13 Book of Daniel

The Daniel Papers – Daniel’s Prophecy of 70 Weeks

The below link is to The Daniel Papers a PDF file on the book of Daniel put out by RBC Ministries (Radio Bible Class):

The Daniel Papers:  the_daniel_papers

We have used this booklet several times in group studies on Daniel.  The website named  Daniel: God’s Messenger to the Future no longer has free downloadable PDF of the book.  The author has now published a book entitled Daniel: God’s Messenger to Our Times.

Fortunately, I have already download all of the PDF files for myself.   Robert Culver’s book Daniel and the Latter Days is probably the best in analysizing the book of Daniel.  Even though I could find the Daniel:God’s Messenger to the Future, I did find Robert Culver’s book on Daniel.  It may be the copy that is in Wycliff Bible commentary which is not as good as his actual book which was his desertation. Here is the link I found:  http://rediscoveringthebible.com/Culver.html

The book happens to be the actual book Daniel and the Latter Days.  Click here for a .PDF of Daniel and the Latter DaysDaniel and the Latter Days

Daniel and the Latter days has been in print for 45 years per advertisement.  It is an excellent book.  I have also inserted the total text of the book below but it may be cumbersome reading online.  Like I said I think it is one of the best books written on Daniel.  At some point I may upload the PDF files of Daniel: God’s Messenger to the Future.   I already have permission from the author to use them in personal Bible studies, but I need to contact him about posting them on this Blog Site.   He is now selling his book which I think is great.   I am all for free enterprise in most cases.  He is entitled to the fruit of his labors.

DANIEL AND THE LATTER DAYS

Robert D. Culver  Moody Press Chicago Copyright, 1954

http://rediscoveringthebible.com/Culver.html

Preface

One of the first indications of the purpose of the dreams and visions of

the book of Daniel is that it is to give light on things “hereafter” and during

“the latter days.” So it is no surprise to learn before one reads far in the

book that Daniel is devoted largely to revelation of the future.

It is for this cause that Daniel never fails to attract the interest of

the reader, whether he be worldly curious or devoutly faithful. A flood of

literature on Daniel has been the inevitable result.

The “interest factor” is probably one of the strongest elements in my

desire to prepare this my second treatise on the Book of Daniel. But the most

important element in the desire was, and is, to test in the crucible of the

entire written Word of God the Premillennial system of interpretation which I

have been led to believe is the key to predictive prophecy in the Bible. I say

to test–though candor might force me to say “to justify” or “to substantiate.”

For convictions of many years, based, I felt, on clear pronouncements of the

Bible, have probably rendered the study something less than completely

unprejudiced. Nevertheless, I have tried to be objective. How successful I

have been will be judged by the reader.

Grateful acknowledgment is made to The Division of Christian Education of

the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. for permission to

quote from The American Standard Version of the Bible, and to all others from

whom such permission has been secured in every case in which permission was

known to be required.

May the Holy Spirit bless these efforts and those who read, that they,

like Daniel, may have their rest and stand in their lot at the end of the days.

R.D.C.

Preface to Second Edition

The present edition of Daniel and the Latter Days is essentially the same

as previous printings except for correction of misprints, refinement of one or

two points of exegesis, and a change of view with regard to interpretation of

II Thessalonians 2:7-10. Although new literature on the “millennial question”

has continued to appear, the last decade has not been especially fruitful–only

enough to show that scholars have not forgotten about it. No evidence or

argument has come to the author’s attention which did not appear in earlier

publications in similar form.

The author has supplemented his argument by “A Neglected Millennial

Passage from St. Paul,” Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1956; “The Difficulty of

Interpreting O.T. Prophecy,” Bibliotheca Sacra, July, 1957; The Sufferings and

the Glory of the Lord’s Righteous Servant, Moline: Christian Service

Foundation, 1958; “Daniel,” Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Chicago: Moody Press,

1962; and “Were the O.T. Prophecies Really Prophetic?” Can I Trust My Bible?

Chicago: Moody Press, 1963.

Introduction

Nearly fifty years ago a very learned and devout Biblical critic wrote:

“The commentaries on Daniel are innumerable. On no other book, save the Book

of Revelation in the New Testament, has so much worthless matter been written

in the shape of exegesis” (Charles H. H. Wright, D.D., Ph.D., An Introduction

to the Old Testament, p. 197). A recent critical writer (H. H. Rowley, Darius

the Mede and The Four World Empires) lists over 400 works consulted in

investigation of one historical and one expositional problem in Daniel. Each

year witnesses the publication of new commentaries on all or parts of the book.

In view of all this one might reasonably ask, Why another book on Daniel?

In the first place, let it be said that the fact that so much is being

written and read on the subject manifests a continuing lively interest in the

Book of Daniel. Furthermore–and this is the real occasion for this treatise–

there is a great need today for just such a work as the writer hopes this one

will prove to be. To my knowledge no work of this type has ever been written

in recent times. I have in mind a work that will first of all frankly take the

Premillenarian approach, lay a sound basis for acceptance of that position in

the whole of Scripture, and then proceed to show that this method of exposition

alone can satisfactorily explain the Book of Daniel. Such a work should do

justice to the linguistical data of the book and should approach the book in

the original Aramaic and Hebrew. Several such works from Amillennial and

Postmillennial writers are available–some quite recent, but nothing of the

sort by a Premillennialist. Many Premillennial commentaries on Daniel have

been written, to be sure, many of them of very superior quality, some of them

less than worthless. It has not suited the purpose of any I have read to

explain first the Premillennial eschatological position assumed, nor to show

why it had been adopted. This is not blameworthy–it simply did not suit the

purpose of the author to do so.

But a time has come when Premillennialists had better examine the

foundation of their peculiar faith. Others are examining it and think they

find it wanting in many respects. Pious men of unquestioned Christian faith

are vigorously sponsoring other systems of eschatology. It will not do to

ignore these men–it would not be honest to do so, nor would it exemplify the

courtesy we expect from them. Neither can we “cast them out of the synagogue”

of orthodoxy simply because they do not agree with us in some aspects of

eschatology. The proper thing to do is to hear what they have to say, learn

what we can from them, and then judge their sermons and their books as we judge

our own–by the light of God’s Word. To do so will be a wholesome experience

for us all. It is a craven kind of Christian faith which fears to examine the

content of its creed in the light of honest criticism.

The writer has tried to do just this and has learned much. He hopes that

this book, which represents a part of the fruit of his research, will be of

real aid to others who earnestly desire to know the truth of God about the

future as revealed in the Scriptures.

Some time I hope to write a commentary on all of Daniel–a commentary on

every verse, giving proper attention to the critical, doctrinal, and practical

aspects. But now my purpose is different. I wish to provide a basis for a

consistent explanation of the book. If all the predictions concerning the

nations culminate in Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century B.C., that is

one thing. If they converge upon the events of the lifetime of our Lord in the

first century following His first advent, that is another. If, however,

prophecy of the nations is carried down to the end of the present age, that is

still another. If Israel is to be restored to a position of national favor at

the close of the present age, that is one thing. If God is finished with

Israel as a nation, that is still another. To propose an answer to these

questions on which Christians continue to hold divergent opinions is the

purpose of this study. Since I write as a Premillenarian it will require that

I first find a basis for the Premillennial view in the Bible as a whole, and

then, using the original Hebrew and Aramaic of Daniel as the authoritative

source, proceed to show that the Premillennial approach explains the prophecies

of Daniel in the most satisfactory manner. It will be neither convenient nor

necessary to treat everything in the prophecies, but only those portions which

are pertinent to the main question. This question may be phrased, Can

Premillennialism give the best explanation of the predictions of the Book of

Daniel?

It is taken for granted that not everyone who may read this treatise will

be pleased. Not the liberal critics, for I will treat this book with the

reverence due a work inspired of God and hence accurate in historical details.

Not the unconvinced Postmillennialists and Amillennialists, for I hope to show

them that on the points at which we differ they are wrong. Not all

Premillennialists, for I have been convinced that our critics and opponents

have in the last couple of generations found many weak points in the writings

and sermons of some of the less cautious and uncritical of our number, and have

uncovered not a little unfounded prejudice, pride of opinion, error, and even

of fanaticism in our midst. For this I can give them nothing but the heartiest

of thanks and pray that all my Premillennial brethren will do the same.

R. D. C.

PART ONE

The Premillennial View

Basic Definitions

It is always precarious to attempt a definition. There is always the

possibility of excluding an essential or of including too much. This is true

whether the area be politics, philosophy, religion or anything else. It is

particularly true when the term to be defined has historic connections or has

been a subject of controversy.

Yet definitions are necessary. For example, the whole world is agreed

that democracy seems to be a good thing, but there is no general agreement on

what democracy is. Something like this is true in millennial discussions.

There must be some agreement, at least provisional agreement, as to what a

millennium is before it can be decided whether it is not taught in Scripture

(Amillennialism), or that Christ will come after it has run its course

(Postmillennialism), or that Christ will come before it begins

(Premillennialism). 

But a difficulty arises–opinions of individuals within Premillennialism

differ on details. Another difficulty follows–both the names and details of

interpretation have changed over the centuries. At the present time there are

some differences of thought within Premillennialism over reference to certain

aspects of the doctrine. So one can hardly hope that even all

Premillennialists will agree in all points of a definition.

An even greater difficulty is encountered because of the fact that in the

last several generations the millennial issue has been woven into the

expressions of two orthodox but distinct theological systems. I refer to what

is sometimes called dispensational theology and to the so-called covenant

theology. Dispensationalists frequently suppose that the Premillennial

viewpoint is exclusively held by their own school; contrariwise, some covenant

theologians appear to believe that Amillennialism is a necessary adjunct to

their system. The writer has even met some who suppose that Calvinism is

opposed to Premillennialism; and, at the opposite extreme, a fairly recent work

(Modern Premillennialism and the Christian Hope, p. 112) by an Arminian

opponent of Premillennialism contends that the Premillennial view is really

Hyper-Calvinism! Some express themselves as if one’s stand on the Millennium

determines his views on Christian ethics, salvation, and the church. It is

true that it often does, but that there is no necessary connection the

contemporary situation manifests, for among most shades of Protestant

theological opinion (Calvinism, Arminianism, Covenant Theology, Dispensational

Theology, etc.), there are both strong Premillennialists and Amillennialists,

and probably a few Postmillennialists.

Now, this writer is not inclined to shrug his shoulders at all

theological differences among Christians–though I do believe that sometimes

they are overzealously championed. I do have strong convictions on all of

these issues. But I do also most strongly affirm that the millennial issue,

even though it may lead to differences in many areas, ought to be permitted to

stand by itself for judgment. It ought not to be unnecessarily clouded by

other issues. I insist that the question of the millennium in both the Bible

and history of interpretation is essentially a question of eschatology, and

that it ought to be permitted to remain so. It is true, to be sure, that some

have interpreted the millennium as an aspect of the present age. But it will

be the burden of this paper to show that view to be false–that the coming of

the millennium is indeed an eschatological event.

I realize that it will not be easy to dissociate the millennial question

from some of the theological bearings in which it is often placed.

Theologians, like philosophers, are system makers. So it was to be expected

that this Christian doctrine should become imbedded in a theological system.

But, lo, the unexpected has happened, and it is embodied in various forms in

several systems.

In view of this fact, the writer is inclined to take issue with a recent

writer from the Premillennial school who speaks at length of “Amillennial

Bibliology,” “Amillennial Theology Proper,” “Amillennial Angelology,”

“Amillennial Anthropology,” “Amillennial Soteriology,” “Amillennial

Eccclesiology”–all in the same plane of what he calls “Amillennial

Eschatology.” I think it mars what is otherwise one of the most scholarly and

acceptable discussions of the millennial problem and of dispensationalism to

appear in many years. (See Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. 107, Number 426, sixth in a

series on the millennium by John F. Walvoord.) When Amillennialism has been

championed by large sections of such theologically diverse bodies as the Roman

Catholic Church, branches of the Lutheran Church, sections of Presbyterian and

Reformed Churches, Methodists, Southern Baptists, and notably by the Church of

God (Winebrennarian group) it is sheer folly to create the fiction of a

distinctive “Amillennial system of theology.” It would be equally foolish to

attempt a definition of a “Premillennial system of theology.”

This writer does not claim to be immune to system making. Theology ought

to be systematic, that is, it ought to manifest harmony in its various parts.

But systematic theology as a rigid framework in which every difficult verse

must fit will cost us much in error and controversy. So, even though for many

years I have had very definite opinions in the field of Christian theology, I

have made a conscious effort in this treatise to be unbiased by the system, as

such, to which I hold. I am not inclined now to say a great deal about it at

this juncture. Rather, without taking a polemical partisan attitude, would I

follow the lead of Edward Bickersteth, a noted Premillennial writer of over a

century ago, who says in the preface to the sixth edition of his Practical

Guide to The Prophecies: “The author commends the subject with affection and

humility to the attention of the beloved brethren in the ministry, and fellow

Christians of every denomination. He trusts that his mind is open to

conviction on being shown a more excellent way” (cf. also Augustine, City of

God, XX, 30). 

The investigation represented by this work has not confirmed quite

everything I once accepted. Yet more and more it has become plain to me that

the simple, literal, grammatical method of interpretation which led my teachers

in my childhood and youth to the Premillennialist position will lead anyone to

the same position, provided he leaves his biases behind. I am quite certain

that I am a more convinced Premillennialist and have a better and more Biblical

Premillennialism than ever before.

What is Premillennialism? The shortest, most concise definition by any

scholar of note is probably that given by W. G. Moorehead (International

Standard Bible Encyclopædia, art. “Millennium [Premillennial View”]). He first

sets forth the proposition that the Millennium will be that time when “the

kingdom of God shall have universal sway over the earth, and…righteousness

and peace and the knowledge of the Lord shall everywhere prevail,” then reduces

the distinctive view of Premillennialism to the proposition that “the

Millennium succeeds the second coming of Christ.” This statement, it should be

added, is that of an advocate of Premillennialism. Moorehead wrote before the

Amillennial doctrine had been revived in its present vigorous form. His

definition of the Millennium itself is entirely inadequate for the field of

Millennial controversy today. In fact, his definition and doctrine are not too

acceptable to Amillennialism.

Very near the same brevity is attained by S. H. Kellogg (Schaff-Herzog

Ency. of Rel. Knowledge, art., “Premillennialism”).

The most elaborate analysis and enumeration of the tenets of

Premillennialism to be set forth recently comes from a Premillennialist

converted, he says, to Amillennialism during his last year in seminary and

twenty years of service on a foreign mission field. I refer to The Basis of

Millennial Faith (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1942) by Floyd E. Hamilton. He first

sets forth what he believes to be “The General Theory,” then treats in turn,

“Historic Premillennialism,” “Pre-Tribulationists,” and “Ultradispensationalists.”

His ten pages (21-30) do present a quite adequate survey

of the situation. Yet his enumerations and formulations are intended to

include all that which is, and has been, taught by most orthodox

Premillennialists and not necessarily by the Bible itself. He has included the

broadest latitude of opinion and hence mentions some views as distinctive to

Premillennialism in general and to dispensational Premillennialism in

particular which many of the best advocates do not hold. Further, they are

stated in such a fashion that they may be most adaptable to refutation later in

his book. For these reasons I cannot adopt his definition of the doctrine. I

shall make no effort to state, defend, or refute any doctrine of eschatology,

soteriology, ecclesiology, etc., held by any Premillenarian past or present

except as it harmonizes with what may be derived from clear teaching of

Scripture. Too long now we have been quoting authorities at one another to

determine the “thus saith the Lord.”1 

It was Johann Albrecht Bengel of Germany (1687-1751) who gave

Premillennialism respectability in scholarly and ecclesiastical circles in the

modern era by adopting an energetic Premillennialism himself and advocating it

in his writings (cf. evaluation of Bengel in The Prophecies of Daniel and The

Revelations of St. John, Carl August Auberlen, Eng. trans. Adolph Saphir, pp.

365-379). Contemporary writers have a way of supposing that Premillennialism

in modern forms roots in the Plymouth Brethren movement. Such is not the case.

Bickersteth (op.cit.), whose date is 1839, lists hundreds of books on

eschatology, most of them favorable to the Premillenarian view, and almost all

coming before the rise of the Plymouth Brethren but after Bengel. Yet, as

Auberlen points out, Bengel was in error in many of his views of eschatology

(for instance he believed in two eschatological millennia and set the date for

the beginning of the first Millennium in the year 1836). But he was right in

insisting on the central truth of the Premillennial doctrine. Yet how dreadful

would have been the results to Christianity since Bengel if preachers and

scholars had felt that all the view of Bengel had to be defended. Our

twentieth century has in fifty years produced some sound expositors of

Premillennial doctrine. Yet how few of them have fully avoided Bengel’s error

of date-setting. How few of them have written no words which will appear

foolish a generation hence. Eschatology is especially susceptible to wild

speculation. The eschatological portions of Scripture are most susceptible to

fanciful exegesis. Would that expositors might stick to the task of exposition

and application and not attempt to add to revelations of Almighty God by

intuition and speculation. 

So, in enumerating what I believe to be the teachings of Scripture

concerning the Millennium, I shall try to avoid making any affirmation which is

not derived from the “thus saith the Lord” of Bible revelation.

My procedure shall be first to state the doctrine and then to present the

Biblical evidence.

The essentials of the teachings of the Scriptures on the Millennium may

be summarized in three propositions:

I. The Millennium is specifically (1) the period of time between the

resurrection of the just and of the unjust, and (2) the period of Satan’s

imprisonment.

II. The Millennium is further qualified as (1) an initial stage of the

everlasting kingdom of Christ, (2) a period begun by the visible return of

Christ in glory to judge and rule the nations, (3) a period closed by the final

eradication of all evil from God’s universe at the final judgment of the

wicked, and (4) a period during which the saints of the first resurrection will

be associated with Christ in His reign.

III. In connection with the inauguration of the Millennium it is

revealed that (1) the closing days of the present age shall witness the

restoration of Israel to the land and the conversion of the nation, to be

followed in the Millennium by the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenant

promises distinctive to that nation, (2) a final personal Antichrist shall

appear near the close of this present age who will become master of the world

and will be destroyed by Christ at His coming, and (3) a period of great

tribulation for Israel is to transpire under Antichrist’s oppression, from

which deliverance will be provided by Christ at His coming.

Some will question why certain particular teachings often emphasized by

some Premillennialists are not included in the list. The explanation is the

limitation of purpose. It is my intention to present only the essentials of

doctrine for a consistent and Biblical premillennial eschatology–to list the

essentials of the premillennial view which would be accepted by the majority of

orthodox2Premillennialists.

Some Premillenarians will, of course, disagree as to the list of

essentials. If so, I can say only that I think them mistaken. The

Premillennialist brethren who feel that Antichrist is the Pope, for instance,

will not agree with the second and third parts of III above. The brethren who

think of the Millennium and the Kingdom as precise equivalents will disagree

with most of II.

Some Premillenarians will think I have not included enough as essential.

The pre-tribulationist who some years ago refused to sit on a Bible conference

platform with a speaker who advocated the doctrine of a post-tribulation

rapture would, no doubt, want the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture

included. However, I have no doubt that reasonable and informed

Premillennialists will all agree that some of the details of doctrine in this

area must be based on inferences from passages rather than plain statements of

“thus saith the Lord.” Also some of the passages which concern questions of a

secret or public rapture, the precise relation of the saints of the Old

Testament to the saints of the New in the coming Kingdom, are capable of

variant interpretation. There ought to be room for legitimate difference of

opinion among the Premillennial brethren on these points.3 

It is my sincere prayer that those who read the pages to follow will be

convinced that these propositions are true. They are now presented with the

most important Biblical evidence. I cannot present all of it, for even

Augustine (City of God, XX, 30), after several times cutting short his

arguments on eschatology, as he said, lest he should be “unduly prolix,”

finally adds, “There are many passages of Scripture bearing on the last

judgment of God,–so many, indeed, that to cite them all would swell this book

to an unpardonable size.”

CHAPTER I

The Millennium–Specific Reference

The Millennium is specifically (1) the period of time between the resurrection

of the just and of the unjust, and (2) the period of Satan’s imprisonment. 

The word “millennium” (derived from Latim mille, thousand, plus annus,

year) is simply a Latin translation of chilia etee in the Greek text of

Revelation 20:2,3, etc. The word means, simply, a thousand years. 

That it should be necessary to affirm here that it refers to a “period of

time” seems odd. Yet it is necessary, for it has been vigorously advocated

that it does not refer to a period of time at all. There are those who insist

that there is no primary reference to either a literal period of a thousand

years ushered in and closed by definite events or to an ideal period which is a

symbol of something else. 

