Book of Daniel

by Cecil N. Wright - The BibleWayOnline Publisher
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The Book of Daniel

Table of Contents

Background and Introduction

Nebuchadnezzar

Belshazzar

Darius

Introduction to Prophecy Interpretations

Interpretations - Kingdoms of Chapter 7

Interpretations - Kingdoms of Chapter 8

Interpretations - Seventy Weeks - Chapter 9

Interpretations - A Great Warfare - Chapters 10 - 12

Interpretations - The Time Of The End - Chapter 12

Interpretations - Analysis of Straub's "Analysis"


Background and Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The traditional view is that the Book of Daniel was written by Daniel himself, or else at his dictation, in the fifth century B.C. This is challenged by modern critics, however, who do not believe in predictive prophecy, for much of the second half of the book and a part of the first half consists of such. So they suggest that it was written some time in the first half of the second century B.C. by some unknown author ascribing it to a character called Daniel, and that most of what was represented as predictive was already history-- but was not expected to be widely read soon enough to be challenged as prediction. By the same token, they question the credibility of any places where there may be problems of corroborating it with known secular history, and claim them to be only legendary. But, of course, they also seek to discredit much of the rest of the Bible on such and similar grounds.

The author of these notes believes that the traditional view has been proved much more probable than that of the skeptics, and accepts it as such. The critics render a service, however, in that they force us to investigate the grounds for our faith rather than accept it in merely credulous fashion, and to recognize any problem areas that may exist. These pertain mostly to gaps in information (characteristic of secular as well as biblical history that far back), which neither the believer nor the skeptic is in position to supply as yet. But again and again skeptics have pounced upon such as invalidating the traditional view of believers, only to have secular information discovered later to authenticate it. Some of this has been true with reference to the Book of Daniel itself. Time so far has been highly in its favor. And Daniel personally is attested by our Lord as being its author and a prophet (Matthew 24:15) So we need not hesitate to accept it as being of the earlier date, and as authentic history and predictive prophecy, whether or not we can fill in all the gaps of the former or understand all of the latter. Specific problem areas with which we might be concerned will, however, for the most part be noticed in connection with a summary outline of the book itself rather than here.

The book consists of 12 chapters, the first of which is an introduction to the entire document. The first six chapters are of historical incidents relating to Daniel and three friends who were taken into Babylonian captivity from Judah, and are written in the third person. The last six chapters, written mostly in the first person, record various dreams of Daniel (and sometimes their interpretation) pertaining (1) to different nations and empires affecting the history of Israel, and likewise (2) to a kingdom God was to establish that would stand forever, whereas the others would be destroyed. The first six are essential to making the latter six intelligible. For some reason, however, not explained in the test, totally unrelated to any structural distinction, and for which no completely satisfactory explanation has been offered, Chapter 2:4b through Chapter 7 is written in Aramaic (or, Syrian or Chaldee), the language of the land of their captivity, and the remainder in Hebrew, their native language. The Book of Ezra, addressed to exiles returned to Judea, is likewise so written -- Chapter 4:8through 6:18 and 7:12-26, in Aramaic.) Adam Clarke, however, fairly plausibly says of Daniel: "As the Chaldeans had a particular interest both in the history and prophecies from chap. ii. 4 to the end of chap. vii., the whole is written in Chaldee; but as the prophecies which remain concern times posterior to the Chaldean monarchy, and principally relate to the Church and people of God generally, they are written in the Hebrew language, this being the tongue in which God chose to reveal all his counsels given under the Old Testament relative to the New."

In regard to the purpose of the Book of Daniel, Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible seems very appropriately to state in part as follows: "In the first place it is essential to complete the continuity of revelation. At the time of the Exile the Israelite had before him the Law, the Prophets, and the Sacred Books so far as they had been received into the canon. These were sufficient to teach him the will of God, the certainty of return from Exile, and the coming of the Messiah. But, as stated above [but not included in this quotation], it might have been supposed that the Messianic days were to appear immediately after the return from the Exile. The book of Daniel corrects this impression, and prepares Israel for the period that is to intervene between the close of the Captivity and the advent of the Messiah. Those glorious days cannot come till a period has been passed far darker than any that has been yet known. In fact, just as the writings of Isaiah and Jeremiah led the Israelite to expect a captivity, so those of Daniel prompted him to look for a period of persecution after the return from Exile; but at the same time they comforted him with the assurance that the duration of the persecution would be no greater than the mercy of God would enable its servants to bear." And after discussing two more reasons, he summarizes with a single sentence, as follows: "It may therefore be said that the object of the Book of Daniel is (1) to supply a missing link in the chain of the continuity of revelation [as discussed in the foregoing quotation]; (2) to support Israel amidst the doubts and fears occasioned by the Exile; (3) to reveal to a polytheistic nation [the Babylonians] the eternal power of the One true God" -- hence, exhibiting a "missionary character," as Ellicott had previously expressed it.

To some extent, Daniel was to the Old Testament what Revelation is to the New Testament. In fact, some of the symbolism of the latter is drawn from the former. Also, while the greater part of Revelation is apocalyptic in nature, a part of Daniel is also . In fact, it appears to have set the tone for a rash of uninspired apocalypses in troublesome times from the second century B.C. through the second century A.D.

Only a chapter-by-chapter summary or overview will now be given, except as explanatory notes may seem necessary for clarity, or proper understanding, or special emphasis.

 

Name of
Prophet
Approx. dates of ministry                       Contemporary of                       Historical  setting
Judah Israel Babylon/Persia 2 Kings 11:1-15:7
Joel c:?810
-750 B.C.
Joash(=Jehoash),
Amaziah,
Uzziah(=Azariah)
Amos c:760 B.C. Uzziah
(=Azariah)
Jereboam II 2 Kings14:23-15:7
Jonah c. 760 B. C. Jereboam II 2 Ki. 14:23-29
Hosea 760-722 B.C. Jereboam II
Zechariah
Shallum
Menahem
Pekahiah
Pekah
Hoshea
           
Micah 742-687 B.C. Jotham,Ahaz, 2Ki.15:32-20:21
2 Ch.27:1-32:33
Is. 7:1-8:22
Je. 26:17-19
Isaiah 740-700 B.C. Uzziah
(=Azariah)
Jotham,
Ahaz
&Hezekiah
2 2 Ki.15:1-20:21
Ch. 26:1-32:33
Isaiah
Nahum Josiah/span> somewhere
between 664
and 612 B.C
2 Ki. 22:1-23:30
2 Ch.34:1-36:1
Zp. 2:13-15
Zephaniah c. 640 B.C.onwards Josiah 2 Ki.22:1-23:34
2 Ch34:1-34:4
Jeremiah 626-587 B.C.Isaiah Josiah, Jehoahaz
Jehoiakim.
Jehoiachin
Zedekiah
2 2 Ki.22:1-25:30
Ch.34:1-36:212
Ki.23:31-24:7
   
Daniel 605-535 B.C. Jehoiakim
Jehoiachin
Zedekiah
Nebuchadrezza
Belshazzar
Darius
Cyrus
2 Ki.24:1-25:30
2 Ch.36:5-23
                                                                          
Ezekiel 593-570 B.C. Nebuchadrezzar 2 Ki.24:8-25:26
Obadiah c. ?587 B.C.
Nebuchadrezzar 2 Ki. 25
2 Ch.36:9-21
Haggai 520 B.C. Darius Ez:5:1-6:22
Zechariah c. 520 B.C. Darius
onwards
Ezr.5:1-6:22
Malachi c. 433 B.C. Artaxerxes I Ne. Ne. 13

                                                   A  C   H  A  E  M   E   N   I   D  S        
                                                                 (PERSIANS)                                                       M  E  D  E  S

 

Achaemenes
c.700 -675 BC
Cyaxares I
625-685 BC
(Founder of
Median Empire)
Teispes
c.675-640 BC
Cyrus I
c.640-600 BC
Ariaramnes
c.640-615 BC
Astyages
585-550 BC
CambysesI
c.600-559 BC
Arsames
615 BC ff
Mandane
mother of Cyrus
  
Cyrus II the Great
559-530 BC
(2 Ch. 36:22-23; Ezr.1:1-4,
7-8;5:13-17; 6:3; Is.
44:28; 45:1;Dn. 1:21;5:30;
6:28; 10:1)
Hystapes
                         
Darius I the Great
522-486 BC
Ezr.4:5; 5:6-7; 6:1;
Hg.1:1; Zc.1:1
"Darius the Mede"
Cyaxares II
(Uncle of Cyrus
the Great), also
Cambyses II -- Bardiya
530- 522 BC -- 522 BC<</span>
Xerxes I
486-465 BC
Atraxerxes I
(Longimanus)
465-424 BC
Darius II
(Nothus)
424-404 BC
(Ne. 12:22)
Atraxerxes II
Mnemnon)
404-359 BC
Ostanes
Artexeres III
356-338 BC
Arsames
Arses III
338-336BC
Darius III
336-330 BC
                     

 

One tradition reverses Cyaxares and Astyages making the latter the father of both Cyaxares and Madane, and Cyaxares the uncle instead of grand-father of Cyrus. But the chart reflect the most widely accepted current view. If either is correct, Cyrus was half Mede and half Persian; also Astyages would be Ahasuerus of Dan. 9:1. But Ahasuerus of Book of Esther is likely Xerxes I of this chart. CNW

@ Note: Cyrus and Darius were both fairly common Persian names; and Darius the Mede could also have been known as Cyrus, as it was not uncommon to have more than one name. CNW

Most information taken from The Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1980).

        


NEBUCHADNEZZAR

Chapter 1: In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah (607 B.C.), Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. Among the captives taken (606 B.C.) were Daniel and three companions of "the seed royal and of the nobles," who were given special training for service in Nebuchadnezzar’s court and government, and found great favor with the king notwithstanding their independence and loyalty to God. Daniel continued "even unto the first year of king Cyrus" (536 B.C., after the Babylonian kingdom had fallen to the Medes and Persians in 538 B.C.). In fact, mention is even made of a vision received by Daniel in "the third year of Cyrus king of Persia" (10:1), which means he was still alive in 534 or 533 B.C. but does not necessarily mean he was still a part of the government then. He had continued through the reigns of the Babylonian kings Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 B.C.), Evil-Merodach (562-560 B.C.), Negriglissar (560-? B.C.), Nabonidus (55-538 B.C.), and Belshazzzar (son of Nabonidus and co-regent, who was slain in 538 B.C.); then through the reign of Darius the Mede (538-536 B.C.) and into the reign of Cyrus the Persian over Babylon (536-530 B.C.) -- more than 70 years. (For the latter, see 5:31; 6:28.)

Nebuchadnezzar was the son of Nabopolassar, the first king of the Chaldean Dynasty (625-605 B.C.), and served as leader of his father’s armies in the last years of the latter’s life. He had also married a daughter of Cyaxares, king of the Medes, with whom his father had made an alliance that was very important politically. Evil-Merodach, mentioned above as his successor, was his son. Belshazzar, also mentioned above as his last successor, was not his son, though he was referred to as Belshazzar’s father (5:2,11,18). That may have been only in the sense of his being his most distinguished predecessor, not an ancestor. However, his father, Nabonidus, seems to have married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, but after Nabonidus had become king and Belshazzar was already an adult. So, he would have been a step-grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and in that sense Nebuchadnezzar may have been called his farther.

The foregoing name Belshazzar is not to be confused with Belteshazzar, the Chaldean name given to Daniel. The three Jewish companions of Daniel -- Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah -- were also giver the names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

Chapter 2: In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, he had a disturbing dream that he could not remember, and Daniel both revealed the dream and its interpretation as received by him in a vision of the night. It was of a great image, with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron and feet part iron and part clay; and a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands, which smote the image upon its feet and broke all of its parts in pieces that became as chaff and were carried away by the wind, with the stone becoming a great mountain that filled the whole earth. The image represented four successive world kingdoms or empires -- Babylonian (headed by Nebuchadnezzar), Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman -- each successor having overcome its predecessor and made it a part of itself. And the stone symbolized a kingdom which the God of heaven would establish and that would never be destroyed but would break in pieces and consume all the other kingdoms depicted -- by doing so to the last one.

Chapter 3: Nebuchadnezzar the king made a huge image of gold, set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon, invited all the notables of his kingdom to be present for its dedication, and commanded all present to fall down at the sound of music and to worship the golden image or else in the same hour be cast into a burning fiery furnace. Daniel’s three friends refused to comply and were cast into the fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than customary, but were joined by an angel and delivered without harm, resulting in their promotion in the kingdom and a decree by Nebuchadnezzar against anybody saying anything against their God. (Daniel himself is not mentioned in this connection. It may be that his duties required that he be elsewhere instead of present at this occasion. ) The date for the foregoing is not stated.

Chapter 4: Nebuchadnezzar had another disturbing dream which no one but Daniel could interpret. It was of a mighty tree commanded to be hewn down and destroyed except its stump and roots, amidst tender grass and beasts of the field, and be wet with the dew of heaven for seven years. The tree represented the king himself, who would become insane and be driven from men, his dwelling to be with the beasts of the field, where he would eat grass as an ox and be wet with the dew of heaven, for seven years, till he should know "that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." The command to leave the stump and roots of the tree meant that the kingdom would be sure to Nebuchadnezzar "after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule."

