“VERSE 1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
A definite time is introduced in this verse, not a time revealed in names or figures which specify any particular year or month or day, but a time made definite by the occurrence of a certain event with which it stands connected. “At that time.” What time? – The time to which we are brought by the closing verse of the preceding chapter, – the time when the king of the north shall plant the tabernacles of his palace in the glorious holy mountain; or, in other words, when the Turk, driven from Europe, shall hastily make Jerusalem his temporary seat of government. We noticed, in remarks upon the latter portion of the preceding chapter, some of the agencies already in operation for the accomplishment of this end, and some of the indications that the Turk will soon be obliged to make this move. And when this event takes place, he is to come to his end; and then, according to this verse, we look for the standing up of Michael,
the great prince. This movement on the part of Turkey is the signal for the standing up of Michael; that is, it marks this event as next in order. And to guard against all misunderstanding, let the reader note that the position is not here taken that the next movement against the Turks will drive them from Europe, or that when they shall establish their capital at Jerusalem, Christ begins his reign without the lapse of a day or an hour of time. But here are the events, to come, as we believe, in the following order:
- (1) Further pressure brought to bear in some way upon the Turk:
- (2) His retirement from Europe;
- (3 His final stand at Jerusalem;
- (4) The standing up of Michael, or the beginning of the reign of Christ, and his coming in the clouds of heaven. And it is not reasonable to suppose that any great amount of time will elapse between these events.
Who, then, is Michael? and what is his standing up? – Michael is called, in Jude 9, the “archangel.” This means the chief angel, or the head over the angels. There is but one. Who is he? – He is the one whose voice is heard from heaven when the dead are raised. 1Thess.4:16. And whose voice is heard in connection with that event? – The voice of our Lord Jesus Christ. John 5:28. Tracing back the evidence with this fact as a basis, we reach the following conclusions: The voice of the Son of God is the voice of the archangel; the archangel, then, is the Son of God, but the archangel is Michael; hence also Michael is the Son of God. The expression of Daniel, “The great prince which standeth for the children of thy people,” is alone sufficient to identify the one here spoken of as the Saviour of men. He is the Prince of life (Acts3:15); and God hath exalted him to be a “Prince and a Saviour.” Acts 5:31. He is the great Prince. There is no one greater, save the sovereign Father. And he “standeth for the children of thy people.” He condescends to take the servants of God in this poor mortal state, and redeem them for the subjects of his future kingdom. He stands for us. His people are essential to his future purposes, an inseparable part of the purchased inheritance; and they are to be the chief agents of that joy in view of which Christ endured all the sacrifice and suffering which have marked his intervention in behalf of the fallen race. Amazing honor! Be everlasting gratitude repaid him for his condescension and mercy unto us! Be his the kingdom, power, and glory, forever and ever! We now come to the second question, What is the standing up of Michael? The key to the interpretation of this expression is furnished us in verses 2 and 3 of chapter 11: “There shall stand up yet three kings in Persia;” “A mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion.” There can be no doubt as to the meaning of these expressions in these instances. They signify to take the kingdom, to reign. The same expression in the verse under consideration must mean the same. At that time, Michael shall stand up, shall take the kingdom, shall commence to reign. But is not Christ reigning now? – Yes, associated with his Father on the throne of universal dominion. Eph.1:20-22; Rev.3:21. But this throne, or kingdom, he gives up at the end of this dispensation (1Cor.15.24); and then he commences his reign brought to view in the text, when he stands up, or takes his own kingdom, the long-promised throne of his father David, and establishes a dominion of which there shall be no end. Luke 1:32,33. An examination of all the events that constitute, or are inseparably connected with, this change in the position of our Lord, does not come within the scope of this work. Suffice it to say that then the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom “of our Lord and of his Christ.” His priestly robes are laid aside for royal vesture. The work of mercy is done, and the probation of our race is ended. Then he that is filthy is beyond hope of recovery; and he that is holy is beyond the danger of falling. All cases are decided. And from that time on, till the terrified nations behold the majestic form of their insulted King in the clouds of heaven, the nations are broken as with a rod of iron, and dashed in pieces like a potter’s vessel, by a time of trouble such as never was, a series of judgments unparalleled in the world’s history, culminating in the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven in flaming
