Having been compelled to seal the mouth of the den of lions, into which Daniel had been cast, the king, with a heavy heart returned to his palace, which by his order is converted into a house of gloom. He refrained from calling for his musicians. The solitude of death filled the palace. The king retired to sleep but sleep went from him. Early dawn found him at the den. Against hope, and with a lamentable voice he cried out his inquiry into the darkness of the den whether Daniel’s God had been able to deliver him from the lions. There was actually an immediate response: “O king live forever.” Daniel lived! Daniel now goes on to speak. He describes his deliverance to his innocence and to his obedience to his God. The king is elated beyond measure. Daniel is lifted up out of the lion’s den. The decree now strikes at the plotters. By order of the king they are thrown as food to the lions, together with their wives and children.
Then the king wrote and published a decree in which he ordered all men to tremble before Daniel’s God Who is living, and whose kingdom shall be to the end as is evidenced by His signs and wonders.
Prophetic Division. First Vision.
It was seen in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon. The prophet sees coming out of the sea four beasts: a lion with eagle’s wings, and with a man’s heart; a bear with three ribs in his mouth between his teeth; a leopard with four wings upon his back and four heads; a fourth beast, strong and exceedingly terrible. It had great iron teeth with which it devoured, broke and stamped. It was diverse from all the beasts in this that it had ten horns. In the place of three of these horns, plucked up, the prophet saw coming up a little horn with eyes, and a man’s mouth set against heaven. To each of these beasts was given dominion to destroy in agreement with their weapons for destruction.
Thereupon the prophet saw one who he cabs the ancient of days with white garments and hair like unto pure wool To the flame which issued from his throne the slain body of the beast, with the little horn, was given. Also the rest of the beasts lost their dominion, yet their lives were prolonged for a season. Then to one like the Son of Man who came to the Ancient of Days was given dominion and a kingdom.
As to the interpretation, the four beasts are four kings, but the kingdom shall be taken by the saints.
In his vision the prophet saw a ram with two horns of unequal length. The longer of the two came up last. The animal was seen to push in all directions as it pleased him and thus to become great. Next, he saw a goat coming from the West with a horn between his eyes which smote the ram, broke his horns, and trampled him under foot. When the goat had waxed mighty his great horn was broken. In the place of it came up four other horns each growing in one of the four directions. And out of the one of the four horns came forth a little horn that also waxed great in all four directions. One of these horns even reached to heaven and cast down some of the hosts there and trampled them under foot. He even enlarged himself against the prince of hosts, removed the daily sacrifice and destroyed the temple. By the hosts that were given him he cast down the sacrifice because of its transgression and cast down the truth to the ground. The prophet now hears one saint say to another that the desolation will be prolonged for 2,300 days and that thereupon the sanctuary would be cleansed.
The meaning of the vision was made known to Daniel by the angel, Gabriel. The ram with two horns signified the kings of Media and Persia; and the goat, the king of Greece whose great horn stood for its first king. This king would be destroyed. From his ruins would rise four kingdoms but not in his power, not in the power of the dethroned king. The four kingdoms in turn after having filled their measure of iniquity would be destroyed by a king of fierce countenance, with amazing powers of destruction. He shall magnify himself in his heart. The height of his profanity will foe reached when he shall set himself against the Prince of princes, by whom he shall be destroyed. After the vision, which he could not understand, Daniel was sick for days.
Daniel learns from the prophecy of Jeremiah that the exile would last 70 years. As the mouthpiece of the elect remnant, Daniel engages in a confession of sin, consisting, so he declares, in rebellion and in departing from the Lord’s precepts and in the refusal to hearken unto the Lord’s prophets. To his people belong, as a result of their apostasy, confusion, but to the Lord, mercy and compassion and forgiveness. The Lord, so the prophet continues, has realized his threatening word in bringing upon the apostate people all the evil predicted by Moses. The Lord did so because He is righteous. The prophet thereupon pleads with the Lord to let His anger be turned away from the city of Jerusalem, His holy mountain and to cause His face to shine once more upon His sanctuary.
Having done with praying, the angel Gabriel informs Daniel that in answer to his supplication he was sent to explain to him the meaning of the vision. The seventy weeks were determined upon the people to make an end of sin and to introduce (inaugurate) an everlasting righteousness. The time intervening between the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem, and the appearance of Messiah shall be seven weeks and sixty- two weeks and one week, together seventy weeks. The Messiah shall be cut off and the city together with the sanctuary shall be destroyed with the princes of the people. The end shall be with a flood and there shall be desolation to the end of the war. The covenant shall be confirmed with many for one week by the Messiah. In the midst of the week, he shall cause the desolation to cease and make it desolate for the abomination even to the consummation and what was determined shall be poured upon the desolation.
