master of the city. Cyrus, the promised deliverer of Israel, was commander of the army, though not yet king. Daniel was still honored and respected at court, but his heart yearned more intensely than ever over his fatherland, though he had been exiled from it since boyhood. His longing for the restoration of his people was a perfectly unselfish one, as he knew that he personally could never again set foot on Mount Zion. His tomb in any case would have to be by the banks of the Euphrates, for the patriarch of fourscore years could not journey over desert and mountain back to Palestine. But Daniel thought not of himself; but of his people, of the house of God, of the sanctuary of Israel lying desolate, of the name of Jehovah dishonored; he thought, too, of the cause of all this, and blameless and holy as his own life had been, he appropriates all the sins of his people both before and during the captivity, confesses with heartfelt contrition the righteousness of God in afflicting them, praying that the Divine displeasure may cease, and that Israel?s sin may in mercy be forgiven. While asking the restoration of Israel, his deepest desire seems to be for forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God. What a contrast this to Nebuchadnezzar?s frame of mind when revelations of the future were made to him! The mighty monarch cared for worldly matters only, and such alone were made known to him. The holy prophet yearns after heavenly blessings, pardon, peace, and purity; and Gabriel?s visit is God?s answer to his holy aspiration. ?He touched me about the time of the evening oblation, ? says Daniel, ?and he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am now come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand. the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war

desolations are determined. And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.?

 

It will be perceived that this prediction given in response to Daniel?s prayer says nothing at all about the restoration of Israel, which was then close at hand. The reason fdr this is evident: the restoration, and even its date, had already been predicted with singular distinctness by Jeremiah, and the name of the appointed deliverer, Cyrus, had actually been mentioned by Isaiah. Daniel had not prayed that any further revelations should be granted on this point; such were needless. He had prayed rather that the thing promised might be performed. His prayer was itself a fulfillment of prophecy. Jeremiah had said, ?After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.... Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. I will be found of you, and will turn away your captivity.? The great burden of Daniel?s petition was not therefore for any new prediction of Israel?s return to their own land, but it was an echo of David?s words when he received the promise of God: ?Now, O Lord God, the word that Thou hast spoken concerning Thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as Thou hast said?. {#2Sa 7:25} There was therefore no need for Gabriel to inform Daniel that the restoration edict of Cyrus would be issued within twelve months or so. The prophet well knew that the captivity was all but over, and that fact is taken for granted in the new prediction, and that restoration becomes the starting-point instead of the goal, the terminus a quo of a fresh prophetic period, the point of departure for this prophecy of seventy weeks.

 

As the ambassadors of God are never lavish in their performance of miracle, so His angelic messengers never waste words. Gabriel?s message here goes directly to the heart of the matter. The thing about which Daniel had been most deeply exercised was the forgiveness of sin, and the answer which was given promised first that blessingaddressed itself to the fundamental desire of his heart, lifted once more the veil of futurity, and allowed him to behold what the earlier visions had not shown himthe first advent of Christ ?to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.? From Nebuchadnezzar?s dream and his own vision he had learned the coming and kingdom of Messiah at the end of the fourth empire, but that glorious reign seemed to have no connection with the question of sin and its pardon. Now a new thing is revealed to himan advent of Messiah ?to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.? Here indeed was a response to Daniel?s deepest yearnings; here was strong consolation for the aged saint. The promise in Eden, the covenant with Abraham, were then approaching their fulfillment; sin was to be put away; redemption was to be brought into the world; God would actually bring near to man His everlasting righteousness. This was a renewal of all the highest and holiest hopes of the nation through whom the redemption of the world was to come; and, for the first time, the period of Messiah?s coming was indicated. Many things had been revealed about it before, but never its time. The period of the second advent had been fixed in history as at the close of the fourth empire, though this assigned no actual date. But now the precise interval to the appearance of Messiah the Prince is revealed, together with the results both spiritual and temporal of His first advent. The spiritual results were to include the putting away of sin, making reconciliation for iniquity, the introduction of everlasting righteousness, the sealing up of vision and prophecy, the anointing of a most Holy One, and the establishment of a covenant with manya new covenant, a covenant that should replace that of Sinai, and secure all these blessings for ever to those who have a share in it.