The Book of Revelation makes mention of several periods of time–of

“silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (8:1); of four angels

“prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year” (9:15); of “the holy

city” to be trodden “under foot forty and two months” (11:2); of two witnesses

who “shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days” (12:6). There

is no clear evidence that any of these is to be taken in any other sense than a

literal period of time. And, even if there were, each case would have to be

settled individually. Actually, there is no convincing, self-evident Biblical

testimony against the literal interpretation of this thousand-year period.1

It would take a large book to treat completely the various devices which

have been invented to avoid the clear literal teaching of Revelation 20:1-7,

concerning a future period of one thousand years of time between the second

coming of Christ and the final consummation of all time. I do not hesitate to

attribute all of them to the strong tendency in some system-making theology to

force difficult but clear texts out of their true shape to fit a system.

Augustine had a theory of politico-ecclesiastical government to maintain, so,

while admitting the literality of the years, he placed them in the present age

out of their eschatological connection. Modern Amillenarians (Kuyper, Allis,

Hamilton, Murray, Hendriksen, Warfield, Milligan, and others) have a theory

that the eschatological future consummation must take place in a very short

period of time, as man counts time, and hence must remove the strictures of the

text to make their theory fit. They also have theories concerning the future

of the church and Israel which do not fit well into the picture of a Millennium

in which saints reign on earth with Christ and Israel blossoms again. So the

Millennium must go.

That they are conscious of their difficulty in so disposing of the

passage is clear from their writings. Many of them admit that the literal

teaching of the passage is that the proposition of which this section is a

discussion is a true one–that the Millennium is a one-thousand-year period

during which Satan shall be bound, and which separates the resurrection of the

just from the unjust. I have been much impressed by the obvious Christian

devotion of some of these men and their plain faith that the Bible is indeed

the Word of God. When I have permitted this portion and some other plain

portions of Scripture to be shunted out of the center of discussion (where they

must remain) I have even been impressed with the seeming cogency of their

arguments. I am not even disposed to dispute their finding a much closer

relationship between O.T. prophecy and the church in the present age. Nor does

there seem to me to be any serious objection to the claims of many Amillenarian

brethren that the Bible speaks of a present reign of the saints with Christ in

heaven. However, as one of their own fellows in the Covenant Theology to which

most of the contemporary Amillennialists adhere has observed: “I am deeply

interested in what my Amillenarian brethren may present as counter arguments;

but I am convinced that hitherto neither Augustine nor his followers have

adequately dealt with this material in Scripture or as much as dented the

millenarian argument which is involved in this material” (D. H. Kromminga, The

Millennium).

So, in the complete absence of convincing contrary evidence, I assert

that the Millennium is a period of one thousand years of time and insist that

it is one of the clear teachings of Scripture.

I have asserted that the Millennium is specifically the period of Satan’s

imprisonment and the period between the resurrection of the just and of the

unjust. The thousand years are mentioned six times in the first seven verses

of Revelation twenty. Three of these occurrences (vs. 2,3, and 7) apply it to

the period of Satan’s imprisonment. Once, in verse five, it refers to the

period between the resurrections. The other two apply it to a period of time

during which saints shall reign. But these references to the reign of the

saints are in a different class from the others. The thousand years will

complete the whole history of Satan’s binding as well as of the resurrections

of dead men. It will be only a preliminary stage in the reign of the saints in

Christ’s everlasting kingdom.

It is not an uncommon misconception among Premillennial believers that

Christ’s kingdom, the reign of Christ, and the reign of the saints are

restricted to a one-thousand-year period. Revelation 20:4 (“and they lived and

reigned with Christ a thousand years”) and 20:6 (“they shall be priests of God

and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years”) have been thought to

teach that the reign of the saints and of Christ shall come to an end at the

close of the Millennium. How foolish it is to cite these verses in proof of

such an assertion is seen at once in a close look at verse four. “Lived” and

“reigned” are both in the same person, gender, and number, and tense in the

Greek. There is no punctuation mark of any kind between them. Clearly, then,

the thousand years modifies both the living2 of the saints and their reigning.

To insist on a reign of only one thousand years on the basis of this verse

would require equal insistence on a living of only one thousand years, which

simply will not do. And contrariwise, there are many passages which speak of

the perpetuity of the reign of the saints in the kingdom of Messiah.

On this point, and in relation to these verses, George N. H. Peters has

written the truth, as follows:

It is asserted by some (as e.g. Calvin, Inst., B.3, ch.25) that our

doctrine limits the reign of Christ only to the one thousand years. This is

incorrect. While some Millenarians explain the “delivering up of the

Kingdom” somewhat similar to our opposers, yet even nearly all–if not all–

of these, so far as we have any knowledge of their writings, affirm that

Jesus continues to reign in the same Kingdom, subordinately to the Father,

after the close of the thousand years. The reasons for the perpetuity of

Christ’s Kingdom will now be presented, and the only passage that seems to

militate against it will be examined. [He refers to I Corinthians

15:24.]…While the words “eternal,” “everlasting,” “forever,” are sometimes

employed to denote limited duration (i.e. duration adapted to the nature of

the thing of which it is affirmed), yet such words as applied to the Kingdom

of Jesus Christ cannot be thus restricted, because an unending duration

intended by them is stated in explanatory phraseology (as e.g. Luke 1:32 “of

his kingdom there shall be no end,” etc.). The thousand years are

specifically mentioned as the period of Satan’s binding and of the time

existing between the two resurrections, and of this era it is also asserted

that Christ and His saints shall reign. The declaration of their reigning

during this period does not limit the reign to it, but is added to indicate

that the reign is already commenced and extends through this Millenary age.

Jesus is not merely the king of “an age” but of “the ages” (I Tim. 1:17

Greek), and His Kingdom is united, not merely to “an age” but to “the age of

ages” of “eternal ages,” thus indicating its extension onward through the

vast succession of time in an unending series. Hence the perpetuity of the

Kingdom is freely declared in II Sam. 7:16; Heb. 1:8; Luke 1:32,33; Rev.

11:15; Isa. 9:7; ii Pet. 1:11, etc., and this is explained, Dan. 2:44, to be

“a kingdom that shall never be destroyed,” and in Dan. 7:14, “His dominion is

an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which

shall not be destroyed.” Indeed, so expressive are these and kindred

passages that even those who advocate a transfer of the Kingdom to the Father

and some kind of an ending of the Kingdom, are still forced, by their weight

and concurrence, unhesitatingly to acknowledge, in some form (as Barnes,

etc.) “the perpetuity of Christ’s Kingdom and His eternal reign.” Hence this

reign, beginning at the Millennial era, is not terminated by the close of the

thousand years…(The Theocratic Kingdom, Vol. 2,630,631).

It is not true, as both Amillennialists and Postmillennialists are wont

to affirm, that a period of time between the resurrection of the just and of

the unjust is affirmed by Scripture in this passage alone. There is at least

one Old Testament passage which mentions a long period at the time of the

consummation during which certain “high ones that are on high, and the kings of

the earth upon the earth” shall “be gathered together, as prisoners are

gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days

shall they be visited” (Isa. 24:22,23). No satisfactory explanation of this

strange passage was afforded until Revelation 20:1-10 was written, and even

then only as the literal Premillennial interpretation was adopted. Dr. Nathaniel

West possibly went too far in asserting dogmatically that several other Old Testament passages refer to the Millennium. He asserted this of Ezekiel 38:8; 37:25,26,28; Hosea 3:4,5; Psalm 72:7. Some of these may refer to the Millennium. Only Isaiah 24:22,23 must refer to it, in my opinion.

But, granting the objection to our doctrine: that it is supported by one

passage alone, the fact remains that one passage does clearly teach it and one

is enough. 

Amillennialists have various methods of handling the reference to a

“first resurrection” of the just and a final resurrection of the unjust

mentioned in Revelation 20. The most common is that advocated recently by

Floyd E. Hamilton, and very clearly stated by him:

The amillennialist…believes that the first resurrection is the new

birth of the believer which is crowned by his being taken to heaven to be

with Christ in His reign during the interadventual period. This eternal

life, which is the present possession of the believer, and is not interrupted

by the death of the body, is the first resurrection and participation in it

is the millennial reign. (The Basis of Millennial Faith, pp. 118.119).

Like most of the Amillennialists, ancient and modern, he traces support

for this view from several other Biblical passages which speak of a spiritual

resurrection of believers at new birth. In John 5:24-29 he, following

Augustine, even finds (and rightfully so) a spiritual and a physical (in that

order) resurrection of believers in one paragraph. Yet for two simple reasons

his argument is completely worthless. The first is that interpretation of what

he calls a symbol in Revelation 20 must have a sound basis in the passage

itself. It will not do to run off somewhere else and, finding a spiritual

resurrection, cry, “See, Revelation 20:4-6 speaks of spiritual resurrection.”

This kind of exegesis leads to no certain results. And it is fortunate that

most of our orthodox but Amillennial friends do not frequently use this method

of exegesis except where the doctrine of Millennium is concerned. The second

reason, suggested now already, is that no connection can be traced between even

one of his references and Revelation 20:4-6.

Before leaving Hamilton, note that he regards the Millennium not as a

period of time but as a condition of existence, and that it takes place in

heaven.

Augustine, who is of importance to the discussion as the first acceptable

exponent of Amillennialism, had a slightly different view of the nature and

location of the Millennium. He placed the Millennium on earth during the

present age. He felt that it consisted in the binding of Satan by the progress

of the church. He thought it began with the first missionary expansion of the

church from Judea and would end with the coming of Christ in the year 650,

though he was not dogmatic about that date. He tried to adjust the Millennium

with the sixth millennium of human history, following the Septuagint

chronology, which he interpreted to place the end of the fifth millennium at

about 350 B.C. (City of God, XX,8).

Thus, to Augustine, the Millennium is a period of time, and is the period

of Satan’s imprisonment, but by placing it in the present age, and by making

the reign of the saints ecclesiological instead of eschatological his view is

totally unacceptable. It simply does not fit the plain requirements of the

passage in Revelation twenty.3 

The comments of a great scholar, recognized by Christian scholars of all

schools of thought as a worthy interpreter of Scripture, I deem to be worthy of

note in concluding on this point.

I refer to Henry Alford, churchman, New Testament critic, scholar, and

Christian. Commenting on Revelation 20:1 ff. he says, 

It will have been long ago anticipated by the readers of this

commentary that I cannot consent to distort words from their plain sense and

chronological place in the prophecy on any considerations of difficulty, or

any risk with it. Those who lived next to the Apostles, and the whole

church from 300 years, understood them in the plain literal sense: and it is

a strange sight in these days to see expositors who are among the first in

reverence of antiquity complacently casting aside the most cogent instance of

consensus, which primitive antiquity presents. As regards the text itself,

no legitimate treatment of it will extort what is known as the spiritual

interpretation now in fashion. If, in a passage where two resurrections are

mentioned, where certain φυχαι εζησαν (souls lived) at the first, and the

rest of the νεχροι εζησαν (dead lived) only at the end of a specified period

after the first–if in such a passage the first resurrection may be

understood to mean spiritual rising from the grave–then there is an end of

all significance of language, and Scripture is wiped out as a definite

testimony to any thing. If the first resurrection is spiritual, then so is

the second, which I suppose none4 will be hardy enough to maintain: but if

the second is literal, then so is the first, which, in common with the whole

primitive Church and many of the best modern expositors, I do maintain, and

receive as an article of faith and hope (Greek Testament with a Critically

Revised Text, etc. Vol. IV, pp. 732,733). 

CHAPTER II

The Millennium–Further Qualifications

The Millennium is further qualified as (1) an initial stage of the everlasting

kingdom of Christ, (2) a period begun by the visible return of Christ in glory

to judge and rule the nations, (3) a period closed by the final eradication of

all evil from God’s universe at the final judgment of the wicked, and (4) a

period during which the saints of the first resurrection will be associated

with Christ in His reign.

(1) The Millennium is an initial stage in the everlasting kingdom of

Christ.

It is inevitable that conflict with the Amillennial view should be

engaged at this point.

Amillennialists, in general, hold that the Millennium is a symbol of the

present age, that the binding of Satan took place at the beginning of the

present age and that he will be unbound a short while before the close of this

age.1 They believe that all the Bible prophecies concerning the prodigious

events to take place in connection with the coming of Christ will be seen by

the living church before the Rapture. The Rapture is held to be simultaneous

with the revelation of Christ in power to judge the wicked nations. The

eternal state, without any transitional Millennium, will begin immediately upon

the coming of Christ. They also hold that many of the kingdom prophecies of

the Bible in Old and New Testaments alike refer to the church in this present,

the “Millennial Age.”2 Certainly, they agree, none of them refer to a restored

Israel in a future Millennium.

The arguments amassed to support these views fill entire books. The

interested student will find them well expressed in able presentations by

Murray (Millennial Studies), Hamilton (The Basis of Millennial Faith), Allis

(Prophecy and the Church), Geerhardus Vos (The Teachings of Jesus Concerning

the Kingdom of God and the Church). All of these, except Vos, are recent

writers.

It would take another book to respond to the men “blow by blow.” But

that kind of an answer is not the most convincing, anyway, even if the

limitations of this treatise would permit it.

Therefore, I shall confine myself to presentation of the Biblical

evidence for the Premillennial view that the Millennium is, indeed, an initial

stage in the everlasting kingdom of God.

This can be shown to be true by demonstrating the truth of the following

propositions: First, there is an everlasting kingdom promised to Christ

(Messiah) in the Old Testament. Second, Christ claimed those promises for

Himself when He came. Third, Christ and the apostles made it clear that in

certain important aspects that kingdom was entirely future up to the time of

our Lord’s ascension and would remain so till the second coming. Fourth, the

Bible places the future Millennium within that future kingdom, and places it at

the very beginning of it. 

The first two of these propositions are not opposed by any serious

students of any conservative theological school of opinion so I shall merely

state them with Bible references and move on to the last two, which are

subjects of controversy. 

(a) An everlasting kingdom is promised to Christ in the Old Testament.

The following clear passages make this evident: Daniel 2:34,35,44; Daniel

7:13,14; Isaiah 11:1 ad fin.; Isaiah 65:17 ad fin.; Isaiah 66:22 ad fin.;

Zechariah 14:1 ad fin. These are only examples of classes of passages which

add up to hundreds of verses.

(b) Christ claimed these promises for Himself when He came. The

following passages are cited: Luke 1:31-33; Matthew 1:1-3:7; Matthew 11:2-6.

These verses are enough to establish the claim here made. That some

spiritualize the Old Testament promises in favor of a different kind of kingdom

from that which a literal interpretation gives us, and seek to find support for

such spiritualization is not important to the discussion just yet. The fact

remains that those Old Testament predictions of an everlasting kingdom for

Messiah are claimed for Jesus Christ in the New Testament. To this all

believing scholars agree, so far as I know. It is difficult to see how one

could be a believer in Christ as Saviour and view the matter otherwise.

(c) Christ and the apostles made it clear that in certain respects that

kingdom was still future at the time of our Lord’s ascension and would remain

so till the second coming.

There are several passages which demonstrate the futurity of Christ’s

kingdom during His natural life. When He taught His disciples to pray, it was,

“Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10), and it was associated with a time when God’s

will would be done on earth just as in heaven, which from our perspective puts

it in the then remote future. When certain of His disciples “thought that the

kingdom of God should immediately appear” (Luke 19:11), our Lord gave a parable

which is conclusive in this discussion, and, I think ought to silence forever

those who teach that “there is no trace in the Gospels of the so-called

chiliastic expectation of a provisional political kingdom,” i.e., an earthly

millennium of chiliastic kind (Vos, The Kingdom of God and the Church, p. 68),

and those who say that the church in the present age is the fulfillment in

toto of the kingdom prophecies to Israel. I cite the parable in part.

He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to

receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten

servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I

come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We

will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he

was returned, having received his kingdom, then he commanded these servants

to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how

much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy

pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant:

because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over

ten cities (Luke 19:12-17).

Then, after description of further judgment of his professed servants,

the parable concludes,

But those nine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them,

bring hither, and slay them before me (Luke 19:27).

Taken by itself, this proves that our Lord expected a long period of time to

transpire, during which His rejection, crucifixion, ascension, and return would

transpire before his kingdom should be established. Compare it with the parable of

Matthew 25:14-30 and this certainly becomes a double certainty. Nothing else can

be derived from a discerning reading of these passages.

That this futurity of his kingdom remained after the death of Christ and

before the ascension is indicated by Acts 1:6-8. It will do no harm here to repeat

what of necessity has been said often, that when the disciples asked Jesus if He

would “at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” He made no effort to tell

them that such future restoration would not take place, but informed them once more

only that it was not for them to know “the times or the seasons.” If their

expectation of a future restoration of the kingdom to Israel were a false one, then

Jesus, who said of the fact that He was going to prepare a place for them, “If it

were not so, I would have told you,” would likely have corrected their false

expectation here.

Then, over half a century after the ascension, John wrote of a day when “the

seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven saying, “The kingdoms

of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall

reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). This is eschatological prediction, as many

of our Amillenarian friends agree. This being the case, it is indeed difficult to

avoid the conviction that the kingdom of Messiah predicted in similar terms in

Daniel is here, near the close of the Apostolic Age, still in the eschatological

future.

Much more could be written on this point, but these facts I deem to be

sufficient to establish that “Christ and the apostles made it clear that in certain

respects the kingdom was still future at the time of our Lord’s ascension and would

remain so till the second coming.”

I think that some of the modern Premillennialists have gone too far in the

direction of making the kingdom of Messiah exclusively future in every respect.

Some of these same men have also erred in restricting the future kingdom to the

millennium only, or at least appearing to do so.

The fact that believers in the present age are “translated into the kingdom”

(Col. 1:13), that born-again believers appear to have entered the kingdom of God

(John 3:1 ff.), that the course of the present age is traced as the history of “the

kingdom of heaven” (parables of Matt. 13), and that kingdom aspects seem to be

attached even to the ministry of the gospel during the church age (cf. Acts 8:12;

15:13-18; 20:24-27; 28:23) forbid that we declare every aspect of the kingdom

future.

God is in the present calling out a “spiritual aristocracy,” so to speak, who

shall have positions of leadership in that future kingdom (cf. Acts 15:14, Luke

22:28-30). These people own Christ as king and are governed even now by the

principles of heaven. In that sense the kingdom now promised to Christ is already

His. And though it was suffering violence during our Lord’s earthly life (Matt.

11:12), and continues to suffer violence from “the violent,” who would take it by

force (cf. parables of leaven, tares and wheat, etc., of Matt. 13), there is a

present aspect of the kingdom. There is an area among saved men on earth where

Christ reigns supreme.

But in the full sense the kingdom awaits establishment for the simple reason

that the king is absent and away from the scene of that kingdom.

I am acquainted with the fact that some will scoff at what they call a carnal

interpretation of the kingdom–with a literal throne, living men as subjects,

glorified saints as rulers. But the word carnal has both good and bad senses.

Carnal as applied to existence in human bodies and government in literal human ways

is not necessarily bad. The Bible never says it is. Carnal as applied to the sin

nature and all it stands for is bad. It was Bengel who said,

They who believe that the Millennium is coming will be found to have

the true meaning, rather than those who contend that this period present age

has been the Millennium; nor do they delay the course of the sun, who speak

against it….There is no error, much less danger, in saying that the

thousand years are future, but rather in interpreting these years, whether

future or past, in a carnal sense (Gnomon of the New Testament, p. 920).

 

And if to admit the literal meaning of Revelation 20:1-10, applying it to

a future kingdom of Christ on earth, is carnal, then let us all be carnal, for

it was Jesus who said to His own disciples: “Ye are they which have continued

with me in my temptations. And I appoint you a kingdom, as my Father hath

appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit

on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:28-30). It is small

wonder that Vos (op.cit., 70) declares of this that “the words are figurative.”

His Amillennialism is just simply inconsistent with a literal interpretation.

So, wherever a literal interpretation is inconsistent with the system, a

figurative one is substituted.

(d) The Bible places the future Millennium within that future kingdom,

and places it at the very beginning of it.

This is an important step in our argument–one that I do not recall ever

being taken by the Premillennial writers whom I have read. One can prove that

there is a Millennium future and that there is a kingdom future, but he must

still establish some sort of relationship between the two before kingdom

prophecies and Millennial prophecies can be correlated.

Please observe that the view adopted here does not equate the Millennium

and the kingdom.  The Bible nowhere does that. Complete identification of the

two has given Amillennialists some of their best ammunition (see Allis,

Prophecy and the Church, 236-242). If, as we have shown, the Millennium is a

period of only one thousand years, and is specifically the period of time

between the two resurrections and the period of Satan’s binding, of which

period it is affirmed that the saints do reign, then it is not identically the

same as the kingdom of Messiah which lasts forever.

Now, to demonstrate that the Millennium is within the future kingdom of

God on earth and that it is the initial stage of that kingdom, the following

four pieces of Scripture information are submitted.

First, we are twice informed (Rev. 20:4,6) that the saints reign with

Christ during the Millennium. 

