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Daniel Chapter 12a
History’s Coming Climax
A definite time is specified in this verse, not a particular year or month or day, but a time made definite by the occurrence of a certain event with which it is connected. “At that time.” What time? —The time to which we are brought by the closing verse of the preceding chapter —the time when the king of the north shall plant the tabernacles of his palace in the glorious holy mountain. When this event takes place, he is to come to his end; and then, according to this verse, we look for the standing up of Michael, the great Prince.
Michael Stands Up. —Who is Michael, and what is his standing up?— Michael is called the “archangel” in Jude 9. This means the chief angel, or the head over the angels. There is but one. Who is he? —He is the one whose voice is heard from heaven when the dead are raised. (1 Thessalonians 4:16.) Whose voice is heard in connection with that event? —The voice of our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 5:28.) Tracing back the evidence with this fact as a basis, we reach the following conclusion: The voice of the Son of God is the voice of the Archangel; the Archangel, then, must be the Son of God. But the Archangel is called Michael; hence Michael must be the name given to the Son of God. The expression in verse 1, “the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people,” is sufficient alone to identify the one here spoken of as the Saviour of men. He is the “Prince of life,” and “a Prince and a Saviour.” Acts 3:15; 5:31. He is the great Prince.
Page 302He “standeth for the children of thy people.” He condescends to take the servants of God in this poor mortal state, and redeem them for the subjects of His future kingdom. He stands for us who believe. His people are essential to His future purposes, an inseparable part of the purchased inheritance. They are to be the chief agents of that joy which Christ foresaw, and which caused Him to endure all the sacrifice and suffering which have marked His intervention in behalf of the fallen race. Amazing honor! Be everlasting gratitude repaid Him for His condescension and mercy to us! Be His the kingdom, power, and glory, forever and ever!
We now come to the second question, What is the standing up of Michael? The key to the interpretation of this expression is given us: “There shall stand up yet three kings in Persia;” “A mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion.” Daniel 11:2, 3. There can be no doubt as to the meaning of these expressions in these instances. They signify to take the kingdom, to reign. This expression in the verse under consideration, must mean the same. At that time Michael shall stand up, shall take the kingdom, shall begin to reign.
But is not Christ reigning now? —Yes, associated with His Father on the throne of universal dominion. (Ephesians 1:20-22; Revelation 3:21.) But this throne, or kingdom, He gives up at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15:24.) Then begins His reign, brought to view in the text, when He stands up, or takes His own kingdom, the long-promised throne of His father David, and establishes a dominion of which there shall be no end. (Luke 1:32, 33.)
The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom “of our Lord and of His Christ.” His priestly robes are to be laid aside for royal vesture. The work of mercy will be finished and the probation of the human race ended. Then he that is filthy is beyond hope of cleansing; and he that is holy is beyond the danger of falling. All cases are forever decided. From that time on until Christ comes in the clouds of heaven,
Page 303the nations are broken as with a rod of iron, and dashed in pieces like a potter’s vessel, by an unparalleled time of trouble. There will be a series of divine judgments upon men who have rejected God. Then shall the Lord Jesus Christ be revealed from heaven, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8. (See also Revelation 11:15; 22:11, 12.)
Momentous are the events introduced by the standing up of Michael. He stands up, or takes the kingdom, some length of time before He returns personally to this earth. How important, then, that we have a knowledge of His position, that we may be able to trace the progress of His work, and understand when that thrilling moment draws near which ends His intercession in behalf of mankind, and fixes the destiny of all forever.
But how are we to know this? How are we to determine what is taking place in the sanctuary above? God has been so good as to place in our hands the means of knowing this. He has told us that when certain great events take place on earth, important decisions which synchronize with them are being made in heaven. By these things which are seen, we thus learn of things that are unseen. As we “look through nature up to nature’s God,” so through terrestrial phenomena and events we trace great movements in the heavenly kingdom. When the king of the north shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain, then Michael our Lord stands up, or receives from His Father the kingdom, preparatory to His return to this earth. Or it might be expressed in words like these: Then our Lord ceases His work as our great High Priest, and the probation of the world is finished. The great prophecy of the 2300 days gives us the definite beginning of the final division of the work in the sanctuary in heaven. The verse before us gives us data whereby we can discover approximately the time of its close.