 

The temporal results were to be strange indeed, and to Daniel probably incomprehensible. Messiahand the word is here used for the first time as a proper namethe name of the hope of IsraelMessiah was indeed to come and to accomplish this glorious redeeming work; but He was not at that time to rule over Israel as expected, or to establish the kingdom so long foretold. Instead of that, He was to be ?cut off.? Cut off? How Daniel must have paled and started at the strange announcement! Messiah the Prince, the glorious King who was to reign in righteousness, and whose kingdom was to be like a mountain filling the whole earth for everMessiahto be ?cut off?! The word admitted of no double sense, however; it was one used for the execution of a judicial sentence by death. Messiah was to be ?cut off.? What could the unexpected announcement mean? The next words of the angel implied that this cutting -off would be the result of His rejection by His people. They are rendered in our version by a clause which is beautiful, but incorrect, ? but not for Himself.? However true this thought as regards Christ, the original here does not bear this translation, and contains no intimation of the vicariousness of the death of Jesus. It would, indeed, be out of place in this immediate connectionthe treatment of Messiah at His advent by the Jewish nation. The marginal reading is a better rendering of the brief and rather obscure clause in the Hebrew. Messiah will be ?cut off? and ?shall have nothing.? The literal expression is, ?and none unto Him, ? the meaning being apparently that no one was for Him, no one on His side in the crisis of His fate, that He would be rejected as Messiah by His people, and ?cut off? because of this rejection. The strange prediction was therefore doubly clear: Israel?s Messiah would come at the close of a certain definite period, andmarvel of marvels!His people would doom Him to die. In punishment of this crime, the city and temple about to be rebuilt would be again destroyed, and the people and land given up to desolation. There is some obscurity as to certain points of this great prediction, though the drift of the whole is perfectly clear. The extreme condensation and brevity which mark it are one cause of the difficulty, and an occasional ellipsis in the Hebrew affords room for alternate constructions in one or two of the expressions. An immense amount of controversy has for ages been carried on about this prophecy- controversy attributable to several causes: first, its absolute clearness as a whole combined with its difficulties in minor points; secondly, the inveterate determination of the Jews to silence its glorious witness to the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth; thirdly, the equal anxiety of infidels to blunt the edge of a prophecy which establishes indubitably Divine inspiration; and, lastly, the intrinsic difficulties of sacred chronology. We cannot here enter into any controversial exposition of the

prophecy, as that would require a volume, and it is not necessary to our argument to settle the exact force of every word, or the precise application of every detail. The obvious and unquestionable meaning of the prediction as a whole, together with its marvelous fulfillment, are all that we need establish.

 

This prophecy was given just as the seventy years? captivity in Babylon was drawing to a close. It announced the duration of the restored national existence of Israel, up to the great epoch of all historythe advent of Messiah the Prince. It was foretold that within 490 years from the date of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem, the long-foreshadowed, long-predicted atonement for sin was to be accomplished by the advent of Messiah, reconciliation for iniquity effected, and everlasting righteousness brought in that vision and prophecy should be sealed up, and the Most Holy anointed.

 

The period was then subdivided into three parts: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and one week; i.e., 49 years, 434 years, and 7 years. The rebuilding of the city and the re-establishment of the Jewish polity would occur in the first forty-nine years, or ?seven weeks.? Four hundred and thirty-four years -more would elapse, and then Messiah the Prince would appear. After that, at some time not accurately defined, but within the limits of the seventieth week, or last seven years, of the period, Messiah would be cut off and ?have nothing.? It is further foretold that Jerusalem and its temple would subsequently, and as a consequence, be destroyed; and that a flood of foreign invasion would overthrow the land. But though thus cut off, Messiah would confirm the covenant with many (not the whole nation) during the course of the ?one week? (i.e., the last week of the seventy); in the midst of it He would ?cause sacrifice and oblation to cease.? Jerusalem should then be made desolate, until a certain predetermined doom should fall upon the power that should desolate it; a fact which our Lord afterwards foretold in the words, ?Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.?

 

All this was accomplished with wonderful exactness. The edict to restore and build the city was issued by Artaxerxes, and Ezra and Nehemiah were the two great restorers of the Jewish people, polity, and religion. Their joint administration occupied about ?seven weeks, ? or forty-nine years; the wall and the street were rebuilt in troublous times. After the lapse of 434 years more, Messiah the Prince did appear, saying, ?The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand?; i.e., the time indicated by this very prophecy. He came unto His own, and, alas! His own received Him not! He was cut off, and had nothing. Shortly after the Roman soldiery? the people- of a prince that shall come ?(Titus) destroyed the city and the sanctuary; the end of Jewish independence came with a flood of foreign invasion, and predetermined desolation fell on land and people. But though the nation was thus judged, Messiah did ?confirm the covenant? with many; not with Israel as a people, but with an election according to grace.