Second, we are also informed in unmistakable terms that when Christ and

the saints once begin to reign over the kingdom of God on earth they continue

to do so forever. I refer to the seventh chapter of Daniel. No respectable

interpreter of any school (including the unbelieving higher criticism) denies

that the one who as “one like the Son of man” takes possession of the kingdom

of men, when the history of nations has run its course, is the Jewish Messiah.

Of this, Daniel 7:14 says, “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a

kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion

is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that

which shall not be destroyed.”

Observe that Messiah’s “dominion is an everlasting dominion.” The

Aramaic word here twice rendered dominion is sholtan. The evidence furnished

by the usage of this word is that it has reference to dominion in the sense of

sovereignty (right to rule) rather than of realm (area of rule). It is the

word used several times in Daniel of God’s sovereignty as well as that of kings

and sub-rulers. In this case, then, it is affirmed that Messiah’s sovereignty

over His kingdom is eternal. Some might object that the word “eternal” can

mean only as durative as the nature of the thing it describes, and hence limit

the duration. But the verse also affirms that this sovereignty “shall not pass

away” and of the realm in which he exercises sovereignty that “his kingdom” is

“that which shall not be destroyed.” It is hard to conceive of terminology

which would more adequately and unequivocally express unending rulership.

Concerning the relationship of Messiah’s saints to that kingdom, Daniel

7:18 tells us, “The saints of the most High shall take the kingdom [A.S.V.,

“receive the kingdom”], and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and

ever.” Discussion of the Aramaic words used here would only confirm that the

strict meaning of the English translation is also the strict meaning of the

original. It describes active reception of the kingdom, and rulership in the

same, forever. The same is affirmed once more in verse 27 of the same chapter

in very similar terms.

Two points have now been established–that the saints will reign with

Christ during the Millennium and that when once they begin to reign they do so

forever. At this point the temptation is acute to treat the passages which

speak of the close of the Millennial age and others which are supposed by some

to refer to the close of the Millennial age and which are thought to be in

conflict with these views of the continuity and perpetuity of the saint’s

reign. I beg the indulgence of the reader to let me pursue my argument,

believing the clear passages cited to be sufficient to establish my main point.

An unpublished paper on the subject, “The Cosmic Dissolution,” which I wrote in

1942, treats the objections quite fully. A condensation of that paper appears

in Appendix I at the close of this book, for the benefit of the inquiring

readers. Premillennialists will find therein a view of the close of the

present and of the Millennial age not usually advocated by recent Premillennial

writers.

In the third place, it follows that since we are told that the saints do

reign during the Millennium, and since they continue to reign when once they

begin to reign in the kingdom age, there is only one place to put the one

thousand years, and that is during the kingdom of Messiah. The facts do not

admit of any other possibilities. The Millennium cannot be previous to the

kingdom, for the saints will not reign (Amillennialists notwithstanding), as

the Millennium passage affirms, until the kingdom is delivered unto Messiah.

The Millennium cannot follow it, for the kingdom age never ends. It must be

during the kingdom.

Fourth, and finally, the Millennium must be placed at the very beginning

of the kingdom age, because, once it is settled that it is in the kingdom age

of the future, the facts of reason and of the structure of the Book of

Revelation will allow no other place for it.

Reason would lead us to assume that when once the kingdom of Christ has

been firmly established and been long in process there could be no

recrudescence of evil such as takes place late in the one thousand years (Rev.

20:7-10). Neither would it be reasonable to suppose that the final judgment of

the wicked at the close of the Millennium should be indefinitely postponed.

But, aside from reason, the structure of the Book of Revelation, whether

the parallelistic, continuous-historical, or futuristic interpretation be

taken, will allow no place for the future Millennium except immediately after

the Son of God returns with His saints as King of kings and Lord of lords.

This coming is described in Revelation 19:11-21. Immediately there follows the

story of the initiation of the Millennium. Establish the futurity of the

Millennium in the kingdom age, as we have already done, and, by any reasonable

interpretation, it will fit the structure of this book only at the beginning of

the kingdom age.

This will be elucidated in the development of the sections which now

follow.

(2) The Millennium is a period begun by the visible return of Christ in

glory to judge and rule the nations.

It has been seen that the Millennium is an initial stage of the Kingdom

and that the inauguration of the Millennium and of the Kingdom are synchronous.

Once this is seen, the establishment of this proposition is only a matter of

citing passages. Perhaps the best of all is the second Psalm, which, in

unmistakable terms, declares that when Jehovah places His “Son” (v. 12) and

sets His “king upon my holy hill of Zion” (v. 6), He will also give His son the

“heathen” (nations) for an inheritance (v. 8), and to His king He declares,

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like

a potter’s vessel.”

Any reader who is in doubt about this matter should read Psalm 72, Isaiah

11, Joel 3, Zechariah 14, and Matthew 25. Nothing that could be written here

would be as convincing as the content of these chapters from the Bible itself.

(3) The Millennium is a period closed by the final eradication of all

evil from God’s universe at the final judgment of the wicked.

Premillennialists, in common with all Christian believers, recognize that

God will bring every deed of men and angels into judgment. Rewards for good

deeds and punishments for evil deeds are a necessary part of a world which

Christians recognize as being moral in its constitution and government. That

all judgment of believers for evil, judgment in the penal sense, that is, took

place at Calvary in Christ, all informed orthodox believers will agree.

It is on the time, place, and circumstances of the final judgment, when

believers whose sins already have been punished in Christ are separated from

those whose sins must be borne by themselves in an eternal and dreadful hell,

that disagreement appears.

Charles Hodge (Systematic Theology, Vol. III, pp. 845-851) lists the

following doctrines concerning the final judgment of all men which he says

always have been shared by all parties and geographical and ecclesiastical

divisions of orthodox Christianity.

1. The final judgment is a definite future event (not a protracted

process), when the eternal destiny of men and of angels shall be finally

determined and publicly manifested….

2. Christ is to be the judge…. 

3. This judgment is to take place at the second coming of Christ

and at the general resurrection….

4. The persons to be judged are men and angels…. 

5. The ground or matter of judgment is said to be the “deeds done

in the body”….So far as those who hear the gospel are concerned, their

future destiny depends on the attitude which they assume to Christ….

6. Men are to be judged according to the light which they have

severally enjoyed….

7. At the judgment of the last day the destiny of the righteous

and of the wicked shall be unalterably determined.

Now, there is probably small doubt that Dr. Hodge has outlined correctly

the general teaching of the church. That his summary is true in general, even

Premillennialists ought to agree. However, while not fomenting any quarrel

over the term, “general resurrection,” I insist that Premillennialists should

require a different understanding of it to allow a Millennium to stand between

the resurrection of the just and of the unjust. And, if Dr. Hodge means by his

seventh proposition that the eternal destiny of the saved man is not

“unalterably determined” the moment he puts his faith in a finished work of

Christ at Calvary, then Christians of all Millennial persuasions should

disagree. I suppose that his meaning is that the eternal destiny is publicly

declared at that time.

The essential difference between the three common views of the Millennium

in relation to the judgment are as follows:

Postmillennialists believe that there is to be one resurrection of all

men to be preceded immediately by the coming of Christ and to be followed

immediately by one judgment before which all men shall appear. This

resurrection and judgment shall follow an earthly Millennium during which the

earth shall be covered with the gospel message and the majority of men will be

saved.

Amillennialists believe the same as to resurrection and judgment, except

that they, in general, have a more pessimistic view of the course of the world

down to the coming of Christ, and deny the existence of any future earthly

Millennium.

Premillennialists share the views of Amillennialists concerning the

general course of the present age, but disagree on the other details.

Premillennialists believe that at the second coming of Christ there will be a

resurrection of the saints only, that at His coming He will destroy the wicked

living, that the righteous will enter the Millennium to people the earth during

the Millennium and that the glorified saints of former ages shall join with a

restored Israel in ruling the world during the Millennium. At the close of the

Millennium the resurrection and final judgment of the wicked will take place.

This view is not without its difficulties.  Premillennialists may be

asked where the righteous living shall come from to people the earth during the

Millennium if all the righteous are translated at its inception. They may be

asked whence arises the rebellion at the end of the Millennium if only saved

people enter the Millennium. The parable of the tares and wheat, and of the

drag-net in Matthew 13 are presented as objections to a removal of the

righteous by resurrection before the wicked are removed in final judgment.

It is the writer’s firm conviction that these questions cannot be

answered except as the view of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9 herein defended is

adopted. A Premillennial system of eschatology without the seventieth week of

Daniel (see chapter on the seventy weeks) as the structure of premillennial

end-time events is, in my opinion, unable to answer these embarrassing

questions of the Amillennial school.

Now, the Premillennialist believes in this order in the end of the

affairs of this world primarily because it is taught in Revelation 19 and 20.

These chapters present, first, the coming of Christ, then the judgment of

wicked men with Antichrist and his false prophet. Now appears the binding of

Satan, followed by the thousand years during which saints of a “first

resurrection” are said to reign. At the end–and not till the end–of the

thousand years, the judgment of the “Great White Throne” is said to transpire.

In this judgment there is not the slightest trace of the presence of saved men,

at least not in the capacity of the judged. There is not the slightest

evidence that in this judgment even one person shall be declared righteous and

sent into eternal life. The wicked among the inhabitants of earth at

Millennium’s end are led by a released Satan to rebel against God. But they

are destroyed by fire from heaven, the devil is cast into the lake of fire,

forever, and then these now dead wicked rebels are resurrected together with

the wicked dead of all ages to stand before God, and receive condemnation to

the everlasting fire of hell which has so recently swallowed their father the

Devil. The righteous are not mentioned in the judgment. It must be admitted

that they are not expressly excluded. But they do not need to be–the

information given in chapter 19 and in 20:1-6 adequately settles the question

of their destiny.

But though Revelation 19 and 20 may be the simple basis of the doctrine,

it does not want support in other parts of Scripture. That this is the case is

admitted even by Carl Ænotheus Semisch, whose article on “Millenarianism,

Millennium” in the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopoedia of Religious Knowledge is one of

the most antagonistic and vitriolic to be found in any Protestant literature.

Nevertheless, opposed to the doctrine as he was, his admissions very nearly

constitute a capitulation. His remarks follow:

There are, however, passages, which if interpreted strictly, and

exclusively according to the letter, afford some ground for the millenarian

doctrine; as, for example, the sitting at the table with the patriarchs in

the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 8:11), the drinking of the fruit of the vine

(Matt. 26:29), and the eating of the passover in the kingdom of God (Luke

22:16), etc. Finally, it cannot be disputed that the Book of Revelation

(20:44 sqq.) contains the fundamental characteristics of millenarianism. The

explanation of Augustine, that the thousand years (Rev. 20:4) had begun

before his day is ruled out by the fact that this period is put after the

destruction of Antichrist (19:19 sqq.). Nor is the first resurrection

(20:4), which is set over against the state of the other dead not yet

resurrected (20:12 sqq.), to be explained of the first stage of blessedness

in heaven (Hengstenberg), or of regeneration (Augustine). It can refer only

to a bodily resurrection (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopoedia of Religious Knowledge,

art. “Millenarianism, Millennium”).

Semisch thus rightly rejects all Amillennial explanations of the separation

between the resurrection of the just and unjust by the Millennium. What

explanation does he, then, propose? None whatsoever. His quite helpless

admission immediately follows:

In view of the difficulty of separating figure from real fact, we

conclude that the millenarianism of the Book of Revelation is a hieroglyph,

whose meaning has not yet been satisfactorily solved (ibid.).

Abraham Kuyper (The Revelation of St. John, pp. 275 ff.) is not so frank

as Semisch, but quite as unsuccessful in interpreting the one thousand years.

After rather vague argument from Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8,10, he reaches the

conclusion that “the ‘thousand years’ in connection with the Consummation are

not a literal but a symbolical indication.” An astounding and quite

unbelievable declaration then follows:

In other writings a sixfold repetition of a thousand years would

require a careful explanation, but such a necessity can never apply to the

doings of God, and hence in the Book of Revelation, where it concerns not the

doings of men, but of Almighty God, it is out of the question….When we have

a writing in hand in which the rule applies that the numbers have no

numerical, but a symbolical significance, one has no right to surmise the

opposite use of the number, unless this modified use is very clearly

indicated.

Such statements are very shocking, indeed, when viewed in their bare

meaning. Does not Moses clearly suppose that the six days of God’s activity in

creating to have been real (cf. Ex. 20:8-11)? Were the seventy years by which

God punished Judah by the Babylonian Captivity real and wholly real? Mr.

Kuyper is being piddling in his arguments! He is saying that no numerical

notation in the Book of Revelation is to be taken literally unless it can be

proven to be so! May I insist with all the force that paper and ink can bear

when inscribed with words that such reasoning is folly–sheer nonsense–unless

we wish to abandon the use of the Bible as a source of information about God

and His ways altogether. If the first rule of Bible interpretation, in all of

Scripture, is not, “Take the words in the primary grammatical sense unless

there are clear contextual reasons for doing otherwise,” then we may as well

abandon the use of the Bible as a divine revelation. It is not revelation but

confusion. These one thousand years are real unless proved otherwise! The

reverse of Kuyper’s statement is the truth.

 

Thus, without the slightest hesitation, I return to the proposition: The

Millennium is a period (of one thousand years begun by the resurrection of the

righteous dead and characterized by the reign of the saints), closed by the

final eradication of all evil from God’s universe at the final judgment of the

wicked. I base this assertion squarely upon the twentieth chapter of

Revelation and challenge the opposers to show us why I should not so do.

This doctrine is required also by the twenty-fourth chapter of Isaiah,

which has been aptly called “The Little Apocalypse.”

That the prophecy is eschatological in its reach is clearly indicated by

the last verse in the chapter (v. 23) for it speaks of the time “when the LORD

of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients

gloriously.” The same is indicated by verse 21, in which of the events

described it is said, “It shall come to pass in that day.” “In that day” is

not uniformly used of the Day of Jehovah, but in the prophecies of the Old

Testament is very nearly always so used. In this connection it is certainly so

used.

Now, following a description of events (vs. 1-20) which are very nearly

exactly duplicated in the judgment predictions of Revelation 6-19, these

striking words appear:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish

the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth

upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together in the pit, and

shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be

visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when

the LORD of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before

his ancients gloriously (Isaiah 24:21-23).

Delitzsch (Commentary on Isaiah) says of verse 23: “What the apocalyptist of

the New Testament describes in detail in Revelation 20:4, 20:11 sqq., and 21,

the apocalyptist of the Old Testament sees here condensed into one fact.” And

such is precisely the case. We would extend the reference back to verse 1 and

say that what the apocalyptist Isaiah sees in one chapter of 23 verses the

apocalyptist John sees in 15 chapters (Rev. 6 to 21). It is as Jennings says

(Studies in Isaiah, in loco), “We must place the two prophecies together in

order to correctly understand either.”

The crisis of Isaiah’s prophecy (vs. 20-23 above) corresponds precisely

with Revelation 19:11-21:1 ff. First, the Lord punishes the hosts of the high

ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. These “hosts

of high ones” can be none other than the angelic spirits of wickedness which in

Daniel are seen standing behind the nations of men, and who are represented in

Revelation 12:9 as being cast out of the heavens by Michael and his angels into

the earth (12:13). Once on the earth they “and the kings of the earth upon the

earth” are shortly “gathered together into the pit, and shall be shut up in the

prison.” This is Old Testament language for incarceration in Sheol or Hades.

C. Von Orelli writes of these words (Prophecies of Isaiah, 142,143), “The

figure is taken from State prisoners, who at first have been imprisoned without

regard to the degree of their guilt, but then on the day of judgment are

condemned or acquitted according to its extent.” This punishment and

incarceration is exactly parallel to the destruction of the armies of

Antichrist as described in Revelation 19:11 ff., and to the binding of Satan in

the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1,2). “And after many days shall they be visited,”

says Isaiah. Orelli translates, “and they are shut up together as captives in

a dungeon, and kept in ward, and visited after a along time.” The Hebrew

umerobh yamim, literally, and from a multitude of days, does mean a long time.

The visitation described is a divine visitation according to the uniform Hebrew

usage, and can be for either deliverance or judgment. In this case it appears

that both usages are united in one reference–visitation in the sense of

deliverance, because we learn not only from Revelation 20:12-14 but also from I

Corinthians 15:22-24 and John 5:28,29 that the wicked dead are to be raised

from the dead. But it is a “resurrection of damnation,” as John 5:29

specifies, so the sense of visitation for judgment is also involved.

I do not regard this prophecy in Isaiah as mere confirmation of a

Premillenarian interpretation of Revelation 20. By itself it requires an

explanation of the eschatological future that is similar to, if not identical

with, the Premillennial doctrine in the specific length in years, of that

period which is at once the final age of time and the first age of the eternal

kingdom of heaven and earth. The only specification is that the time be of

some great length, as is required by robh yamim, many days. We must refer to

Revelation 20 to learn how many days.

(4) The Millennium is a period during which the saints of the first

resurrection will be associated with Christ in His reign.

This doctrine has been mentioned in several steps of our previous

discussions of Millennial doctrines. Now some of the more particular facts

must be presented.

There are two principal passages on which this doctrine is based. The

earlier is Daniel 7, which reveals that

the saints of the most High shall…possess the kingdom forever,

even forever and ever….And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness

of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of

the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and

all the dominions shall serve and obey him (Daniel 7:18,27).

For reasons which I shall develop fully in the chapter on the Prophecy of

the Four Beasts and the Ancient of Days, I am quite convinced that Gabriel had

just one group of saints in view here–saved people from the covenant nation

Israel. I am in agreement with Auberlen, who writes:

By the “people of the saints of the Most High,” to whom dominion is

then to be given (Dan. 7:18-27), Daniel evidently could only understand the

people of Israel, as distinguished from the heathen nations and kingdoms

which were to rule up till then (2:44); nor have we, according to strict

exegesis, a right to apply the expression to other nations; hence we cannot

apply it immediately to the church” (Daniel and Revelation, 216).

Auberlen then reports that Roos, Preiswerk, Hofmann, Hitzig, and Bertholdt,

representing both Millenarian and anti-Millenarian schools of thought in Germany

one hundred years ago, are in agreement.

Of the saints’ participation in the reign of Christ in His future kingdom

there are many direct references in the New Testament. That these who participate

are the church of the Pauline epistles there cannot be the slightest doubt.

References to such begin at Matthew 5:5 and continue throughout the New Testament.

Among some of the clearest references are II Timothy 2:12; Luke 12:32; I

Corinthians 6:9,10; I Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:55; James 2:5.

However, the principal passage, that passage in the New Testament which

compares in strength and significance to Daniel 7 in the Old, is Revelation 20:4-9. 

This must now have our consideration:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto

them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of

Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast,

neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in

their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But

the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.

This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the

first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be

priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And

when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the

earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom

is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and

compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came

down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” 

With these passages before us, what information do we seem to have about

the reign of the saints with Christ? The paucity of information on certain

aspects of the question forbids that we make any statements that are very

minute in scope. But the following seem to be quite distinctly revealed.

First, the saints of both Old and New Covenants shall share in the reign

of Christ. I do not intend that this doctrine be construed to mean that all

distinctions between the people of God gathered to the Lord in Old Testament

times and the Church of Christ gathered to Him in New Testament times are

necessarily to be cast away. My views do not coincide wholly with those of

some of the brethren of Covenant Theology at this point. On the other hand,

the extremes of some of the brethren with a dispensational emphasis, I think,

are frequently more in error. However, I do not regard this question as

particularly germane to the issue at this point of the discussion. I am merely

affirming what Daniel 7 makes clear about Israel and what the many New

Testament passages cited above make clear about the church–that both shall

share in this reign. I do not know just what the relation of the two bodies

will be during the kingdom.

But, in the second place, it seems clear that both groups shall be

associated in the administration of the reign. The passage in Revelation 20

makes no distinctions, yet does indicate that all shall share in the same

resurrection and reigning with Christ. In much the same way that “they also

which pierced him” are selected for special mention among the people of the

whole world that shall see Christ when He comes (Rev. 1:7), the martyrs are

selected by way of eminence among the saints of the resurrection. Resurrection

has a special meaning for them (see Rev. 20:4; cf. 6:9-11), just as the

appearance of Messiah at His second advent will have a special meaning for the

nation that “received him not” at His first advent. However, the fact that the

martyr saints of the first resurrection are set in opposition to “the rest of

the dead” which “lived not again until the thousand years were finished,” all

of whom are unsaved and destined for damnation, makes it evident that all the

righteous dead from Abel onward are included in this resurrection, and hence

also in the life and reign of the Millennium and presumably of the ages to

follow (see Appendix II for further discussion).

Two passages in Matthew require this feature–8:11, which speaks of how

“many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and

Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven,” and 19:28, which informs us that

the apostles of the New Testament Church shall sit upon twelve thrones judging

the twelve tribes of Israel “in the regeneration.” It seems that it is in

their capacity as apostles and not just as Jews that this shall take place. So

he would be a hardy man, indeed, who would dogmatically state just what

distinctions are to prevail between the groups of the redeemed in that day.