fire, to take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel. 2Thess.1:7,8; Rev.11:15; 22:11,12. Thus momentous are the events introduced by the standing up of Michael. And he thus stands up, or takes the kingdom, marking the introduction of this decisive period in human history, for some length of time before he returns personally to this earth. How important, then, that we have a knowledge of his position, that we may be able to trace the progress of his work, and understand when that thrilling moment, draws near which ends his intercession in behalf of mankind, and fixes the destiny of all forever. But how are we to know this? How are we to determine what is transpiring in the far-off heaven of heavens, in the sanctuary above? – God has been so good as to place the means of knowing this in our hands. When certain great events take place on earth, he has told us what events synchronizing with them occur in heaven. By things which are seen, we thus learn of things that are unseen. As we “look through nature up to nature’s God,” so through terrestrial phenomena and events we trace great movements in the heavenly world. When the king of the north plants the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain, a movement for which we already behold the initial steps, when Michael, our Lord, stands up, or receives from his Father the kingdom, preparatory to his return to this earth. Or it might have been expressed in words like these: Then our Lord ceases his work as our great High Priest, and the probation of the world is finished. The great prophecy of the 2300 days gives us definitely the commencement of the final division of the work in the sanctuary in heaven. The verse before us gives us data whereby we can discover approximately the time of its close. In connection with the standing up of Michael, there occurs a time of trouble such as never was. In Matt.24:21 we read of a period of tribulation such as never was before it, nor should be after it. This tribulation, fulfilled in the oppression and slaughter of the church by the papal power, is already past; while the time of trouble of Dan.12:1, is, according to the view we take, still future. How can there be two times of trouble, many years apart, each of them greater than any that had been before it, or should be after it? To avoid difficulty here, let this distinction be carefully noticed: The tribulation spoken of in Matthew is tribulation upon the church. Christ is there speaking to his disciples, and of his disciples in coming time. They were the ones involved, and for their sake the days of tribulation were to be shortened. Verse 22. Whereas, the time of trouble mentioned in Daniel is not a time of religious persecution, but of national calamity. There has been nothing like it since there was – not a church, but – a nation. This comes upon the world. This is the last trouble to come upon the world in its present state. In Matthew there is reference made to time beyond that tribulation; for after that was past, there was never to be any like it upon the people of God. But there is no reference here in Daniel to future time after the trouble here mentioned; for this closes up this world’s history. It includes the seven last plagues of Revelation 16, and culminates in the revelation of the Lord Jesus, coming upon his pathway of clouds in flaming fire, to visit destruction upon his enemies who would not have him to reign over them. But out of this tribulation every one shall be delivered who shall be found written in the book – the book of life; “for in Mount Zion . . . shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Joel2:32.
“VERSE 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
This verse also shows how momentous a period is introduced by the standing up of Michael, or the commencement of the reign of Christ, as set forth in the first verse of this chapter; for the event here described in explicit terms is a resurrection of the dead. Is this the general resurrection which takes place at the second coming of Christ? or is there to intervene between Christ’s reception of the kingdom and his revelation to earth in all his advent glory (Luke21:27) a special resurrection answering to the description here given? One of these it must be; for every declaration of Scripture will be fulfilled.
Why may it not be the former, or the resurrection which occurs at the last trump? Answer: Because only the righteous, to the exclusion of all the wicked, have part in the resurrection. Those who sleep in Christ then come forth; but they only, for the rest of the dead live not again for a thousand years. Rev.20:5. So, then, the general resurrection of the whole race is comprised in two grand divisions, first, of the righteous exclusively, at the coming of Christ; secondly, of the wicked exclusively, a thousand years thereafter. The general resurrection is not a mixed resurrection. The righteous and the wicked do not come up promiscuously at the same time. But each of these two classes is set off by itself, and the time which elapses between their respective resurrections is plainly stated to be a thousand years. But in the resurrection brought to view in the verse before us, many of both righteous and wicked come up together. It cannot therefore be the first resurrection, which includes the righteous only, nor the second resurrection, which is as distinctly confined to the wicked. If the text read, Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake to everlasting life, then the “many” might be interpreted as including all the righteous, and the resurrection be that of the just at the second coming of Christ. But the fact that some of the many are wicked, and rise to shame and everlasting contempt, bars the way to such an application. It may be objected that this text does not affirm the awakening of any but the righteous, according to the translation of Bush and Whiting; namely, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, these to everlasting life, and those to shame and everlasting contempt.” It will be noticed, first of all, that this translation (which is not by any means above criticism) proves nothing till the evident ellipsis is supplied. This ellipsis some therefore undertake to supply as follows: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, these [the awakened ones] to everlasting life, and those [the unawakened ones] to shame and everlasting contempt.” It will be noticed, again, that this does not supply the ellipses, but only adds a comment, which is a very different thing. To supply the ellipsis is simply to insert those words which are necessary to complete the sentence. “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,” is a complete sentence. The subject and predicate are both expressed. The next member, “Some [or these] to everlasting life,” is not complete. What is wanted to complete it? Not a comment, giving some one’s opinion as to who are intended by “these,” but a verb of which these shall be the subject. What verb shall it be? This must be determined by the preceding