 

What covenant? and how did He confirm it? ?This is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you, ? said He to His disciples the night before His passion; {#Lu 22:20} or as Matthew and Mark give the words: ?This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.? ?He shall confirm the covenant with many, ? said the angel to Daniel. ?My blood of the new covenant shed for many, ? said Christ. Is not His blood declared to be ?the blood of the everlasting covenant?? And is not He Himself repeatedly styled, ?the Mediator of the new covenant?? See #Heb 8:6 9:15 12:24 And can any Bible student doubt what is the event predicted, when in immediate connection with the coming and cutting off of Messiah, it is added, ?He shall confirm the covenant with many??

 

The chronological precision with which this prophecy was fulfilled is most remarkable, and the more so because it was accomplished both in solar and lunar years. To prove this, it is necessary to go a little more carefully into the chronological measures and historical facts. The starting-point was to be a decree to restore and to build Jerusalem, and the terminus was to be ?Messiah the Prince.? Now there were two restoration decrees issued by Artaxerxes, and they were thirteen years apart. Either of them may be taken as the starting-point, as? each involved a measure of rebuilding of Jerusalem and of re-establishment of Jewish polity and national existence. The two decrees are associated with the two names of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the second of the two that given to Nehemiah answers most fully to the terms of the prophecy. The first was given by Artaxerxes in the seventh year of his reign, B.C. 457, and the second in the twentieth year of his reign, B.C. 444. The 490 years ran out on the solar scale from the first date, in A. D. 34; and, more accurately, on the lunar scale from the second date, A.D. 323. In both cases the last or seventieth week of years included most of the ministry of Christ, His death, resurrection, and ascension; together with the formation of the Church by the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and the early proclamation of the gospel in Palestine.

 

But the prophecy states that the Messiah was to be cut.off before the close of the seventy weeks (or 490 years), ?after? the sixty-ninth had elapsed, and before the seventieth fully ran out; that is to say, in the course of the seventieth week. He was to be cut off ?in the midst of the week, ? i.e. of the last supreme week, the one week which is marked off from its fellows; the week which stands pre-eminent, not only among the seventy, but among all the weeks the world has ever seen; the week of seven years which witnessed the miracles, the death, the resurrection, and the ascension of the Son of man and Son of God. In the middle of this terminal week of the seventy, Messiah would, according to the prophecy, be ?cut off, ? and by shedding of His own blood would confirm the new covenant with ?many ?not with the nation of Israel, but with many, both Jews and Gentiles. He would also cause all Jewish sacrifice and oblation to cease by putting away sin for ever ?by the sacrifice of Himself.?

 

This chronological prediction was fulfilled on the solar scale from the first edict of Artaxerxes, and on the lunar scale to a day from the second. A simple calculation shows this. Seventy weeks are 490. years, but sixty-nine and a half weeks are only 486½ years; this is therefore the number of the years predicted to elapse between Artaxerxes? decree and the death of Christ. Nehemiah commenced his journey to Jerusalem in accordance with the decree given in the twentieth of Artaxerxes, during the passover month, the month of Nisan, B.C. 444; and, as we know, our Lord was crucified at the same season, the Passover, A.D. 29.

 

JULIUS AFRICANUS ON THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL.

 

?This passage, therefore, as it stands thus, touches on many marvelous things. At present, however, I shall speak only of those things in it which bear upon chronology, and matters connected therewith. That the passage speaks then of the advent of Christ, who was to manifest Himself after seventy weeks, is evident. For in the Savior?s time, or from Him, are transgressions abrogated, and sins brought to an end. And through remission, moreover, are iniquities, along with offences, blotted out by expiation; and an everlasting righteousness is preached, different from that which is by the law, and visions and prophecies (are) until John, and the Most Holy is anointed. For before the advent of the Savior these things were not yet, and were therefore only looked for, And the beginning of the numbers, that is, of the seventy weeks, which make up four hundred and ninety years, the angel instructs us to take from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem. And this happened in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia. For Nehemiah his cup-bearer besought him, and received the answer that Jerusalem should be built. And the word went forth commanding these things; for up to that time the city was desolate. For when Cyrus, after the seventy years? captivity, gave free permission to all to return who desired it, some of them under the leadership of Jesus the high priest and Zorobabel, and others after these under the leadership of Esdra, returned, but were prevented at first from building the temple, and from surrounding the city with a wall, on the plea that that had not been commanded.