The foregoing is also undated, but within a year it began to come to pass. Walking in the royal palace of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar said: "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for my royal dwelling-place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?" While the word was yet in his mouth, a voice came from heaven: "O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken: The kingdom is departed from thee: and thou shalt be driven from men; and thy dwelling place shall be with the beasts of the field; thou shalt be made to eat grass as oxen; and seven times shall pass over thee; until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." In that same hour he was driven from men. His hair grew like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

At the end of the time designated, his understanding returned and he acknowledged and extolled the God of heaven -- among other things saying "all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those that walk in pride he is able to abase" (v. 37). His kingdom was also restored to its former glory, "and excellent greatness was added unto" him (v. 36). In all, he reigned 43 years (605-562 B.C.).

Chapter 5: Belshazzar, step-grandson of Nebuchadnezzar and last Chaldean king of Babylon, made a great feast for a thousand of his lords -- which we know from other sources to have been in the year 538 B.C. While drinking wine before his guests, he commanded that the gold and silver vessels which his "father" Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem be brought; and he and his lords, his wives and his concubines, drank from them while praising "the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone" -- an obviously deliberate act of scorn and defiance against the God of heaven and of the Jews. "In the same hour came forth the fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace." The king saw the hand that wrote, though he could not read what was written, and he was so frightened that "the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against the other." Speaking to the wise men of Babylon, he promised anyone who would read and interpret the handwriting that he would be made "the third ruler in the kingdom" -- his father, Nabonidus, being first though in retirement the previous several years , and himself second as co-regent. But when no one could either read or interpret the writing, and not only the king was greatly troubled but his lords likewise were perplexed, the queen (likely the stepmother of Belshazzar), upon hearing about the matter, came into the banquet house and bade the king to be no longer troubled but to send for Daniel, who had served Nebuchadnezzar in such a capacity and would now "show the interpretation" for Belshazzar. When Daniel was brought, and though he interpreted the dream unfavorably as meaning, "God has numbered thy kingdom, and brought it to an end; thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting; thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians," Belllshazzar nevertheless commanded that Daniel be clothed in purple, an chain of gold put about his neck, and proclamation made that he should be third ruler in the kingdom. That night, however, was fateful. For in it Belshazzar was slain, and "Darius the Mede received the kingdom" (vs. 30-31).

The identity of "Darius the Mede" has posed a problem for scriptorians and historians. Darius was a quite common Persian name. But in this instance he is called "the Mede" as if to distinguish him from other rulers by the name of Darius. It occurs again in 11:1, and in 9:1, where he is called "Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the Chaldeans." And the apochryphal book Tobit speaks of "Ahasuerus king of Media," who had a part in the destruction of Ninevah (14:15). The Ahasuerus of these references, however, is thought not to be the Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther, who reigned over Persia and Media (1:1-3), and is believed to have been the Persian king Xerxes I of history (486-465 B.C.). The lattter was a son of Darius I, the Great (522-486 B.C.), mentioned in Ezra 4:5; 5:6-7; 6:1; Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 1:1, and of Atossa, daughter of Cyrus II, the Great (559-530 B.C.), mentioned in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4, 7-8; 5:13-17; 6:3; Isaiah 44:28; 45:1; Daniel 1:21; 6:28; 10:1 -- both of whom were Persian kings. For a time after the alliance of the Medes and Persians, the Medes were the stronger and their name mentioned first, but in the days of Cyrus the Great the Persians came to be stronger and their name mentioned first, as in the Book of Esther.

Since we have only bits and pieces of information in both scripture and secular history, and not enough in some instances to piece them together satisfactorily, human speculation has been both rife and contradictory. A quite widely accepted view is that Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great were one and the same, sometimes called by one name and sometimes by the other. It is based mainly upon the fact that Mandane, daughter of Astyages, king of the Medes (585-550 B.C.), married Cambyses I, king of the Persians (600-559 B.C.), and that Cyrus II, king of Persia (559-530 B.C.), was their son, half Persian and half Mede. This is believed, therefore, to mean that when he was called Darius he was also designated as the Mede in order to distinguish him from other kings of Persia who were named Darius but were not of Median as well as Persian extraction. This view likewise considers Ahasuerus in Daniel 9:1, father of Darius, to be another name of Astyages , the Median grandfather of Cyrus the Great, which seems to be correct. In fact, it all seems quite plausible, except for one thing: it does not take care of the distinction made by Daniel between the reign of Darius (the Mede) and the reign of Cyrus the Persian (6:28), with the former seeming to precede the latter.

Some would like to dismiss Daniel’s information as being inaccurate, and that there just was not any Darius the Mede -- since none is mentioned by that name in secular history. However, Daniel’s position was such that he should have known better than his critics can know at the present time with only the bits of information that have come down to us to piece together. And there is yet another possibility highly worthy of consideration.

First, the ancient historians Xenophon, Herodotus, and Berosus are said to have related the fall of Babylon thus: "Cyrus diverted the Euphrates into a new channel, and, guided by two deserters, marched by the dry bed into the city, while the Babylonians were carousing at a feast of their gods. " Second, inscriptions found in comparatively recent times are said to state that the Persian army under Gobryas took Babylon without a battle, that he killed the son of the king (who was Belshazzar, and co-regent), and that Cyrus entered later. Third, Darius is thought by many to have been Gobryas, who was named in Babylonian tablets as conqueror of Babylon; for Josephus says this Darius was the son of Astyages (who was a Mede), and had another name among the Greeks (Antiquities, X, 11:4). Also in the same connection he calls him a kinsman of Cyrus, which was true if he was the son of Astyages, for Cyrus was the grandson of Astyages, as noted in the above paragraph on the authority of the ancient historian Herodotus. Therefore, Darius may have been both an uncle of Cyrus and one of the generals in his army, and as such to have led for Cyrus the army that conquered Babylon -- also to have received the kingdom and reigned for Cyrus while the latter was busy with his northern and western wars.

Though not free of a measure of conjecture, the foregoing is not only a possibility but also highly plausible, and may even account for the mention of the age of Darius which, presumably, was greater than that of Cyrus. Of all the solutions that have been proposed, it is the simplest explanation known to this writer that explains the most, if true. It is therefore offered as the most likely hypothesis until and unless disproved by evidence not as yet come to the attention to the author of these notes.

Chapter 6: Darius was pleased to set over the kingdom (of the Medes and Persians, which now included Babylon). 120 "satraps" (or provincial governors), and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one. Daniel became "distinguished above the presidents and the satraps, . . . and the king thought to set him over the whole realm." This led to jealousy and intrigue against him, and to tricking the king into casting him into a den of lions. But he was divinely protected, and the king then cast his accusers and their families into the den of lions, where they suffered the fate they had intended for Daniel. Going further, Darius wrote a decree to all the peoples of his kingdom that "in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel." And "Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian."

 

BELSHAZZAR

>Chapter 7: In the first year of the reign of Belshazzar, co-regent over Babylon (possibly 556-55 B.C.), Daniel had a special dream and visions which he put in writing. They pertained to the four kingdoms about which Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed (Chapter 2) -- namely, the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires. In Daniel’s dream they were represented as four great beasts -- a lion with eagles’ wings; a bear; a leopard which had upon its back four wings of a bird; and the fourth unnamed but described as "terrible and powerful, and strong exceedingly, with great iron teeth; . . . and it had ten horns." They are also described as having come "up from the sea" (v. 3) -- evidently "the great sea," or Mediterranean (v. 2).

Daniel beheld till thrones were placed (or, cast down [KJV]) "and one that was ancient of days did sit," whose "throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire" -- as a chariot of fire -- "and a fiery stream issued and came forth from before him." He was ministered unto by "thousands of thousands," and before him stood "ten thousand times ten thousand". "Judgment was set, and the books were opened." Daniel continued beholding "till the beast [apparently the fourth] was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was given up to be burned with fire." The dominion of the other beasts "was taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time." (That is, each of the first three successive kingdoms was taken over by its successor and continued as a part of such, even in the Roman Empire.)

  In his night visions, Daniel also beheld one like unto a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven, being brought before the ancient of days, and given "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, 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." This corresponds to the kingdom to be set up by the God of heaven and represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream by a stone cut out of a mountain without hands, smiting and destroying the image symbolizing the four kingdoms mentioned above, becoming a great mountain filling the whole earth, and never itself to be destroyed (Chapter 2).

  In one of Daniel’s visions "the judgment was set" (v. 10), and in another it was said that "the judgment shall be set" (v. 26); but the contexts indicate that the final judgment at the end of the world was not intended. In both instances it appears that it was judgment against the fourth beast, to "take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end" and to give "the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven . . . to the people of the saints of the Most High: [whose] kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." (Vs. 26-27).

  (According to the Nabonidus Chronicle, he "entrusted the army and the kingship" of Babylon to Belshazzar about 556 B.C., while he himself campaigned in central Arabia -- where he also remained many years and was seldom, if ever, in Babylon itself. It would seem, therefore, that Daniel dates Belshazzar’s reign from the time just mentioned.)

  Chapter 8: In the third year of Belshazzar’s reign (about 554-53 B.C.), Daniel had another vision -- of a ram and a he-goat -- explained by Gabriel. The ram, which represented the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, had two horns, one representing the Medes, and the other, which came up last and was higher, representing the Persians. And the he-goat, which represented the Grecian kingdom, rage against the ram with invincible fury, breaking both of his horns, casting him down and trampling upon him. Then the he-goat, which seems to have had only one horn to begin with -- a great one (between his eyes) -- magnified himself exceedingly; and when he was strong, the great horn was broken and four other notable horns came up instead toward the four winds of heaven. The great horn (the first king of the Grecian empire [v. 21] obviously was Alexander the Great, who conquered Medo-Persia. And the four horns represented four kingdoms into which his dominion would be divided among four of his generals after his death (323 B.C.) -- Macedonia and Greece going to Cassander (after the death of his father, Antipater, 319 B.C.); Thrace, and later Asia Minor, to Lysimachus (323 and 301, respectively; Syria and all the East, to Seleucus (312 B.C.); and Egypt and Libya, to Ptolemy (323 B.C.).

  The mid-section of the chapter (vs. 9-14) is devoted to a little horn that came out of one of the divisions of Alexander’s kingdom, that waxed exceedingly great in all directions, including the "glorious land" (Palestine), referred to as such again in 11:16,41 (cf. Jeremiah 3:19; Ezekiel 20:6,15). Apparently this horn was Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria (175-163 B.C.), and great-great-great-grandson of Seleucus I, mentioned in the above paragraph simply as Seleucus). This Antiochus attempted to Hellenize Judea and exterminate Judaism. So the scripture text says this horn magnified itself even against "the prince of the host" (evidently Jehovah), and "took away from him the continual burnt-offering, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down." And the host [Heb. people of the saints] was given over to it [the horn] together with the continual burnt offering through transgression [because of apostasy on the part of some of the Jews after return from Babylonian exile (see Maccabees 1:11-15)] and it cast down truth to the ground, and did its pleasure and prospered." This was to be for "two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings" (either 2300 or else 1150 days, a little short of either seven or else 3 1/2 years -- possibly to the time that the patriot Judas Maccabeus was able to retake Jerusalem, cleanse the sanctuary (temple), and rededicate it for customary worship about the year 164 B.C.

  NOTE: The latter concept seems to be favored by the account of the Book of 1 Maccabees, in which chronology is recorded in terms of the Greek kingdom -- that is, from its re-organization some years after the death of Alexander the Great and the beginning of the Seleucid dynasty, with Seleucus I (312 B.C.). It states that Antiochus Epiphanes became king in the 137th year of the Greek kingdom (Chapter 1:10), or 175 B.C.; that he entered Jerusalem and plundered the sanctuary in the 143rd year (1:20-28), or 169 B.C.; that he entered again in the 145th year (167 B.C.), this time polluting the sanctuary and putting an end to burnt offerings, etc., some time before the month of Chislev, when on the 15th day an abominable heathen altar was erected upon the Jewish altar and on the 25th day heathen sacrifices were offered upon it (1:29-64); and that by the 25th of Chislev in the 148th year (164 B.C.), Judas Maccabeus and his brothers were able to enter Jerusalem, cleanse the sanctuary, rededicate it, and restore lawful Jewish worship (4:36-61) -- something more than three years after the sanctuary was first polluted.

  Chapter 9: In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes (see 5:31), which would have started in 538 B.C., 68 years after Daniel and others had been deported to Babylon, he understood from the "the books" (evidently 2 Chronicles 26:21; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10) that the exile would be for 70 years, or for only two more years if it should be counted from Daniel’s own deportation which, so far as the record states, was not of great numbers but only of youth "of the royal seed and of the nobles" (1:3-4) -- not mentioned either by Jeremiah or in 2 Kings in their record of the mass deportations.

  Jeremiah’s account reads as follows: "This is the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year [957 B.C.] three thousand Jews and three and twenty; in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar [586 B.C.] he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons; in the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar [581 B.C.] Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred" (Jeremiah 52:28-30).