The author has some opinions, but must confess that they are founded mostly on

conjecture.

Now, before we leave this discussion of the characteristics of this last

transitional age between time and eternity, the writer would like to venture an

answer to the anti-Millennial teaching which has beset these doctrines in

modern times. Kuyper, Murray, Hamilton, Allis, Vos (all of the Amillennial

persuasion) use different types of rationale and Biblical arguments, but the

one most commonly appearing is that the insertion of one thousand years between

the beginning of the consummation and the completion of it is out of harmony

with the clear passages in earlier portions of the Bible, which are said to

teach that the consummation shall transpire in one uninterrupted series of

events at the second advent. Kuyper (The Revelation of St. John, pp. 271,272)

says:

Christ’s teachings with respect to this, both in St. Matthew 24 and

other parts of the Gospels, contain nothing that even remotely suggests any

such interval, and directly contradict it. One does not tally with the

other. In the Gospels and apocalyptical writings the parousia is not

presented as the succession of a series of events of long duration, but as a

drastic action which is immediately connected with the resurrection of all

the dead, with the last judgment, with the destruction of this world and the

rise of a new world on a new earth under a new heaven. It is inconceivable

therefore that between the parousia of Christ and the Consummation there

would again ensue so tremendous an interval of a thousand years.

Hamilton (op.cit. 126) remarks that “other resurrection passages must be torn

apart so that this idea, that is, of a millennium, can be inserted somewhere.”

Others contend that Revelation 20 is obscure and ought to be interpreted in the

light of others that are said to be clear.

Now, there is a certain amount of truth to these contentions. The entire

picture of the events which shall close human history, as such, is very

frequently presented in such a way that one might receive the impression that

all would happen at once. This is particularly true of most of the Old

Testament prophecies.

But as men so well versed as most of these writers well know, this is

due, not to the fact that God made it a matter of revelation that the events

were to be of short duration, but to the fact that the element of time simply

is not usually present in the prophecy, and time was not the subject of

revelation.

There have been various ways of describing this characteristic. As to

cause, on the human level, the explanation lies in the fact that the prophets

were primarily seers, that is, men who saw revelations. What they saw they

described. But, time is one element that cannot be put in a picture, either of

past or future events. The element of space, or depth, is difficult to

transcribe on a picture. So, while the prophets were given to know the nature

of coming events, they were not usually given the time of them. This feature

of Bible prophecy has been frequently called the lack of perspective. Many of

my Premillennial brethren who know this fact have not taken proper cognizance

of it and hence sometimes make some incautious (at best) statements about

prophecy. Dr. Gaebelein, following Seiss (The Last Times, I have lost the page

reference), declares that “prophecy is history prewritten” (The Prophet Daniel,

1). Pettingill entitles his commentary on Daniel, “History Foretold.” Now, if

history concerns anything it is the precise relations of events in time and,

that certainly in past time. So prophecy, even though it does predict

historical events, certainly is not a preview of history taken in the strict

sense. Even where time is made a subject of revelation, as for instance in the

prophecy of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 and of the thousand years in

Revelation 20, great gaps in chronology are omitted, which disqualify these

prophecies for the technically historical character sometimes assigned to them.

Another, and more important, reason why events that turn out to be

disparate and successive are presented in prophecy as single and nondisparate,

is that it has pleased an all-wise revealing God to make revelation of details

of the future progressive.3The prophecies of the Old Testament did not make

clear that there would be two advents of Messiah. They predicted both the

suffering and the glory, and even the order of them, but not the interval which

separated and continues to separate them. There were wise reasons for this in

the hidden counsels of God. We see some of them now in a way that even our

Lord’s apostles did not see them till after Jesus ascended into heaven.

Somewhere there is a divine decree to the effect that contrary to justice,

Messiah be crucified for sins He did not commit, in order that we should not

die for the sins we do commit. If Old Testament prophecy had been full and

complete and in exact perspective, with reference to this fact, it is doubtful

that the decree of God would ever have been carried out. But God’s decrees are

all carried out–only because the same God who ordains the end ordains also the

means.4 Now, with reference to the atoning death of Christ, the feature of Old

Testament prophecy referred to above was one of the means to that end.

Yet prophecy moves onward from Genesis to Revelation. The perspective is

improved and the details, even with reference to time, progress toward a

complete picture in three dimensions of space and in the fourth dimension,

time. All reputable Biblical scholars recognize this fact. As the death of

Christ drew near, He explained that He would die, how He would die, how long He

would stay dead, and how and when He would rise.

Now, with reference to order of events, and as to the separation of

details concerning the close of the ages of time, God’s Word in no place lifts

the veil completely. There are some questions which will never be settled

until history has run its course and time proceeds no longer. But, on the

other hand, there are some others on which a little light is given in the early

Old Testament prophecies, and still more in the apocalypses of Jesus recorded

in the Synoptic Gospels. Then in the Epistles some of these subjects are

lifted up for more complete explanation. And, finally, in Revelation a few

features are given such complete treatment that not only the nature of certain

events, but also their precise order and space in time are clearly delineated.

In the opinion of this writer, the order of the resurrections of good and

evil is one of these. The relation of the same to the future of Israel, the

final Antichrist, and the inauguration of the everlasting kingdom of God on

earth are others.

All objections to the literal interpretation of Revelation 20 on the

basis of supposed lack of harmony with the nature of Bible prophecy root in a

misunderstanding of these basic facts.

Everything about prophecy would teach us to expect that if anywhere some

of the enigmas of eschatology would be unraveled, it would be exactly where

they are–in the last portion of the final book of Scripture–just a few words

from the end of the book, and just before the holy pen of divine inspiration of

Scripture would be laid down forever.

Now I proceed to my final proposition in explanation of the Premillennial

View.

CHAPTER III

The Millennium–Related Events

In connection with the inauguration of the Millennium, it is revealed that (1)

a final personal Antichrist shall appear near the close of the present age who

will become master of the world and will be destroyed by Christ at His coming,

(2) a period of great tribulation for Israel is to transpire under

Antichrist’s oppression, from which deliverance will be provided by Christ at

His coming, and (3) the closing days of the present age shall witness the

restoration of Israel to the land and the conversion of the nation, to be

followed in the Millennium by the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenant

promises distinctive to that nation.

Before I write further, may I beg the indulgence of any of my brethren

who may read this with some disappointment over what may be omitted from the

list of things commonly believed among us. What of the Rapture of the church,

the great Apostasy, the Seventieth Week of Daniel, etc.? Why in discussing

events which are said to be connected with the inauguration of the Millennial

reign of Christ are these not mentioned? Once more, attention is called to the

purpose of this section of the book–to set forth the basic tenets of all

orthodox Premillennialism with their general Biblical basis. To elucidate my

own views on some of these things and then describe my views as essentials held

by all orthodox modern Premillennialists would immediately bring upon me the

unwanted charge of bigotry. W. G. Moorehead, C. A. Auberlen, S. P. Tregelles,

Nathaniel West, A. J. Gordon, A. C. Gaebelein, H. A. Ironside, Robert Anderson,

David C. Cooper, Edward Bickersteth, Joseph A. Seiss, and other of modern

Premillennial writers, held in repute, disagreed on some details of these

questions. To insist that some of these were true to essential

Premillennialism while others were not is not mine to say. I think they all

were sound in the faith and true to the basic teaching of the Scripture on

eschatology. So at this point I am not treating some of these doctrines,

deeming them not distinctive features of Premillennial eschatology.

Later in these pages I intend to show how the Premillennial system alone

satisfactorily explains the Book of Daniel. In process of doing so I intend to

take my stand on some of these questions–not as an arbiter of orthodoxy, but

as an interpreter of Scripture. I shall explain what I think some plain, and

some rather obscure, passages of Scripture have to say on these subjects. But,

at the same time, I will not deny the possibility that some others who take

contrary views, and yet maintain the essential framework, are quite as true to

Premillennialism as I. Of course, I will not think they are as accurate in

their interpretations as I; otherwise I would join them.

Now, to address attention to our threefold final proposition, consider

first, that

(1) A final personal Antichrist shall appear near the close of the

present age who will become master of the world and will be destroyed by

Christ at His coming.

This particular proposition will not require extensive treatment–not

because there is any paucity of Biblical material on the subject; indeed, the

very contrary is true, but because it is not a matter of necessary disagreement

among the various schools of Biblical Eschatology. That is, while it is an

essential feature of Premillennialism and, I think, receives its best

exposition in Premillennialism, it is not peculiar to Premillennialism. On the

other hand, the view stated here is not common to all exponents of Christian

theology. In all branches except the Premillennial there are those who

disagree.

In general, there have been four diverse views of the doctrine of

Antichrist. There has been what we may call the “Principle of Evil” view.

Advocates of this view propose that Antichrist is only an ideal personification

of the evil powers of the world, always till the end in opposition to the

Kingdom of God among men. At different times in the past this has been

associated with or identified with many current movements.

“Institution of Evil” is an appropriate name for the view that some

institution, as the Roman Empire, is the “Man of Sin” or Antichrist. This is

common among “Praeterist” commentators on the Revelation. Another is the

“Person of Evil” (not personification) view. Advocates of this view hold that

Antichrist is a person. However, throughout the present age Bible interpreters

have identified many different persons with Antichrist.

Still another view combines portions of these two views into what I call

an “Organic View.” This is that since the fall of man both good and evil have

had their representatives and have been manifested in two lines of development,

always in opposition. It is further believed that each reaches an ultimate

manifestation in a member of the human race, the one in Christ, the other in

Antichrist. These shall meet in final conflict at the close of this present

age, our Lord slaying Antichrist at His parousia.

 

Not uncommon among unbelieving critics is the view that at the time of

the writing of the New Testament there was a belief current among the Jews and

Christians that a final personal Antichrist would appear. But, contend

advocates of this “Popular Fallacy” view, the current view was false, and John

in his first epistle made reference to it only to try to correct it.

The Premillennial view is the Organic View. Amillennialists, agreeing as

they do with Premillennial teachings concerning the course of the present age,

also frequently agree in general with this view of Antichrist.1

Postmillennialists naturally find such a doctrine embarrassing, but not

infrequently admit belief in such a doctrine. Deane, in Ellicott’s Old

Testament Commentary, gives a Postmillennial interpretation of the prophecy of

the image and the stone in Daniel 2, yet, in commenting on the conduct of the little horn of Daniel 7:25, says, “It appears that the little horn, the Antichrist of the last days, or the beast, will be successful for a time in his blasphemies and persecutions, but in the end he will be destroyed.” Charles ,Hodge, whose lucid expositions of Christian doctrine are justly famous, labors hard to make Antichrist other than a final person who is victorious over the people of God in the period just before the coming of the Son of man. That he is not completely satisfied with his own efforts is manifest, and he rather despairingly says in comment on one of the passages, “We do not pretend to be experts in matters of prophecy” (Systematic Theology III, 825).

Dr. A. H. Strong was a strong advocate of the Postmillennial view in his

day, and his Systematic Theology is still a standard. He summarizes his view

of the Millennium as follows:

Through the preaching of the gospel in all the world, the kingdom of

Christ is steadily to enlarge its boundaries, until Jews and Gentiles alike

become possessed of its blessings and a millennial period is introduced in

which Christianity generally prevails throughout the earth. (Systematic

Theology, p. 1008.)

Yet, in spite of this postmillennial doctrine of a Christianity steadily

expanding to final triumph, he adds:

There will be a corresponding development of evil, either extensive or

intensive, whose true character shall be manifest not only in deceiving many

professed followers of Christ and in persecuting true believers, but in

constituting a personal Antichrist [italics mine] as its representative and

object of worship (ibid., p. 1008).

This writer is ready to admit that this is an entirely too brief and

limited survey of the views of Antichrist to give a complete picture. There is

far more diversity of opinion even among Premillennialists (some of whom have

believed that the papacy is the Antichrist) than it is possible to treat fully

here. Yet I think it has been made sufficiently clear that our doctrine of

Antichrist is well enough grounded in the Bible itself so that many serious

students of all orthodox eschatological schools have taught in effect that “a

final personal Antichrist shall appear near the close of the present age who

will become master of the world and will be destroyed by Christ at His coming.”

The cornerstone of the doctrine we teach is II Thessalonians 2:1-12.

Many other passages speak of Antichrist, but the ones which precede this

important passage in holy Writ awaited the information therein for their full

explanation. Just as Revelation 20 is the cornerstone of the doctrines of

resurrection and of judgment, so is II Thessalonians 2 the cornerstone of the

doctrines of Antichrist. The passage reads as follows:

Now we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus

Christ, and our gathering together unto him; 2 to the end that ye be not

quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or

by word, or by epistle as from us, as that the day of the Lord is just at

hand; 3 let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except

the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of

perdition, 4 he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is

called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of

God, setting himself forth as God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was

yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know that which

restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. 7 For

the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that

restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall be

revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath

of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming;

9 even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all

power and signs and lying wonders, 10 and with all deceit of

unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love

of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God

sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: 12 that

they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in

unrighteousness (II Thessalaonians 2:1-12 A.S.V.).

An examination of these verses, as they appear before us in the American

Standard Version (much to be preferred to the A.V.), yields the following

information about Antichrist. 

(a) A notable evil person called “the man of sin,” and “the son of

perdition” (v.3) and “the lawless one” (v.8) shall some day “be revealed”

(v.3). 

(b) The revelation of this Man of Sin is to take place before “the day of

the Lord.” This is presumably quite shortly before the day of the Lord.

(c) Associated with his revelation as the Man of Sin will be “the falling

away.” This falling away can be interpreted only as an apostasy from true

religion as the unmistakable testimony of the lexicons and the testimony of the

New Testament and Septuagint uses of the Greek word αποστασια require.

(d) The Man of Sin will oppose God, exalt himself, demand divine honors

(v.4), and in a general way consummate in himself a full embodiment of

opposition to God and His Christ.

(e) The coming of the Man of Sin will be the fruition of the working of

evil forces, called “the mystery of lawlessness,” now in operation (v.7).

(f) The coming of the Man of Sin is being stayed by a certain thing

“which restraineth” (v.6) that his coming may be “in His own season.” Just

what this thing which restrains is, the passage does not explain, but it is

clear from the language (“and now ye know that which restraineth,” etc.) that

the Apostle Paul expected his readers to understand. Verse five relates that

Paul had informed the Thessalonians orally while he was with them. Oh, that we

might have a record of those discourses! How many problems of eschatology it

might settle!

Before discussing this further, note:

(g) The coming of the Man of Sin will not take place till the removal

“out of the way” of a certain person “that restraineth now” (v.7). (The gender

of the Greek participles, κατεχον, neuter singular, and κατεχων, masculine

singular, fully justifies the distinguishing of two restrainers, one impersonal

and one personal.)

Now, who are these? Let it be freely admitted by all that to the present

time no one has brought forward a fully satisfactory explanation, though many

from Tertullian on to the present moment have expressed opinions. The writer

has noted at least six different views.

B. B. Warfield writes that he is convinced that the “thing which

restrains” was the Jewish state and that the “one who restrains” was James the

Just of Jerusalem. The state came to an end and James died in the latter part

of the first century, and after that the Man of Sin in the person of the Roman

emperors had undisputed power to persecute the church. The Jewish state, while

it lasted, did shelter the church. (See Warfield, Biblical and Theological

Studies, chapter xvii.)

Tertullian, and a host since his time, have felt that the prophecy was

fulfilled in the Roman state and the emperors, who as the representatives of

human government put a restraint on evil.

Alford, Ellicott, and Riggenbach (in Lange’s Commentary) are

representative of the many who have thought that the restraining thing is human

government, in general. The rulers, by this view, are usually determined to be

the “person who restrains,” or, as in the view of Ellicott, the person is only

a verbal personification of government. There is much that commends itself to

this writer in this view–it accords well with the disintegration of

sovereignty in the rulers pictured in the clay of the prophecy of Daniel

(chapter two).

Riggenbach (in Lange’s Commentary, en loco) lists a number of German and

Swiss commentators who held the restraining powers to be religious, rather than

political. The Apostle Paul himself, the Apostles generally, the proclamation

of the gospel, and the church itself, have all been proposed.

Similar to these views is the conception that the “thing which restrains”

is the church of Christ, which by advocates of this view is expected to be

taken to heaven by the rapture, before the appearance of Antichrist. Those

passages which speak of the Lord’s people as the “light of the world” and “the

salt of the earth” and various philosophical arguments are marshalled in

support. The Holy Spirit, in the church, is then the “one who restrains.”

Some feel that both the neuter and masculine have reference to the Holy Spirit.

In either case the removal of restraint is presumed to come at the time of the

rapture of the church. This view is advocated in the Scofield Bible

(Introduction to II Thessalonians and note en loco). An able presentation of

the view is that of Henry C. Thiessen (Will the Church Pass Through the

Tribulation?). However, even Dr. Thiessen admits that his argument is

inferential and cumulative, not based emphatically on a single declaration of

Scripture.

Still another view is simply that the restraining thing and the

restraining one are the same, and that it is to be identified as the decree or

providence of God. By this view, that which chiefly restrains lawlessness and

the coming of the Man of Sin is the decree of God which has set the time and

circumstances. If this is the correct view, it accords well with the language

of Revelation 6:1-7, wherein the going forth of the four horsemen in each case

comes only after a divine order to “Go” (A.S.V.).

And now my inquiring reader wants to know what my own opinion is. My

“cradle faith” about the question was the doctrine of Scofield and of the host

of American Premillennialists of the past generation. I am not now ready to

oppose it. I am, however, ready to confess that I feel that the precise

relation of the rapture of the church to the coming Great Tribulation has been

purposely veiled by the Lord for moral reasons. I have heard and read the

arguments of the Pre-, Mid-, and Post-Tribulationists, and have been much

impressed by many of them, to say nothing of the evidence of Scripture which I

have been bound to survey in the preparation of this book. I have the

personally expressed opinion of the heads of at least three Pre-millennial

schools of higher learning that any just presentation of this subject by a

Premillennialist must recognize these three respectable opinions. This irenic

spirit I think will come to prevail. E. S. English’s recent series in Our

Hope Magazine entitled “Rethinking the Rapture” was, I think, a harbinger of

more gracious understanding of our differences in matters of this sort.

I have mentioned these last two facts (f and g), not because they are

essential to maintenance of the Premillennial view of Antichrist, but because

they appear in this foundational text and cannot be ignored in such a

treatment. Our position neither stands nor falls upon the particular

interpretation given them. They have been and will probably continue to be

moot among Premillenarians.

(h) The success of the Man of Sin shall be accomplished by means of

Satanic power and divine providence (9-12). It has always been Satan’s

intention to organize all humanity against God. It shall be the purpose of God

in the time of the Man of Sin to permit him to do so.

(i) The Man of Sin shall not prevail forever, but he shall be slain by

Christ “with the breath of his mouth” by Christ’s own “manifestation” at his

“coming” (parousia, v.8).

One could easily wish that Paul had added the information to which he

refers when he says, “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told

you these things?” (v.5). Then we might know for certain what the thing which

now restraineth, and the person whose removal shall permit the Man of Sin to

rise, will be. We know enough, however, to gain a grasp of the general

doctrine of the Man of Sin.

It is not necessary at this point to develop the doctrine further. It is

enough to affirm that the same doctrine is found with reference to one called

“The Antichrist” (I John 2:16), “The Beast” (Revelation 13:1 ff.) in the New

Testament, and “the little horn” (Daniel 7:8), the “prince that shall come”

(Daniel 9:26), and “the king” who does according to his will (Daniel 11:36), of

the Old Testament. Christ referred to him as one who would come in his “own

name” (John 5:43).

The second part of the proposition is that

(2) A period of great tribulation for Israel is to transpire under

Antichrist’s oppression, from which deliverance will be provided by Christ at

His coming.

This doctrine is to be distinguished from the teachings found in

Scripture to the effect that the present age is to progress in evil and

lawlessness to the end, true as that may be. It is also to be distinguished

from the many judgments which have fallen, and continue to fall, on apostate

Israel. It is something unique in the history of Israel.

Unlike the doctrine of Antichrist, which is quite fully outlined in one

passage of Scripture (II Thess. 2:1-12), this general doctrine is presented in

many seemingly detached fragments. Yet there can be small doubt, indeed, that

they do relate to one event (or series of events) commonly known as the Great

Tribulation.

I shall present the doctrine in relation to (a) testimony to the fact,

(b) the special character of it, (c) the agency by which it is brought about,

(d) the length of its duration, and (e) the method of its termination.

(a) Testimony to the fact of a great tribulation for Israel in

eschatological times: 

There are two primary texts which predict the coming of a period of great

tribulation for Israel shortly before that period of the consummation known as

the day of Jehovah.