portion of the sentence, which is complete, where the verb shall awake is used. This, then is the predicate to be supplied: “Some [or these] shall awake to everlasting life.” Applying the same rule to the next member, “Some [or those] to shame and everlasting contempt,” which is not in itself a complete sentence, we find ourselves obliged to supply the same words, and read it, “Some [or those] shall awake to shame and everlasting contempt.” Anything less than this will not complete the sense, and anything different will pervert the text; for a predicate to be supplied cannot go beyond one already expressed. The affirmation made in the text pertains only to the many who awake. Nothing is affirmed of the rest who do not then awake. And to say that the expression “to shame and everlasting contempt” applies to them, when nothing is affirmed of them, is not only to outrage the sense of the passage, but the laws of language as well. And of the many who awake, some come forth to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt, which further proves a resurrection to consciousness for these also; for while contempt may be felt and manifested by others toward those who are guilty, shame can be felt and manifested only by the guilty parties themselves. This resurrection, therefore, as already shown, comprises some of both righteous and wicked, and cannot be the general resurrection at the last day. Is there, then, any place for a special or limited resurrection, or elsewhere any intimation of such an event, before the Lord appears? The resurrection here predicted takes place when God’s people are delivered from the great time of trouble with which the history of this world terminates; and it seems from Rev.22:11 that this deliverance is given before the Lord appears. The awful moment arrives when he that is filthy and unjust is pronounced unjust still, and he that is righteous and holy is pronounced holy still. Then the cases of all are forever decided. And when this sentence is pronounced upon the righteous, it must be deliverance to them; for then they are placed beyond all reach of danger or fear of evil. But the Lord has not at that time made his appearance; for he immediately adds, “And, behold, I come quickly.” The utterance of this solemn fiat which seals the righteous to everlasting life, and the wicked to eternal death, is supposed to be synchronous with the great voice which is heard from the throne in the temple of heaven, saying, “It is done!” Rev.16:17. And this is evidently the voice of God, so often alluded to in descriptions of the scenes connected with the last day. Joel speaks of it, and says (chapter 3:16): “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” The margin reads instead of “hope,” “place of repair, or harbor.” Then at this time, when God’s voice is heard from heaven just previous to the coming of the Son of man, God is a harbor for his people, or, which is the same thing, provides them deliverance. Here, then, at the voice of God, when the decisions of eternity are pronounced upon the race, and the last stupendous scene is just to open upon a doomed world, God gives to the astonished nations another evidence and pledge of his power, and raises from the dead a multitude who have long slept in the dust of the earth. Thus we see that there is a time and place for the resurrection of Dan.12:2. We now add that a passage in the book of Revelation makes it necessary to suppose a resurrection of this kind to take place. Rev.1:7 reads: “Behold, he cometh with clouds [this is unquestionably the second advent]; and every eye shall see him [of the nations then living on the earth], and they also which pierced him [those who took an active part in the terrible work of his crucifixion]; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” Those who crucified the Lord, would, unless there was an exception made in their cases, remain in their graves till the end of the thousand years, and come up in the general assembly of the wicked at that time. But here it is stated that they behold the Lord at his second advent. They must therefore have a special resurrection for that purpose. And it is certainly most appropriate that some who were eminent in holiness, who labored and suffered for their hope of a coming Saviour, but died without the sight, should be raised a little before, to witness the scenes attending his glorious epiphany; as, in like manner, a goodly company came out of their graves at his resurrection to behold his risen glory (Matt.27:52,53), and to escort him in triumph to the right hand of the throne of the majesty on high (Eph.4:8, margin); and also that some, eminent in wickedness, who have done most to reproach the name of Christ and injure his cause, and especially those who secured his cruel death upon the cross, and mocked and derided him in his dying agonies, should be raised, as part of their judicial punishment, to behold his return in the clouds of heaven, a celestial victor, in, to them, unendurable majesty and splendor. One more remark upon this text before passing on. What is here said is supposed by some to furnish good evidence of the eternal conscious suffering of the wicked, because those of this character who are spoken of come forth to shame and everlasting contempt. How can they forever suffer these, unless they are forever conscious? It has already been stated that shame implies their consciousness; but it will be noticed that this is not said to be everlasting. This qualifying word is not inserted till we come to the contempt, which is an emotion felt by others toward the guilty parties, and does not render necessary the consciousness of those against whom it is directed. And so some read the passage: “Some to shame, and the everlasting contempt of their companions.” And so it will be. Shame for their wickedness and corruption will burn into their very souls, so long as they have conscious being. And when they pass away, consumed for their iniquities, their loathsome characters and their guilty deeds excite only contempt on the part of all the righteous, unmodified and unabated so long as they hold them in remembrance at all. The text therefore furnishes no proof of the eternal suffering of the wicked.