            In 2 Kings the record is similar but with variations that need to be noted. Instead of seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign as in Jeremiah’s account, 2 Kings has eighth year (24:12). One may count from the beginning of the expedition, the other from its close. Also, instead of Jeremiah’s 3,023 captives taken, 2 Kings gives "ten thousand" (24:14-16) -- Jeremiah’s account "probably including only the more important." Again, instead of the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign as in Jeremiah, 2 Kings has nineteenth year (25:8-12) -- with the same explanation applicable. And the raid which Jeremiah places in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings does not date nor does it mention by number the 745 persons Jeremiah says were taken captive by Nebuzaradan. Also, of the additional number taken by Nebuzaradan to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, his western headquarters in Syria, who killed them there, 2 Kings lists 72 (25:18-21), whereas Jeremiah lists 74 (52:24-27).

            When Daniel realized that the period of Jewish exile and of the "desolations of Jerusalem" was drawing to a close, he set his face "unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes," confessing the sins of his people that had been responsible for their captivity, imploring God to turn away from his anger and forgive, and for the Lord’s own sake to cause his face to shine upon his sanctuary that then was desolate (vs. 3-19).

            And while he was yet speaking in prayer, Gabriel, whom Daniel had earlier seen in a vision (8:16), came to instruct him to the effect that the seventy years then coming to an end did not conclude all the experiences decreed for his people. Instead, seventy weeks (generally believed to mean seventy weeks of years, or 490 years) were yet decreed upon Israel and the holy city, (1) to finish transgression, and (2) to make reconciliation for sins, (3) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (4) to seal up the vision and prophecy, and (5) to anoint the Most Holy (evidently the Messiah). From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Anointed One, the Prince (evidently Christ), there would be seven weeks and 62 weeks (a total of 69 weeks, or 483 years) -- and the city would indeed be rebuilt, though in troublous times (because of prolonged opposition of enemies, described in Ezra and Nehemiah). And after the 69 weeks, in the middle of the last week (or seven years), the Anointed One would be cut off, and cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease (not being necessary after the sacrifice of himself). In that week in which he would be cut off, the Anointed One would make a firm covenant with many -- likely referring to the New Covenant through his own blood, to be offered to the Jewish nation for approximately 3 1/2 years before soon being proclaimed to the Gentile world as well. And after all of that, the people of the prince (likely the Romans under Titus as prince, who would later become emperor of the Roman empire) would come and destroy the city (Jerusalem), upon the wing of abominations making it desolate, even unto the full end determined for it -- likely referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 under Titus -- Christ himself, in connection with his prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction, speaking of "the abomination of desolation spoken of through Daniel the prophet" (Matthew 24:15).

            It is to be noted the 70 weeks were to (1) begin with the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and (2) be divided into periods of seven, 62, and on -- or 49 years, 434 years, and seven years.

            There were four decrees by three Persian kings with reference to the return of Jewish exiles and the rebuilding of the temple and Jerusalem: (1) By Cyrus the Great, 536 B.C. (Ezra 1:2-4; 2 Chronicles 36: 22-23); (2) By Darius the Great, (Hystaspes), 519 B.C. (Ezra 6:1-12); (3) By Artaxerxes Longimanus (458 or 457 B.C.), (Ezra 7:7, 11-26); By Artaxerxes again, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 1:1; 2:1-8).

            If we begin at A.D. 26, the year of Christ’s baptism, anointing by the Holy Spirit, and introduction to Israel as the Son of God, John 1:31-34 (when he was 30 years of age, Luke 3:21-23, his birth having been no later than 4 B.C. according to our Gregorian calendar), and count back 483 years (seven plus 62 weeks of years), we arrive at 457 B.C., the first decree of Artaxerxes (stepson of Queen Esther, of the Book of Esther). It is also fairly certain that Christ was crucified after about 3 1/2 ;years of personal ministry, or in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel, when he would "make a firm covenant with many." As a result of his death he became "the mediator of the new covenant" (Hebrews 9:15), and it was widely proclaimed to the Jews the remaining 3 1/2 years of the 70th "week," soon after which it was offered to Gentiles as well as Jews -- "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Roman 1::16).

            As for the first "seven weeks" of the seventy (the first 49 years), it was during that period that the rebuilding of the temple and of Jerusalem, including its walls, was accomplished (though begun earlier) -- and it was indeed amidst troublous times, with one delay after another from opposition of neighbors. The temple itself was finished in the "sixth year of the reign of Darius the king" (Ezra 6:15), in 516 B.C.. but the city and its walls not until 72 years later, after the "twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king" (Nehemiah 2:1-8) -- in 444 B.C. on the 25th of the month Elul (6:15), the sixth month of the year, equivalent to a part of our August-September.

            Chapter 10: "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel," pertaining to "a great warfare" (vs. 1-2). And Chapters 10, 11, and 12 are occupied with it. The date would have been 534 B.C., two years after the first contingent of Jews returned to their homeland under Ezra, and were beginning to experience the troublesome times spoken of in 9:25. This section is partially supplemental to Chapters 8 and 9, and introduces details with regard to the fourth Empire, developing certain features of Chapter 7. An angel is sent to Daniel "to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for the visions yet for many days" (10:14).

            Halley’s Bible Handbook remarks that in this last vision "God lifted the veil and showed Daniel some realities of the unseen world -- conflicts going on between superhuman intelligences, good and bad, in an effort to control the movements of nations, some of them seeking to protect God’s people. Michael was the guardian angel of Israel (13-21). An unnamed angel talked with Daniel. Greece had her angel (20), and so did Persia (13,20). It seems that God was showing Daniel some of the secret agencies in operation to bring about the return of Israel. One of them helped Darius (11:1)."

            Chapter 11: The unnamed angel who talked with Daniel stated further: "And now I will show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and when he is waxed strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece" (v.2). This was said in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia (10:1). Or 534 B.C., when he had yet four years to reign, and must have been the first of the three. The two following him would be Cambyses II (530-522 B.C.) and Darius Hystaspes (522-486 B.C.). The fourth would be Xerxes I (486-465 B.C.), the richest and most powerful of the Persian kings -- likely the Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther. He invaded Greece, but was defeated at Salamis (480 B.C.). This was by no means the end of the Persian Empire, but put it in decline and Greece in the ascendancy, until finally Persia fell to the Grecian king Alexander the Great in 330 B.C.

            Verses 3 and 4 have reference to Alexander the Great and his Grecian kingdom, saying: "And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion wherewith he ruled; for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others besides these." As learned in connection with Chapter 8 (see also p. 8 of these notes), when Alexander the Great Died in 323 B.C., his kingdom was not inherited by posterity but divided among his ablest generals. One of these was Seleucas I Nicator, who received Syria and all the East, who established the Seleucid Dynasty, which lasted till 63 B.C., when the Romans brought it to an end. The next ablest was Ptolemy, who received Egypt and Libya and established the Ptolemaic Dynasty, the last member of which was the famous Cleopatra VII, who committed suicide rather than bear the humiliation of appearing in the triumphal procession of Rome after it conquered Egypt in 30 B.C. These respective generals and their dynasties were great rivals most of the time, each attempting to take over the dominion of the other -- without ever completely succeeding -- and only rarely being allies. Little Judea was caught in the middle, part of the time being ruled by Egypt and part of the time by Syria -- though geographically more logically a part of Syria. To her, the rulers of Syria were kings of the north and those of Egypt were kings of the south, as the remainder of the chapter makes manifest.

            In verse 5, reference is made to "the king of the south," saying "he shall be strong," and to "one of the princes" (that is, another of the generals of Alexander the Great, namely, Seleucus), who became "the king of the north," and "shall be strong above him" (above Ptolemy, "king of the south"). Also, in Verse 6, it is said that "at the end of years they shall join themselves together" (that is, their dynasties shall), but not really to the mutual advantage of both. And from Verse 7 through at least Verse 36, their struggles are forecast with such remarkable accuracy that skeptics refuse to believe they were written before the fact. Halley’s Bible Handbook condenses so remarkably well the historical significance of key words and phrases that they are being reproduced here, as follows (beginning with Verse 6):

            "Daughter" (6): Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II, was given in marriage to Antiochus II [of the north], and was murdered.

            "A shoot of her roots" (7): Ptolemy III, brother of Berenice, in retaliation, invaded Syria, and won a great victory (8).

            "Two sons" ["his sons", in the biblical text] (10): Seleucas III and Antiochus III. (11-12): Ptolemy IV defeated Antiochus III with great loss in the battle of Raphia, near Egypt (217 B.C.). (13): Antiochus III, after 14 years, returned with a great army against Egypt. (16): Antiochus conquered Palestine. (17): Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra in treacherous marriage alliance to Ptolemy V, hoping through her to get control of Egypt. But she stood with her husband, (18-19): Antiochus then invaded Asia Minor and Greece, and was defeated by the Roman army at Magnesia (190 B.C.). Returned to his own land and was slain.

            "A contemptible person" (21-35): Antiochus Epiphanes. (21): Not the rightful heir, he got the throne by treachery. (22-25): He made himself master of Egypt, partly by force and partly by cunning deceit. (26): Ptolemy VI, son of Cleopatra, nephew of Antiochus, was defeated by treachery of his subject. (27): Under guise of friendship Antiochus and Ptolemy vied with each other in treachery. (28): Returning from Egypt Antiochus attacked Jerusalem, slew 80,000, took 40,000 and sold 40,000 Jews into slavery. (29): Antiochus again invaded Egypt. But the Roman fleet ["ships of Kittim"] compelled him to retire. (30,31): He vented his anger on Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple. (32): He was helped by apostate Jews. (32-35): Exploits of the heroic Maccabee brothers.

            Verses 36-45 have been a greater puzzle for analysts. Reflecting various views, Halley asks: "Antiochus Epiphanes? Or Mohammedan Possession of the Holy Land? Or Antichrist? Or all three?" But it does not have to be either of those. The context is still that of conflict between the "King of the south" and "the king of the north", begun early in the chapter. So, the "time of the end" of Verse 35 and 40 most likely refers to the end of Grecian supremacy as it passed to the Romans -- in 63 B.C. from Syria and in 30 B.C. from Egypt -- if not to the end of Antiochus Epiphanes himself in 163 B.C. So, likely the above-mentioned verses are a recapitulation and more minute description of some of the conflicts in which Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria participated, and which ended in futility for him.

            Chapter 12: But the end of any tyrant does not mean another may not arise. And Chapter 12 seems to look now, not to the end of Antiochus Epiphanes or of the Grecian kingdom, or even to the end of the fourth kingdom (the Roman empire) of Chapters 2 and 7, but to the end of time itself -- possible to the resurgence of mighty and even universal opposition against the people of God, when it shall be summarily ended by divine intervention, followed by the general resurrection and final judgment, as depicted in Revelation 20:7-15. In the 12th chapter of Daniel, we have "the time of the end" (v.4), "the end of these wonders" (V.6), the time "when all things shall be finished" (v.7), the "time of the end" again (v.9), and "the end" (v.13). It is also of interest to note in v. 4 that in connection with the time of the end "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" -- descriptive of a highly mobile society and an explosion of knowledge -- characteristic of our time more than of any other so far.

            Verses 11-12 present us with insurmountable difficulty if we try to develop an eschatological timetable from them. They read: "From the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." One figure is three years plus 10 days, the other three years plus 8 1/2 months, with one shorter and the other longer than the "time, times, and a half" of V. 7, if the latter is 3 1/2 years as generally understood. The latter is used here and likewise in Revelation seemingly as a symbolic description of the time of great persecution of the people of God, without necessarily being intended to designate a precise period of duration. But, should a day be counted as a year as in some prophetic instances, as in Ezekiel 4:6, in one verse (11) we would have 1,290 years and in the other (12) 1,335 years. Counting backward from our time (1986 A.D.) as the earliest possible end, that would take us back to 696 A.D. as the starting point in one instance, and to 651 A.D. in the other instance. That seems a most unlikely and even an impossible interpretation, however. But why the two figures, 45 days (or possibly years) apart? Does the former mark the beginning of the "time of the end" and the other its termination? This is indeed possible if not probable, but we are still left with no certain time for beginning our calculation. If we date it from the time Antiochus Epiphanes profaned the temple in Jerusalem(168 B.C.), that would only bring us down to 1122 A.D. and 1167 A.D. respectively. Or, if we date it from the "abomination of desolation" in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15), that still would only bring us down to 1360 A.D. and 1405 A.D., respectively. Neither of these is late enough for the end seemingly meant in Daniel 12. The expression, "abomination that maketh desolate" (v.11), is believed by Adam Clarke and some other commentators to be applicable "to anything substituted in the place of, or set up in opposition to, the ordinances of God, his worship, his truth, &c." Granting that as a possibility, we still are left without any presently indentifiable chronological starting point -- which may be precisely what is intended!

            After all, in Verses 8 and 9, Daniel states: "And I heard, but I understood not: then I said I, O my lord, what shall be the issue of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end" -- which sounds as if even he would not know before then. And so he was told: "But go thy way till the end be; for thou shalt stand in thy lot, at the end of the days" (v.13). And, if Daniel could not know till then, we need not expect to do so either! Jesus himself, while on earth, did not himself know (Matthew 24:36). And he has not revealed it since.