The earlier is Jeremiah 30:4-11, the most significant portion of which is

verses 4-7, which follows in the American Standard Version:

And these are the words that Jehovah spake concerning Israel and

concerning Judah. For thus saith Jehovah: We have heard a voice of

trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man

doth travail with child: wherefore do I see every man with his hands on

his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness.

Alas! for the day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time

of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

This is sufficient in itself to prove that in Jeremiah’s time a period of

great tribulation, unique in all their history, was yet ahead for the nation of

Israel–both houses included.

That this was to take place in what we now know would be very remote

times is also clear. I mean to say that this tribulation can be only that

associated with their return to the land in times immediately antecedent to the

establishment of the kingdom of Christ.

First, observe the similarity of language to passages which describe the

advent of the Day of Jehovah (cf. vs. 6b and 7 with Joel 1:15; 2:11).

Second, note that the remainder of the chapter describes a restoration of

Israel to follow this tribulation, a restoration which is complete and final.

This aspect of the problem will receive more complete treatment in the section

to follow.

Now, these prophecies of Jeremiah were well known to Daniel (vide. Daniel

9:2). So the revelation given to him on the subject of Jacob’s coming trouble

was not the introduction of a new subject. Observe the clear lines of the

second of these references and the advance in detail. This also is cited from

the American Standard Version, as follows:

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who

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. 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. And they that are wise shall shine as

the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness

as the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:1-3).

Observe that here, as in the Jeremiah passage, the absolute uniqueness of

the coming time of Jacob’s trouble (Hebrew tsarah is used in both passages).

In the one case it is said to be “so that none is like it,” and in the other,

“such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” In the

first case, it is Jacob’s trouble, and in the other, the time of trouble for

“thy people,” that is, Daniel’s people, Israel. It can hardly be doubted that

both prophets wrote of the same thing.

That it is something final, to take place in eschatological times, I

regard as completely demonstrated by the context following. Observe the

connection between the last part of verse one and verse two. Having just

mentioned the coming time of trouble, Daniel continues: “And at that time

[italics mine] thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found

written in the book. 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.” Here are all the main events of eschatology–a resurrection of the

righteous and of the unrighteous, a judgment when the books are open (vide.

Rev. 20:12,15) is set, and rewards both for good and for evil are given out

(cf. further Daniel 12:3). Now, all this is joined in time (it is one of the

clearest revelations about time in Old Testament prophecy) with the time of

Jacob’s trouble. “And at that time” (uvaeth hahi) clearly fixes this

tribulation period in that portion of Israel’s history which is yet future–

and, incidentally, is sufficient proof in itself that God is not yet through

with His people Israel, as a people.

(b) The special character of Israel’s Great Tribulation.

Israel’s suffering will not be without purpose–it will be the infliction

of divine wrath upon the apostate nation, a final “indignation” which will be

the means of eliminating the unrepentant and of bringing about the very

repentance of the repentant.

Both Isaiah 26:20 and Daniel 11:36 speak of a coming time of divine

“indignation” zaam which is presumed to be something which all men will suffer.

Yet Isaiah 26:20 (cf. also Jer. 10:10) also speaks of how God’s people (Israel)

will be spared and of how the inhabitants of the earth will suffer the wrath of

God.

Other passages in the Old and New Testaments predict hard times for men

in general immediately before and during a part of the Day of the Lord.

How can these facts–that Israel shall both suffer and be spared–be

reconciled?

I think the answer is to recognize that the Bible presumes a restoration

of Israel to their ancient land while still in unbelief, that in their land

they will suffer the same distresses which all men in that dreadful day of

God’s indignation will suffer, that for Israel it will be a peculiar refining

process by which the incorrigibles will be removed and those willing to be

saved will be gathered in to God. Some such transaction will be necessary to

bring about the conditions necessary for a restored Israel to enter the kingdom

of Christ in the Millennial age.

Now, just such an interpretation of the indignation on the nations of

mankind, an indignation which becomes a tribulation for Israel, is set forth in

Ezekiel 20:33-44. There are some admittedly obscure statements in this

passage. I have never felt I understood just what is to be the order of time

in the events described as related to other events of the end-time. There is

some palpable conflict with our faith that Israel shall be restored to the land

while still in unbelief and the statement in verse 38, the “rebels…I will

bring them forth out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter

unto the land of Israel.” I am confident that the fulfillment will make clear

the seeming difficulty. Neither do I understand the reference to “the

wilderness of the peoples,” where a part of the judgment is said to transpire.

Yet I do know that several other prophecies predict that God will have

transactions with Israel in a wilderness in the end-time. So I am prepared to

expect an unraveling in spite of the difficulties. The difficult portions of

the prophecy do not do away with the fact that some of it is very plain. Moses

predicted that prophecy would be like this (vide. Numbers 12:6-8). That God

will bring Israel into tribulation issuing in a separating judgment is clear.

The most significant part of the passage follows:

As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely with a mighty hand, and

with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, will I be king over

you. And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out

of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with

an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into

the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I enter into judgment with

you face to face. Like as I entered into judgment with your fathers in

the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I enter into judgment with

you, saith the Lord Jehovah, And I will cause you to pass under the rod,

and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; and will purge out

from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me; I will

bring them forth out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not

enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah

(Ezekiel 20:33-38 A.S.V.).

 

A divine judgment coupled with a spiritual transaction which will remove

the rebels and bring the rest into spiritual harmony with God by means of a

covenant is predicted. It will be something just as striking and significant

as that at Sinai in the “wilderness of the land of Egypt.” Nothing of the sort

has been in Israel’s history since Ezekiel’s prophecy; it awaits a future day.

(c) The agency by which the tribulation of Israel shall be brought about.

The passage in Ezekiel 20 to which reference has just been made lays

emphasis on one aspect of Israel’s tribulation which can be brought about only

by God in Christ as the judge of all men (cf. John 5:22). But the Scripture

leads us to believe that most of the peculiar suffering of Israel during this

time of the indignation of God will be brought about by a great evil king of a

Gentile nation, as in the days of old.

Zechariah 12:2 ff. implies a general Gentile war against Israel in the

end-time. Zechariah 14:1 ff. describes the spectacular conclusion to it.

Daniel 11:36-45 reveals how the leader in this opposition at the last will be

the great final Antichrist who will vex the inhabitants of “the glorious land”

of Israel. But the passage that definitely connects Israel’s last agony with

the Antichrist is the prophecy concerning the little horn of Daniel 7:8,11 and

19-22. I shall treat this passage somewhat at length in proper season. Here I

wish only to call attention to the fact made clear therein, that the same final

and last of all Gentile kings, who shall be destroyed utterly by Christ at his

second coming, will also oppress the saints of God. Viewed in the contextual

connection, those saints can be none other than God’s ancient people Israel. 

(d) The length of the Tribulation’s duration:

Several passages lead us to believe that the tribulation is of divinely

limited duration.

The first passage, in order of presentation, if not of importance, is

Matthew 24:22, which reads:

“And except those days had been shortened, no flesh

would have been saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (A.S.V.).  

There are two reasons why this certainly refers to the tribulation

of Israel at the end-time. The first is that verse 21 clearly identifies it

with that end-time tribulation described in Daniel 12:1, to which reference has

already been made (see (a) above). Jesus says, verse 21, “For then shall be

great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until

now, no, nor ever shall be.” This identification is clear and unmistakable.

The other reason is that this tribulation is set at the time of “the

abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet”

(Matt. 24:15, cf. Daniel 9:27, 12:11). This same abomination is selected for

further treatment by Paul (II Thess. 2:1 ff.) and there plainly related to the

times of the Antichrist of the end.

So we are fully justified in relating these words of Matthew 24:22 to the

time of Israel’s great tribulation. The statement that “those days shall be

shortened” is admittedly difficult. That the length of each individual day

should be less than our usual twenty-four-hour day seems manifestly a priori

out of the question. The only possible meaning, it seems to me, is that God

already has set definite limits on the number of days it shall last.

The precise number of those days is given to us (as was recognized as

early, at least, as Augustine) as 1260 days, also given as forty-two months,

and as three and one-half times (years). The passages are Daniel 7:25,

Revelation 11:2 and 12:6,14. The first (Dan. 7:25) reveals that Antichrist

(the little horn) “shall wear out the saints of the Most High…and they shall

be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.” That this must

be three and one-half times is evident. Keil writes (Commentary, in loco),

“The plural word iddanim (times) standing between time and half a time can only

designate the simple plural, i.e., two times used in the dual sense, since in

the Chaldee the plural is often used to denote a pair where the dual is used in

Hebrew.” In Revelation 12:14 the exact Greek equivalent of “time, times and

half a time” is used with reference to the persecution of Israel in the endtime.

Revelation 12:6 specifies 1260 days and Revelation 11:2, forty-two

months. There are those who will controvert the Revelation passages, insisting

that they have no reference to Israel’s end-time tribulation. I think my view

can be sustained, but even granting that it could not be, the evidence from

Daniel 7:25 remains, and is conclusive.

(e) The terminal events of the Great Tribulation:

It might satisfy the requirements of this treatise to ignore the question

of how the period of Israel’s great tribulation begins. There is some

disagreement among Premillennialists on the beginning events of the tribulation

of Israel. This is by reason of the fact that all do not accept the same view

of the Book of Revelation. However, the way in which the period closes is in

no question whatsoever. So necessity is upon me to treat its conclusion, and

it seems best at least to suggest what seems to be the best information about

its beginning. 

Two events, it appears, will signalize the beginning of the Tribulation.

One is a divine permission delivering Israel into the hands of Antichrist (Dan.

7:25). The other is the beginning of a final persecution of Israel, to be led

by Antichrist. This will take the form of a requirement of worship of

Antichrist as God, with severe sanctions against disobedience (Dan. 7:25, II

Thess. 2:4). I have no doubt, personally, that this will take place in

Israel’s land in a restored Jewish temple of God which will at that period of

time be owned by God as His own (Rev. 11:1 ff.). I recognize that some of my

Premillennial brethren do not agree on this point, and I do not press it now.

A third event, which seems evident to me will happen at this time, will

be a standing up of Michael, the Archangel, to fight on behalf of God and His

people Israel against Antichrist. It seems to me that this takes place in a

spiritual realm, and may well be quite invisible to living men on earth. At

any rate, both Daniel 12:1 and Revelation 12:7 speak of such an occurrence in

this connection.

Those who find an outline of end-time events in the prophecy of the

seventieth week, Daniel 9:27, find these events introduced by the breaking of

Antichrist’s covenant in the midst of the week. 

(3) The closing days of the present age shall witness the restoration of

Israel to the land and the conversion of the nation, to be followed in the

Millennium by the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenant promises

distinctive to that nation.

It is probably at this point that Premillennialism enters into sharpest

disagreement with current forms of Amillennialism. Most of the recent writers

of that school (Leupold, Young, Allis, Hamilton, Murray, Pieters) contend that

all promises to Israel in the Old Testament which remained unfulfilled after

the rejection of Messiah were transferred to the church. In his recent, The

Seed of Abraham, Pieters contends that the Jew as a racial entity is wholly a

fiction at the present time–that the Jew is nothing more today, so far as the

promises of God are concerned, than the advocate of the false religion of

Judaism.

With this view Premillennial theology clashes–head on. The Scriptural

evidence for our view is in itself sufficient evidence also for refutation of

this prime negation of Amillennialism.

Postmillennialists have not usually objected to faith in a restoration of

Israel. However, they have not usually presented it as so extensive and

important as Premillennialists conceive it to be. David Brown, probably the

most able defender and exponent of postmillennialism, felt that the nation of

Israel would preserve its national identity and that some day all Israelites

would be saved (Christ’s Second Coming, Will It Be Pre-Millennial? pp.

433-437).

The Biblical material on this subject is immense. Many pages could be

filled with quotations of Scripture passages which promise or imply the future

restoration of Israel. I cannot present all of them. My method will be to

classify the evidence under twelve arguments and to present representative

strong texts in connection with each. It will not be possible to avoid a

certain amount of overlapping between the arguments. Therefore, the reader

will be asked to regard the various propositions as steps in one cumulative

Biblical argument rather than as distinct and separate. These several steps in

development of the Biblical material follow.

(a) There are numerous Old Testament predictions which treat of a

repentance and restoration of Israel in eschatological times which is distinct

and separate from that which followed the Babylonian captivity.

Perhaps the most precise text on this subject is Hosea 3:4,5, which

reads:

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king, and

without prince, and without sacrifices and without pillar, and without

ephod or teraphim; afterward shall the children of Israel return, and

seek Jehovah their God, and David their king, and shall come with fear

unto Jehovah and to his goodness in the latter days (A.S.V.).

These words suppose that for a long period of time the children of Israel

will be without the symbols used in the true worship. This fits neither the

period of the Babylonian captivity nor the period after the restoration, but

rather this present age. 

A genuine, sincere, and effective return of all the people to the worship

of Jehovah, and a cherishing of the Davidic house (if not David himself) is

also involved in the prophecy. This provision of the prophecy is quite as

foreign to the period of captivity and restoration as the ones mentioned above.

Finally, this return is said to take place “in the latter days.” A later

discussion of this technical phrase, in the treatment of the prophecy of Daniel

2, in the second part of this dissertation, establishes that the consummation

of the affairs of men in eschatological times is always included in the measure

of time specified by this phrase. This being the case, it is to be supposed

that the same is true here, and that some future final restoration is in view.

Of no less importance is Ezekiel 37. In this chapter (vs. 11-28),

Ezekiel prophesies that both the northern and southern divisions of the nation

will be brought back (21,22), something which did not take place in the return

from Babylon; that the Davidic dynasty will be restored and given dominion over

both houses (22-24), that the restoration will be permanent, forever (25); that

God will Himself come to dwell with them (26,27), as John prophesies of the

coming eternal kingdom (Rev. 21,22); that all the nations will be blessed

forevermore in and through this arrangement (28). Such things have never taken

place in Israel’s past, and when viewed in connection with the last three

chapters of the Revelation, can be understood only as taking place after the

return of our Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory.

I would be willing to rest my case right here. This evidence is

sufficient enough–but there is much more.

(b) The perpetuity of the nation of Israel, in spite of repeated

apostasies and restorations after divine chastening, is predicted.

I shall simply present two passages from the Pentateuch and three from

the Prophets of the Old Testament, permitting the Scriptures to speak for

themselves:

And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I

will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly,

and to break my covenant with them; for I am Jehovah their God; but I

will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I

brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that

I might be their God: I am Jehovah (Leviticus 26:44,45, A.S.V.).

For from the top of the rocks I see him,

And from the hills I behold him:

Lo, it is a people that dwelleth alone,

And shall not be reckoned among the nations

(Numbers 23:9, A.S.V.).

Therefore fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith Jehovah; neither

be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed

from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be

quiet and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee,

saith Jehovah, to save thee: for I will make a full end of the nations

whither I have scattered thee, but I will not make a full end of thee,

but I will correct thee in measure, and will in no wise leave thee

unpunished (Jeremiah 30:10,11, A.S.V.).

But fear not thou, O Jacob my servant, neither be dismayed, O

Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land

of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at

ease, and none shall make him afraid. Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant,

saith Jehovah; for I am with thee: for I will make a full end of the

nations whither I have driven thee; but I will not make a full end of

thee, but I will correct thee in measure, and will in no wise leave thee

unpunished (Jeremiah 46:27,28, A.S.V.). 

Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom,

and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; save that I will

not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah. For, lo, I will

command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all the nations, like

as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least kernel fall upon

the earth. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say,

The evil shall not overtake nor meet us. In that day will I raise up the

tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof;

and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of

old….And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be

plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith Jehovah thy

God (Amos 9:8-11, 15, A.S.V.).

(c) There is at least one Old Testament prophecy which in

unmistakable and utterly unambiguous language predicts a national restoration

of Israel in yet future Messianic times.

I refer to the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1-12:6, one of the most complete

oracles in the whole Bible concerning the future of Messiah and Israel.

The passage begins with a prediction which seems to point primarily to

his first advent:

And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a

branch out of his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of Jehovah

shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit

of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah

(Isaiah 11:1,2, A.S.V.).

Then there follows prediction in which the first and second comings seem

to blend at first, and then the second alone appears.

And his delight shall be in the fear of Jehovah; and he shall not

judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of

his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with

equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the

rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the

wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins (Isaiah

11:3-5, A.S.V.).

Now, it is perfectly clear after the end of the third clause in this

passage, that the parousia, that is, the second advent, has taken place.

Verses six to nine following describe conditions in that final kingdom of

earth’s history, the Millennial kingdom. It is a time of universal peace and

prosperity among all of God’s creatures. Verse 10 adds that the peoples of the

earth shall seek Christ, in that day–something, by the way, which can never,

and will never, take place during this present age.

After this recitation, clearly a recitation of kingdom (or Millennial)

conditions, appears this significant statement:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord will set his

hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, that

shall remain, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from

Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the

islands of the sea (Isaiah 11:11, A.S.V.).

Most writers of every school rightfully regard this as the strongest

single text in the entire Old Testament supporting the Premillennial doctrine

of the restoration of Israel. Observe:

In the first place, the events described are “in that day,” that is, in

the day of Christ’s parousia described in the context immediately preceding.

In the second place, there will be a second gathering of a “remnant” of

Israel. This can refer only to the fact that just as once before, in the times

of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, God gathered His people (the Hebrew means to

gather, rather than recover) from the nations in which they had been scattered,

so shall He do again. Our Amillennial opponents suppose that this second

gathering was the one under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and that the first

was the bringing up of Israel out of Egypt into Canaan in the days of Moses and

Joshua. Support for this is supposed to be found in verse 16. However, the

exodus from Egypt was not a “gathering” out from among nations into which they

had been scattered. They were all in Egypt and had grown into a nation there,

concentrated in Goshen, not scattered in the nations. Also, the exodus was not

the rescue of a “remnant,” but the rescue of the whole nation. And, finally,

it must be recognized that the “second” gathering, referred to in verse 11, is

“in that day,” the day of Messiah’s appearing, not the day of the heroes of the

books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The Amillennial objections have not a leg to stand

on.

In the third place, this restoration is of a “remnant,” after chastening

and judgment, described elsewhere in Scripture, not of the entire nation, as

was the case in the exodus.

Finally, the remainder of the prophecy (11:12-12:6) describes conditions

which have never prevailed either in Israel or in the church (granting that it

referred to the church) to the present moment. This must be a future

restoration.

(d) The Scriptures speak of a restoration of Israel which will be

absolute and permanent.

There are many passages which speak thus; the one now cited is among the

clearest.

And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel and they

shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant

vineyards, and drink of the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens,

and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and

they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given to

them, saith Jehovah thy God (Amos 9:14,15, A.S.V.).

This is clear unequivocal language. No straightforward, literal,

objective treatment of the passage can derive any meaning from it contrary to

the one advocated in this paper. Israel is to be restored to the land, and the

covenant promises of material and spiritual blessings to that nation, as a

nation, are yet going to be fulfilled.

(e) Jesus predicted events in the future which presuppose the restoration

of Israel to Canaan and the re-establishment of the ancient tribal organization

of the nation.

Peter had just reminded our Lord that His followers had remained with Him

during the years at great personal cost. And He responded by telling Peter:

“Verily I say to you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when

the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon

twelve thrones, judgment the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). Jesus

makes mention of the “regeneration,” Greek Palingenesia. It is an unmistakable

reference to the new order of things on earth after the second advent. Now, in

this era, the twelve apostles will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve

tribes of Israel. Our opponents hardly know what to make of this text, for it

is so devastating to all antichiliastic theories. Unless the nation of Israel

is to be revived and restored, this prophecy has no meaning at all.

Another passage with the same general meaning is Luke 22:28,29:

But ye are they that have continued with me in my temptations; and

I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me, that

ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and ye shall sit on

thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (A.S.V.). 

(f) In his most important eschatological address, Jesus suggested that a

period of Jewish rulership of their ancient city, Jerusalem, would follow on

the conclusion of this age, which He called “the times of the Gentiles.”

This famous prophecy is found in Luke 21:24:

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led

captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the

Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (A.S.V.).

There is not space in this treatment for a thorough discussion of what is

often called the Olivet Discourse. Suffice it to say that the address was

given in answer to questions addressed concerning the promised destruction of

Jerusalem, the time of Jesus’ second coming, and the signs of that coming.

Whatever may be said concerning the earlier portions of the address, as to

whether they refer to Jerusalem’s destruction or to Christ’s second coming, it

is certain that in verse 24 our Lord is looking far past that event of A.D. 70.

Now, says Jesus (if we may interpret), this condition in Jerusalem, with

Gentiles in charge of things and using the city for their own purposes, shall

continue to the end of the time God has allotted for Gentile supremacy. But

after that, the return of Jerusalem to its rightful owners shall take place.

This can never happen aside from the repentance, conversion, and

restoration of Israel.