 

?It remained in this position, accordingly, until Nehemiah and the reign of Artaxerxes and the 155th year of the sovereignty of the Persians. And from the capture of Jerusalem that makes 185 years. And at that time King Artaxerxes gave order that the city should be built; and Nehemiah being despatched, superintended the work, and the street and the surrounding wall were built, as had been prophesied. And reckoning from that point, we make up seventy weeks to the time of Christ. For if we begin to reckon from any other point, and not from this, the pOriods will not correspond, and very many odd results will meet us. For if we begin the calculation of the seventy weeks from Cyrus and the first restoration, there will be upwards of one hundred years too many, and there will be a larger number if we begin from the day on which the angel gave the prophecy to Daniel, and a much larger number still if we begin from the commencement of the captivity. For we find the sovereignty of the Persians comprising a period of 230 years, and that of the Macedonians extending over 370 years, and from that to the sixteenth year of Tiberius Caesar is a period of about sixty years.

 

?It is by calculating from Artaxerxes, therefore, up to the time of Christ, that the seventy weeks are made up, according to the numeration of the Jews. For from Nehemiah, who was dispatched by Artaxerxes to build Jerusalem in the 115th year of the Persian empire, add the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes himself; and the fourth year of the eighty-third Olympiad, up to this date, which was the second year of the 202nd Olympiad, and the sixteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, there are reckoned 475 years, which make 490 according to the Hebrew numeration, as they measure the years by the course of the moon; so that, as is easy to show, their year consists of 354 days, while the solar year has 365 and, a quarter days. For the latter exceeds the period of twelve months, according to the moon?s course, by eleven and a quarter days. More accurately 10 days 21 hours. Hence the Greeks and the Jews insert three intercalary month~ every eight years. For eight times eleven and a quarter days make up three months. Therefore 475 years make 59 periods of eight years each, and three months besides. But since thus there are three intercalary months every eight years, we get thus 15 years minus a few days and these being added to the 475 years, make up in all the seventy weeks.?(Quoted by Eusebius, book V. Anti-Nicene Fathers, vol. ix., p. 182.)

 

In his Commentary on Daniel, Jerome sets forth the measurement of the ?seventy weeks? in lunar years, from the 20th of Artaxerxes, advocated by Julius Africanus, ?Africanus in quinto temporum volumine, de septuaginta hebdomadibus, hec loquutus ad verbum est.. -. A vicesimo autent anno Artaxerxes regis usque ad Christum, complentur hebdomadae septuaginta, juxta lunarem Hebraeorum supputatione qui menses non juxta solis, sed juxta lunae cursum numerant.?(Jerome on #Da 9)]

 

From Nisan, B.C. 444, to Nisan, A.D. 29, 472 ordinary solar years only elapsed, not 486. But 472 solar years are exactly 486 ½ lunar. Hence sixty-nine and a half weeks of lunar years, from Passover to Passover, did extend between Artaxerxes? decree in the twentieth year of his reign, and the crucifixion, or cutting off, of ?Messiah the Prince, ? A.D. 29. Thus the prophecy was accurately fulfilled, even to a day on the lunar scale. Who but He who foresees the end even from the beginning could thus have foretold the exact time of Christ?s crucifixion, five hundred years in advance? Let the date of Daniel be as late as any critic has ever placed it, we still have here predictionand that of the most exact chronological kind.

 