  

@ Note: Cyrus and Darius were both fairly common Persian names; and Darius the Mede could also have been known as Cyrus, as it was not uncommon to have more than one name. CNW Most information taken from The Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1980).



DARIUS, THE MEDE

 Attached to the above mentioned notes is a chart from THE ILLUSTRATED BIBLE DICTIONARY (1980) on which I had made various annotations. One, in the right hand column, begins: "one tradition reverses Cyaxares and Astyages, making the latter the father of both Cyaxares and Mandane, and Cyaxares the uncle instead of the grandfather of Cyrus." That was based upon what I have since discovered to be a faults remembrance of one of Whelsey’s Lectures published in the Millennial Harbinger of September 1830, on a history of the Medo-Persian Empire. I had not remembered that Whelsey gave the name of Cyaxares to two persons instead of one -- one the father and the other the son of Astyages. I had remembered what he said about the son, but applied it to the father. That made it needlessly and erroneously to conflict with the chart and the other annotations I had made on it. Whelsey had indeed made Astyages the father of both Mandane and Caxares II, but also the son of Cyaxares I.

 Had I remembered accurately, I would not only have made the annotation that "Mandane was married to Cambyses I, and became the mother of Cyrus the Great," but I would have added another that "Cyaxares = Darius the Mede = uncle of Cyrus II, the Great" -- in accord with Whelsey’s Lectures, and with the evidences and cautiously presented conclusion in my above mentioned notes, pages 5 b through 7a.

 Now that I realize my error and the enhanced credibility of Whelsey’s lecture, I am presenting parts of it, in order to set forth its account of a close relationship between Cyrus the Great and Darius the Mede, even after Cyrus of Persia threw off the Median yoke of Darius’ father, King Astyages. In order to make it easier to follow, introductory sub-heads will be supplied in capital letters. Also, occasional explanatory word or phrase may be inserted in brackets. Emphasis will also sometimes be supplied by use of capitals or underscoring, none of which occur in the original.

EXCERPTS FROM ONE OF WHELSEY’S LECTURES

1. MEDIA is not found on the map of modern Asia. Anciently it was an extensive empire, stretching round the southern and western shores of the Caspian Sea [with Ecbatana, modern Hamadan, as its capital]. Eastward lay what is called Tartary, or Central Asia. Persia bounded it South [with Susa, or Shusan, as its capital], and Assyria West [ with Nineveh as its capital]. [Babylonia also bounded its southern neighbor Persia on the west, with Babylon as its capital]. . . .

From the best light that can be thrown upon the subject, it appears that Media was peopled by Madai, the son of Japheth, son of Noah, soon after the dispersion [ from Babel]. It gradually grew into a considerable empire, and was finally subjugated by its more powerful neighbor, Assyria, and remained a territorial government for a long time. When the Assyrian Empire was dismembered under Sardanapalus (B.C. 710), Media became again independent. From this time to the commencement of the reign of Cyrus [the Persian], elapsed a period of 176 years, including a succession of five monarchs. Dijoces was the first king. He was succeeded by Phraortes, who reigned 22 years, and fell before Nineveh, in attempting to avenge his father’s death.

His son, Cyaxares [founder of the Median Empire], resumed the hereditary contest, and after a series of various fortune, in concert with Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, besieged Nineveh, took it, and leveled with the earth that towering monument of human perseverance and glory. Afterwards he carried his victorious arms South as far as Egypt, conquered Persia, and returned to Ecbactania [sic] laden with immense spoils, and attended by captive monarchs.

Under this monarch Media became settled in its permanent and powerful empire. Cyaxares, after a reign of 40 years, left his throne to his son Astyages, who is called in scripture Ahasuerus. Astyages gave his daughter Mandane in marriage to Cambyses, a king . . . of Persia. The fruit of this marriage was the illustrious Cyrus, the most faultless prince that ancient history can boast.

PERSIA: Directly south of Media lay an extensive range of territory known in ancient and modern geographies by the name of Persia [now called Iran, which also embraces what once was Media]. It was bounded East by India, south by the Assyrian Empires [more appropriately described as bounded on the South by the Persian Gulf and on the West by the Assyrian empires], extending upwards of 1,800 miles in length, and 1,000 in breadth [which is descriptive of its extent as an empire after its overthrow of Babylon 9536 B.C.) and the acquisition of all the vast domains the latter ruled].

We are told in scripture that Persia, or Paras, as it is called by Daniel, was anciently called Elam; and that it was peopled by Elam, the son of Shem, about the time that Media was peopled by Madai, at the dispersion [from Babel].

At the time of Abraham, we find Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, or Persia, aconsiderable monarch in his day, having conquered several kingdoms of Asia. From this period their authentic history is lost. They probably were subjugated by the Assyrians, who carried all before them, and remained a long time subject. They afterwards recovered their freedom; but were soon obliged to resign it again to the Medes, as I have already noticed, and remained tributary to them, through their native monarchs, to the time of Cyrus. Cambyses, of the royal family of Achamenaus, married Mandane, the daughter of Astyages, King of Media, and became the father of Cyrus, who was born to free his native country from slavery [to the Medes, the rule of whose king, Astyages, was harsh and he was unpopular even among the Medes], to restore the captivity of Jerusalem, and to establish one of the most powerful empires that ever existed in Asia.

 II. CYRUS was born in the year before Christ 599. At 12 years of age he accompanied his mother Mandane to the court of Media. Astyages was soon charmed with the promising appearance of his grandson, insomuch that he retained him in Media, where he remained four or five years. The young plant . . . promised to become a mighty cedar. The affability of his temper, the simplicity of his deportment, the sincerity of his heart, and above all, the prowess of his arm, excited the admiration of the court, the camp and the hall. The Medes, both noble and ignoble, proved by their attachment that Cyrus was fully deserving, if not destined, to wear the crown [which ultimately he did, even over them , with the assistance of a part of their own army].

At 17 years old he returned to his father’s court, followed by the affectionate blessing of the Medes, and welcomed with enthusiasm by his native Persians. In the inconsiderable wars which were at times waged with neighboring nations, Cyrus was always victorious, always generously rewarded the brave, always mercifully spared the conquered. As his father Cambyses advanced in age, he gradually associated Cyrus with him in the government, the burden of which he was obliged to bear. Thus he lived till he was 40 years old. But the prime of his life was not uselessly wasted; a new era in the military tactics of Persia began with him. A course of discipline was established which, in a short time, rendered the Persians the best soldiers in Asia. The arts of peace were cultivated, civilization rapidly advance, and this barbarous, enslaved, and unimportant people, under the transforming genius of Cyrus, suddenly became so formidable that they were accused by their neighbors as already aspiring to the dominion of Asia.

CYRUS AND CYAXARES: Astayages, the king of Media, [after being deposed by Persia], died, and left his dominions to his son, Cyaxares [whom we may call Cyaxares II], who was but one year older than Cyrus [with whom a close friendship and rapport must have developed during the years Cyrus was in the court at Ecbatana, and seemingly continued ever after notwithstanding he deposed Astyages]. Neriglissar, the king of Babylon, . . . thought the death of Astyages a favorable crisis to aim an exterminating stroke at the growing power of Media, levied an immense army of 250,000 men from the populous regions West of the Euphrates, and placed himself at their head. Cyaxares II having lately assumed the reins of government [evidently with the approval and blessings of Cyrus], was justly alarmed at their extensive preparations, which threatened not only to rob him of crown and empire, but suddenly to extinguish his flattering expectations the Media would rise to the empire of Asia [which he evidently thought could be done in concert with Persia]. Unterrified, however, by the awful crisis, he rapidly concentrated his forces, with the resolution of extreme resistance, and sent for aid unto Persia, with the express demand that Cyrus should be invested with the command of the auxiliaries.

The demand met with prompt compliancy. From the peculiar manner in which Cyrus levied his army, we may suppose his comprehensive genius already embraced, that vast scheme of conquest he afterwards executed . . . . When all were marshalled, they amounted to 31,000. An army thus appointed, might well be capable of great achievements.

At the head of this bodyCyrus joined his uncle Cyaxares, already preparing to march. In joint command they moved towards the borders of Assyria, after Cyrus had reduced the king of Armenia, from a revolt, obtained in the father an immovable ally, and in the son, the interesting Tigranes, a bosom friend.

Neriglissar, the king of Babylon, having concentrated an immense force of 200,000 foot and 60,000 horse, advanced toward Media and met the Medes and Persians, of not half their number, not far from the boundaries of the two empires. A general battle was fought, and Cyrus was completely victorious. For although Cyaxares had an equal command, yet the masterly genius of Cyrus demanded and obtained the undivided honor of the laurel.

The unfortunate king of Babylon was slain, . . . and his camp abandoned to the Medes and Persians. . . The throne of Babylon was immediately filled by Laborosoarchod, whose cruelties, in a few months, urged his subjects to seek a last redress, by sacrificing him to their vengeance. . . . Belshazzar [son and co-regent of Nabonidus, who was absent most of the time, leaving the burden of governing to his son] was crowned in his stead. . . .

In the meantime a vigorous plan of operations was pursued by Cyrus in reducing the strongholds of the Assyrians, and gradually preparing an unobstructed march to Babylon. . . . . the famous battle of Thymbra . . . established his fame as the first warrior upon the theatre of the world. This battle decided the fate of Lesser Asia. Cyrus pursued his fortune: Arabia and Syria successfully fell before him, till at length, the great Babylon stood alone upon the banks of the Euphrates, and frowned upon the conqueror, angry at his past success, and defying his future attempts.

  He encamped before the city, and commenced a regular siege. . . . At some distance from the city, there were immense reservoirs, dug for the purpose of receiving the redundant water of the Euphrates, and of preventing the fatal effects of occasional inundations. Several canals formed a communication between these reservoirs and the river. By opening these canals, the water might easily be turned from its natural course, the bed of the river left dry, and a free passage into the heart of the city laid open.

 The public festivals of the Babylonians were generally celebrated with the most extravagant riot, drunkenness, and debauchery, and frequently continued several days without intermission. Cyrus chose the night preceding one of these festivals for the execution of his plan. .

 While Cyrus was taking undisputed possession of the city, [God interrupted the drinking and revelry ofBelshazzar and the lords and ladies of his realm with a supernatural handwriting on the wall, interpreted for him by Daniel as meaning Belshazzar was weighed in the balances and found wanting, and his kingdom divided and given to the Medes and Persians].

 Cyrus was already at the gates of the palace. The alarm was sounded, and the impious Belshazzar, rushing from the hall, sword in hand, was met by the Persians, and instantly cut to pieces, with all his attendants. . . . .

 The death of Belshazzar . . . put a period to the second Assyrian Empire, B.C. 536. The reduction of Babylon was followed by the submission of all the Assyrian territories, and the empire of Cyrus was bounded North by the Caspian and Black seas, East by India, South by the Arabian Sea [Persian Gulf] and Ethiopia, and West by Lybia, the Mediterranean, and Archipelago; comprehending Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, Arabia, Assyria, Armenia, Media, and Persia; . . . . . Cyrus and Cyaxares, or, as he is called in Scripture, Darius the Mede, in a short time established the government on an immovable basis. They divided the empire into 120 provinces, according to the prophet, and appointed satraps, or governors over them. . . .

 CYRUS ALONE: Two years after the fall of Babylon, Cyaxares, the uncle, and Cambyses, the father of Cyrus, died, and he was left sole master of the new empire, B.C. 534.

FURTHER NOTES ON DARIUS THE MEDE

 1. JOSEPHUS: ". . . but when Babylon was taken by Darius, and when he, with his kinsman Cyrus, had put an end to the dominion of the Babylonians, he was sixty-two years old. He was the son of Astyages, and had another name among the Greeks." (Ant.X,11,4.)

 2. PULPIT COMMENTARY: "The theory that has received the largest amount of support among those who maintain the ancient date for Daniel is that Darius the Mede is Cyaxares II" -- hence, son of Astyages and uncle of Cyrus.

 "We know that ‘Gobaru,’ or ‘Oybaru’ -- ‘Gobryas’ in Greek -- was appointed governor by Cyrus when he conquered Babylon, and that, in the script of the Sindschirli monuments, Gobryas, ________ or ______________, is not unlike Darius, ___________." NOTE: Blanks are substituted for script that cannot be duplicated with our equipment.

 3. INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA (quoted with out the use of quotation marks): Darius the Mede (Dan.6:1; 11:1) was son of Ahasuerus (Xerxes) of the seed of the Medes (Dan.9:1). He received the government of Belshazzar the Chaldean upon the death of that prince (Dan.5:30-31; 6:1), and was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans.

 From Dan.6:28 we may infer that Darius was king contemporaneously with Cyrus. Outside the book of Daniel there is no mention of Darius the Mede by name, though there are good reasons for identifying him with Gubaru, or Ugbaru, the governor of Gutium, who is said in the Nabunaid-Cyrus Chronicle to have been appointed by Cyrus as governor of Babylon after its capture from the Chaldeans.

 (a) Gubaru is possibly a translation of Darius. The same radical letters in Arabic mean "king," "compeller," "restrainer." In Hebrew, derivations of the root mean "lord," "mistress," "queen": in Aramaic, "mighty," "almighty."