(g) It was the plain belief of the apostles, even after the death and

resurrection of Jesus, that the kingdom would be restored, as of old, to

Israel.

This belief is expressed plaintively in Acts 1:6: “Lord, dost thou at

this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

 

I think the precise significance of this question is often missed because

the immediately preceding context is ignored in referring to it. Luke informs

us that the Lord appeared to the disciples in the days following the

resurrection. Now, the important thing to note is the subject of His

conversations with them. Luke gives us that in Acts 1:3, which I present in

full:

“to whom he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs,

appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things

concerning the kingdom of God.” For forty days the Lord, intermittently of

course, explained to the disciples the “kingdom of God.” This He did to men

whose minds were steeped in the Old Testament promises to Israel in connection

with that kingdom. It were vain, of course, to suppose that the bearings of

that kingdom on the present age were not discussed–but the fact remains that

after forty days of this instruction the Jewish disciples still believed that

some time in the future the kingdom would be restored to them. Jesus did not

tell them that their hope was false. He did not reprove them for a “carnal”

view of the kingdom. He informed them only that it was not for them to know

the time at which the restoration would take place.

It is no mistake that has led countless defenders of the Premillennial

doctrine to this text in defense of it.

(h) The Apostle Paul declared that a time is coming in which “all Israel

shall be saved” and that in such a context that the national repentance and

conversion of the nation, if not national restoration, is a necessary

inference.

The paragraph which summarizes Paul’s teaching is Romans 11:25,26:

For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest

ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen

Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel

shall be saved: even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the

Deliverer; he shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (A.S.V.).

The context of this promise, which requires that we understand the

national restoration of Israel–by way of repentance and conversion–has been

summarized by Alva J. McClain as follows: 

Is He, God, done with Israel as a nation? The apostle recoils from such a

suggestion, and proceeds to show that the rejection of Israel is even now not

total, but only partial. And even this partial rejection is not final, but

only temporary. Three facts are adduced to prove that God has not cast off

His people forever. First, there is a PRESENT ELECTION within the nation

(1-10). He has spoken of this before, but he now points to himself, an

Israelite among the saved, as an evidence to this election. Furthermore, the

existing situation is very similar to that in the days of Elijah when in the

whole nation there was but a small remnant who had not bowed the knee to

Baal. So now there is a remnant according to the election of grace. As to

the rest, they have been hardened, and their eyes darkened. Nevertheless, we

are not to suppose that this is the end of Israel’s national hopes. There is

to be a FUTURE RESTORATION of the nation back to the divine favor (11-24).

Israel did not stumble that he might fall irretrievably. There was a

beneficent purpose in permitting all this to take place. Through the fall of

Israel great riches have been brought to the Gentile world, and if his fall

meant much to the world, certainly his future reception back into favor will

mean much more. If, on account of unbelief, certain Israelite branches have

been broken out of the tree of God’s favor and Gentile branches have been

grafted in, we are not to forget that God is able to graft the Israelite back

into the place of favor. For, after all, they are the natural branches;

God’s favor came into the world through Israel. As a matter of fact, they

shall be grafted again into their own tree. There is to be a final

SALVATION for the nation (25-32). (Romans Outlined and Summarized, pp.

36,37.)

 

Such is the argument of this chapter and the hope of the Apostle Paul.

 

(i) The Scriptures describe a future time when a temple of God in the

Jewish city of Jerusalem shall be appropriated by God as His own and be

misappropriated by Antichrist.

 

There are two passages of New Testament Scripture involved in this

argument. The first is Revelation 11:1,2:

 

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and one said, Rise,

and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship

therein. And the court which is without the temple leave without, and

measure it not; for it hath been given unto the nations: and the holy

city shall they tread under foot forty and two months (A.S.V.).

 

This prophecy came to John nearly thirty years2after the temple of Herod

was destroyed by the Romans. So the prophecy does not refer to that temple.

It was not the heavenly temple “which the Lord pitched and not man,” for this

is to be desecrated by nations which will also trample the city. It is in

Jerusalem, as the words “holy city” specify. Furthermore, even without taking

into consideration the action of measuring, which many interpreters think

symbolizes God’s appropriation of a rebuilt temple at the beginning of the

seventieth week of Daniel, it is plainly said to be “the temple of God.” So

much for the fact–a Jewish temple is to be built in Jerusalem and appropriated

by God.

Now, Paul predicts that this temple (it could hardly be another) shall be

misappropriated by Antichrist for his own blasphemous worship. After pointing

out to the believers at Thessalonica that the “man of sin…the son of

perdition” shall be revealed before the day of the Lord, he adds concerning

this wicked man that he “opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is

called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God,

setting himself forth as God.”

This agrees precisely with what the Revelation says concerning the

“Beast” (or Antichrist) in the thirteenth chapter of that book.

This is another truth supporting the teaching that the nation is to be

restored to their land and their God as in the days of old.

(j) The Revelation predicts a resumption of God’s dealing with Israel in

the sealing of 144,000 Israelites, organized according to their tribal

divisions.

I recognize that there are problems in connection with this fact. The

tribal names, for instance, are peculiar and differ from the usual. No one

seems to be very sure of the reason why. Yet this does not justify our

saying–what in effect the anti-millenarian interpreters of Revelation do say–

that the passage is totally without known meaning, being wrapped in unreadable

symbolism. The passage is still in Revelation, chapter 7, and certainly means

something. I quote:

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the

earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that no wind should blow on

the earth, or on the sea, or upon any tree. And I saw another angel

ascend from the sunrising, having the seal of the living God: and he

cried with a great voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt

the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor

the trees, till we shall have sealed the servants of our God on their

foreheads. And I heard the number of them that were sealed, a hundred

and forty and four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of

Israel (Revelation 7:1-4, A.S.V.).

In the four verses which follow, it is specified that 12,000 from each of

the twelve tribes were sealed.

Let our Postmillennial and Amillennial friends explain this for us. They

find many faults in our explanation that this applies to 144,000 Jewish

servants of God in the Tribulation period. Let them tell us when it is if it

is not then. It could not be in the period before John, for history bears no

record of it and it would be completely anomalous in that time. In the

centuries since it has not happened. The facts are that it fits no known

period except the future, at the end of this present age.

(k) The prophets speak as if the honor of Jehovah God is at stake in the

restoration of Israel in a final and permanent way.

God has a stake in the restoration of Israel. The honor of His name and

the validity of His covenant-keeping mercy depend on it, according to several

passages. In connection with several chapters in Ezekiel in which the final

restoration is predicted, this appears:

I had regard for my holy name, which the house of Israel had

profaned among the nations whither they went. Therefore say unto the

house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I do not this for your

sake, O house of Israel, but for my holy name, which ye have profaned

among the nations, whither ye went (Ezekiel 36:21,22, A.S.V.).

Peters (The Theocratic Kingdom, II, 53) says in this connection that

evidently the condition of Israel at the time of their future restoration will

be one of unbelief. Only because the time in the plan of God for the

establishment of the Messianic Kingdom shall have arrived will God move in

mercy again to restore the nation.

“Because” the nation has been overthrown and its uplifting is a necessity,

“because” the heathen ridicule the Covenant and its promises, God will

perform this work, and, by an astonishing process, bring this rebellious

nation to heart-felt obedience and most fervent allegiance” (Peters, ibid.,

53). 

This is related to the following final argument, and that which concerns

the next argument applies with equal force on this one.

(l) The Bible reveals that the very worthiness of God as the object of

the faith of the patriarchs requires that He yet restore Israel and fulfill the

promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In Romans 11:28 Paul writes that Israel is yet “beloved for the fathers’

sake.” This means that God’s present care for His ancient people is, at least

in part, out of respect for the faith of “the fathers” who believed God and

expected Him to fulfill His ancient promises. After writing of the faith of

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the writer to the Hebrews observes:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but

having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that

they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Hebrews 11:13, A.S.V.).

Not all of the promises of God to the patriarchs have been fulfilled yet.

Of course, as the New Testament makes clear, some of the promises have come

true in Christ, in the benefits of His redeeming work at Calvary. But all the

distinctive promises to Israel wait for complete fulfillment. We know that

unbelief and resultant chastening are the cause. But God has made a promise

concerning the overruling of the unbelief, and to this promise Paul must have

turned his mind as he wrote that Israel was still “beloved for the fathers’

sake.” I refer to a passage in the Pentateuch, the portion of God’s Word in

which this series of arguments began. After detailing the dread results of

disobedience–banishment from the land–God says:

They shall confess…then will I remember my covenant with Jacob;

also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I

remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left by

them, and it shall enjoy its sabbaths….And yet for all that, when they

are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I

abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them;

for I am Jehovah their God; but I will for their sakes remember the

covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of

Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am

Jehovah (Leviticus 26:40, 42-45, A.S.V.).

I can think of nothing more utterly compelling and appropriate with which

to close my remarks on this theme than the prophecy of Jeremiah 33:25,26.

Thus saith Jehovah: If my covenant of day and night stand not, if I

have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast

away the seed of Jacob and of David my servant, so that I will not take

of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for

I will cause their captivity to return, and will have mercy on them.

PART TWO

The Premillennial Approach to the Book of Daniel

As was pointed out at the beginning of this dissertation, the primary

thesis is that the Premillennial system of eschatology is taught by the

Scriptures themselves, and that the Premillennial system alone can

satisfactorily interpret the eschatological portions of the Book of Daniel. In

the foregoing section I have sought to establish as fact the proposition that

the general teaching of the whole Bible supports the Premillennial eschatology.

That the Bible teaches one system of doctrine, not many, must be the faith of

all who believe it to be the saving Word of God. This being the case, we may

reasonably expect that the Premillennial eschatology, developed in general

outline in the previous section, will, if correct, provide the key to

understanding the details of eschatology presented in the Book of Daniel.

Contrariwise, any other system should meet impassable obstacles and create

unmistakable confusion in interpreting so eminently eschatological a book as

Daniel.

Except as deemed absolutely necessary, I have not made great use of

Daniel’s predictions in the previous section. This was because it was felt

that it wold be best to treat all the pertinent portions of Daniel

consecutively and separate from the general discussion of Premillennialism.

The place to treat Daniel’s prophecies has now appeared.

It will not be necessary to treat all of the book. The chapters which

are primarily predictive in their most significant portions are two, seven,

nine, and ten to twelve (really one prophecy). Of these four distinct

sections, large portions deal with incidental facts related to the revelation

of the material and to predictions which were fulfilled before and during the

lifetime of our Lord Jesus Christ. These portions are not germane to our

discussion. Evangelical Christians of all shades of eschatological opinion are

in quite general agreement (there are a few exceptions) on these portions as

far as interpretation is concerned. Therefore treatment of large portions will

be omitted entirely, and treatment of some other portions will be complete

enough only to prepare the reader for the portions at issue. It is the

writer’s purpose to eliminate all matter irrelevant to the main point at issue.

The discussion must begin with an analysis of the entire book. This will

be followed by treatment of:

The Prophecy of the Great Metallic Image and of the Stone which struck it

(2:28,29,31-45) 

The Prophecy of the Four Great Beasts and of the Ancient of Days (7:2-27)

The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (9:23-27)

The Prophecy Concerning Daniel’s People among the Nations, especially at

the Time of the End (10:14; 11:36-45; 12:1-12).

CHAPTER IV

Analysis and Outline of the Book of Daniel

The writer gave much time to study of the Book of Daniel over a period of

several years without discerning the crucial importance of the structure of the

book to an accurate interpretation of it. I am now quite convinced that the

almost indispensable key to the book is the structure. This structure is at

once the most obvious and elusive feature of the book.

Although the book contains much history and is accurate in its historical

statements, an outline according to historical sequence of the events described

is out of the question. The oracles are not in chronological order. Even if

rearranged in chronological order, they would not admit of logical arrangement

or analysis in such position.

There are two possible outlines–one according to the languages used (and

I believe according to the argument of the book), another according to some

more mechanical features of the book, namely, the standpoint of the writer, the

character of the contents, and the agency of revelation. Though the author

held to the second for several years, he was led to part with it through

reading the writings of Carl August Auberlen (The Prophecies of Daniel and the

Revelations of St. John). He is now convinced that this treatment which

divides the book in two parts, at the end of chapter six, has bases that are

only obvious, not real–that it really obscures the marvelous development of

the thought of the prophecy. Because of the prevalence of this treatment,

however, I shall now present it and then present the one which in my own

opinion should replace it.

1. Outline According to the Standpoint of the Author, the Character of the

Contents, and the Agency of the Revelation.

(1)   The standpoint of the author.

In all of chapters one through six, and in verse one of chapter seven,

the writer of Daniel speaks in the third person. Not once therein does Daniel

refer to himself in the first person, even though he represents others as

referring to themselves in the first person (vide. 4:4,13,18, et al.). Even

when it appears that it might have been convenient to present himself in the

first person (e.g. 2:14,16; 4:8,19), he does not do so. Beginning with chapter

seven verse two, and throughout the remainder of the book, Daniel almost always

speaks in the first person (vide. 7:2,8,9,15; 8:1,3; 9:2,3,4; 10:2; 12:5). (An

exception is found in 10:1.) On this principle, the book divides at the end of

chapter six.

(2) The character of the contents.

The same first six chapters which are written in the third person with

reference to the author are quite uniformly historical in character. There are

predictions (chapter 2), but prediction is secondary and presented almost

incidentally to the narrative. On the other hand, chapters 7 through 12, all

written in the first person, are uniformly predictive. There are brief

historical statements, but these are subordinate to the predictive element, and

used chiefly for the dating of the oracles.

(2)   The agency of revelation

In the first six chapters the only1 agency of prophecy is the writer

himself, empowered, of course, by the Holy Spirit. No divine beings appear as

purveyors of divine revelation. But in the last six chapters the agency is

supernatural. The revelator appears to be the angel Gabriel throughout. In

chapter seven (v.16) he is introduced only as “one of them that stood by” and

he is a part of the vision itself. In chapter eight (v. 16) Gabriel is

introduced by name, not this time, apparently, as a part of the vision, and

from there on Gabriel is clearly the agent of revelation and the interpreter of

Daniel’s vision (cf. 9:21).

Thus, the outline, by this system, appears to be (1) Daniel’s historical

record, revealed by Daniel and written in the third person, chapters one to

six; (2) Daniel’s predictive record, written in the first person, and revealed

by Gabriel, chapters seven to twelve.

In spite of these striking facts, observe that the seeming symmetry of

the division into two portions of exactly six chapters each is only palpable,

not real. Each of the first six chapters is, indeed, a distinct portion, but

the last six chapters consist of only four distinct portion, viz., 7, 8, 9, and

10-13. Observe also that the three phenomena on which the divisions are based

do not concern the meaning of the passages involved at all. I think that these

phenomena are incidental, perhaps even accidental, not related to the argument

of the book.

As I think of the many commentators on Daniel whose works I have read, I

do not recall that one of them based any important aspect of his interpretation

on this widely accepted analysis. Evidently the advocates of this analysis do

not attach great importance to it. Its chief usefulness has been as a

convenient framework on which to hang the twelve chapters, that is, chiefly as

an aid to the memory. As such, I have no objection to it.

There is another phenomenon of the book, however, which cannot be

accidental, and which this writer thinks is not incidental. He believes it was

intended by the divine Author as the key to the interpretation. I refer to the

languages of the book.

2. Outline According to the Languages of the Book

Chapter one (and to verse 4 of chapter 2, where a change comes at a very

natural break) and chapters eight through twelve are written in Hebrew. Hebrew

was the language of Daniel’s people, the language in which the oracles of God

were made known to the covenant people, Israel. Chapters two through seven are

written in Aramaic. Aramaic was not at the time of Daniel the language of

Israel. We now know that it was then, had been for some time, and continued to

be for several centuries thspan style=”font-size:10.5pt;font-family:LuxiMono;color:windowtext;”e lingua franca of the ancient world. What koine

Greek was to the nations of earth during the Greek age, what Latin has been

among most of the nations of the Western world up to modern times, what French

is to international diplomacy now, Aramaic was to the Neo-Babylonian empire in

some respects and in almost every respect during the Persian period. It is not

only possible, but entirely probable, that Daniel’s book was not issued to the

reading public in the Babylonian era at all, but during the Persian era.

It will be seen, then, that chapter one and chapters eight to twelve are

in Hebrew, appropriate for a message concerning and addressed to the Hebrew

people. Chapters two to seven are in Aramaic, appropriate for a message

concerning Gentile people and kings, and though addressed to God’s people, is

instructive also for those same Gentile peoples and kings.

The most ingenious current higher critical explanation of the phenomenon

of the languages (originated by C. C. Torrey) is that chapters one to six are

earlier in composition than the last six chapters, and originally were written

in Aramaic; that later, about 165 B.C., another author wrote chapters seven to

twelve in the Hebrew language; that these two portions were issued to the

public by this second author as one work, and that the two parts were joined

and the joint covered by translating chapter seven into Aramaic and chapter one

into Hebrew. This, it is said, was to give the whole an appearance of unity.

The chief lack of this theory is one shred of evidence in its favor.

The explanation which I wish to offer is that the author of Daniel had

two related but distinct kinds of messages to deliver. One was a message of

judgment and final defeat to the Gentile world, of whom the chief

representatives of the time were Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.

The other was a message of hope and deliverance for God’s oppressed but

precious holy people, the Hebrews. The appropriate language for the first was

Aramaic, the appropriate language for the second was Hebrew.

The first section, then, is chapter one (and a very brief portion of

chapter 2) written in Hebrew. Chapter one is obviously an introduction to the

whole book explaining (1) the circumstances giving rise to the history of the

book, (2) the identity of the author and his associates, and (3) the events

which placed the author in the position he holds in the history of the book.

These facts, in themselves, are sufficient reason for making the chapter a

separate division of the book. It is separated from the portion immediately

following by the change in language. The use of the Hebrew language is

justified fully by the fact that the events told have no connection or meaning

with the future of Gentile history–rather with an heroic episode in Hebrew

history.

The second section, chapters two through seven, forms a distinct section

in subject matter. Every portion of the section primarily concerns a Gentile

nation per se and its rulers, relations, and history. Israel per se does not

once clearly enter the picture till the very last, and then in rather oblique

and enigmatic references (7:18,21,25,27). As might be expected, the entire

portion is in the common language of the Gentile nations of that area–Aramaic,

the koine of the Middle East till long after the conquests of Alexander and the

prevalence of his Greek.

The third section, chapters eight through twelve, which constitute the

final section of the book, is another distinct portion in subject matter. It

has primary reference to Israel’s future, a future which is intimately

connected with the destruction of all Gentile powers, and in conflict with

those powers to the end. This is appropriately in the Hebrews’ own language.

By this analysis Daniel falls in logical order as follows:

Title: “Daniel’s Prophecies Concerning the Nations of the World and the

Future of Israel in Relation to Them”

I. Historical Introduction to the Book (chapter 1)

II. The Nations of the World–their Character, Relation, Succession,

Destiny, etc. (chapters 2-7)

III. The Nation of Israel–its Relation to Gentile Dominion and its

Future in the Plan of God (chapters 8-12)

It should be added that several Premillenarians have taken cognizance of

this structure of the book without seeing also the distinctive features of it.

On reading Tregelles (Remarks on the Prophetic Visions in the Book of Daniel)

again, I observe that he has not only seen the Gentile and the Jewish sections

as such, but also traced some of their special significance (vide. pp.7-9).

My reasons, in summary, are chiefly (1) the languages of the book and (2)

the subject matter, which need no further explanation, and (3) the progress of

doctrine. This third reason I now wish to treat at somewhat more length.

Chapter two is clearly a Gentile dream for Gentiles. Nebuchadnezzar, the

king of Babylon was, in fact, the one to whom God gave the dream of the future.

It concerned the future of Gentile dominion and was presented as a Gentile king

would like to see it–glittering, strong, majestic, and quite human in its

outward aspect. Tregelles says (op.cit., p. 11): “Here all is presented as set

before the king according to his ability of apprehension—the external and

visible things being shown as man might regard them.” The consummation of

these kingdoms in a complete destruction and replacement by a divine kingdom

contains no single hint of any heroic or important role by God’s people Israel.

They do not once enter the scene. Chapter three, chapter four, and likewise

chapters five and six concern chiefly events in historical kingdoms of the

past. The treatment of certain Israelites is prominent but mainly as

revelation of the obdurate unbelief and spiritual ignorance of the Gentile

kings. These kings learn something of the rule of the Most High God in the

history of these chapters. Chapter five concerns the historical close of the

Babylonian dominion.