Time of Trouble. —In connection with the standing up of Michael, there occurs a time of trouble such as never was. In
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Page 305Matthew 24:21 we read of a period of tribulation such as never was before it, nor should be after it. This tribulation, fulfilled in the oppression and slaughter of the church by the papal power, is already past; while the time of trouble of Daniel 12:1 is still future, according to the view we take. How can there be two times of trouble, many years apart, each of them greater than any that had been before it, or should be after it?
To avoid difficulty here, let this distinction be carefully noticed: The tribulation spoken of in Matthew is tribulation upon the church. Christ is there speaking to His disciples, and of His disciples in coming time. They were the ones involved, and for their sake the days of tribulation were to be shortened. (Matthew 24:22.) The time of trouble mentioned in Daniel is not a time of religious persecution, but of international calamity. There has been nothing like it since there was —not a church, but— a nation. This is the last trouble to come upon the world in its present state. In Matthew there is reference made to time beyond that tribulation; for after it is past, the people of God shall never go through another period of suffering like it. But there is no reference here in Daniel to future time after the trouble here mentioned, for it closes this world’s history. It includes the seven last plagues of Revelation 16, and culminates in the revelation of the Lord Jesus, coming in clouds of flaming fire, to visit destruction upon His enemies. But out of this tribulation everyone shall be delivered who shall be found written in the book —the book of life; “for in Mount Zion . . . shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Joel 2:32.
Verse 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
This verse reveals the importance of the standing up of Michael, or the beginning of the reign of Christ, for at this time shall be a resurrection of the dead. Is this the general
Page 306resurrection which takes place at the second coming of Christ? Or is there to intervene between Christ’s reception of the kingdom and His revelation to earth in all His advent glory (Luke 21:27) a special resurrection answering to the description here given?
Why may it not be the former, or the resurrection which occurs at the last trump? —Because only the righteous, to the exclusion of all the wicked, have part in that resurrection. Those who sleep in Christ then come forth, but the rest of the dead live not again for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5.) The general resurrection of the whole race, then, is divided into two great events —first, of the righteous exclusively a thousand years thereafter. The general resurrection is not a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked at the same time. Each of these two classes is set off by itself, and the time which elapses between the respective resurrection is plainly stated to be a thousand years.
In the resurrection brought to view in the verse before us, however, many, of both righteous wicked come up together. In cannot therefore be the first resurrection, which includes the righteous only, nor the second resurrection, which as distinctly confined to the wicked. If the text read, Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake to everlasting life, then the “many” might be interpreted as including all the righteous, and the resurrection be that of the just at the second coming. But the fact that some of the many are wicked, and rise to shame and everlasting contempt, bars the way to such an application.
Is there, then, any place for a special, or limited, resurrection? Is there elsewhere any intimation of such an event, before the Lord appears? The resurrection here predicted takes place when God’s people are delivered from the great time of trouble with which the history of this world terminated, and it seems from Revelation 22:11 that this deliverance is given before the Lord appears. The awful moment arrives when he
Page 307that is filthy and unjust is pronounced unjust still, and he that is righteous and holy is pronounced holy still. Then the cases of all are forever decided. When this sentence is pronounced upon the righteous, it must be deliverance to them, for then they are placed beyond all reach of danger or fear or evil. But the Lord has not at that time made His appearance, for He immediately adds, “Behold, I come quickly.,”
The utterance of this solemn fiat seals the righteous to everlasting lift and the wicked to eternal death. A voice goes forth from the throne of God, saying, “It is done!” Revelation 16:17. This is evidently the voice of God, so often alluded to in descriptions of the scenes connected with the last day. Joel speaks of it, and says: “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16. The margin reads instead of “hope,” “place of repair, or harbor.” Then at this time, when God’s voice is heard from heaven just previous to the coming of the Son of man, God is a harbor for His people, or, which is the same thing, provides them deliverance. The last stupendous scene is about to open upon a doomed world. God gives to the astonished nations another evidence and pledge of His power, and raises from the dead a multitude who have long slept in the dust of the earth.