 (b) Gutium was a country north of Babylon and was in all possibility in the time of Cyrus a part of the province of Media.

 (c) But even if Gutium were not a part of Media at that time, it was the custom of Persian kings to appoint Medes as well as Persians to satrapies and to the command of armies. Hence Darius -Gubaru may have been a Mede, even if Gutium were not part of Media proper.

 (d) Since Daniel never calls Darius the Mede king of Media, it is immaterial what his title or position may have been before he was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans. Since the realm of the Chaldeans never included either Media or Persia, there is absolutely no evidence in the Book of Daniel that its author ever meant to imply that Darius the Mede ever ruled [or had not ruled] over either Media or Persia. [He simply said nothing about his antecedents except that he was a Mede, but made it clear that he was a prominent personage in the partnership of the Medes and Persians.]

 (e) That Gubaru is called governor (pihatu), and Darius the Mede, king, is no objection to his identification; for in ancient as well as modern oriental empires the governors of provinces and cities were often call kings. Moreover, in the Aramaic language, no more appropriate word than "king" can be found to designate the ruler of a sub-kingdom, or province of the empire.

 (f) That Darius is said to have had 120 satraps under him does not conflict with this; for the Persian word "satrap" is indefinite, just like the English word "governor." Besides, Gubaru is said to have appointed pihatus under himself. If the kingdom of the Chaldeans which he received was as large as that of Sargon [722-705 B.C., "king of Assyria" (Isaiah20:1] he may easily have appointed 120 of these sub-rulers; for Sargon names 117 subject cities and countries over which he appointed his prefects and governors.

 (g) The peoples, nations and tongues of chapter 6 are no objection to this identification; for Babylonia itself at this time was inhabited by Chaldeans, Arabians, Arameans and Jews, and the kingdom of the Chaldeans embraced also the Assyrians, Elamites, Phoenicians and others within its limits.

 (h) This identification is supported further by the fact that there is no other person known to history that can well be meant. Some, indeed, have thought that Darius the Mede was a reflection into the past of Darius Hystaspis; but this is rendered impossible inasmuch as the character, deeds and empire of Darius Histaspis, which are well known to us from his own monuments and from the Greek historians, do not resemble what Daniel says of Darius the Mede.

 [End of quotation from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.]

 

POST SCRIPT

Attached is one more page with a chart from THE ILLUSTRATED BIBLE DICTIONARY (1980), with amended annotations. They represent pretty much what would have been said in the original annotations had it not been for a faulty remembrance of one of Whelsey’s Lectures published in the Millennial Harbinger of September 1830, on a history of the Medo-Persian Empire.

PHYLOLOGICAL NOTE ON XERXES AND AHASUERUS

The spelling Xerxes is an attempt to transliterate into Greek, and from that into English, the Persian word Khshayarsha. The same word in Hebrew took a form that finally was vocalized so as to produce Ahashawerosh, and to be rendered in English as Ahasuerus. The Hebrew word, and presumably the Persian, is said to have meant "king." It could be used either as a name or a title. It is used in the Book of Esther with another Hebrew word meaning king or counselor, so that we have the expression "king Ahasuerus" (1;2,9,16,19; 2:1,12,16,21; 3:1,6,7,8,12; 6:2; 7:5; 8:1,7,10,12; 9:2,20,30; 10:1,3).

 

Prophecy Interpretations

THE FIRST SIX CHAPTERS are primarily historical, though two of the (2 and 5) recount dreams of Nebuchadnezzar pertaining to the future and interpreted by Daniel, and one (5) has to do with handwriting on the wall regarding Belshazzar and interpreted by Daniel. But Chapters 4 and 5 likewise contain a historical account of the fulfillment predicted by Daniel, whereas Chapter 2 does not. While neither sacred nor secular history covers all details of the time frames involved, and the gaps leave some uncertainties, much of Daniel’s history is corroborated by secular accounts and, in the judgment of the author of these notes, none of it is disproved by them.

THE LAST SIX CHAPTERS (7-12) contain dreams and visions of Daniel himself, with interpretations (or partial interpretations) given to him. And secular history renders much the same sort of service to parts of this section that it does to the preceding section. But it is possible, and even probable, that this part transcends the scope of history thus far more than the other does in the matter of predictive prophecy. And even Daniel was not always given answers that he fully undertook, or that were seemingly expected to be completely understood until the fulfillment of the events themselves. That alone should serve as a caution against dogmatism on our part with reference to such. It should also make us wary of the dogmatic utterances of others where the scriptures are not themselves specific.

It will be our purpose to give attention to significant matters on which exegetes have differed and, where we can, give the interpretation we believe to be the most likely, and why -- and if we cannot, why not. These will have to do not only with events, but also with dates and time frames.



Prophecy - Kingdoms
Chapter 7

1. As Depicted by Daniel: This chapter contains a dream and visions comparable in significance to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Chapter 2, but with some added aspects. In Daniel’s visions he saw four beasts which represented four successive world kingdoms, superseded by an everlasting kingdom received in heaven from "the ancient of days" by "one like unto a son of man." By common consent these represent the same kingdoms symbolized in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, beginning with Babylonia and with Nebuchadnezzar as its king. According to Daniel, that kingdom was given to "the Medes and Persians" (5:28), represented here and elsewhere as one kingdom of the combined peoples (see 6:8,12,15; Esther 1:1-3,14,18-20; 10-2) -- a Medo-Persian empire, if you please. And when it had taken over the Babylonian empire, Darius the Mede received the kingdom (5:28; cf. 11:1). Then within a couple of years, according to secular history, when the latter was dead, Daniel speaks of the "reign of Cyrus the Persian" as following (6:28; cf. 10:1).

2. As Interpreted by Conservative Protestants Versus Roman Catholics and Liberals: The traditional view of Protestant interpreters has been that the four successive kingdoms of Chapters 2 and 7 were the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian (or Macedonian), And Roman empires, with the fifth world kingdom being that of Christ, established in the day of the Roman kings. But Roman Catholic and liberal interpreters have for the most part considered the Medes and Persians as two empires instead of one, thus making the Grecian Empire to be the fourth, and Israel to be the fifth. The Roman Catholics do it principally to counter the traditional Protestant interpretation that the "little horn" of the fourth beast (7:8,19-26) represents the Papacy and its relationship to the Roman Empire. And liberal non-Catholic interpreters do so because of not believing in predictive prophecy, which they would have to concede if they admitted the fourth world empire of Chapters 2 and 7 to be that of Rome. For the Roman Empire did not succeed the Grecian until the first century B.C., with the subjugation of Syria in 63 B.C. and Egypt in 30 B.C., and they contend that the Book of Daniel was written in the second century B.C.

3. Liberal and Catholic Interpretations Unsustainable and Ineffectual: Making the Grecian instead of the Roman empire to be the fourth intended by Daniel by no means solves the problem for Catholics and liberals. For Daniel describes only three world empires, not four, to succeed the Babylonian, whereas secular history makes it evident that the Roman was likewise a world empire, and the last to succeed the Babylonian.

Also, during the existence of the fourth successive world kingdom, the God of heaven was to set up a universal kingdom that would not be destroyed or taken over by another people (2:34-35; 44-45; 7:13-14,27). This the liberals and Catholics would make the kingdom of Israel. But that was not set up in the days of the Grecian kings. It had been established at Sinai in the 15th century B.C., and it came to an end in A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem by armies of Rome, in the days of the Roman kings or emperors. And should we consider its beginning as having been in the 2nd century B.C. at the time Judas Maccabeus and his followers gained its independence from the Syrian portion of the Grecian empire, as the above mentioned interpreters do, it still came to end in A.D. 70, and was not everlasting. Neither had it ever been a universal kingdom.

Moreover, if we think of the fifth successive world kingdom as Christ’s of spiritual Israel, as it must have been -- not of this world (John 18:36) -- it was not established until the days of the Roman kings. For John the Baptist and Jesus and his disciples, prior to the death of Jesus, preached it as "at hand" (Matt.3:2; 4:17’ 10:7) or "is come nigh unto you" (Luke 10:7,11). Approximately six months before his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus stated that "there are some here of them that stand by, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1). Then, after his resurrection, he assured his apostles that "ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you" (Acts 1:8), in which he had said they would be "baptized not many days hence" (v.5). And, on Pentecost, ten days after his ascension into heaven, "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1-4). The Spirit’s power continued to be manifested by "many wonders and signs [that] were done through the apostles" (v.43).

Furthermore, the mother of Jesus had been told before he was born, that "he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob [Israel] for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:32-33). And on Pentecost, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it was preached that he had been raised from the dead and ascended into heaven to sit on David’s throne (Acts 2:22-36) -- that is, to rule over the people of God, spiritual Israel, for God, as David had done in ruling over fleshly Israel. After that, "the saints and faithful brethren in Christ" were said to have been delivered out of the power of darkness and "translated . . . into the kingdom of the Son Of his [God’s] love" (Colossians 1:2,13). And when John wrote the Revelation near the end of the first Christian century, he said to his Christian readers, "I John, [am] your brother and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus" (1:9). In other words, the kingdom of Christ was in existence and composed of those who were "in Jesus" -- that is, those in fellowship with and obedient to him. And all this was during the days of the Roman kings, not of the Grecian kings.

4. Conclusion and Implications: Hence, it seems inevitable that the Roman empire was the fourth kingdom of Daniel 2 and 7, during the existence of which the God of heaven would set up a universal and everlasting kingdom. "In the days of those [the Roman] kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people: but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms [the four preceding it], and I shall stand for ever" (2:44). And this involves implications concerning divisions and the "ten horns" and another "little horn" of the fourth beast or kingdom, whether we can identify them with certainty or not.

5. Divisions of the Fourth Kingdom: In Daniel 2, the fourth kingdom was represented by the legs and feet (presumably two) and toes (presumably ten) of the image of which Nebuchadnezzar dreamed. These no doubt represented the division of the Roman Empire into its eastern and western dominions, consisting of "ten" kingdoms or provinces. In Daniel 7, the fourth kingdom is represented as a beast with ten horns (vs.7,20,24), which are said to be ‘ten kings’ (and, of course, their dominions) arising from or from within and described as being a part of said kingdom (v.24). And in Revelation 17, we again seem to have Imperial Rome represented as a beast with "ten horns" (vs.3,12,16). These represented ten kings who at the time Revelation was written had not yet received their kingdoms, but would receive them in time to reign with the beast and as a part of his kingdom or empire for a short time described as "one hour" (vs.12-17), before the destruction of said empire.

6. Identity of the "Ten Horns": The number ‘ten’ may not be intended for precisely ten, but may be a round number symbolic of all of an indefinite yet goodly number. And among those who think precisely ten is meant there is no unanimity as to which ones make it up. That is true of those who hold, we believe erroneously, the Grecian to be the fourth kingdom. For example, Calumet names individual kings as: (1) Seleucus Nicator, (2) Antiochus Soter, (3) Antiochus Theos, (4) Antiochus Callinicus, (5) Seleucus Ceraunus, (6) Antiochus the Great, (7) Seleucus Philopater, brother of Antiochus Epiphanes, (8) Laomedon, of Mitylene, to whom Syria and Phoenicia had been entrusted, (9) Antigone, and (10) the latter’s son, Demetrius, who possessed those provinces, with the titles of kings. Others leave off Demetrius, and start with Alexander the Great, or make some other variation. And all of them have a mixture of predecessors and contemporaries, whereas the scriptures seem to make them all contemporaries.

There is the same lack of unanimity among those who consider, we believe correctly, the Roman Empire to be the fourth kingdom of Daniel 2 and 7. Adam Clarke, for instance, says "they are reckoned thus:" (1) The Roman Senate, (2) Greeks, in Ravenna, (3) Lombards, in Lombardy, (4) The Huns, in Hungary, (5) The Alemans, in Germany, (6) The Franks, in France, (7) The Burgundians, in Burgundy, (8) The Saracens, in Africa and part of Spain, (9) The Goths, in other parts of Spain, and (10) The Saxons, in Britain. Horne’s monumental Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures (1889) gives five lists by as many eminent scholars, no two of which are precisely the same though all of them have some in common.

And Straub’s Biblical Analysis (1935), of considerable merit over all, lists the following with even more differences and with dates appended: (1) The Franks, A.D. 360-749; (2) Ostro-Goths, A.D. 385-523; (3)

Visi-Goths, A.D. 398-419; (4) Vandals, A.D. 429-533; (5) Burgundians, A.D. 419-534; (6) Saxons, A.D. 449-457; (7) Suevi, A.D. 409-585; (8) Gepidi, A.D. 453-566; (9) Lombards, A.D. 568-774; and (10) Eastern Empire, A.D. 595-1453.

Why Straub has the Eastern Empire beginning in A.D. 595, is not apparent. But it may be a typographical error, with A.D. 395 intended. For on that date, with the death of Emperor Theodosius, fifth successor to Constantine the Great, the Roman Empire was partitioned between his two sons, Arcadius and Honorus -- Arcadius being given the eastern half with his capital at Constantinople and Honorus given the western half with his capital at Rome. The Roman Empire of the West came to an end in A.D. 496. But the Eastern Empire, or East Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine Empire, lasted till the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in A.D. 1453.