VERSE 3. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”
The margin reads “teachers” in place of “wise.” And they that be teachers shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; that is, of course, those who teach the truth, and lead others to a knowledge of it, just previous to the time when the events recorded in the foregoing verses are to be fulfilled. And as the world estimates loss and profit, it costs something to be teachers of these things in these days. It costs reputation, ease, comfort, and often property; it involves labors, crosses, sacrifices, loss of friendship, ridicule, and, not infrequently, persecution. And the question is often asked, How can you afford it? How can you afford to keep the Sabbath, and perhaps lose a situation, reduce your income, or it may be even hazard your means of support? O blind, deluded, sordid question! O what shortsightedness, to make obedience to what God requires a matter of pecuniary consideration! How unlike is this to the noble martyrs, who loved not their lives unto the death! No; the affording is all on the other side. When God commands, we cannot afford to disobey. And if we are asked, How can you afford to keep the Sabbath, and do other duties involved in rendering obedience to the truth? we have only to ask in reply, How can you afford not to do them? And in the coming day, when those who have sought to save their lives shall lose them, and those who have been willing to hazard all for the sake of the truth and its divine Lord, shall receive the glorious reward promised in the text, and be raised up to shine as the firmament, and as the imperishable stars forever and ever, it will then be seen who have been wise, and who, on the contrary, have made the choice of blindness and folly. The wicked and worldly now look upon Christians as fools and madmen, and congratulate themselves upon their superior shrewdness in shunning what they call their
folly, and avoiding their losses. We need make no response; for those who now render this decision will soon themselves reverse it, and that with terrible though unavailing earnestness. Meanwhile, it is the Christian’s privilege to revel in the consolations of this marvelous promise. A conception of its magnitude can be gathered only from the stellar worlds themselves. What are these stars, in the likeness of which the teachers of righteousness are to shine forever and ever? How much of brightness, and majesty, and length of days, is involved in this comparison? The sun of our own solar system is one of these stars. If we compare it with this globe upon which we live (our handiest standard of measurement, we find it an orb of no small magnitude and magnificence. Our earth is 8,000 miles in diameter; but the sun’s diameter is 885,680 miles. In size it is one and a half million times larger than our globe; and in the matter of its substance, it would balance three hundred and fifty-two thousand worlds like ours. What immensity is this!
Yet this is far from being the largest or the brightest of the orbs which drive their shining chariots in myriads through the heavens. His proximity (he being only some ninety-five million miles from us) gives him with us a controlling presence and influence. But far away in the depths of space, so far that they appear like mere points of light, blaze other orbs of vaster size and greater glory. The nearest fixed star, Alpha Centauri, in the southern hemisphere, is found, by the accuracy and efficiency of modern instruments, to be nineteen thousand million miles away; but the pole-star system is fifteen times as remote, or two hundred and eighty-five thousand million miles; and it shines with a luster equal to that of eighty-six of our suns; others are still larger, as, for instance, Vega, which emits the light of three hundred and forty-four of our suns; Capella, four hundred and thirty; Arcturus, five hundred and sixteen; and so on, till at last we reach the great star Alcyone, in the constellation of the Pleiades, which floods the celestial spaces with a brilliancy twelve thousand times that of the ponders orb which lights
and controls our solar system! Why, then, does it not appear more luminous to us? – Ah! its distance is twenty-five million diameters of the earth’s orbit; and the latter is one hundred and ninety million miles! Figures are weak to express such distances. It will be sufficient to say that its glowing light must traverse space as only light travels, – 192,000 miles a second, – for a period of more than seven hundred years, before it reaches this distant world of ours! Some of these monarchs of the skies rule singly, like our own sun. Some are double; that is, what appears to us like one star is found to consist of two stars – two suns with their retinue of planets, revolving around each other; others are triple, some are quadruple; and one, at least, is sextuple. Besides this, they show all the colors of the rainbow. Some systems are white, some blue, some red, some yellow, some green; and this means different-colored days for the planets of those systems. Castor gives his planets green days. The double pole- star gives his yellow. In some, the different suns belonging to the same system are variously colored. Says Dr. Burr, in his Ecce Coelum, p.136; “And, as if to make that Southern Cross the fairest object in all the heavens, we find in it a group of more than a hundred variously colored red, green, blue, and bluish- green suns, so closely thronged together as to appear in a powerful telescope like a superb bouquet, or piece of fancy jewelry.” And what of the age of these glorious bodies? A few years pass away, and all things earthly gather the mold of age, and the odor of decay. How much in this world has perished entirely! But the stars shine on as fresh as in the beginning. Centuries and cycles have gone by, kingdoms have arisen and slowly passed away; we go back beyond the dim and shadowy horizon of history, go back even to the earliest moment introduced by revelation, when order was evoked out of chaos, and the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy – even then the stars were on their stately marches, and how long before this we know not; for astronomers tell us of nebulae lying on the farthest outposts of telescopic vision, whose light in its never-ceasing flight would consume five million years in reaching this planet. So ancient are these stellar orbs. Yet their brightness is not dimmed, nor their force abated. The dew of youth still seems fresh upon them. No broken outline shows the foothold of decay; no faltering motion reveals the decrepitude of age. Of all things visible, these stand next to the Ancient of days; and their undiminished glory is a prophecy of eternity.
And thus shall they who turn many to righteousness shine in a glory that shall bring joy even to the heart of the Redeemer; and thus shall their years roll on forever and ever.