Thus we see that there is a time and place for the resurrection of Daniel 12:2. A verse in the book of Revelation make it clear that a resurrection of this kind must take place. “Behold, He cometh with clouds [this is unquestionably the second advent]; and every eye shall see Him [of the nations then living on the earth], and they also which pierced Him [those who took an active part in the terrible work of His crucifixion]; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” Revelation 1:7. Those who crucified the Lord, would, unless there was an exception made in their cases, remain in their graves until the end of the thousand years and come up in the general assembly of the wicked at that time.
Page 308But here it is stated that they behold the Lord at His second advent. There must, therefore, be a special resurrection for that purpose.
It is certainly most appropriate that some who were eminent in holiness, who labored and suffered for their hope of a coming Saviour, but died without seeing Him, should be raised a little before, to witness the scenes attending His glorious epiphany; as, in like manner, a goodly company came out of their graces at His resurrection to behold His risen glory (Matthew 27:52, 53), and to escort Him in triumph to the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high (Ephesians 4:8, margin). There will be also some, eminent in wickedness, who have done most to reproach the name of Christ and injure His cause, especially those who caused His cruel death upon the cross, and mocked and derided Him in His dying agonies, who will be raised, as part of their judicial punishment, to behold His return in the clouds of heaven, a celestial victor, in great majesty and splendor endurable to them.
What is here said supposed by some to furnish good evidence of the eternal conscious suffering of the wicked, because those of this character who are spoken of come forth to shame and everlasting contempt. How can they forever suffer shame and contempt, unless they are forever conscious? It has already been stated that shame implies their consciousness, but it will be noticed that this is not said to be everlasting. This qualifying word is not inserted until we come to the contempt, which is an emotion felt by others toward the guilty, and does not render necessary the consciousness of those against whom it is directed. Shame for their wickedness and corruption will burn into their very souls as long as they are conscious. When they pass away, consumed for their iniquities, their loathsome characters and guilty deeds excite only contempt on the part of all the righteous, as long as they hold them in remembrance. The text therefore furnishes no proof of the eternal suffering suffering of the wicked.
Page 309Verse 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
A Glorious Inheritance. —The margin reads “teachers” in the place of “wise.” “They that be teachers shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.” That is, of course, those who teach the truth, and lead others to a knowledge of it just previous to the time when the events recorded in the foregoing verse are to be fulfilled. As the world estimates loss and profit, it costs something to be teachers of truth in these days. It costs reputation, ease, comfort, and often property. It involves labors, crosses, sacrifices, loss of friendship, ridicule, and not infrequently, persecution.
The question is often asked, How can you afford to keep the true Sabbath, and perhaps lose a situation, reduce your income, or even hazard your means of support? Oh, what shortsightedness, to make obedience to what God requires a matter of pecuniary consideration! How unlike is this to the noble martyrs who loved not their lives unto death! When God commands, we cannot afford to disobey. If we are asked, How can you afford to keep the Sabbath, and do other duties involved in rendering obedience to the truth? we have only to ask in reply, How can you afford not to do them?
In the coming day, when those who have sought to save their lives shall lose them, and those who have been willing to hazard all for the sake of the truth and its divine Lord, shall receive the glorious reward promised in the text, and be raised up to shine as the firmament, and as the imperishable stars forever and ever, it will then be seen who have been wise, and who, on the contrary, have made the choice of blindness and folly. The wicked and worldly now look upon Christians as fools and madmen, and congratulate themselves upon their superior shrewdness in shunning what they call their folly, and avoiding their losses. We need make no response, for those who now render this decision will soon themselves reverse it, and that with terrible though unavailing earnestness.
Page 310Meanwhile, it is the Christian’s privilege to dwell upon the consolations of this marvelous promise. A conception of its magnitude can be gathered only from the stellar worlds themselves. What are those stars, in the likeness of which the teachers of righteousness are to shine forever and ever? How much of brightness, and majesty, and length of days, is involved in this comparison?