The prophecies whose fulfillment we have now traced are by no means the only ones contained in the Divine program of the world?s history given to Danielthey are the principal ones. But the EIGHTH chapter and the ELEVENTH also contain remarkably full and detailed political foreviews of certain portions of the history. The prophecy of the four empires is like a map of Europe comprising all its countries in outline and their entire history for twenty-five centuries. The Messianic ninth chapter is, on the contrary, a map of one country only; its predictions concern the people and holy city of Daniel, it announces the duration of the restored nationality of the Jews, the advent and rejection of Messiah, with its consequences in the renewed dispersion of the Jews and desolation of their land. The eighth chapter enlarges another detached portion of the previous all-comprehensive map. It amplifies the account of the second and third empires. It was given in the third year of Belshazzar, fifty-two years after Nebuchadnezzar?s dream, when the Babylonian power was falling, and the Medo-Persian, which was to destroy it, rising. The chapter should be carefully studied, as it is profoundly interesting, and with it we must associate the eleventh chapter, which goes into similar subjects and succeeding events in still greater detail. Space forbids our tracing the fulfillment of these wonderful predictions by quotations from the historians who narrate the facts. Suffice it to say, that the prophecy gives beforehand, with all the accuracy of history written afterwards, the events of three or four hundred years especially, and then passes on more in outline to those lying at a greater distance. The centuries whose events are so fully predicted are those which lay between the time then present and the first adventa period when the light of prophecy was to cease, when Israel would be under the power of Gentile rulers, and exposed to many wars and troubles and to some cruel persecutions, and when their faith in Divine providence would greatly need to be sustained by - the evidence of prophecy fulfilling before their eyes. The days of miracle had passed, the age of prophets was over, and from the time of Malachi the last 400 years which preceded the advent of Messiah was a time of peculiar trial of faith to the people of God. The revealing Spirit graciously spans this interval with a prophecy so full and accurate, that sceptics have rejected the entire book which contains it, on the ground that these chapters must be historical and not prophetic; a groundless objection to which we will allude more fully in a note at the end of this chapter..

 

Starting from the time then present, the close of the Babylonian empire, the eighth chapter begins by describing the rise of the Persian empire, the conquests of Cyrus westward in Lydia, northward in Armenia, southward in Babylon; while chapter xi. 2, speaks of his successors, Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius, and Xerxes: ?There shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion.? There are distinctly indicated the succession of Persian monarchs and their overthrow by Alexander, the rapidity of his course of victory, his mighty exploits, his total conquest of Persia, his universal dominion, his sudden death in the height of his power, the fourfold partition of his kingdom among his generals, the early extinction of his own posterity, and the division of his dominionsnot among his childrenbut among ?others beside those.?Chap. viii. 7, 8; xi. 3, 4.

 

Space obliges us to refrain from any detailed explanation of the eighth and eleventh chapters of the prophecy, the last of which foretold, four hundred years beforehand, the long complicated struggles between the dynasties which succeeded Alexander, especially those between the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucidae of Syria. It has been carefully expounded by many writers, and the correspondence of its statements with the records of history prove to be absolute and exact, although scores of persons and incidents are definitely mentioned in their order.

 

Jerome observed on this prophecy: ?To understand the last parts of Daniel, many histories of the Greeks are necessary; namely those of Sutorius, Callinicus, Diodorus, Hieronymus, Polybius, Posidonius, Claudius, and Andronicus Alypius, whom also Porphyry professes to have followed; that of Josephus also, and those whom Josephus names, and especially of our own Livy, Pompeius Trogus, and Justin, who relate the whole history of this latest portion.?

 

To the same effect, Bishop Newton justly observes:

 

?There is not so complete and regular a series of these kings, there is not so concise and comprehensive an account of their affairs to be found in any other writing of those times. The prophecy is really more perfect than any history. No one historian hath related so many circumstances, and in such exact order, as the prophet hath foretold them. So that it was necessary to have recourse to several authors, Greek and Roman, Jewish and Christian, and to collect here something from one, and there something from another, thus to explain and illustrate the great variety of particulars contained in the prophecy.?

 

The Rev. T. R. Birks remarks: ?If any one continuous history of these wars and alliances were now extant, the correspondence between the prophecy and the events would be easier to trace. But now, when it results from the careful collation of separate fragments, gathered from eight or ten authors, Polybius, Diodorus, Appian, Josephus, Justin, and Trogus Pompeius, the writers of the two books of Maccabees, Livy, Porphyry, and Dexippus, with medals and inscriptions; and in several of them, from incidental allusions, or brief and passing statements, where the leading object of the history is quite different; the moral evidence becomes far more striking to every ingenuous mind.?

 

NOTE TO CHAPTER VI. ON THE DATE OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL.

 

The prophecies of Daniel stand pre-eminent among all others in their evidential value. Not only does his. brief book give a foreview of twenty-five centuries of Jewish and Gentile history, including the first and the second advents of Christ, but it also fixes the chronology of various episodes of the then unknown future, with a simple certainty which would be audacious if it were not Divine. Would any mere man dare to foretell, not only a long succession of events lying far in the remote future, but the time at which some of them would occur and the periods they would occupy? This Daniel did, and the predictions have come to pass.

 

This unquestionable fact can be explained away only on one of three grounds.