It came to be called the Byzantine Empire from the Greek town of Byzantium on the Bosporus Strait separating Europe from Asia, rebuilt, fortified, and renamed by Constantine, who referred to it as New Rome and made it the capital of the entire Roman Empire, which it remained till the above mentioned partition of the empire. After that partition Roman law and many of the ancient Roman traditions persisted in the East, though Latin soon gave place to Greek as the popular tongue, and life and art became more and more oriental in tone. The church also became more and more different in the East and West, giving rise to much dissension and finally a formal break and excommunication in A.D. 1054 that has persisted ever since.

The bottom line, however, with reference to the "ten" kings or kingdoms seems to be that we cannot know precisely who or what they were, if the number is literal and definite instead of symbolic. Not only do the specific arrangements men have come up with not agree with each other, none of them seems to meet all the requisites of scripture.

In both Daniel and Revelation they are part and parcel of the Roman Empire before its dissolution, and they all join in making war against the "saints" (Daniel) and the "Lamb," the "Lord of lords, and King of kings" and those ‘with him’ (Revelation). And in Revelation, not only did the Lamb and they that were with him overcome them, but they in turn came to hate the harlot city (Pagan Rome) and make her desolate as a corrupting and persecuting entity -- hence, seeming to represent dominions that became Christian and helped to subdue paganism in the empire before the latter collapsed. And in Daniel the dominion was transferred from enemies of the saints to the saints themselves, as was true in the Roman Empire when Christianity triumphed over paganism. So, where Daniel and Revelation differ slightly in detail, they simply supplement rather than contradict each other.

In Revelation, the "ten" were originally a part of the "beast" for "one hour" before it went "into perdition" and while it was still engaged in war against the saints. But the Lombards, mentioned in nearly all the lists cited above, came into existence as a kingdom, according to Straub, in A.D. 568 and continued till A.D. 774, the beginning date of which was after the fall of the western part of the empire in A.D. 496. And it was still much longer after the empire ceased in the fourth century A.D. (the 300s) to be a persecutor of Christians. In fact, the beginning dates of all the "ten" as listed by Straub [A.D. 360, 385, 398, 429, 419, 449, 409, 453, 568, and 595] are too late for involvement in the imperial persecutions of the Roman Empire) except for the abortive effort of the apostate Emperor Julian, A.D., 361-63, which only the Franks, A.D. 360-749, could have participated in but did not, so far as we have any record). Morever, the "Eastern Empire" as such, which had its formal beginning with separate emperors in A.D. 395, was never a persecutor of Christians, but their friend and protector instead.

Finally, in addition to lack of involvement in imperial persecutions, all the ten as listed by Straub (with just over half duplicated in other lists) came into existence -- except for the Lombards and the Eastern Empire (of for the Lombards only, if Straub’s beginning date for the Eastern Empire is corrected) -- before the Western Empire had come to an end, all the way from A.D. 360 to 453, or from 116 to 23 years before its fall. Now -- if one day stands for a year, as often computed -- the one hour each of these had authority with the beast would be either 1/12 or 1/24 of a day -- hence, either one month or 1/2 month! -- which seems pretty absurd, not only because of exceeding brevity, but especially because of the irregularity of the length of their coexistence with the beast as compared with the uniformity of their brief authority with him. It would appear, therefore, that the "one hour" must be symbolic of a comparatively short but indefinite time. And, if so, it is not improbable that the "ten horns" are likewise symbolic rather than precisely ten identifiable kings or kingdoms. This would account for the discrepancies in the lists of eminent scholors who attempt to give them precisely, whether they are conservative or liberal in their theology.

7. The "Little Horn" of the Fourth Kingdom: introduced in Daniel 7:8, he is said to have come up among the ten horn, before whom three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots." He is next described as making war with the "saints" and prevailing 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" (vs.20-22).

And in vs.24-27, he is spoken of as putting down three kings, speaking words against the Most High, wearing out the saints of the Most High, and thinking to change the times and the law -- and being allowed to do so for "a time and times and half a time" (generally considered to be 3 1/2 years) -- after which his dominion is taken away, and "the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High."

"Time, times, and half a time" (v.25) occurs again in 12:6, and in both it is descriptive of a period when the saints or people of God are being warred against. It occurs again in Revelation 12:14, possibly borrowed from Daniel’s terminology, and is equivalent to "a thousand two hundred and threescore days" in v. 6 and in 11:3, and to "forty and two months" in 11:28 and 13:5 -- equal to 3 1/2 years -- and likewise representative of a time of great persecution of the people of God. In Revelation it seems to be contrasted the "thousand years" of Chapter 20:1-6 when the saints are free of international and multinational concerted persecution, characteristic previous to and for a short time after the ": thousand years." Should the year-for-a-day system of interpretation be applied in both instances, 3 1/2 prophetic years would represent 1,260 calendar years and the thousand prophetic years would represent 360,000 calendar years. But it may be that both are symbolic rather than literal, with one representing an indefinite comparatively short period of time and the other an indefinite but considerably longer period of time.

Liberal and Catholic interpreters apply the 3 1/2 years in Daniel 7 to the period that Antiochus Epiphanes warred against Israel and attempted to stamp out Judaism, making, as they do, the fourth beast of that chapter to be the Grecian empire, and Antiochus Epiphanes to be the "little horn," coming to power after getting rid of several rival claimants. And the "three of the first horns" plucked up before him (v.8), explained as being "three kings" put down by him (v.24), are thought by some of the above interpreters to have been (1) his brother, Seleucus IV, who was murdered, (2) a son of Seleucus IV, Demetrius I Soter, and (3) a younger son of Seleucus or possibly Heliodorus, by whose conspiracy Seleucus had been killed with the intention of setting his younger son on the throne with himself as regent -- but was killed by Antiochus Epiphanes, who occupied the throne himself and is suspected of contriving all the events leading to his accession. At first thought, that interpretation would appear plausible if Antiochus Epiphanes were associated with the fourth instead of the third beast and kingdom. On second thought, however, the ten horns are represented in the vision as contemporaneous, whereas in the liberal and Catholic interpretations they are to a great extent consecutive.

As for Protestant interpreters, with most of them holding that the fourth beast and kingdom of Daniel 7 represents the Roman empire and is equivalent to the beast of Revelation 13:1-10 and chapter 17, which likewise had ten horns, they have traditionally and popularly (but not unanimously) held that the "little horn" of Daniel 7 represents the Papacy. Yet among those who do, there is no unanimity as to what divisions of the Roman empire are represented by the three horns that the Papacy "put down." For example, Straub says "the Ostro-goths, Vandals, and Burgundians, because they were Arian in faith." But Adam Clarke states: "These were probably, 1. The exarchate of Ravenna. 2. The kingdom of the Lombards. And, 3. The state of Rome."

Then Clarke explains as follows: "The first was given to the Pope, Stephen II, by Pepin, king of France, A.D. 755; and this constituted the pope’s temporal princes. The second was given to St. Peter by Charlemagne, in 774. The third, the state of Rome, was vested in the pope, both in spirituals and in temporals, and confirmed to him by Lewis the pious."

(NOTE: The latter is also known as Louis I or Louis the Pious, son and successor (A.D. 814-48) of Charlemagne as emperor of the West. Charlemagne had been a Carolingian king of the Franks, 714-814, but was crowned by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, 800, as emperor also of the West, because he had become a supporter and protector of the papacy. The West represented all the western part of the Roman empire before it was divided between the East and the West. And, according to Carolingian theory, the Roman empire had merely been suspended, not ended, by the abdication of the Roman emperor in 476. So, Charlemagne claimed legitimate succession from the Romans.)

Another interpretation, presented in the highly respected Pulpit Commentary, makes the ten horns to be ten "magistries" of the Roman Republic, and the emperor of the Roman Empire which followed the Republic to be the "little horn" waxed great, before whom three of the first horns were "plucked up" or "put down." A summary of its explanation is as follows: As the primary significance of the "horn" is power, the most probable solution seems to be to take the ‘ten’ horns as the magistries of Republican Rome. These were, roughly speaking, ten -- two consuls, originally two praetors, two censors, and four tribunes. The imperial power was utterly unknown to the Roman constitution; but, coming up after the others, it absorbed the power of three of these magistries -- the tributarian, the praetorian, and the censorial. This explanation seems inconsistent, however, for it shifts from individual magistries to categories of them; and, if the tributarian category consisted of four magistries, the praetorian of two, and the censorial of two, that makes a total of eight instead of three magistries absorbed!

Augustus (27 B.C.-A.D. 14), grandnephew of Julius Caesar, who had made the empire possible by becoming dictator for life early in 44 B.C., only to be murdered, however, on March 15 of that year as a result, and there being no emperor recognized till 17 years later with the accession of Augustus in 27 B.C., as already indicated; then Tiberius (A.D. 14-37), Caligula (37-41), Claudius (41-54), and Nero (54-68). There followed a brief struggle before Vespasian became emperor, with generals Galba, Otho, and Vitellius each being appointed by his armies. Galba resigned a few months (68-69) and was killed; Otho (69, January-April), and took his own life; Vitellius briefly (69) -- the three reigning a total of only about 18 months. Vespasian had recognized Vitellius and Otho, but in A.D., 68 his own soldiers declared him emperor. Returning from the East, his army and that of Vitellius clashed and the latter was killed, with Vespasian being accepted as emperor. But he had put down only one, not three, horns -- none of whom are reckoned by many historians, because they were pretenders rather than bona fide emperors as well as being of insignificant tenures. Yet, counting them, there were only eight emperors before Vespasian (reigning successively, however, rather than contemporaneously) -- and if Julius Caesar should be counted, there were still but nine. So, Vespasian could not be an eleventh horn putting down "three of the first horns" of Daniel 7:8. Moreover, not till Domitian (A.D. 81-96) do we have a monster anything like the "little horn" described by Daniel, and even he did not put down three predecessors. So, hardly anything about this interpretation conforms to the prophetic representation.

The upshot of it all is that it appears we cannot know for certain the exact identity of either the ‘ten" horns or the "little horn", if such was intended. And though the most popular interpretation of the "little horn" is that it represented the Papacy, that identification is not without its problems. In addition to the uncertainty attached to the ‘three horns’ it is supposed to have "plucked up" or "put down," is the fact that it did not have its origin until some time after the fall of Rome in A.D. 476, and arose rather upon the ruins of the western empire -- quite some time after all "ten horns" had exercised authority with and as a part of the "beast" for an "hour," warring against the saints and then turning against the harlot city of Pagan Rome and evidently contributing to the ascendancy of Christianity over paganism in the empire, and likewise after the "beast" of imperial Rome had gone "into perdition," all as predicted in Revelation 17.

NOTE: Adam Clarke says, "To none can this [little horn of vs.24-26] apply so well or so fully as to the popes of Rome." And again: "If the papal power, as a horn or temporal power, be intended here, which is most likely, (and we know that that power was given in 755 to Pope Stephen II, by Pepin, king of France,) counting one thousand two hundred and sixty years from that, we are brought to A.D. 2015." Though he says, "I neither lay stress upon nor draw conclusions from these dates," he does make favorable allusion to them in his comments on 8:14, as shall be noted again later.

 

Prophecy - Kingdoms
Chapter 8

1. Represented by a Ram and a He-goat: These were seen by Daniel in his second vision, described in Verses 1-8, and identified in Verses 15-25.

The "ram . . . had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last." The "he-goat came from the west . . . and . . . had a notable horn between his eyes." "And when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and instead of it there came up four notable horns toward the four winds of heaven."

"The ram which thou sawest, that had the two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough he-goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. And as for that which was broken, in the place whereof four stood up, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not with his power."

It can be seen that these are equivalent to the second and third beasts and kingdoms of Daniel’s first dream, in Chapter 7. In this chapter, the kings of the Medes and Persians do not represent two kingdoms, but one dual kingdom, contrary to liberal and Roman Catholic interpreters, and in harmony with other scriptures to which attention has been called. This means, then, that the fourth beast of Chapter 7 and the legs and feet and toes of the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2, did indeed represent, not the Grecian, but the Roman empire.

The two horns of the ram represent the powers of the Medes and Persians, respectively. At first the Medes were dominant, and later the Persians.

The "one notable horn" of the he-goat was the first king of the Grecian empire, who was Alexander the Great. It was broken by the death of Alexander in 323 B.C. The "four notable horns" that came up in its stead represent the divisions of his kingdom after his death among four of his generals. The strongest of these were Ptolemy, to whom Egypt was given, and Seleucus I, to whom Syria and all the East came to belong.

2. The "Little Horn" of the He-goat Identified: "Out of one of them [out of one of the above four horns] came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the glorious land" (v.9). The description of him and his devastations continues through v.14, with further explanations in vs.23-27, beginning thus: "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper to do his pleasure; and he shall destroy the mighty ones and the holy people."

With one consent, reference is to Antiochus Epiphanes, the great-great-great-grandson of Seleucus I, king of Syria and the East. He sought to annex Egypt and still further East to his dominion, and Palestine also, with special effort to destroy Judaism and establish paganism in the latter. His desolation of the Holy Land and its sanctuary is described historically in the first six chapters of 1 Maccabees and in Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I, 1:1-4.