“VERSE 4. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
The “words” and “book” here spoken of doubtless refer to the things which had been revealed to Daniel in this prophecy. These things were to be shut up and sealed until the time of the end; that is, they were not to be specially studied, or to any great extent understood, till that time. The time of the end, as has already been shown, commenced in 1798. As the book was closed up and sealed to that time, the plain inference is that at that time, or from that point, the book would be unsealed; that is, people would be better able to understand it, and would have their attention specially called to this part of the inspired word. Of what has been done on the subject of prophecy since that time, it is unnecessary to remind the reader. The prophecies, especially Daniel’s prophecy, have been under examination by all students of the word wherever civilization has spread abroad its light upon the earth. And so the remainder of the verse, being a prediction of what should take place after the time of the end commenced, says, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be “increased.” Whether this running to and fro refers to the passing of people from place to place, and the great improvements in the facilities for transportation and travel made within the present century, or whether it means, as some understand it, a turning to and fro in the prophecies, that is, a diligent and earnest search into prophetic truth, the fulfilment is certainly and surely before our eyes. It must have its application in one of these two ways; and in both of these directions the present age is very strongly marked. So of the increase of knowledge. It must refer either to the increase of knowledge in general, the development of the arts and sciences, or an increase of knowledge in reference to those things revealed to Daniel, which were closed up and sealed to the time of the end. Here, again, apply it which way we will, the fulfilment is most marked and complete. Look at the marvelous achievements of the human mind, and the cunning works of men’s hands, rivaling the magician’s wildest dreams, which have been accomplished within the last hundred years. The Scientific American has stated that within this time more advancement has been made in all scientific attainments, and more progress in all that tends to domestic transmission of intelligence from one to another, and the means of rapid transit from place to place and even from continent to continent, than all that was done for three thousand years previous, put together. By a series of vignettes the artist has given us in the accompanying plates a birds’s eye-view of some of the most wonderful discoveries and marvelous scientific and mechanical achievements of the present age. They represent,-
- 1. The Suspension Bridge. – The first suspension bridge of note in this country was built across the Niagara River in 1855. The Brooklyn bridge was completed in 1883.
- 2. Electric Lighting. – This system of lighting was perfected and brought into use within the last twenty years of the nineteenth century. Only two electric lighting exhibits were to be seen at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. At the Paris Exposition, twenty-four years later, there were two hundred such exhibits.
- 3. Modern Artillery. – At Sandy Hook, guarding the entrance to New York harbor, is a monster breech-loading cannon 49 feet in length, weighing 130 tons, capable of throwing a projectile, over five feet in length and weighing 2,400 pounds, a distance of twenty miles.
- 4. The Automobile. – Only a few years ago this machine was entirely unknown. Now automobiles are common in every section of the country, and bid fair to almost entirely supersede the horse carriage as a means of locomotion. Read, in connection with descriptions of the automobile and the railway train, the prophecy of Nahum 2:3,4.
- 5. The Modern Printing-press. – Presses now used in the large newspaper offices consume in an hour 280 miles of paper of newspaper width, and turn out in the same time 96,000 papers of 16 pages, folded, pasted, and counted. Contrast this with the hand printing-press of Benjamin Franklin.
- 6. The Telegraph. – This was first put into operation in 1844.
- 7. The Trolley Car. – The first practicable electric railway line was constructed and operated at the Berlin International Exposition in 1879. Interurban travel by trolley car in many places now nearly equals in speed and excels in comfort the best steam railway service. It is generally believed in fact, that electricity is about to conquer steam on all railway lines.
- 8. The Telephone. – The first patent on the telephone was granted to Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.
- 9. The Steam Railway. – The first American-built locomotive was made in Philadelphia in 1832. The use of the steam engine for locomotion has made it possible to travel around the world in about forty days.
- 10. Ocean Steamships. – Early in the last century the application of steam power to ships revolutionized ocean travel. Ships are now built which cross the ocean in four days, supply every luxury to be found in the finest hotels, and in size far outrank the famous Great Eastern.
- 11. Modern Battleships. – A single battleship of the present day could easily overcome the combined naval fleets of the world as they were at the middle of the last century.
- 12. The Typewriter. – The first model of the modern typewriter was put on the market in 1874.
- 13. The Combination Reaper and Thresher. – Compare the harvesting methods of the present day, when grain is 336 not only cut and gathered, but at the same time threshed and collected in bags ready for the market, by one machine, with the old method of hand reaping, which was in used in the days of our grandfathers.
- 14. The Type-setting Machine. – This machine has worked a revolution in the art of printing. The first Mergenthaler machine was made in 1884.
- 15. Oil Wells. – The discovery of petroleum in the last century revolutionized domestic lighting, also affording such indispensable products as benzine and gasoline.
- 16. The Phonograph. – The first Edison phonograph was constructed in 1877.
- 17. The Photographic Camera. – The first sunlight picture of a human face was made by Professor Draper of New York in 1840.
- 18. Wireless Telegraphy. – The first apparatus capable of transmitting wireless messages over long distances was made by Marconi in 1896. Almost every large steamship is now provided with this apparatus, and conversations can be carried on by people on the ocean hundreds of miles apart. A daily paper is published on transatlantic liners, giving each day’s news of world events, sent out by wireless telegraphy to the ship from the shores of America or of Europe.