 

I. The accord between prediction and fulfillment must be purely accidental and fortuitous; or,

 

II. The events must have been manipulated, so as to fit the prophecy or,

 

III. The prophecy must have been written to fit the events, i.e. after them; it must, in other words, be a forgery of a later date.

 

None of these three explanations can account for the agreement between Daniel?s predictions and history, as reflection will show. For,

 

1. Such an agreement cannot be merely fortuitous. It is too far-reaching and detailed, too exact and varied. Chance might produce a few coincidences of fulfillment out of a hundred predictions, not a hundred or more without a single exception. Common sense perceives this at a glance. As far as time has elapsed every single event predicted in Daniel has come true, and there remain but a few terminal points yet to be fulfilled.

 

2. The events were certainly not made to fit the prophecy by human arrangement. The rise and fall and succession of monarchies and of empires, and the conduct and character of nations, for over two thousand years, are matters altogether too vast to be manipulated by men. Such a notion is clearly absurd. What! did Babylonian and Persian monarchs, Grecian and Roman conquerors, Gothic and Vandal invaders, medieval kings and popes, conspire for long ages to accomplish obscure Jewish predictions, of which the majority of them never even heard?

 

3. The third and last solution is consequently the only possible alternative to a frank admission of the Divine inspiration of the book, and of the Divine government of the world amid all its ceaseless political changes. Can the prophecy have been written to fit the events? In other words, can it be a forgery of a later date? This is the theory adopted by all the unbelieving critics, who start with the assumption that prophecy in any true sense is impossible. They endeavour to assign to the book a date later than the true one, a date towards the close of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, who died in the second century before Christ. Then they endeavour to compress all the four empires into the four centuries previous to that date, excluding therefore from the prophecy any allusion to the Roman empire and the first advent of Christ. Multitudinous have been the attacks made on these lines on the fortress of this Book of Daniel; for scepticism has realized that while it stands impregnable, a relic of the sixth century before Christ, all rationalistic theories must fall to the ground, like Dagon before the ark.

 

But the fortress stands firm as ever, its massive foundations revealed only the more clearly by the varied assaults it has repelled. The assailants, German as well as English, have been beaten off time after time by one champion after another, earnestly contending for the faith. The superficial and shallow nature of the linguistic, historic, and critical objections has been demonstrated, and one line of assault after another has had to be abandoned. It is simply a historical fact, that unbelief has been always the parent of this criticism, not the criticism the cause of the unbelief. The pseudo-criticism is a mere plea for unbelief. But even if this were not the case, and the later date could be substantiated, it would not in the least establish the sceptical denial of the existence of prophecy in Daniel. The predictions of the first advent and of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem would be in no wise affected by the later date, nor those of the tenfold division of the Roman empire, and of the great Papal and Mohammedan apostasies.

 

Candour is shut up to the conclusion that real, true, and marvelous foreknowledge is, beyond all question, indicated by the predictions of the book, since twenty-five centuries of history can be proved to correspond with it accurately, in their chronological as xvell as in all their other features. If this be so, the question of inspiration is settled for honest minds. Nor that alone. For the rule of God over the kings of the earththe fact that history is working out His Divine purposes, and that all the changing kingdoms of the Gentiles are merely introductory to the eternal kingdom of the Son of man and of the saintsis also established beyond controversy.

 

It was alleged by the sceptical school that the late origin of Daniel was demonstrated by the presence of Macedonian words, and of impure Hebrew expressions; that its spurious character was proved by its position in the canon, as not among ?the prophets, ? but among the ?hagiographa?; that it contained historical errors, and irreconcilable contradictions; that it had traces of later ideas and usages; as well asand this was evidently the head and front of the offendingthat the, predictions were so clear and definite, that they must have been written after the events.

 

The defence has been twofold. First, a demonstration which leaves nothing to be desired of the utter baselessness of the objections; and, secondly, an array of unanswerable arguments in support of the authenticity and date of the book. The contention has given rise to a whole literature, to which we can merely allude in a few sentences. Those who wish to examine into the subject for themselves will find the works of Hengstenberg and Dr. Pusey thorough, candid, and learned, giving not the results of investigation only, but the process and the fullest reference to original documents. We must indicate briefly the nature of the defence, though we cannot do more.