The sun of our own solar system is one of these stars. If we compare it with this globe upon which we live (our handiest standard of measurement), we find it an orb of no small magnitude and magnificence. Our earth is neatly eight thousand miles in diameter, but the sun’s diameter is eight hundred sixty-four thousand miles. In size it is one million three hundred thousand times as large as our globe. In the matter of its substance, it would balance three hundred thirty-two thousand worlds like ours. What immensity is that!
Yet this is far from being the largest or the brightest of the orbs in the heavens. The sun’s proximity, only some ninety-three million miles from us, gives him with us a controlling presence and influence. But far away in the depths of space, so far that they appear like mere points of light, blaze other orbs of vaster size and greater glory. The nearest fixed star, Proxima Centauri, in the southern hemisphere, is found to be about twenty-five million million miles away. But the polestar system is about a hundred times as remote, or two thousand five hundred trillion miles; and it shines with a luster equal to that of 2500 of our suns. Others are also more luminous, as, for instance, Arcturus, which emits light equivalent to one hundred fifty-eight of our suns; Capella, one hundred eighty-five; and so on, until at last we reach the great star Rigel, in the constellation Orion, which floods the celestial spaces with a brilliance fifteen thousand times that of the ponderous orb which lights and controls our system!  Why, then, does it not appear more luminous to us? Ah, its distance is equivalent to thirty-three million diameters
Page 311of the earth’s orbit; and the latter is one hundred eighty-six million miles! Figures are weak to express such distances. It will be sufficient to say that its glowing light must traverse space as only light travels —one hundred eighty-six thousand miles a second— for a period of more than ten years before it reaches this world or ours. There are many other stars which are hundreds of light-years from our solar system.
Some of these monarchs of the skies rule singly, like our own sun. Some are double; that is, what appears to us like one star is found to consist of two stars —two suns with their retinue of planets, revolving around each other. Other are triple, some are quadruple, and one at least sextuple.
Besides this, they show colors of the rainbow. Some systems are white, some blue, some red, some yellow, some green. In some, the difference suns belonging to the same system are variously colored. Says Dr. Burr: “And, as if to make that Southern Cross the fairest object in all the heavens, we find in it a group of more than a hundred variously colored red, green, blue, and bluish-green suns, so closely thronged together as to appear in a powerful telescope like a superb bouquet, or piece of fancy jewelry.” 
A few years pass away, and all things earthly gather the mold of age and the odor of decay. But the stars shine on in their glory as in the beginning. Centuries and cycles have gone by, kingdoms have risen and slowly passed away. We go back beyond the dim and shadowy horizon of history, go back even to the earliest moment when order was evoked out of chaos, and “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7) —even then the stars were on their stately marches. How long before this we know not. Astronomers tell us of nebulae lying on the farthest outposts of telescopic vision, whose light in its never ceasing flight would consume five million years in reaching this planet. Yet their brightness is not dimmed, nor their force abated. The dew of youth still seems fresh upon them. No faltering motion
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Page 313reveals the decrepitude of age. These shine on in undiminished glory through all eternity.
Thus shall they shine who turn many righteousness. They shall bring joy even to the heart of the Redeemer. Thus shall their years roll on forever and ever.
Verse 4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Book of Daniel Sealed. —The “words” and “book” here spoken of doubtless refer to the things which had been revealed to Daniel in this prophecy. These things were to be shut up and sealed until the time of the end; that is, they were not to be specially studied, or to any great extent understood, until that time. The time of the end, as has already been shown, began in 1798. As the book was closed up and sealed to that time, the plain inference is that at that time, or from that point, the book would be unsealed. People would be better able to understand it, and would have their attention specially called to this part of the inspired word. Of what has been done on the subject of prophecy since that time, it is unnecessary to remind the reader. The prophecies, especially Daniel’s prophecy, have been under examination by all students of the word wherever civilization has spread abroad its light upon the earth. So the remainder of the verse, being a prediction of what should take place after the time of the end, begins, “Many shall run to and fro.” Whether this running to and fro refers to the passing of people from place to place, and the great improvements in the facilities for transportation and travel made within the past century, or whether it means, as some understand it, a turning to and fro in the prophecies, that is, a diligent and earnest search into prophetic truth, the fulfillment is certainly and surely before our eyes. It must have its application in at least one of these two ways, and in both of these respects the present age is very strongly marked.