- 19. Air Navigation. – The conquest of the air which has been achieved by the aeroplane, is one of the most noteworthy triumphs of any age. It is now possible to travel through the air from one city to another, hundreds of miles away, without a stop, and at a speed of over sixty miles an hour. Dirigible air ships also have been constructed which can carry a score of passengers at a time, over long distances at the speed of the average railway train.
Many other things might be spoken of, such as submarine armor for divers, submarine boats for exploring the depths of the sea, and for use in naval warfare, power spinning-machines, and anesthetics to prevent pain in surgery, etc., etc. What a galaxy of wonders to originate in a single age! How marvelous the scientific attainments of the present day, upon which all these discoveries and achievements concentrate their light! Truly, viewed from this standpoint, we have reached the age of the increase of knowledge. And to the honor of Christianity let it be noted in what lands, and by whom, all these discoveries have been made, and so much done to add to the facilities and comforts of life. It is in Christian lands, among Christian men, since the great Reformation. Not in the Dark Ages, which furnished only a travesty of Christianity; not to pagans, who in their ignorance know not God, nor to those who in Christian lands deny him, is the credit of this progress due. Indeed, it is the very spirit of equality and individual liberty inculcated in the gospel of Christ when preached in its purity, which unshackles human limbs, unfetters human minds, invites them to the highest use of their powers, and makes possible such an age of free thought and action, in which these wonders can be achieved. Of the marvelous character of the present age, Victor Hugo speaks as follows:- “In science it works all miracles; it makes saltpeter out of cotton, a horse out of steam, a laborer out of the voltaic pile, a courier out of the electric fluid, and a painter of the sun; it bathes itself in the subterranean waters, while it is warmed with the central fires; it opens upon the two infinities those two windows, – the telescope on the infinitely great, the microscope on the infinitely little, and it finds in the first abyss the stars of heaven, and in the second abyss the insects, which prove the existence of a God. It annihilates time, it annihilates distance, it annihilates suffering; it writes a letter from Paris to London, and has the answer back in ten minutes; it cuts off the leg of a man – the man sings and smiles.” – Le Petit Napoleon. But if we take the other standpoint, and refer the increase of knowledge to an increase of Biblical knowledge, we have only to look at the wonderful light which, within the past sixty years, has shone upon the Scriptures. The fulfilment of prophecy has been revealed in the light of history. The use of a better principle of interpretation has led to conclusions showing, beyond dispute, that the end of all things is near. Truly the seal has been taken from the book, and knowledge respecting what God has revealed in his word, is wonderfully increased.
We think it is in this respect that the prophecy is more especially fulfilled, but only in an age like the present could the prophecy, even in this direction, be accomplished.
That we are in the time of the end, when the book of this prophecy should be no longer sealed, but be open and understood, is shown by Rev.10:1,2, where a mighty angel is seen to come down from heaven with a little book in his hand open. For proof that the little book, there said to be open, is the book here closed up and sealed, and that that angel delivers his message in this generation, see on Rev.10:2.
“VERSE 5. Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7. And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”
The question, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? undoubtedly has reference to all that has previously been mentioned including the standing up of Michael, the time of trouble, the deliverance of God’s people, and the special and antecedent resurrection of verse 2. And the answer seems to be given in two divisions: First, a specific prophetic period is marked off; and, secondly, an indefinite period follows before the conclusion of all these things is reached; just as we have it in chapter 8:13,14. When the question was asked, “How long the vision . . . to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” the answer mentioned a definite period of 2300 days, and then an indefinite period of the cleansing of the sanctuary. So in the text before us, there is given the period of a time, times, and a half, or 1260 years, and then an indefinite period for the continuance of the scattering of the power of the holy people,before the consummation. The 1260 years mark the period of papal supremacy. Why is this period here introduced? – Probably because this power is the one which does more than any other in the world’s history
toward scattering the power of the holy people, or oppressing the church of God. But what shall we understand by the expression, “Shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people”? A literal translation of the Septuagint seems to present it in a clearer light: “When he shall have finished the scattering of the power of the holy people.” To whom does the pronoun he refer? According to the wording of the scripture, the antecedent would at first sight seem to be “Him that liveth forever,” or Jehovah; but, as an eminent expositor of the prophecies judiciously remarks, in considering the pronouns of the Bible we are to interpret them according to the facts of the case; and hence must frequently refer them to an antecedent understood, rather than to some noun which is expressed. So, here, the little horn, or man of sin, having been introduced by the particular mention of the time of his supremacy, namely, 1260 years, may be the power referred to by the pronoun he. For 1260 years he had grievously oppressed the church, or scattered its power. After his supremacy is taken away, his disposition toward the truth and its advocates still remains, and his power is still felt to a certain extent, and he continues his work of oppression just as far as he is able, till – when? – Till the last of the events brought to view in verse 1, the deliverance of God’s people, every one that is found written in the book. Being thus delivered, persecuting powers are no longer able to oppress them; their power is no longer scattered; the end of the wonders described in this great prophecy is reached; and all its predictions are accomplished. Or, we may, without particularly altering the sense, refer the pronoun he to the one mentioned in the oath of verse 7, as “Him that liveth forever;” that is, God, since he employed the agency of earthly powers in chastising and disciplining his people, and in that sense may be said himself to scatter their power. By his prophet he said concerning the kingdom of Israel, ‘I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, . . . until He come whose right it is.” Eze.21:27. And again, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke21:24. Of like import is the prophecy of Dan.8:13: “How long the vision . . . to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” Who gives them to this condition? – God. Why? – To discipline; to “purify and make white” his people. How long? – Till the sanctuary is cleansed.