The time from the profanation of the sanctuary till its cleansing was to be "two thousand and three hundred mornings and evenings" (vs.14,26). This could mean 2,300 mornings plus 2,300 evenings, hence 2,300 days; or it could mean a total of mornings plus evenings, hence 1,150 days -- an evening and morning equaling one day, as in Genesis 1. The latter is favored by historical records. Josephus said of Antiochus Epiphanes, "He also spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for three years and six months" (Wars, 1, 1:1), -- which could be a "round number" for 1,150 days, or three years, two months, and ten days, since it was more than three years. Also, according to 1 Maccabees (chapters 1 and 4), it was just a little over three years from the time that a heathen altar was erected in the temple in Jerusalem till Judas Maccabeus, a Jewish patriot and guerrilla leader, was able to enter Jerusalem, cleanse the sanctuary, and restore lawful and regular Jewish worship, while Antiochus Epiphanes was in the East on a plundering mission and where he died shortly after hearing of the exploit of Judas Maccabeus.

It is to be noted that the "little horn" of the preceding chapter cannot be the "little horn" of this chapter. Among other things, the former came up among ten horns of the fourth beast, which represented the Roman empire, and the latter sprang from one of four horns of the second beast of this chapter, which represents the Grecian empire and is equivalent to the third beast of the preceding chapter. The Roman empire consisted of ten contemporaneous kingdoms. The Grecian empire was divided into four. It was in the latter part of the history of the four that Antiochus Epiphanes came on the scene (8:23) -- about 175 B.C. -- 148 years after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C., and 137 years before the last part of his kingdom (Egypt) was conquered by the Romans in 30 B.C., following Syria in 63 B.C. (100 years after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes).

NOTE: In reference again to Adam Clarke, he makes the following comment on Verse 14: "Though literally it be two thousand three hundred evening and mornings, yet I think the prophetic day should be understood here, as in other parts of this prophet, and must signify so many years. If we date these years from the vision of the he-goat, (Alexander’s invading Asia,) this was . . . B.C. 334; and two thousand three hundred years from that time will reach to A.D. 1996, . . . This will bring us near the time mentioned [in] chap. vii.25, where see the note." Thus it would appear that he tends to believe the cleansing of the sanctuary to be associated with the loss of temporal power by the papacy. This is not intended as an endorsement, but to give a sample of alternate interpretations.



Seventy Weeks
Chapter 9

THIS CHAPTER is dealt with at length in the original handout on "The Book of Daniel," and duplications will be held to a minimum. In the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede over the realm of the Chaldeans (about 538 B.C.), Daniel understood by the books (evidently 2 Chronicles 36:21 and Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:19) that the Babylonian captivity of the Jews and the desolations of Jerusalem were to end after seventy years, which would soon be accomplished. That became a magnificent obsession with him and a subject of much prayer and supplication, with "fasting and sackcloth and ashes" (v.4). In response, the angel Gabriel was sent to inform him of further experiences decreed for his people not included in the seventy years in exile (vs.20-27). These would extend, it appears, to the time of Christ, and were described as "seventy weeks" (generally believed to be seventy weeks of years, or 490 years), divided into three periods of seven, 62, and one -- or 49 years. And at some unspecified time after "the anointed one, the prince" (evidently Christ), had been cut off in the "midst" of the 70th week (that is, the week following the "seven" and then the "threescore and two weeks"), the city and temple ("sanctuary") would again be destroyed -- by "the people of the prince" (evidently the Romans led by Titus, a prince who later became emperor of Rome, by whom Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in A. D. 70).

THERE WERE FOUR DECREES pertaining to the return of Jewish exiles and the rebuilding of the temple and Jerusalem: (1) By Cyrus the Great, 536 B.C. (Ezra 1:2-4; 2 Chronicles 36:22-23); (2) By Darius the Great (Hystaspes), 519 B.C. (Ezra 6:1-12); (3) By Artaxerxes Longimanus, 458 or 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:7,11-26); (4) By Artaxerxes again, 445 B.C) (Nehemiah 1:1; 2:1-8).

If we begin at A.D. 26, the year of Christ’s baptism, anointing by the Holy Spirit, and introduction to Israel as the Son of God, John 1:31-34 (when he was 30 years of age, Luke 3:21-23, his birth having been no later than 4 B.C. according to our Gregorian calendar), and count back 483 years (seven plus 62 weeks of years), we arrive at 457 B.C., the first decree of Artaxerxes (stepson of Queen Esther, of the Book of Esther) -- which seems to have been more effectual than the previous ones. It is also fairly certain that Christ was crucified after about 3 1/2 years of personal ministry, or in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel, when he would "make a firm covenant with many." As a result of his death he became "the mediator of a new covenant" (Hebrews 9:15, and it was widely proclaimed to the Jews the remaining 3 1/2 years of the 70th "week," soon after which it was offered to Gentiles as well as Jews -- "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

THIS WAS A REMARKABLE FULFILLMENT of what would have been predictive prophecy even if it had been given in the 2nd century B.C. as claimed by liberals, instead of the 6th century B.C. as claimed by the Book of Daniel itself. There is no way this could possibly have been written after the fact!

THE CHAPTER ALSO THROWS LIGHT on Chapters 2 and 7 in regard to the time of the establishment of the kingdom of heaven in the days of the Roman kings. For Christ, who was crucified under the Roman governor Pontius Pilate in A.D. 30 and rose from the dead three days later, ascended to heaven and was received out of human sight by a cloud, 40 days after his resurrection (see Acts 1:1-11). Evidently it was he who "came with the clouds of heaven . . . unto the ancient of days," and "was given . . . dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: [whose] dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away [as the preceding world kingdoms would do], and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (7:13-14).

 

Prophecy - A Great Warfare
Chapters 10-12

1. Chapter 10: "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, [which would have been 534 B.C.] a thing was revealed unto Daniel" pertaining to "a great warfare" (vs1-2). And Chapters 10, 11, and 12 are occupied with it. It is partially supplemental to Chapters 8 and 9, and touches on fringe details of the fourth Empire, developing certain features of Chapter 7. An angel was sent to Daniel to make him "understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for the vision is yet for many days" (10:14). In the main, Chapters 10 and 11 seem to deal with events that would bring an end to the Grecian empire in the overthrow of Syria and then Egypt by the Romans in 63 B.C. and 30 B.C., respectively. That would be "many days" after the vision was given. And Chapter 12 is generally thought to be eschatological, or pertaining to the last things of history. It is possible that the latter part of Chapter 11 also contains symbolic eschatological allusions.

2. Chapter 11: In this chapter, we have sketches of the history and downfall of the Medo-Persian and Grecian empires shown to Daniel -- but when it seems there will be no more Medes on the throne, and the empire is more Persian than Median. Daniel was told, "Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and when he is waxed strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece" (v.2).

THIS BEING SAID IN THE THIRD YEAR OF CYRUS, king of Persia, or 534 B.C., when he had four more years to reign, he was considered in our original outline of "The Book of Daniel" to be the first of the three. That was because it as thought likely that Smerdis (also called Bardiya, and listed as such on a chart attached to the outline just mentioned) might not be counted as a king because of the following circumstances related by The New Columbia Encyclopedia:

"Smerdis, d. c.528 B.C., second son of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia. He is also called Bardiya. He was assassinated by his brother Cambyses II, who kept the murder a secret. Patizithes, the Magian custodian of Cambyses’ palace, deposed Cambyses (who was campaigning in Egypt), put forward his own brother Guamata to impersonate Smerdis, and proclaimed him king. After a reign of seven months the false Smerdis was overthrown (521 B.C.) and slain. Darius I succeeded Guamata."

But, if the false Smerdis (or Bardiya) is counted, as in the chart referred to above, Cyrus would not be counted in the three kings yet to stand up in Persia, and the list of the three, and then a fourth, would be as follows: Cambyses II (530-522 B.C. using the dates of above mentioned chart), Smerdis (522 B.C.), Darius Hystaspes (522-486 B.C.), and Xerxes I (486-465 B.C.).

As stated in the original outline, Xerxes I was the richest and most powerful of the Persian kings -- likely the Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther. He invaded Greece but was defeated at Salamis (480 B.C.), which put Persia in decline and Greece in the ascendancy until finally Persia fell to the Grecian king, Alexander the Great in 330 B.C. For the kings of Persia reigning during its decline, see the chart already mentioned.

VERSES 3 AND 4 HAVE REFERENCE TO ALEXANDER THE GREAT and his Grecian kingdom. When he died in 323 B.C., his kingdom was not inherited by posterity but divided among his ablest generals -- the ablest of which were Seleucus I Nicator and Ptolemy, who received Syria and all the East, and Egypt with Libya and Ethiopia (see v.34), respectively, whose dynasties ruled till taken over by the Romans in 63 B.C. and 30 B.C., respectively, and are referred to in this chapter as "king of the north" and "king of the south," respectively.

VERSES 5 THROUGH 20 give a running summary of relations between the "king" of the north" and the "king of the south" up till the time Antiochus Epiphanes as "king of the north".

VERSES 21 THROUGH 35 deal with the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and his relations with the "king of the south" and with the Jews in Palestine, under "covenant" with God -- the "covenant" being mentioned in Verses 22 and 32. "The prince of the covenant" in the former passage is thought to be the Jewish high priest, likely Onias III, who, according to 2 Maccabees 4:33-38, was murdered. "Ships of Kittim: in Verse 30 are recognized by common consent of scholars as ships of Rome. At least two translations (Moffatt, and Goodspeed) have Romans or Rome. ("Kittim" was first used of the Island of Cyprus, but its use came to be extended to other areas across the Mediterranean Sea westward.) And various commentaries recount explicitly the particular historical intervention of Rome that caused Antiochus Epiphanes to quit his expedition against Egypt and return to Syria, but wreaking vengeance on Israel on his way back home, profaning the sanctuary and taking away the continual burnt-offering, as mentioned in Verses 30 and 31.

Verse 32 through 35 may allude to the time of the Maccabees.. Some think Verse 35 to be also a hint of the Christian dispensation -- maybe primarily to the time of the end of Grecian supremacy as it passed to the Romans, yet secondarily to the end of history. But dogmatism either pro or con seems unwise.

VERSES 36 THROUGH 39 are variously interpreted -- some applying them to Rome -- its king (emperor). Others see them simply as a continued and generalized description of Antiochus Epiphanes -- though it might be equally applicable to a military leader sent by the emperor. Verse 37 may contain a description of contempt for the worship of Tammuz or Adonis in particular, said to have appealed to women especially, as well as that of any other local god. He would rely instead on the help of a foreign god (vs.38-39).

VERSES 40 THROUGH 45 are likewise interpreted variously, with some thinking "him" in Verse 40 refers to "the king" of the preceding paragraph. Whether that is correct or not, it could still apply, and probably does, to the Roman emperor or his military commander in Egypt and Syria (including Palestine), opposed alike by the "king of the south" and the "king of the north" (not necessarily still Antiochus Epiphanes) at the time the supremacy of the latter two was about to pass to Rome. Others think it refers, at least symbolically also if not altogether, to the end of time -- that "him" of Verse 40 refers to the antichrist (the presumed major human agent of Satan in Revelation 20:7-10), and that symbolically the kings of the "north" and "south" represent opposition to him. That, however, assigns a role out of character with representations of them thus far in the Book of Daniel. And the "time of the end" in Verse 40 seems more likely to refer to the end of the Grecian empire as its last vestiges come under the sovereignty of Rome. But Roman rule was not to mean the end of trouble for Daniel’s people.

 

The Time Of The End
Chapter 12

1. Verses 1-4: The worst would be yet to come -- the end of the Jewish state, but not its people who would be loyal to God, though they might die either naturally or at the hand of enemies, for there was to be a resurrection unto eternal recompense -- "everlasting life" for the righteous, and "everlasting contempt" for the unrighteous -- which the New Testament teaches will be at the end of time (John 5:28-29; 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24). This may be the "time of the end" of Verse 4. If so, the text may be saying that not all contained in this chapter can be understood before that time. That is likely true especially as the dates, which are more or less enigmatically described. For even Christ, when he was on earth, did not know when the end of time would be (Matthew 24:36), and he has not revealed it since.

2. Verse 1 Again: This has reference to "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time." And that is the way Jesus described the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Jewish state (which occurred in A.D. 70): "For then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21). So it is possible that Jesus and Daniel were referring to the same event. Jesus gave instructions for his disciples in Jerusalem and Judea to escape, and according to Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, "they removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella" (Book III, Chapter 5). Michael, "the archangel" (Jude 9), mentioned already in Daniel 10:13,21 as being used by God in critical situations, is described by the one instructing Daniel as "the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people," with assurance that "at that time [referred to in this chapter] shall Michael stand up" -- evidently to assist the true people of God. And he may have been employed to assist the saints in fleeing to Pella when Jerusalem was about to be destroyed.