Increase of Knowledge. —“And knowledge shall be increased.” This must refer either to the increase of knowledge
Page 314in general, the development of the arts and sciences, or an increase of knowledge in reference to those things revealed to Daniel, which were closed and sealed to the time of the end. Here, again, apply it which way we will, the fulfillment is most marked and complete. Look at the marvelous achievements of the human mind, and the cunning works of men’s hands, rivaling the magician’s wildest dreams, which have been accomplished within the past hundred years or more. Within this time more advancement has been made in all scientific attainments, more progress has been made in human comforts, in the rapid transaction of business among men, in the transmission of thoughts and words from one to another, and in the means of rapid transit from place to place and even from continent to continent, than all that was done for three thousand years previously.
Harvesting Machinery. —Compare the harvesting methods of our day with the old method of hand reaping which was in use in the days of our grandfathers. Today one machine cuts and gathers, threshes, and sacks the grain ready for the market.
Modern Battleships and Mechanized Warcraft. —Modern warfare uses naval armored surface and underseas boats and fighting and bombing airplanes undreamed of at the middle of the past century. Tanks and motor trucks, motorized guns, and other equipment replace the animals and battering-rams of the ancients.
The Steam Railway. —The first American-build locomotive was made at the West Point Foundry, New York, and put into service in 1830. In the present day, improvements have made possible speeds of more than one hundred miles an hour by streamlined trains.
Ocean Steamships. —After little more than a century of steam-powered ships, the largest ocean liners built can cross the Atlantic in four days, and supply every luxury found in the finest hotels.
Television. —Then came wireless, a miracle, in 1896. By 1921, this discovery had developed into radio broadcasting.
Page 315Now television —the wireless transmission of sight and sound, the sending forth of motion pictures on air waves— is a household reality.
The Automobile. —Only a few years ago the automobile was unknown. Now the entire population of the United States could ride at one time, and racing cars have made speed of more than three hundred miles an hour. Huge passenger buses span the continents, and in the large cities double-decked buses have largely replaced electric streetcars.
The Typewriter. —The first model of the modern typewriter was put on the market in 1874. Now speedy and noiseless machines, in both office and portable style, are adapted to every type of writing and tabulation, and have become an indispensable part of general business and office equipment everywhere.
The Modern Printing Press. —Contrast the hand printing press of Benjamin Franklin with the high-speed rotary printing press, capable of printing news at more than twice the speed of machine-gun fire.
The Photographic Camera. —The first sunlight picture of a human face was made by Professor John William Draper of New York, in 1840, by an improvement of the process of Daguerre, the French pioneer in photography. since 1924, by means of improved lenses, photographs have been taken from great distances, over wide areas, and from airplanes high in the sky. Photographs can be taken of objects invisible to the eye by means of X rays and infrared rays. Color photography has made vast advances. Beginning 1895, the motion picture has become a mighty influence in the lives of millions. Movie and color cameras have been perfected and made cheap enough for use by multitudes.
Air Navigation. —Man’s conquest of the air was achieved by the airplane in 1903. It is one of the most noteworthy triumphs of any age. Regular transoceanic passenger and mail service between North and South America and Europe and the Orient has been established.
Page 316The Telephone. —The first patent on the telephone was granted Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Since then intricate networks of telephones have been spread over the continents to link all people together.
Typesetting Machines. —These have worked a revolution in the art of printing. The first machine to set type mechanically was patented in England in 1822 by Dr. William Church. Out of many kinds introduced, those chiefly used at the present are the type-casting machines, such as the Linotype, invented by Mergenthaler in 1878, and the Monotype, invented by Lanston in 1885.
The Teletypesetter. —By a combination of the telegraph and line-casting machines, it is now possible for one operator at a central station simultaneously to operate type-casting machines by telegraph at any distance or in as many places as are in connection. This puts news into type at an increase in speed of from 50 to 100 per cent.