 

Porphyry, in the third century, in his attack on Christianity as a whole, devoted one of his fifteen books to an assault on Daniel. He asserted that it must be the work of a Jew of Palestine, written in Greek in the time of Antiochus; and assigned as the main ground of his theory the exact correspondence of events with the predictions, asserting that Daniel ?did not so much predict future events as narrate past ones, ?as Jerome remarked, ?this method of opposing the prophecies is the strongest testimony to their truth, for they were fulfilled with such exactness that to infidels the prophets seemed not to have foretold things future, but to have related things past, ?and bearing thus a noble testimony to the pr.ophet! Porphyry?s book was by imperial command condemned to the flames, and we know it mostly from fragments preserved in the writings of Jerome. Spinoza, the infidel Jew, was the first modern to renew this old attack; and then Hobbes and Collins, and other English deists. It was J. D. Michaelis who made the first scholarly attempt to undermine confidence in the authenticity of Daniel, and even he decidedly maintained the genuineness of the greater part of it. The names of more recent German critics are legion, and we need not give them here, but simply indicate the arguments that prove the futility of the objections alleged.

 

To a Christian mind the highest and most conclusive testimony lies in the fact that our Lord speaks of Daniel as a prophet, and quotes from him. The name by which He most frequently speaks of Himself; ?the Son of man, ? is taken from #Da 7:13. Many of His descriptions of His own coming and kingdom are also distinctly connected with Daniel?s predictions of them. 1 Compare #Da 7:13, 14 , and 26, 27, with #Mt 10:23 16:27, 28 19:28 24:30 26:64 Joh 5:27 Da 12:2

 

Surely our Lord would not thus have endorsed an impostor! Josephus tells us that the book was eagerly studied in Christ?s days; would He have treated it as Scripture, and allowed His disciples to regard it as such, if it were a forgery?

 

The apostles uniformly recognize Daniel as a prophet. Peter alludes to his inquiries as to the ?times, ? and states that he was inspired by the Spirit of Christ. Paul in 2 Thessalonians ii. builds his argument on Daniel?s prediction of the man of sin and the apostasy. #Heb 11:33 alludes distinctly to Daniel and his companions and their heroic deeds; and the whole Book of Revelation is so closely connected with that of Daniel, that we might almost style it Second Daniel, or Daniel First Revelation.

 

The allusion to Daniel as one of the holiest and one of the wisest of men, by his contemporary Ezekiel, shows how early he attained his high position in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, and how far the fame of his blameless, holy life had spread, even in his own days. As he most distinctly and repeatedly claims to he the author of his own book, and writes much of it as an autobiography, the very holiness of his character makes the thought of deliberate forgery and falsehood revoltingly inconsistent.

 

That the book was widely distributed and well known and revered by the pious in pre-Maccabean times can be demonstrated. The very accurate and reliable First Book of Maccabees makes exact, though brief and simple, reference to the stories in Daniel. The dying words of Mattathias to his sons are recorded, in which he encourages them to fidelity to God amid persecution by recalling various Bible histories, and among the rest that of the Hebrew children in the fire, and Daniel in the lions? den. Hence it is evident that the book was known and regarded as Scripture at that time.

 

Further, Josephus makes several remarkable and explicit statements on the subject. Speaking of one of the predictions, he says, ?Now this was delivered 408 years before the fulfillment, ? thus recognising the received date as unquestionable, and as generally admitted to be so in his day. In a still more conclusive and very interesting passage he asserts that Daniel?s prophecy was shown to Alexander the Great when he visited Jerusalem, and that this monarch took the prediction about a Greek who was to overthrow the Persian empire to mean himself; and was much encouraged thereby in his enterprise, and very favourably disposed towards the Jews in consequence.

 

Josephus was indeed much impressed by the remarkable fulfillments of Daniel?s predictions, which even in his day were evident. After expounding several of these he says, ?All these things did this man leave behind in writing, as God had showed them to him: so that those who read his prophecies, and see how they have been fulfilled, must be astonished at the honour conferred by God on Daniel.? ? Antiquities, ? x. II, 7. This eminently learned man, whose works were published towards the close of the first century, and who lived, therefore, comparatively near the days of Daniel, thus broadly asserts the date of Daniel, expressing, of course, the conviction of the learned of his dayan opinion which had never apparently been even questioned.

 

He affirms the predictions of the book to be of an extraordinary character, and challenges attention to their fulfillment. He was most unlikely to have been taken in by a mere forgery, and ought surely to have been better informed about the matter than modern critics can possibly be.