This same Gentile-centered thought prevails through chapter seven also,

except that near the end of this chapter, the end of the Gentile portion of

Daniel, a shading off which leaves Israel, Israel’s God, and Israel’s future in

the center of the scene of interest, takes place. Between verses 18 and 28 of

this chapter, a people known as “saints” or “the people of the saints of the

Most High,” appear no less than five times–chiefly in conflict with the final

representative of and consummate form of Gentile dominion. On any principle of

historical exegesis, these saints can be no other than God’s ancient people

Israel. No worthy exegete claims that Daniel could have had any other primary

understanding of the reference. In the opinion of this writer, it is simple

eisegesis, or reading into the passage what one wants it to mean, to find “the

church” or “the whole body of the redeemed” in this prophecy. That later

prophets may have elaborated prophecy so that some things here affirmed of

Israel (e.g., reigning with Christ) are likewise affirmed of other people of

God may well be true, but the simple fact remains that in Daniel, the saints

are Israelite.

Now, the significant thing is, that here at the end of the Aramaic

section, precisely where one might expect the most detailed description of the

consummation of Gentile dominion (as it is in the treatment of the fourth

beast, the ten horns, and the little horn), the future of Israel is first woven

into the story. From thence to the close of the book, Israel remains the

cynosure. The importance of this division to a careful Premillennial treatment

is as yet only partially apparent. That it gives proper place to the future of

God’s elect nation is the most obvious advantage.

Of even greater importance is the fact that certain differences in

prophetic method and divine chronological method are to be discerned prevailing

in the two sections. The progress of Gentile dominion is given in continuous

succession in chapters two and seven, the two predictive portions of the

Aramaic section. I mean to say that there are no breaks or gaps in the

prophecy hinted or suggested. And so long as it is seen that here God is

giving an Old Testament prophecy of the Gentile rulership of world government

down to, and including, the present age, the principles of the most strict

Premillennial and Dispensational interpretation of Scripture are not violated

and need not be brought to bear to insert a gap which the facts of the prophecy

do not show. On the other hand, in chapters eight to twelve, in which three

distinct oracles concerning Israel appear, there are at least two in which it

is clear that Israel’s prophetic future is not seen in complete perspective.

The beginning, in conflict with the nations but in covenant union with Jehovah,

is clearly seen. But an unlimited period of time when Israel’s history is run

out of covenant union with Jehovah is completely unrevealed. That there is

such a gap or blank is clear. The future of Israel during that blank is

entirely unknown. In due season these features will be developed in the

dissertation. For the present, let it be said only that they do exist.

And since they do exist, let it be added that only a Premillennial

theology can give any satisfactory explanation of the strange but natural

division of the book and these strange features of the divisions. It is

precisely at this point that the Premillennial theology first demonstrates its

superiority as a method of interpreting the Book of Daniel.

An Amillennialism which joins itself to the notion that all the promises

of the Old Testament to Israel as a nation are now transferred to the church,

and which supposes that God is now through with Israel as a nation, must face

the fact that Daniel does not regard the nation so. Indeed, having traced the

future of the nations of earth down to the coming of Christ in His kingdom, the

same Book of Daniel reveals the existence of Israel as a nation at the time of

the consummation of Gentile history and predicts a glorious future for Israel

as a nation in the kingdom of God which will be established at the coming of

Messiah in power and glory.

A Postmillennialism which in another day regarded the Bible as the Word

of God could not explain this future of Israel either, even though some

Postmillennialists (e.g., Hodge) did believe in a future conversion of the

nation. There is no place in Postmillennialism for an Israel restored to a

position of national favor (as set forth in Romans 11) nor for Christ ruling

over the world from the Jewish throne of the ancient dynasty of David. Recent

Postmillennialism is also usually modernistic, that is, infidel with reference

to the doctrines of the deity of Christ and the inspiration of Scripture, etc.,

so quite naturally has no satisfactory explanation for these prophecies which

is in harmony with the faith of the saints. But Premillennialism recognizes

the futurity of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom and expects the restoration of

Israel to national favor. Therefore a satisfactory explanation for the strange

division of the Book of Daniel and of these other features is possible.

Premillennialists believe that even though in salvation there is now no

difference between men with respect to the favor of God, with reference to the

future government of this world the situation is different. God is expected to

restore Israel to his land and to a position of national favor. The present

age is a hiatus or gap in Israel’s special relationship with God. Thus the

Premillennial interpretation has an explanation for the continuity of Gentile

development seen in the Aramaic, or Gentile section of Daniel, and for the

hiatus in Israel’s development as set forth in the Hebrew section.

It may be asked, Why, if there is no gap in the predictions of Gentile

dominion, is the whole present age passed over almost without a single

identifiable event–especially when this has been the age of the supremacy of

Gentile power?

The answer lies in the purpose of God and the method of God in

revelation.

The history of the Babylonian period is passed over quite as silently,

except for reference to Nebuchadnezzar as its king. In fact, except for the

mere notices of the rule passing from one to another of the succession of

kingdoms, there are few identifiable events in any of the prophecies. It is

only as the Gentile power comes into conflict with Israel and to termination in

the reign of Messiah that its detailed history appears to be of any interest to

the Spirit of prophecy.

Further discussion of this aspect of the prophecies of Daniel will be

given in connection with the prophecy of the great metallic image of chapter

two.

CHAPTER V

The Prophecy of the Great Metallic Image and of the Stone Which Struck It

DANIEL 2:28, 29, 31-45

The Aramaic portion of the Book of Daniel begins in the midst of verse

four of chapter two and extends to the end of chapter seven. So the verses now

before the reader are in the Aramaic language. The writer has prepared a

translation of the entire Aramaic section. Occasional references, with proper

notice, will be made to this translation. The principle quotations, however,

will be made from the American Standard Version. Where there is real advantage

in doing so, recourse to the original Aramaic will be made.

The Scope and Nature of the Prophecy

28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and he hath made

known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy

dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these: 29 as for

thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should

come to pass hereafter; and he that revealeth secrets hath made known to

thee what shall come to pass (Daniel 2:28,29, A.S.V.).

 

Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which he used to test the ability and

willingness1of his staff of wise men to interpret. When none of them could

either tell him what his dream was or reveal what it meant, opportunity was

finally given Daniel to tell and interpret the dream. This he did, the record

relates, by the power of God working on his behalf.

These two verses are among the opening words of the prophet in telling

the dream and interpreting it.

These verses are of importance to this study because of the fact that

they indicate what the nature and scope of the revelation to follow would be.

The first significant statement is that it was the purpose of God to make

“known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.” This

means that the scope of this dream-revelation of the future includes at least

some events within that period of time known as “the latter days,” and there is

at least a possibility that all will take place in that period.

The actual Aramaic expressions translated “in the latter days” is

 (be’achraith yomayya). A literal translation is “in the latter part of the

days,” though it is doubtful that the usual translation can be much improved.

About this phrase as used here there are several important observations to be

made.

First, this phrase is an exact Aramaic translation of the Hebrew

be’acharith hayyamim, and is an idea lifted en toto out of the general

prophetical literature of Israel. It is spoken by a Jew who was versed in that

literature. Hence, its meaning is to be determined by its usage in that

literature, not by its meaning in any other.

Second, “the latter days” cannot be restricted in meaning to the

understanding which the heathen king Nebuchadnezzar may have had of it. This

restriction some have tried to make, but the very phrase selected by Daniel was

one already pregnant with meaning for any informed Jew.

Third, “the latter days” in the prophetical literature of the Old

Testament refers to the future of God’s dealing with mankind as to be

consummated and concluded historically in the times of the Messiah. Some

commentators have sought to prove that the term refers to the future in general

(Havernick, et al), but without success. Whenever the scope of an Old

Testament prophecy is measured by these words, either in the Hebrew or Aramaic

sections, the times of Messiah are always within the scope of that prophecy.

The expression appears in the following passages, each one a predictive

prophecy: Genesis 49:1; Deuteronomy 4:30, 31:29; Numbers 24:14; Jeremiah 23:20,

30:24, 48:47, 49:39; Ezekiel 38:16; Daniel 2:28, 10:14; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1.

An examination shows that while many events previous to eschatological times

are within the scope of the prophecies limited by the expression “latter days”,

in not one is the conclusion of all human history in the consummating events

connected with the yet future establishment of the Messianic Kingdom on earth

out of sight. Otherwise, the events would be only in future time, not

necessarily in “the latter days.”

It is not true that Messianic times alone are denominated thus. Many

events of what is now Old Testament history are placed “in the latter days” (as

e.g., the tribal divisions of Israel in Canaan. Cf. Gen. 49:1 ff.), but the

reach is always beyond those times to Messiah’s times. And let it never be

forgotten that the Old Testament prophecies of Messiah always have in view the

consummation of things in what we now know as Messiah’s second advent. The

importance of this fact cannot be overemphasized in relation to the

interpretation of the second chapter of Daniel.

Fourth, this term in Greek translation is used by the New Testament

writers with the same meaning. Peter regarded the outpouring of the Holy

Spirit on Pentecost next after Jesus’ resurrection as an event of “the latter

days” (Acts 2:17-21. Cf. Joel 2:28 ff.). Again, in his second Epistle

(3:1-4), Peter prophesied of the coming of men who would in this present

church age scoff at Biblical eschatology. This, he said, using a very literal

Greek translation of the Hebrew words, would take place “in the last days.”

Fifth, interpretation of “the latter days” must allow it to include not

only the first advent and the second advent with the coming of Messiah’s future

kingdom, but also the age intervening between the advents in which we now live.

We are now, and have been since Jesus came, in the latter days (cf. passages

under fourth, above).

Sixth, and finally, the term, “the latter days,” is to be distinguished

from “the time of the end,” which is mentioned in Daniel. The ideas are

related but not identical, as will be seen later.

Now, there is no reason whatsoever for believing that Daniel was using

this technical term in any other than its usual meaning. So eschatological

prediction is to be expected in the prophecy of chapter two.

The second significant statement of Daniel in preparing the mind of the

king to receive the prophecy was that the contents of it would relate to “what

should come to pass hereafter.” The Aramaic is Mah di lechewe’ ‘achare denah.

More literally translated, it is “what things [thing] should be which are after

these things [this thing].”

The best explanation, that elaborated by Keil (op.cit., in loco), is that

the king had gone to sleep with the affairs of his kingdom on his mind. He

wondered, what any thoughtful king like the great Nebuchadnezzar might have

wondered, how his reign would end, and how his dynasty, founded by his father,

Nabopolassar, would fare. Nebuchadnezzar’s own affairs of state were “these

things” after which other “things” would take place and concerning which God

was to make revelation. Hence, a recital of the succession of rulers and

kingdoms to follow Nebuchadnezzar was to be expected.

To sum up, Daniel 2:28,29 leads us to expect, in the prophecy to follow,

a recital of the course of the nations from Nebuchadnezzar’s own time down to

the setting up of the final Messianic kingdom.

The Details of the Dream

31 Thou, O king, sawest, and, behold, a great image. This image, which

was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and

the aspect thereof was terrible. 32 As for this image, its head was of

fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of

brass, 35 its legs of iron, its feet part of iron and part of clay. 34

Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the

image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces.

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold,

broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer

threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was

found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great

mountain, and filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:31-35, A.S.V.).

These five verses are a recital of the actual dream of Nebuchadnezzar,

evidently shown by divine revelation to Daniel also. The objects seen

consisted of a great image of a man “mighty” in size, “bright” in color or

sheen, and “terrible” in aspect. Details of the image specifically mentioned

were the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of

brass (or copper), the legs of iron, the feet of iron and clay mixed. (No toes

are specifically mentioned at this point.) Also, a stone was seen–a stone cut

out from a mountain by no human hands; “the wind” is mentioned, and finally,

the earth.

The action involved in the dream was simple but very impressive. The

polymetallic image did nothing–it simply stood where set, shining and terrible

to behold–and the king look and continued to look at it. Then, quite

dramatically, the stone appeared. Some commentators speak of it as a rolling

stone, but it is not said to be such in the text. It is simply related that

the stone struck the image upon the feet. Upon this, the image collapsed,

disintegrated into fine particles like chaff, and then “the wind” (it is not

said what wind) removed the particles. The stone which struck the image then

expanded into a “great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

The Noneschatological Portion of the Interpretation

36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before

the king. 37 Thou, O king, art king of kings, unto whom the God of heaven

hath given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory; 38

and wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and

the birds of the heavens hath he given into thy hand, and hath made thee

to rule over them all: thou art the head of gold. 39 And after thee shall

arise another kingdom inferior to thee; and another third kingdom of

brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth

kingdom shall be strong as iron, forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and

subdueth all things; and as iron that crusheth all these, shall it break

in pieces and crush. 41 And where as thou sawest the feet and toes, part

of potters’ clay, and part of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but

there shall be in it of the strength of iron, forasmuch as thou sawest

the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were part

of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and

partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay,

they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not

cleave one to another, even as iron doth not mingle with clay (Daniel

2:36-43, A.S.V.).

The terms eschatology and eschatological have been used several times in

this dissertation, and now appears “non-eschatological.” The basic term

“eschatology” refers to the study or science of last things, that is, the last

events in connection with the current age. From the standpoint of the present

church age, all eschatological events are yet future. From the standpoint of

the Old Testament believer, all events connected with Messiah’s coming–whether

the first one or the second (as we now discern)–were eschatological. To us

the events of the first advent are historical and only those of the second are

eschatological. When I refer to non-eschatological portions, therefore, I

refer to portions relating to events previous to the second advent and previous

to other events associated with the close of this present age.

There are problems aplenty and disagreements many about the details of

interpretation in this portion. However, most of the differences of opinion

are between the interpretation of evangelical believing Christians and that of

the unbelieving, anti-supernatural, higher criticism. I am speaking

particularly of the contemporary situation, though, historically, the lines of

battle usually have been so arrayed.

Among Christian interpreters, as long as there has been any record of

opinion, the almost uniform identification of the four successive kingdoms has

been Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. 

The unbelieving higher criticism always has taken exception to this,

owing to the fact that if Rome is the fourth kingdom, then even by the latest

date any scholar has ever dared to propose for the composition of Daniel (ca.

165-164 B.C.), the book still contains valid, supernatural, predictive

prophecy.

This paper is addressed to men who believe that the Bible is the Word of

God, hence we shall not labor extensively to answer the arguments of unbelief.

As Tregelles has written, “To understand the Scriptures aright, we have no

occasion to go beyond the limit of the Scriptures themselves” (Remarks on the

Prophetic Visions in the Book of Daniel, pp. 11,12). The primary Biblical

evidence for the view that the four historical kingdoms are Babylon, Medo-

Persia, Greece, and Rome is herewith presented. It is clear and unmistakable,

notwithstanding the learned obscurantism of the unbelieving attempts to render

it inconsistent and incomprehensible.

The head of gold represented the king Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom.

“Thou art the head of gold” (Daniel 2:36) settles that matter. Verses 37 and

38 specify that Nebuchadnezzar’s was a world-wide kingdom–in divine grant–

even though this energetic king, during a long reign, never got to the point of

taking possession of all of it. It is also certain that the symbolism of the

head of gold included the kingdom of Babylon as well as Nebuchadnezzar its

king, for in verse 39 the expression, “another kingdom,” requires this, as well

as the well-known fact that all Assyro-Babylonian kings were considered

identical with the state. Further evidence that Babylon is symbolized is the

fact that in other prophecies gold symbolizes that kingdom (e.g. Isa. 14:4).

Also Jeremiah 27:5,6 specifies that world dominion was given to Nebuchadnezzar

at that time.

The breast and arms of silver symbolize Medo-Persia. It is the favorite

claim of unbelieving higher critics that Daniel’s author, presumed to have

lived in the second century B.C., had an entirely mistaken view of the history

of the Middle East and the Near East during the sixth to third centuries B.C.,

and ignorantly supposed that the Medes were a separate second kingdom which

supplanted Babylon (they cite Daniel 6:1), the Persians a separate third

kingdom which supplanted the Medes (they cite Daniel 10:1), the fourth and last

being the Greek. During the Greek prevalence, according to this theory, Daniel

was written, and hence the Roman could not have been foreseen. It is said that

the author expected the Messianic age to follow immediately after the Greek.

However, the facts of Daniel are plainly otherwise. A kingdom containing

two elements, known respectively as Medes and Persians, succeeded the

Babylonian kingdom. Darius the Mede took the kingdom from the last Babylonian

king (Daniel 5:30), but the Median king is said to represent the “Medes and

Persians” (Daniel 5:28) and he ruled his kingdom by “the law of the Medes and

Persians” (Daniel 6:26). Furthermore, Daniel 8:20 speaks of Media and Persia

as parts of one realm rather than two separate realms. Not only so, II

Chronicles 36:20 shows that the Bible writers thought Persia followed the

Babylonian kingdom without any intermediate Median kingdom. The Medo-Persian

kingdom was frequently called simply Persian because of the ascendancy of that

side of the coalition. The so-called Median kingdom has its fictional

existence not in the mind of the author of Daniel, but only in the minds of

those Biblical critics who for a priori reasons must find historical inaccuracy

in Daniel. History knows of no Median empire, and neither does the Bible.

The belly and thighs of copper symbolize the Graeco-Macedonian empire,

founded by Alexander and continued by his successors. Attempts to identify

this with Persia have failed–and the latest, by Rowley (Darius and the Four

World Empires in the Book of Daniel, University of Wales Press Board, Cardiff,

1935) is no less a failure than the others. Correspondence between the Medo-

Persian empires of chapter two, symbolized by the breast and arms of silver,

and the two-horned ram of chapter eight is unmistakable. That ram is

specifically said to be “Media and Persia,” and the he-goat kingdom of chapter

eight, which succeeded it, is said to be Greece. The Bible clearly identifies

the third kingdom as Greece.

The fourth kingdom is Rome. It is symbolized by the legs of iron with

the feet of iron mixed with clay. This cannot be proved by citing references

in the Bible which say that Rome succeeded to the empire of Greece, for there

are no such references. Rome probably did not exist in the sixth century B.C.

At least, no extensive kingdom of that name existed. However, there is

sufficient evidence that the Rome which history informs us followed the last

stage of the Grecian period is at least included in the fourth empire

envisioned in this prophecy. This evidence owes its existence to the fact that

this one empire, which had no existence at all in Daniel’s time, is given most

detailed treatment herein. This is surely a divine providence.

Observe that though parts, such as the legs, feet, and toes, are

mentioned in the interpretation, they together symbolize only one “fourth

kingdom.”

Every detail speaks unmistakably of Rome.2 

It is “strong as iron”–iron being the strongest known metal in Daniel’s

day. At its height, Rome stands in history as the strongest of all imperial

powers. The short sword of the Roman soldier and of the Roman mercenaries, was

then the symbol of the greatest power of all time.

Like iron, it “breaketh in pieces.” Iron was also the hardest known

metal in Daniel’s time, and could be used to cut copper, silver, or gold. And,

Rome not only could but did break up all the other conquered kingdoms and

erased the national and political character of the other kingdoms of the world.

Rome was unique in this respect. Babylonian institutions and culture, to a

great extent, conquered both the Medo-Persians and the Greeks. But when Rome

took over, the world became a Roman world–so Roman, in fact, that the

expanding Western world today still bears the plain mark of its Roman origin.

It is still markedly Roman in character.

Furthermore, of this iron kingdom it is said that it “subdueth all

things.” This also is characteristic of Rome. Gibbon wrote: “The empire of

the Romans filled the world, and when the empire fell into the hands of a

single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. To

resist was fatal and it was impossible to fly.” Two millennia ago, Rome gave

the world the ecumenical unity which the League of Nations and the United

Nations organizations have sought to revive in our time. The modern attempts

are not original at all (as many of our contemporaries suppose), but are

revivals of the ancient Roman ideal which never since the time of Augustus

Caesar has been wholly lost. It is probable that the Pax Romana (Roman peace),

the peace of a well-ordered prison with plenty of iron gates, steel doors,

trained guards, and high walls is the best the world will ever achieve till

Jesus comes.

Of great significance, also, is the fact that the iron of this kingdom is

in its later stages mixed with clay. This is interpreted to mean that “they

shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to

another, even as iron does not mingle with clay” (v. 43).

This interpretation, however, requires some interpretation. Who are

“they” who mingle themselves? The Aramaic word translated “they shall mingle

themselves” will furnish part of the answer. It is mitharbim, a reflexive

participle. Aramaic participles have gender and number, this one being

masculine plural. It appears to be so in agreement with the two masculine

singular nouns of the preceding clause–parzel (iron) and chasaph (clay).

Hence, the conclusion (the only possible one, I think) is that the participle

modifies the two nouns. So the best interpretation is that the “they” of our

English version refers to the iron and clay, and that the whole sentence means

that whatever the iron symbolizes in the fourth kingdom shall be thoroughly but

incohesively mixed with “the seed of men” (clay) in that kingdom. “The seed of

men” can hardly refer to anything other than mankind in general as opposed to

some king or dynasty within the kingdom.

Anyone who is acquainted with Roman history can hardly avoid the

conclusion that this refers to the influences of the masses which grew in the

Roman state. During the days of the Republic it was an orderly and lawful

influence. As the nature matured and grew more corrupt, it became something

close to mob rule. This was something that Daniel could hardly have named. It

could be described only if it was to have meaning. 