Of this vision Daniel has understanding. The vision came to him after he had been fasting for three weeks. In the 24th day of the month, when standing by the river Hiddikel, Daniel saw a man clothed in linen, with loins girded with gold, with a body like beryl, with a face that had the appearance of lightning, with eyes as lamps of fire, with arms and feet like polished brass, and with words like the voice of a multitude. The spectacle left Daniel without strength and reduced his comeliness unto corruption. When he heard the voice of words, he was in deep sleep, lying with his face toward the ground. While in this posture, a hand touched him and set him upon his knees and his palms and bade him to attend to the words that were spoken. The voice further bade him not to fear as he had set his heart to understand. In response to the chastening of self, God had sent the speaker to him. He, the speaker, had been withstood by the king of Persia for twenty days. In the struggle he had been aided by Michael, one of the angelic chiefs. He now descended to Daniel to make him understand what shall ‘befall his people in the later days. When he had done speaking, Daniel sank to the ground mute. His lips were touched by one like the Son of Man so that he could again speak. Daniel now complains that the vision has occasioned him sorrows and sapped his strength. That he could not therefore talk to the Lord. The prophet however was again touched by one having the appearance of a man. As a result of this touch his strength, that he could not therefore talk to the Lord. The voice now informs the prophet that he will return to fight with the king of Persia; that when he is gone forth, the king of Greece shall come and that there will be none that will stand by him but the angelic Michael.
The league and conflict of the kings. The tyranny of the Romans.
The voice continues to say to Daniel that he had strengthened Darius the Mede. Further, Persia would have three kings, followed by a fourth, of surpassing riches and strength by which he would institute a general insurrection against Greece. Thereupon a king of great might shall arise who will do as he pleases, but his kingdom will be broken and divided toward the four directions by others beside those of his own dominion. The king of the Southern division will come into the possession of great dominion. There will be an alliance between the king of the south and the north effected by the daughter of the kingdom of the south. Out of the branch of her roots shall arise one with a great army and prevail against the kingdom of the North and carry its gods and its great wealth to Egypt. Thereupon the king of the South shall return to his dominion. The war between the North and South kingdom will continue and finally issue in the subduing of the king of the South by the king of the North. But against the king of the North shall come another one who shall do as he pleases. He shall turn his face to the isles and shall take many. But a prince shall cause his reproach to cease. Then he shall return to the stronghold of his own land. There he shall stumble and fall and be no more.
Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of his kingdom, but shall be destroyed. In his stead shall stand up a vile person to whom they shall give honor. He shall obtain his kingdom by flattery. He shall be successful in his military exploits. He shall deal deceitfully with his allies. He shall invade peaceful and fertile places and practice great cruelty upon the people. He shall attack the king of the South. The latter will rise in defense of his kingdom, but shall not stand. His army shall be slain, and his own people shall conspire against him and he shall be destroyed. The king reigning in his stead shall ally himself to the king of the North. Together they shall sit at one table and devise mischief which shall be brought to naught. The king of the South shall return to his land laden with riches. He shall dis-hallow the holy covenant. At the appointed time he shall again return to the North bent on robbery. He shall not however, carry out his design for another power shall come against him. He shall therefore return in great vexation of spirit and vent his spite on the holy covenant in conjunction with the apostates of his realm. He shall pollute the sanctuary of strength and remove the daily sacrifice; but the people of God shah be strong.
The king of this new power shall do as he pleases according to his will. He shall exult himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of every god. He shall honor the god’ of forces. A strange god he shall acknowledge and increase with glory; but eventually the king of the South and North shall push against him and come against him like a whirlwind. Edom and Moab and the chiefs of the children of Ammon shall escape out of his hand, but the land of Egypt shall not escape. Over Egypt and its treasures he shall have power as assisted by the Lybians and the Ethiopians. He shall be troubled however by tidings from the East and from the North. Agitated he shall go forth and destroy with great fury and plant his rule between the seas. In the end he shall come to naught.
There shall be a time of trouble such as never was since the beginning of time. But Michael, the defender of God’s people shall stand up to deliver them. The dead shall arise, some to eternal life and some to everlasting contempt. The just shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.
Daniel is instructed to shut up the words and to seal the book even to the time of the end. Then Daniel saw and heard one on one side of the river ask the man clothed in linen on the other side of the river how long it would be to the end of these wonders. And the answer came back that when God shall have done scattering the power of the holy people all these things would be accomplished. But Daniel, though he heard, understood not; and therefore asked what would be the end of these things. Daniel is told to go his way, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified by trial but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of them shall understand. From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be 1980 days. Daniel is again told to go his way until the end be, and further that he shall rest and stand in his lot at the end of days.
Israel was in exile. During and immediately preceding this crisis the Lord raised up prophets to speak in His name both to the Gentiles and to His people. The four great prophets of this time were Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.
All the prophets had in the main one task to perform; namely, to comfort God’s people in affliction and prepare them for great crises. They did so by their messages. These various messages have in common that they ah foretell: 1. The destruction of the wicked, the oppressors of God’s people. 2. The deliverance of God’s people through the destruction of the wicked. 3. The triumph of Jesus Christ and the appearance of His eternal kingdom in which God is all and all.
Though all these messages are fundamentally alike, each has its peculiarity which sets it off from the other. This difference has to do with fullness of exposition and with the application of what is fundamental. Differing times, circumstances and conditions necessitated from the very nature of things differing advice, counsels, and exhortations.