“VERSE 8. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9. And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”
How forcibly are we reminded, by Daniel’s solicitude to understand fully all that had been shown him, of Peter’s words where he speaks of the prophets’ inquiring and searching diligently to understand the predictions concerning the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow; and also of the fact that not unto themselves but unto us they did minister. How little were some of the prophets permitted to understand of what they wrote! But they did not therefore refuse to write. If God required it, they knew that in due time he would see that his people derived from their writings all the benefit that he intended. So the language here used to Daniel was the same as telling him that when the right time should come, the wise would understand the meaning of what he had written, and be profited thereby. The time of the end was the time in which the Spirit of God was to break the seal from off this book; and consequently this was the time during which the wise should understand, while the wicked, lost to all sense of the value of eternal truth, with hearts callous and hardened in sin, would grow continually more wicked and more blind. None of the wicked understand. The efforts which the wise put forth to understand, they call folly and presumption, and ask, in sneering phrase, “Where is the promise of his coming?” And should the question be raised, Of what time and what generation speaketh the prophet this? the solemn answer would be, Of the present time, and of the generation now before us. This language of the prophet is now receiving a most striking fulfilment.
The phraseology of verse 10 seems at first sight to be rather peculiar: “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.” How, it may be asked, can they be made white and then tried (as the language would seem to imply), when it is by being tried that they are purified and made white? Answer: The language doubtless describes a process which is many times repeated in the experience of those, who, during this time, are being made ready for the coming and kingdom of the Lord. They are purified and made white to a certain degree, as compared with their former condition. Then they are again tried. Greater tests are brought to bear upon them. If they endure these, the work of purification is thus carried on to a still greater extent, – the process of being made white is made to reach a still higher stage. And having reached this state,they are tried again, resulting in their being still further purified and made white: and thus the process goes on till characters are developed which will stand the test of the great day, and a spiritual condition is reached which needs no further trial.
“VERSE 11. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
We have here a new prophetic period introduced; namely, 1290 prophetic days, which would denote the same number of literal years. From the reading of the text, some have inferred (though the inference is not a necessary one) that this period begins with the setting up of the abomination of desolation, or the papal power, in 538, and consequently extends to 1828. But while we find nothing in the latter year to mark its termination, we do find evidence in the margin that it begins before the setting up of the papal abomination. The margin reads, “To set up the abomination,” etc. With this reading the text would stand thus: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away to set up [or in order to set up] the abomination that maketh desolate, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” The daily has already been shown to be, not the daily sacrifice of the Jews, but the daily or continual abomination, that is, paganism. (See on chapter 8:13.) This had to be taken away to prepare the way for the papacy. For the historical events showing how this was accomplished in 508, see on chapter 11:31. We are not told directly to what event these 1290 days reach; but inasmuch as their commencement is marked by a work which takes place to prepare the way for the setting up of the papacy, it would be most natural to conclude that their end would be marked by the cessation of papal supremacy. Counting back, then, 1290 years from 1798, we have the year 508, where it has been shown that paganism was taken away, thirty years before the setting up of the papacy. This period is doubtless given to show the date of the taking away of the daily, and it is the only one which does this. The two periods, therefore, the 1290 and the 1260 days, terminate together in 1798, the one beginning in 538, and the other in 508, thirty years previous.
“VERSE 12. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13. But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
Still another prophetic period is here introduced denoting 1335 years. The testimony concerning this period, like that which pertains to the 1290 years, is very meager. Can we tell when this period begins and ends? The only clue we have to the solution of this question, is the fact that it is spoken of in immediate connection with the 1290 years, which commenced, as shown above, in 508. From that point there shall be, says the prophet, 1290 days. And the very next sentence reads, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the 1335 days.” From what point? – From the same point, undoubtedly, as that from which the 1290 date; namely, 508. Unless they are to be reckoned from this point, it is impossible to locate them, and they must be excepted from the prophecy of Daniel when we apply to it the words of Christ, “Whoso readeth, let him understand.” Matt.24:15. From this point they would extend to 1843; for 1335 added to 508 make 1843. Commencing in the spring of the former year, they ended in the spring of the latter.
But how can it be that they have ended, it may be asked, since at the end of these days Daniel stands in his lot, which is by some supposed to refer to his resurrection from the dead? This question is founded on a misapprehension in two respects: First, that the days at the end of which Daniel stands in his lot are the 1335 days; and, secondly, that the standing of Daniel in his lot is his resurrection, which also cannot be sustained. The only thing promised at the end of the 1335 days is a blessing unto those who wait and come to that time; that is, those who are then living. What is this blessing? Looking at the year 1843, when these years expired, what do we behold? – We see a remarkable fulfilment of prophecy in the great proclamation of the second coming of Christ. Forty-five years before this, the time of the end commenced, the book was unsealed, and light began to increase.