 

A strong argument in favour of the received date may be drawn from the languages in which the book is written, Hebrew and Aramæan. Both were familiar to the Jews of the captivity era, and to those of no later date; the one was Daniel?s mother tongue, the other the language in which he had been educated, and by which he was surrounded for the greater part of his life. Hebrew ceased to be used by the Jews in and from the captivity, except as a sacred learned language. It had been entirely superseded before the Maccabean days, and no writer of the time of Antiochus could have counted on being even understood had he written in that language! Daniel reckons on such a familiar acquaintance with both languages, that it is evidently a matter of indifference to him and to his readers which he uses. ?The use of the two languages, and the mode in which the prophet writes in both, correspond perfectly with his real date; they are severally and together utterly inexplicable according to the theory that would make the book a product of the Maccabean times. The language is a mark of genuineness set by God on the book. Rationalism must rebel, as it has rebelled; but it dare not now with any moderate honesty abuse philology to cover its rebellion.? Dr. Pusey ? Lectures on Daniel.?

 

Further, the exact knowledge of contemporary history evinced in Daniel is such that no writer of the time of the Maccabees could possibly have attained it. Almost every single circumstance mentioned in the book is confirmed directly or indirectly by contemporary historians, and proved to be absolutely and even minutely correct. In the Maccabean age, as existing remains prove, the utmost ignorance of the history and geography of foreign countries prevailed among the Jews in Palestine, and an exact and comprehensive knowledge of the history of a period so dark and already so remote as the captivity era, did not exist and could not have existed, And the same may be said of the accurate knowledge exhibited in the book of the institutions, manners, usages, and entire state of things, existing in the Babylonian and Medo-Persian times.

 

Again, it has been remarked that ?the complexion of the prophecies of Daniel corresponds so exactly with what is related in the historical part of the circumstances of his life, that even the most crafty impostor would not have been able to produce this agreement artificially. Daniel occupied high offices of state; he was witness to great revolutions and changes of rulers and empires; and this circumstance is very significantly impressed on his prophecies. The succession of the various empires of the world forms their principal subject. In the representation of the Messianic idea also he borrows his colors from his external relations. Throughout there is apparent a religious, as well as a political gift, such as we meet with in no other prophet.?

 

Lastly, the canon of the Old Testament contains the Book of Daniel, and that canon was closed by Ezra the scribe, and Nehemiah, the second Moses in Jewish estimation, about 400 b.c. Hence the prophecies of Daniel were already at that date recognized as inspired writings. It is true the book does not appear in the list of the prophets, because Daniel was not officially a Jewish prophet, but a Babylonian statesman. David, also, though a prophet, was officially a king, and thus his writings, like Daniel?s, are classed among the hagiographa, or sacred books, rather than among the prophets. The principle of the Jewish arrangement of the canon was, that sacred writings by men in secular office, and not occupying the pastoral or prophetic position, were put in a class apart from the prophets. Hence Daniel appears not in the list with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, but rather with David and Solomon, and Mordecai the writer of Esther. But the Jewish rabbis hold his prophetic revelations in the highest esteem, and the Talmud places him above all other prophets.

 

There is therefore no question at all for candid minds that the book is authentic, and rightly attributed to the time of the Babylonish captivity and if so, it must be granted by all that it contains prophecydefinite predictions which have been most marvelously fulfilled.

 

The importance of this conclusion can scarcely be over-estimated, though it seems to be less appreciated by Christians than by sceptics. They regret their inability to wrest a mighty weapon out of the hands of the Church. But wewhat use are we making of it? What execution are we doing with it? Is it not a pity that it is allowed to so great an extent to lie idle?

 

If eight or nine centuries of fulfilled prophecy drove Porphyry, in the third century, to feel that we must either admit Divine inspiration or prove the Book of. Daniel spurious, ought not the twenty-five centuries of it, to which we in our days can point, be even more efficacious in convincing candid inquirers and confounding prejudiced opponents? The battle of authenticity has been fought and won; no fresh objections can be invented. Archeological discovery may yet find Daniel?s name among the Babylonian records; it will certainly produce no evidence against the book which it has already done so much to authenticate. It rests with Christian teachers and preachers to use the miracle of the last days, fulfilled and fulfilling prophecy, for the conviction and con-version of men.

 

Index Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Conclusion





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Historicism.com is owned and operated by me, Joe Haynes, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I serve as a pastor in a church plant in Victoria since 2013. My wife, Heather, and I have five kids. In 2011, I completed a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Northwest Baptist Seminary at the Associated Canadian Theological Seminaries of Trinity Western University. Feel free to visit my blog at Keruxai.com.
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