The Suspension Bridge. —The first suspension bridge of note in this country was built across the Niagara River in 1855. The Golden Gate Bridge across the entrance to San Francisco Bay, finished in 1937 at a cost of $35,000,000, has the longest single span in the world, 4,200 feet. Similar accomplishments in bridge construction have been attained in all progressive countries of the world.
The following is a partial list of advances in knowledge since the time of the end began in 1798:
Gas lighting, 1798; steel pens, 1803; friction matches, 1820; electrotyping, 1837; sewing machine, 1841; anesthesia by ether and by chloroform, 1846, 1848; ocean cable, 1858; Gatling gun, 1861; Monitor warship, 1862; automatic air brakes on trains, 1872; seismograph, 1880; steam turbine, 1883; X ray, 1895; radium, 1898; transcontinental telephone, 1915.
What a galaxy of wonders to originate in a single age! How marvelous the scientific attainments of the present day, upon which all these discoveries and achievements concentrate
Page 317their light! We have truly reached the age of the increase of knowledge.
To the honor of Christianity let it be noted in what lands and by whom, these discoveries have been made which have done so much to add to the facilities and comforts of life. It is in Christian lands, among Christian men. Not in the Dark Ages, which furnished only a travesty on Christianity; not to pagans, who in their ignorance know not God, nor to those who in Christian lands deny Him, is the credit of this progress due. Indeed, it is the very spirit of equality and individual liberty inculcated in the gospel of Christ when preached in its purity, which unshackles human limbs, unfetters human minds, invites them to the highest use of their powers, and makes possible such an age of free thought and action in which these wonders can be achieved.
Increase of Bible Knowledge. —But it we take the other standpoint, and refer the increase of knowledge to an increase of Bible knowledge, we have only to look at the wonderful light which within the past one hundred and fifty years has shone upon the Scriptures. The fulfillment of prophecy has been revealed in the light of history. The use of a better principle of interpretation has led to conclusions showing beyond dispute that the end of all things is near. Truly the seal has been taken from the book, and knowledge respecting what God has revealed in His word, is wonderfully increased. We think it is in this respect that the prophecy is more especially fulfilled, but only in an age of unparalleled facilities like the present could the prophecy be accomplished.
That we are in the time of the end is shown by Revelation 10:1, 2, where a mighty angel is seen to come down from heaven with a little book open in his hand. Then the book of this prophecy should be no longer sealed. It was to be opened and understood. For proof that the little book to be opened is the book here closed and sealed when Daniel wrote, and that that angel delivers his message in this generation, see comments on Revelation 10:2.
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Page 320Verse 5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
How Long to the End? —The question, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” undoubtedly has reference to all that has previously been mentioned, including the standing up of Michael, the time of trouble, the deliverance of God’s people, and the special resurrection of verse 2. The answer seems to be given in two divisions: First a specific prophetic period is marked off, and then an indefinite period follows before the conclusion of all these things is reached, just as we have it in Daniel 8:13, 14. When the question was asked, “How long . . . the vision . . . to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden underfoot?” the answer mentioned a definite period of 2300 days, followed by an indefinite period in the cleansing of the sanctuary. So in the text before us, there is given the period of a time, times, and a half, or 1260 years, and then an indefinite period for the continuance of scattering of the power of the holy people, before the consummation.
The 1260 years mark the period of papal supremacy. Why is this period here introduced? —probably because this power is the one which does more than any other in the world’s history toward scattering the power of the holy people, or oppressing the church of God. But what shall we understand by the expression, “When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people?” To whom does the pronoun “he” refer? According to the wording of this scripture, the antecedent would at first seem to be “Him that liveth forever,” or Jehovah; but, as an eminent expositor of the prophecies judiciously remarks, in considering the pronouns of the Bible we are to interpret them according to the facts of
Page 321the case, and hence must frequently refer them to an antecedent understood, rather than to some noun which is expressed. So here, the little horn, or man of sin, after being introduced by the particular mention of the time of his supremacy, 1260 years, may be the power referred to by the pronoun “he.” For 1260 years he had grievously oppressed the church, or scattered its power. After his supremacy is taken away, his disposition toward the truth and its advocates still remains, his power is still felt to a certain extent, and he continues his work of oppression as far as he is able, until when? —Until the last of the events brought to view in verse 1, the deliverance of God’s people. When they are thus delivered, persecuting powers are no longer able to oppress them, their power is no longer scattered, the end of the wonders prescribed in this great prophecy is reached, and all its predictions are accomplished.