About the year 1843, there was a grand culmination of all the light that had been shed on prophetic subjects up to that time. The proclamation went forth in power. The new and stirring doctrine of the setting up of the kingdom of God, shook the world. New life was imparted to the true disciples of Christ. The unbelieving were condemned, the churches were tested, and a spirit of revival was awakened which has had no parallel since. Was this the blessing? Listen to the Saviour’s words: “Blessed are your eyes,” said he to his disciples, “for they see; and your ears, for they hear.” Matt.13:16. And again he told his followers that prophets and kings had desired to see the things which they saw, and had not seen them. But “blessed,” said he to them, “are the eyes which see the things that ye see.” Luke10:23,24. If a new and glorious truth was a blessing in the days of Christ to those who received it, why was it not equally so in A.D.1843? It may be objected that those who engaged in this movement were disappointed in their expectations; so were the disciples of Christ at his first advent, in an equal degree. They shouted before him as he rode into Jerusalem, expecting that he would then take the kingdom; but the only throne to which he then went was the cross; and instead of being hailed as king in a royal palace, he was laid a lifeless form in
oseph’s new sepulcher. Nevertheless, they were “blessed” in receiving the truths they had heard. It may be objected further that this was not a sufficient blessing to be marked by a prophetic period. Why not, since the period in which it was to occur, namely, the time of the end, is introduced by a prophetic period; since our Lord, in verse 14 of his great prophecy of Matthew 24, makes a special announcement of this movement; and since it is still further set forth in Rev.14:6,7, under the symbol of an angel flying through mid- heaven with a special announcement of the everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of the earth? Surely the Bible gives great prominence to this movement. Two more questions remain to be briefly noticed: (1) What days are referred to in verse 13? (2) What is meant by Daniel’s standing in his lot? Those who claim that the days are the 1335, are led to that application by looking back no further than to the preceding verse, where the 1335 days are mentioned; whereas, in making an application of these days so indefinitely introduced, the whole scope of the prophecy should certainly be taken in from chapter 8. Chapters 9, 10, 11, and 12 are clearly a continuation and explanation of the vision of chapter 8: hence we may say that in the vision of chapter 8, as carried out and explained, there are four prophetic periods: namely, the 2300, 1260, 1290, and 1335 days. The first is the principal and longest period; the others are but intermediate parts and subdivisions of this. Now, when the angel tells Daniel, at the conclusion of his instructions, that he shall stand in his lot at the end of the days, without specifying which period was meant, would not Daniel’s mind naturally turn to the principal and longest period, the 2300 days, rather than to any of its subdivisions? If this is so, the 2300 are the days intended. The reading of the Septuagint seems to look very plainly in this direction: “But go thy way and rest; for there are yet days and seasons to the full accomplishment [of these things]; and thou shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” This certainly carries the mind back to the long period contained in the first vision, in relation to which the subsequent instructions were given.
The 2300 days, as has been already shown, terminated in 1844, and brought us to the cleansing of the sanctuary. How did Daniel at that time stand in his lot? Answer: In the person of his Advocate, our Great High Priest, as he presents the cases of the righteous for acceptance to his Father. The word here translated lot does not mean a piece of real estate, a “lot” of land, but the “decisions of chance” or the “determinations of Providence.” At the end of the days, the lot, so to speak, was to be cast. In other words, a determination was to be made in reference to those who should be accounted worthy of a possession in the heavenly inheritance. And when Daniel’s case comes up for examination, he is found righteous, stands in his lot, is assigned a place in the heavenly Canaan. When Israel was about to enter into the promised land, the lot was cast, and the possession of each tribe was assigned. The tribes thus stood in their respective “lots” long before they entered upon the actual possession of the land. The time of the cleansing of the sanctuary corresponds to this period of Israel’s history. We now stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, and decisions are being made, assigning to some a place in the eternal kingdom, and barring others forever therefrom. In the decision of his case, Daniel’s portion in the celestial inheritance will be made sure to him. And with him all the faithful will also stand. And when this devoted servant of God, who filled up a long life with the noblest deeds of service to his Maker, though cumbered with the weightiest cares of this life, shall enter upon his reward for well-doing, we too may enter with him into rest. We draw the study of this prophecy to a close, with the remark that it has been with no small degree of satisfaction that we have spent what time and study we have on this wonderful prophecy, and in contemplating the character of this most beloved of men and most illustrious of prophets. God is no respecter of persons; and a reproduction of Daniel’s character will secure the divine favor as signally even now. Let us emulate his virtues, that we, like him, may have the approbation of God while here, and dwell amid the creations of his infinite glory in the long hereafter.
(From U.Smith’s book Daniel and Revelation, written in the 19th centuary)