3. Verses 5-7: When Daniel inquired, "How long shall it be the end of these wonders?" he was told that "it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." It is not improbable that reference is made to the same thing as predicted in 7:23-28. The time element described may have meant 3 1/2 years, or 1,260 days, with a day representing a year; or it may have simply been a symbolic reference to an indefinite by nevertheless limited duration -- one that does not extend till the end of time. It may refer to the time till that of Revelation 11:14, when "The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ" -- which, in turn , may have been a reference to the victory of Christianity over paganism in the Roman empire and its tremendous persecuting power broken in the 4th century A.D.

4. Verses 8-9: But, said Daniel: "I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my lord, what shall be the issue of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end," Is this the end spoken of in the immediately preceding verses, seemingly before the end of time, or is it the one that may be meant in Verses 2-4, which appears to be at the end of time? The writer of these notes ventures timidly to suppose the former, but refuses to be dogmatic.

5. Verse 10: Daniel was further told: "Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but they that are wise shall understand." This may not refer to understanding all the mysterious things revealed to Daniel, since he himself did not understand all of them. But it must refer to understanding enough to know that ultimate blessedness is to be achieved by faithfulness to God, and only by that, regardless of the cost even if it is of earthly life itself. For death is not the end, as indicated in Verses 2 and 3.

6. Verses 11-13: These have to do with times again, which have been variously interpreted, for there is not enough information to make any given interpretation certain. And notwithstanding what was stated, it appears that Daniel may not have been expected to understand precisely the meaning. He was told, "But go thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and shall stand in thy lot, at the end of the days." Likely his "rest" would be between his death and resurrection, at which time he would stand in what would be his "lot, at the end of the days" -- likely at the end of time on earth, when Christ comes to raise the dead, as per passages mentioned above in discussing Verses 1-4.

But the "time of the end" in Verse 4 is not necessarily to be equated with termination of the periods mentioned in Verses 11-12, as follows: "And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." If this was intended to be equated with the end of time on earth, why then did Jesus, while on earth, not know the time of his coming again (Matthew 24:36)?

On the other hand, if it was intended for that, what was the starting point -- namely, the taking away of the "continual burnt-offering" and the setting up of the "abomination that maketh desolate"? (1) Was it the profaning of the temple in Jerusalem in 168 B.C. by Antiochus Epiphanes? Or (2) was it what occurred in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans (Matthew 24: 15-18), of which the former seems to have been a type? Or (3) was "the abomination that maketh desolate" to be understood of "anything substituted in the place of, or set up in opposition to, the ordinances of God, his worship, &c.," as per Adam Clarke and some others? Moreover, if the latter, what later event was intended in the information given to Daniel, and how are we to know?

Also, we have two terminal dates -- 1,290 days and 1,335 days, a difference of 45 days, or a month and a half. Do these represent the beginning and the close of the time of the end, or something else? And, are they to be taken as literal days, or understood as a day representing a year as in Ezekiel 4:6 and possibly other prophetic instances? In any case, these figures cannot represent the end of time on earth if they begin with either 168 B.C. or A.D. 70. Taking a day to mean a ;year, 1,290 years and 1,335 years after 168 B.C. would bring us only to A.D. 1132 and A.D. 1177, respectively. Or, if following A.D. 70, that would still only bring us down to A.D. 1360 and A.D. 1405, respectively. But, if they represent the end of time on earth, what event already passed, if any, represents the beginning point, so that we can know the end is almost here, as has been claimed by various ones over many centuries and is being widely insisted upon by many sensationalists in our day?

Yet, if the terminal dates mentioned above do not represent the end of time, what do they represent, and how are we to know? Also, what is the "abomination that maketh desolate" that serves as the beginning date? Adam Clarke suggests the following: "Adrian’s temple, built in the place of God’s temple in Jerusalem [about A.D. 135], the church of St. Sophia turned into a Mohammedan mosque [A.D. 1453], &c., &c., may be termed abominations that make desolate. Perhaps Mohammedanism may be the abomination; which sprang up A.D. 612. If we reckon one thousand two hundred and ninety years, ver.11, from that time, it will bring us down to 1902, when we might presume from this calculation, that the religion of the FALSE PHOPHET will cease to prevail in the world, from which the present year, 1825, is distant only seventy-seven years." If Adam Clarke could come back to earth in the present day, what would he have to conclude about his "perhaps" of more than 160 years ago?

That was only a "perhaps," however, not set forth as a certainty. But Straub, in his Biblical Analysis, pages 129-32, has all the time periods worked out precisely, without any "possibly," "maybe," or "perhaps," and comes up with a final date of "about A.D. 2370." So we now append a review of his pronouncements, calling attention to weaknesses and inconsistencies.

 

Analysis of Straub's "Analysis"

FIRST: (1) Ignoring the fact that the 2300 "evenings and morning" of 8:13-14 could mean 1,150 days and refer to the time of the desolation of the sanctuary and cessation of the "continual burnt-offering" between its cause by Antiochus Epiphanes and its cleansing and the restoration of all the sacrifices under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus, and (2) likewise ignoring the testimony of Josephus (Wars of the Jews, I, !:1) that Antiochus Epiphanes "spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for [only] three years and six months," which the 1,150 days approximated, (3) he made it mean 2,300 days for certain and each day to represent positively a year -- hence, 2,300 years, beginning with 170 B.C. and ending with A.D. 2130. (That was its first fulfillment; a second, per Straub, began with the destruction of the temple by the Romans in A.D. 70, and will end in A.D. 2370).

(We need not carp at the foregoing date of 170 B.C. instead of 168 B.C. used in these notes, based upon the chronology of 1 Maccabees. But it does seem in order to protest Straub’s ignoring the fact of the restoration not acceptable to God, for which there is no biblical support either cited or seemingly available, although he implies as much in the following).

SECOND: He speaks of a "‘Justified’ or ‘Cleansed’ Sanctuary Which is The Christ," which is somewhat incongruous. His rationale is: "The Hebrew word rendered "cleansed" (tsadaq) in the common versions, means, literally, "approved righteous," or "justified." Yet it was the sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem, not Christ, that Daniel spoke of as being polluted and its services suspended until it could be cleansed (or "approved righteous" or "justified," to use Straub’s terms), 2,300 evenings and mornings later, or about A.D. 2130, before the Jews (and therefore anybody, for "the Jew first," Romans 1:16.) can worship acceptably by him! Yet such is the conclusion logically following from Straub’s shift from what the biblical record actually says, so as to equate the cleansing of the temple with the acceptance of Christ by the Jews -- which is what he does, saying: (1) "There is no approved sanctuary predicted for them until they accept Christ as the true and approved of God," and (2) that the "2300 years will end when the Jews accept the ‘justified’ or ‘cleansed’ sanctuary which is the Christ." That has to mean something is wrong with his exegesis.

THIRD: His "Time Periods of Daniel 12" also seem arbitrary, confused, and in some respects irreconcilably contradictory. Straub will first be quoted, then our comments will follow.

1. "Following the Jews" rejection of Christ (Rom. 11:8), there is to be a period of their conversion which TERMINATES [emphasis added] at ‘the time of the end’ of the 1260 year period (Dan.12:1-3; Rom. 11:12,15,23,25)."

Comment: Apparently Straub gets the term "the time of the end" for Daniel 12:1-3 from v.4, and it would seem from that text to apply to the end of time on earth when the dead are raised. But it will soon be apparent that he does not so apply it. (Instead, according to his calculations to be noted immediately below, the 1,260 year period under consideration will end about A.D. 2130, which would make its beginning to have been about A.D. 870. That would also mean that the above mentioned period of the Jews’ conversion, the beginning of which is not there stated, terminates not later than A.D. 2130.)

2. "The ‘DESOLATION’ (Dan.12:13-14) is also called "the time of trouble" (Dan.12:1), hence TERMINATES [emphasis added] at ‘the time of the end’ of the period (about A.D. 2130.)"

Comment: This states explicitly the date referred to above. But the passage he refers to in 12:13-14 (which should likely be 12:11-12, as there is no Verse 14) for the "desolation" he mentions, states its duration as "a thousand two hundred and ninety days" or, as Straub would calculate, 1290 years, which would end about A.D. 2160, instead of 30 years earlier at about A.D. 2130 -- a date he does not mention explicitly. And before he is finished, he will have another period "ending about A.D. 2370," or about 110 years still later.

3. "Between the end of the period of 1260 years (a time, times, and a half) (Dan.12:7-10), and ‘the time of the end’ of the 2300 years under consideration, is a preliminary period of conversion of the Jews (Dan. 12:7-10), described in the language, ‘Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined’ (see Rom.11:15-24). "After presenting this conversion movement, Daniel extends the actual time to 1290 years, ‘till the time of the end’ of this desolation period (Dan.12:9-11)."

Comment: Here the 1,260 years of 12:7-10 is being equated with that of 12:1-3 in No. 1 above, which no doubt is correct. But the remainder of what is said presents an apparently irreconcilable discrepancy. It places an interval "between the end of the 1260 years . . . (Dan.12:7-10), and ‘the time of the end’ of the 2300 years under consideration," which says contains a "preliminary period of conversion of the Jews" (Dan.12:1-3).

In other words, what was first stated as "a period of their conversion which terminates at ‘time of the end’ of the 1260 year period (Dan.12:1-3)" is now said to be "between" that and a subsequently ending period of 2300 years. (Which, per No.2 above, ends "about A.D. 2130"), and called "a preliminary period of conversion of the Jews (Dan.12:1-3)."

Also, on the next page, 132, it is similarly stated: "The 1260 years of Daniel 12:7 ends with THE BEGINNING OF THE CONVERSION PERIOD OF THE JEWS (30 year period, conversion of the Jews)." And that flatly contradicts the statement that "there is to be period of their conversion which terminates at ‘the time of the end’ of the 1260 year period (Dan.12:1-3),"repeatedly cited above, and which would end about A.D. 2100, according to foregoing calculations of Straub.

Next Straub says Daniel "extends the actual time to 1290 years, ‘till the time of the end’ of this desolation period, or simply an extension of the one in No.2 above. But we presume he means the latter. This alleged extension of 30 years, we presume to be his rationale for limiting the "preliminary" or "beginning" period of the conversion of the Jews to 30 years.

But, if that was indeed an extension of the 1,260 years to 1290 years, why not consider that whatever the period of their conversion is that "terminates" at "the time of the end" of the 1,260 year period of "Dan.12:1-3" is itself likewise extended by 30 years instead of moved and limited to that 30 year extension? That would at least obviate the confusion and discrepancy that has been noted. It would also better accord with his statement as follows: "After presenting this conversion movement, Daniel extends the actual time to 1290 years." "Actual time" of what, if not of the "conversion movement"?     

4. "While still on the subject of the conversion of the Jews, Daniel extends the time to 1335 years, 45 years past ‘the time of the end,’ to an unnamed event related to the subject. This would terminate about A.D. 2175 (Dan.12:12-13).

"The whole period characterized by the conversion of the Jews covers about 75 years."

Comment: It bears repeating that, if the above should all add up to the total of only 75 years’ time of conversion of the Jews, Straub gives no adequate rationale for it. Why not start with the "X" number of years before "the time of the end" of the 1,260 year period of Daniel 12:1-3, and extend that by the 30 years he claims, followed by the next 45 years he sets forth, making a total 75 plus "X" years?

Again, does it not seem strange that in a single vision (Chapters 10-12) and even in a single chapter (12), there should be a period of a given character and purpose prophesied (the 3 1/2 years interpreted by Straub as representing 1,260 prophetic years) and then, per Straub, immediately extend twice, to 1,290 and to 1,335 years respectively? Were the first two figures erroneous, or did the Lord, who was supplying the information being communicated to Daniel, change his mind twice in rapid succession? Or, is an interpretation different from Straub’s more likely?

FOURTH: "Christ presents a second fulfillment of the ‘abomination of desolation spoken through Daniel the prophet’ (Matt.24:15), dating from the overthrow of Jerusalem by Titus A.D. 70, ending about A.D. 2370.

"When the Jews sought to restore their sanctuary service, it was quite natural that a second fulfillment would follow as Providential defeat of their plans. There is no approved sanctuary predicted for them until they accept Christ as the true and approved of God."

Comment: According to the foregoing, Christ canceled all the preceding that was said to Daniel and confidently interpreted so meticulously by Straub, for he extended the desolation by another 195 years, or to A.D. 2370. According to Straub, the desolation ends with the Jews’ acceptance of Christ as the "approved sanctuary," but does not end till about A.D. 2370, which would therefore be about the time of their acceptance.

What are we to make of all these prophetic revisions, if that is indeed what they are? With all the problems that Straub’s exquisitely wrought interpretation poses, it seems more likely that he has simply read a great deal into the biblical text not divinely intended, and hopelessly contradicted himself besides. Such, however, is not an uncommon phenomenon in the dealings of uninspired men with unfulfilled prophecy. Surely it behooves us to beware of dogmatism ourselves, and wary of highly structured schemes of others, in such areas.

FINALLY, it may well be that we shall have to wait along with Daniel till the time of the ultimate end before we can understand precisely and completely the significance of all that is written in his narrative. But we can understand enough to know that to be accepted of God we have to be loyal to him, and be willing to die if necessary rather than compromise our loyalty. For this life does not end it all, but there is to be a resurrection either "to everlasting life" or "to shame and everlasting contempt" (12:2), depending on our response to God.