Or without particularly altering the sense, we may refer the pronoun “he” to the one mentioned in the oath of verse 7, as “Him that liveth forever;” that is, God, since He employs the agency of earthly powers in chastising and disciplining His people, and in that sense may be said Himself to scatter their power. By His prophet He said concerning the kingdom of Israel, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, . . . until He come whose right it is.” Ezekiel 21:27. Again, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:24. Of like import is the prophecy of Daniel 8:13 “How long . . . the vision . . . to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” Who gives them to this condition? —God. Why?— To discipline, to “purify and make white” His people. How long? —Until the sanctuary is cleansed.
Verse 8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
Page 322The Book Sealed Until the Time of the End. —By Daniel’s solicitude to understand fully all that had been shown him, we are forcibly reminded of Peter’s words where he speaks of the prophet’s inquiring and searching diligently to understand the predictions concerning the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow; as also of the fact “that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister.” 1 Peter 1:12. How little of what they wrote were some of the prophets permitted to understand! But they did not therefore refuse to write. If God required it, they knew that in due time He would see that His people derived from their writings all the benefit that He intended.
So the language here used to Daniel was the same as telling him that when the right time should come, the wise would understand the meaning of what he had written, and profit thereby. The time of the end was the time in which the Spirit of God was to break the seal of this book. Consequently this was the time during which the wise should understand, while the wicked, lost to all sense of the value of eternal truth, with hearts callous and hardened in sin, would grow continually more wicked and more blind. None of the wicked understand. The efforts which the wise put forth to understand, the wicked call folly and presumption, and ask in sneering phrase, “Where is the promise of His coming?” Should the question be raised, Of what time and what generation does the prophet speak? the solemn answer would be, Of the present time, and of the generation now before us. This language of the prophet is now receiving a most striking fulfillment.
The phraseology of verse 10 seems at first sight to be rather peculiar: “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.” How, it may be asked, can they be made white and then tried (as the language would seem to imply), when it is by being tried that they are purified and made white? The language doubtless describes a process which is many times repeated in the experience of those, who, during this time, are being made ready for the coming and kingdom of the Lord.
Page 323They are purified and made white, as compared with their former condition. Then they are again tried. Greater tests are brought to bear upon them. If they endure these, the work of purification is thus carried on to a still greater extent until they attain to a purer character. After reaching this state, they are tried again, and further purified and made white. Thus the process goes on until characters are developed which will stand the test of the day of judgment and a spiritual condition is reached which needs no further trial.
Verse 11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
The 1290 Prophetic Days. —We have here a new prophetic period introduced, 1290 prophetic days, which according to Bible authority would denote the same number of literal years. From the reading of the text, some have inferred that this period begins with the setting up of the abomination of desolation, or the papal power, in A.D. 538, and consequently extends to 1828. We find nothing in the latter year to mark its termination, but we do find evidence in the margin that it begins before the setting up of the papal abomination. The margin reads “To set up the abomination.” With this reading the text would stand thus: “From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away to set up [or in order to set up] the abomination that maketh desolate, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
The Year A.D. 508. —We are not told directly to what event these 1290 days reach; but inasmuch as their beginning is marked by a work which takes place to prepare the way for the setting up of the papacy, it would be natural to conclude that their end would be marked by the cessation of papal supremacy. Counting back, then, 1290 years from 1798, we have the year 508. This period is doubtless given to show the date of the taking away of the daily, and it is the only one which does this. The two periods, therefore, the 1290 and the 1260 days, terminate together in 1798, the latter beginning in 538,