The Salient Principles of Interpreting History

of the Nations to Be Seen in the Great Dream Image

Before moving on to the last, the eschatological portion of the dreamimage

and its interpretation, some attention must be given to some general

conclusions and principles which seem to prevail in proper interpretation of

the whole. We may expect that conclusions regarding earlier portions will hold

for the later portions, and thus some light from that which is now history will

shine on what is partial fulfillment and yet future fulfillment of predictive

prophecy in the final stage of the dream. The writer discerns four principles

which prevail.

(1) A continuous succession of world dominions down to the coming of

Messiah’s kingdom

As previously noted, the prophecy covers the “latter days,” inclusive of

all time from Daniel’s own down to the consummation. Verse 44 speaks of the

“kings,” obviously in the sense of the realms they ruled, as being destroyed at

the end. If this refers to the four, then in some sense the four kingdoms

endure to the consummation. There is no hint of any gap or hiatus in the

picture. And if Jesus’ reference to the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24)

is to the same period and aspect of history as this prophecy (and it can hardly

be doubted), then no other kingdom than these four is to be expected before the

final kingdom of Christ.

Now, this writer recognizes that in some prophecies of the future of a

people, an unseen gap or hiatus does sometimes interrupt the continuity. He is

convinced, however, that this occurs only in the case of the prophecies of

Israel, and that in relation to a period when that people is out of national

favor with God. The writer does not refer to that “lack of perspective”

present in prophecies where continuity is not a subject of revelation. He

insists that continuity is a part of the subject of revelation here–that the

continuity of Gentile world dominion down to the end of it in the establishment

of an Israelitish dominion under King Messiah is predicted.

That the Roman power shall assert itself in a more active way at the end,

and that the old headquarters at Rome may even be restored, may very well be.

But, from the standpoint of this prophecy, that will not be a resurrection of

something now dead but rather a strengthening of something which even now

lives. Many of the most honored names of Premillennial scholarship are of men

who shared this view, among them Tregelles, Seiss, and Ironside.3

Observe that this truth is supported by the division of Daniel advocated

in this paper. A gap that pertains primarily to a period of time when Israel

is out of divine favor would be totally out of gear in a prophecy relating to a

period when Gentiles enjoy the divine favor of world dominion and of which the

subject is Gentile succession.

The force of these facts will grow on the reader as the argument

proceeds. 

(2) A progressive division of sovereignty, reaching a climax in the ten toed

stage of the image prophecy

This is to be seen not only in the symbolism of the image, but also in

the events and movements of which it is a prediction. The details of the image

reveal progressive multiplication of the significant parts. There is, first,

one head symbolizing one absolute ruling element. There is, next, a division

into two arms and two breasts–reflected historically in the coalition of Medes

and Persians in the empire of Cyrus. The belly and thighs reveal more

plurality in the Aramaic original than in the English translation, for miohi,

belly, is a plural word, possibly better translated, bowels. In the Grecian

kingdom there was further division of sovereignty–traditionally considered to

be fourfold. In the Roman stage, symbolized the legs, feet, and toes, there

is, first a twofold and then a tenfold division, that is, two legs, two feet,

then ten toes. Taking the key of progressive division of sovereignty within

the world-kingdom, this must refer to the twofold division of the Roman empire

which prevailed after the division into East, with capital at Byzantium, and

West, with capital at Rome. Further, there is the manifold division into ten4

indicated by the toes. This might be thought to refer to the present divided

state of the Old Roman Empire, but it seems more likely to refer to some

situation at the end of Gentile dominion.

(3) A progressive deterioration in the character of the authority of the

ruler

A deterioration is indicated by four things in the image and

interpretation–at least one of them of unquestionable divine intention. They

are, first, deterioration in the worth of the metals: gold, silver, copper,

iron (and clay); second, deterioration in position from the head to base of the

image; third, a divinely certified indication of growing deterioration in the

words of verse 39, “and after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to

thee.” A fourth is suggested by Tregelles from the fact that the specific

gravity (or mass per unit of volume) decreases from head to foot. His words

are: 

It may be worthy of observation that the metals in the image lessen in

their specific gravity as they go downwards: iron is not so heavy as brass,

and thus their weight is so arranged as to exhibit the reverse of stability,

4 I derive “ten” as the number of toes on the image. There is not absolute proof that

“those kings” of verse 44 refers to ten toes, but it seems likely. Mr. Young (The

Prophecy of Daniel) objects that “this view must be rejected as exegetically untenable.

It makes too much of the symbolism” (p. 78). However, Mr. Young does not think it making

too much of the symbolism to arbitrarily introduce “the true Israel of God, the church,”

for which there is no exegetical basis whatsoever in this chapter. There is real

evidence for the ten kings, but certainly none at all for Dr. Young’s church.

even before we reach the mixture of clay and iron (op.cit., 15).

These four phenomena I take to be indicative of the importance of this

aspect of the prophecy, even granted that some of them may be accidental.

One may well wonder just what elements in Gentile history were to grow

progressively inferior. Extent of territory could not be meant, for each of

the four kingdoms grew progressively larger in area. And if the view advocated

herein (see later exposition) is correct, it continues to grow. Neither is the

deterioration with respect to strength, for that also grew with each kingdom.

Several considerations lead to the conclusion that it is the character or

quality of the authority in rulership that is intended.

In the first place, the deterioration of the metals is primarily in

quality or value. This would be matched by quality of value in the kind of the

ruler’s authority.

In the second place, the Bible elsewhere describes the kind of rulership

exercised by Nebuchadnezzar as something unique, not likely to appear again in

the non-Babylonian successors to the world rulership. The words follow:

I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the

ground, by my power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto

whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into

the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of

the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall

serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his

land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves

of him. And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which

will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and will not

put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I

punish, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 27:5-8).

In the same vein are the words of Daniel to Belshazzar:

The Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father the kingdom, and

greatness, and glory and majesty: and because of the greatness that he

gave him, all the peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared

before him: whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; and

whom he would he raised up, and whom he would he put down (Daniel

5:18,19, A.S.V.).

In the third place, the very language of Daniel 2:39 indicates a

deterioration in relation to the position or authority of the king. The

kingdom of silver was to be “another kingdom inferior to thee.” It was not to

be a kingdom inferior to his kingdom. That it was not, for Persia outreached

Babylon by far. But in the character of the sovereignty of its rulers, Persia

was inferior to Nebuchadnezzar–and so also with the remaining two kingdoms.

A resumé of the history of world dominion from Nebuchadnezzar onward will

present to the reader’s mind precisely what is involved in deterioration of

character of authority and also support the conclusion that such is the kind of

deterioration involved in the imagery.

Nebuchadnezzar ruled by divine right as an absolute monarch. The Medo-

Persian kings who succeeded the Babylonians were not above the law as

Nebuchadnezzar was, but were subject to the laws of their own realm–bound by

the legal entanglement of their own decrees (cf. Daniel 6:14,15). Alexander

and his Greek successors ruled by no dynastic or royal right at all, but solely

by virtue of great personal gifts and powers which enabled them to organize and

control great armies. The Roman emperors, and even the early kings who reigned

before the republican and imperial periods, ruled largely by the will and

choice of the populace. Republicanism, which followed the monarchial period,

soon degenerated into something like mob rule, especially after it merged into

the imperial period. Some of the greatest emperors were affected by the

passing opinions of the Roman mobs. In our own times, which if they appear in

the prophecy must be in the fourth period, government in the West has tended to

become nearer to the dead level of socialism, and even “the dictatorship of the

proletariat.” Our American republic (ofttimes miscalled democracy) is based on

the supposition that sovereignty rests in the people–that government is only

by the consent of the governed. As Lincoln so eloquently put it, it is

“government of the people, for the people, and by the people.” Tregelles

discerns the deterioration in the character of the authority of the rulers, but

does not clearly distinguish it from the division of sovereignty in Rome

(op.cit., pp. 14-18).

(4) A progressive improvement in the hardness of the metals and in their

Strength

The one seeming exception is the clay, which, though in a vitrified form,

is harder than iron, but is not very strong. However, this element is

introduced as an extraneous element in an otherwise unbroken progress in

strength. This is reflected in the increasing strength and prevalence of each

of the kingdoms. I take it that while the clay represents the ultimate in

debasement of the character of sovereignty, it does not represent the ultimate

in the strength of the kingdoms.

The Eschatological Portion of the Interpretation

Now comes the dénouement. The last, or eschatological portion of the

prophecy is reached. When the final, that is, the Roman, age of Gentile

history is prevailing, when a climax of division of sovereignty has been

reached, presumably many nations being organized into some kind of a loose

union in which all men give their authority to a ruler or head of some kind,

when Gentile power is at its height of strength (though dangerously brittle by

reason of a low grade of sovereignty, then the end comes.

44 And in the days of those 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, and it shall stand forever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest

that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake

in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the

great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter:

and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Daniel

2:44,45, A.S.V.).

It is in this section of the oracle that the Premillennial system of

eschatology makes its initial challenge and shows its superiority.

All students, whether believing or unbelieving, recognize this as

prophecy of the founding of the Messianic kingdom. Believing students in

recent times have been divided in interpretation between the Premillennialists,

who see the fulfillment in the final establishment of the kingdom of Christ at

his second coming, and Amillennialists and Postmillennialists who see the

fulfillment in the first advent and the events of the present age. The chief

differences between the Amillenarians and Postmillenarians being that the

Amillenarians place more emphasis on the place of Christ’s judgment on the

nations at the end of this age.

Thomson pretty well sums up the view of our Postmillennial opponents when

he writes: “Whenever the setting up of this Messianic kingdom is placed,

whenever it is held as occurring, it is certain it fits most naturally the

Christian Church” (Pulpit Commentary, Daniel, p. 73).

Leupold makes the Amillennial position quite plain when he says of the

kingdom of the stone:

It shall, in fact, be a force that will be operative in the overthrow

of all the kingdoms that the world produces–“All these kingdoms,” for it

“shall crush and bring to an end.” The kingdom of God does that in part by

the overthrow of the ancient and entrenched wrongs that are characteristic of

all the world powers. Note how feudal systems, slavery, and caste systems–

institutions of the world powers–yield before the Spirit of Christ in His

Church. To some extent this overthrow is still future, for the final victory

of the church coincides with the day of judgment. Then Christ and his saints

shall judge and overthrow whatever of sin or wrong still remains. In this

overthrow there must be included also the gentle victory of the gospel, which

makes its gracious influence felt and conquers, but not with violence and

bloodshed. Though thus engaged in continually overthrowing what the world

constructs, such effort shall not wear out God’s kingdom: “but it shall stand

forever” (Expositions of Daniel, pp. 125,126).

The discerning reader will readily observe that both of these systems

(Postmillennialism and Amillennialism) rest on a theory of church-kingdom

identity–that the kingdom of God and the church are precisely identical. This

is a position which cannot be sustained by Scripture, despite valiant attempts

to make the Bible support it. This subject has been treated in the first

section of this dissertation, and the views of Amillennialism and

Postmillennialism will not be refuted at this juncture, except to observe some

inconsistencies which would seem to be introduced into the Scripture if their

theories were to be adopted.

If, as it is contended, the smiting of the image by the stone, and the

subsequent actions predict the establishment and growth of the Christian Church

in the present age, observe what inconsistencies and objections follow.

(1) The church, which clearly is not a political establishment, is made

to be a political establishment just as were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Macedonia,

and Rome. Even in its outward organization, the church’s members are to be

subject to “the powers that be” and to “render unto Cæsar.” To adopt the

church-kingdom theory in interpreting this passage, one ought rightly to adopt

the Roman Catholic religion, which claims that the church is a political

establishment.

(2) It substitutes a quiet imperceptible growth of the church in gradual

conquering of the fourth kingdom for a violent, catastrophic sudden

destruction of the kingdom of the Gentiles. Some of our opponents speak

occasionally of the stone as a rolling stone, and suppose a progressive

destruction of the image. Others speak of quiet growth of the stone in

replacing the kingdom of the image. But in the Scripture (and let all

interpreters stick by it) the stone smites the image with a single, violent,

catastrophic blow; forceful winds remove the fragments, and the stone then,

after the removal of the Gentile kingdoms, becomes a great mountain and fills

the whole earth. If it is possible for words to describe violence, these are

they!

(3) It postulates that the church either has overcome the Gentile

kingdoms or will yet do so, when, as a matter of fact, it never has done so,

and, according to the Bible, never will. Postmillennialists may consistently

claim to believe that the church will yet conquer the world. But

Amillennialists who share with Premillennialists the view that good and bad

will grow together throughout this age, and even with them (though on the basis

of some different Scripture passages) expect great apostasy at the close of the

present age.

 

(4) The view that the smiting act is the spread of the gospel is utterly

out of harmony with what is known of the Christian ethics of the New

Testament. Christians are not to supersede the authority of those that rule,

but are to be subject to them. Their place is to suffer, if necessary, at the

hand of rulers rather than to destroy and replace them.

Recent history, with the downward trend of human events, has all but

destroyed Postmillennialism, leaving only Amillennialism to challenge the

Premillennial view seriously.

Dr. Seiss, who wrote in a day when Postmillennialism was a serious

challenge, has well summarized the arguments against that view to be found in

this passage (vide Voices From Babylon, 84-86). Auberlen also has shown the

failure of Postmillennialism to interpret this passage on account of its wrong

view of the present age (op.cit., 216-233).

Amillennialism, on the other hand, except for the church-kingdom theory

adopted by many of its advocates, is less out of harmony with the Scriptures at

this point and hence the present writer’s duty is less with respect to its

refutation.

I add only that Young’s argument that the teaching in verse 44 (that the

kingdom is eternal excludes the doctrine of a one-thousand-year kingdom) has no

weight at all against the view of the millennium adopted herein. The view of

this writer is that the millennium is only an initial stage of an everlasting

kingdom (vide Appendix I).

The Premillennial view alone permits a natural interpretation of this

chapter. There is to be no Messianic kingdom established on earth until the

governments of Gentile nations have run their course. When the kingdom comes,

it will be entirely of divine establishment, without human agency; it shall

replace the Gentile political establishment with a divine political

establishment, and shall stand forever.

Any other system of eschatology must spiritualize the passage or else

ignore the plain facts of it.

CHAPTER VI

The Prophecy of the Four Great Beasts and of the Ancient of Days

DANIEL 7:2-27

As in the case of chapter two, portions of this chapter and questions not

related intimately to eschatology will not receive any extended treatment. We

may rejoice that in general all schools of believing opinion agree on the large

part of the chapter. It is only where variant views of the rôle of the church

in the present age and eschatology enter that the disagreement comes. And it

is just at this point that the premillennial eschatology again shows its

superiority.

It is generally agreed that chapter seven relates to the same subject and

scheme of prophecy as chapter two (exceptions are Hitzig and Bonnar1). The

correspondences are too close to be missed or explained away. The differences

between the dream prophecy of chapter two and the vision prophecy of chapter

seven are chiefly as follows: (1) The dream was not seen originally by a man of

God but by a heathen monarch, hence it was something that would appeal to such

a man and which might be readily explicable to his intellect. The vision was

seen by a holy man of God, and hence in terms more readily explicable to his

intellect. (2) The first presented the history of nations in their outward

aspect–majestic, splendid; the second in their inward spiritual aspect–as

ravening wild beasts. This might be elaborated to say that the first is a view

of the history of nations as man sees them, the second as God sees them.

Since the same general subject is treated in this vision as in the dream

of chapter two, it is natural that the same general principles present in that

prophecy should follow here–the same series of powers, the same continuity of

rule, degeneration in character of authority, division of sovereignty, and

increasing strength of the kingdoms.

However, it is not to be expected that this will be mere repetition of

the prophecy of chapter two under different figures. We might expect some

elaboration and enlargement of details. And, this is just what does take place

in chapter seven. The fourth (Roman) kingdom which in chapter two is given no

more particular treatment than the first three is here picked out for special

treatment. Furthermore, the final Antichrist who does not appear at all in

chapter two is here introduced (as a “little horn”) and identified as the final

king of the fourth kingdom.

Since, as has been pointed out, chapters two to seven relate particularly

to Gentile affairs, but chapters eight to twelve to Israel’s future, it might

be expected that there would be some sign of a transition to that subject in

the last portion of this oracle. This is precisely what does happen. A

shading off which leaves Israel, Israel’s God, and Israel’s future in the

center of the scene of interest takes place. Israel is seen at war with

Antichrist in the closing verses of this prophecy and the prophecy closes with

Israel in possession of the long promised kingdom.

I shall not burden the reader with the inclusion of a particular

commentary on the main details of the vision of Daniel. The chapter should be

clearly in the reader’s mind, however, if he is to appreciate the difficulties

and understand the arguments.

Postmillennialists see the succession of Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece,

and Rome in the four beasts which appear on the scene. They also see the

Messianic Kingdom in the coming of the kingdom of one like the Son of man. The

“little horn,” who blasphemes and makes war on the saints of the Most High, is

conceived to be the Pope or the Papal system, and the saints are conceived to

be the church of the present age. The ten kings (symbolized by the ten horns)

are usually taken to be either ten successive emperors of Rome or ten

contemporaneous kings ruling in various parts of the Roman empire, Different

postmillenarians interpret the ten horns differently, but all agree that they

are historical kings now long dead. The victory of the kingdom of Messiah is

conceived to be gradually accomplished within the present age, but to be

consummated at the second coming of Christ.

Amillennialists (I am citing the views of Young) see the same succession

of four kingdoms in the four beasts. However, the beast with his ten horns,

and finally with a little horn, is said to represent three stages of the Roman

kingdom: The first stage, indicated by the beast itself, lasts till the

destruction of the Roman empire, say about the middle of the fifth century; the

ten horns represent merely that a number of kingdoms will succeed to the Roman

kingdom and shall rule; the little horn represents a final Gentile king who

shall be destroyed by the Lord at His second coming. The “saints” of the

vision are the church of the New Testament, who will suffer special persecution

near the close of this age.

The strict Premillennial interpretation, advocated by this writer, holds

that the four beasts are the same four kingdoms set forth by the orthodox

Postmillennialists and Amillennialists. In this the major believing schools of

thought agree. But thereafter the agreement disappears. We hold that the

horns represent Roman kings, that those kings are contemporaneous within the

Roman period, that they are not yet known but are the same as those symbolized

by the ten horns on the first beast of Revelation 13:1 ff. We hold the

identity to be practically demonstrated by the obvious similarity of the

visions and the principle of progressive revelation of divine truth. It is

hardly likely that two such similar figures would symbolize different things.

Of these ten, John specifically says (Rev. 17:12), “And the ten horns that thou

sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet; but they receive

authority as kings with the beast, for one hour.” This, I think, settles the

fact of their contemporaneousness. Furthermore, the connection of Revelation

17, even apart from a futuristic interpretation of Revelation in general–the

connection, I say, with obviously eschatological events, settles the futurity

of these ten kings and places them in an eschatological context.

The “little horn” we hold (in common with most commentators) to be the

Antichrist. Antichrist I hold to be a person who will arise in the end of this

age, who will gain mastery over the whole world for a brief period, and will be

destroyed by the Lord at His second coming (II Thes. 2:1-9; Rev. 13:1-10).

The “saints” I hold to be no different from “the people of the saints” in

the passage before us (see below). They are the Israelites of the end time who

will at last inherit the kingdom of David with Christ Himself reigning as their

king.

Finally, the kingdom of the Most High, said to be “an everlasting

kingdom,” is none other than the Kingdom of Christ, of which the first stage is

the Millennium, elsewhere treated in this dissertation.

That the Premillennial interpretation alone is a satisfactory explanation

is demonstrated by the following:

(1) The facts of the prophecy demand that the kingdom of Messiah follow

the kingdom of the Gentiles–that its very establishment awaits the

destruction of those kingdoms, being at no point of its history

contemporaneous with those kingdoms.

The kingdom of Christ is not represented as being established till after

the final beast of the series “was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was

given to be burned with fire.” This is in complete harmony with the prophecy

of chapter two. There the kingdom of the stone does not gradually grow up

during the final stage of the image’s prophetic history, but the stone kingdom

comes with force, destroying violently the image. After the destruction of the

image, after its very dust has been blown away, the stone becomes a great

mountain and fills the whole earth.

This is the basic fact that Amillennialists and Postmillennialists must

face. This fact alone discredits both systems of interpretation. It simply is

not possible to have an earthly kingdom of Messiah present during the Roman

period of Gentile history and harmonize it with the facts of these two

prophecies.

Related to this is another:

(2) The kingdom of the Most High succeeds a final form of the Roman

kingdom, a form in which that kingdom has not to the present moment appeared.

The Roman kingdom is symbolized by a diverse beast which, in addition to

other less significant features, had on its head ten horns. These ten horns

are “ten kings” (v. 24). Among these ten horns another “little horn” arises.

That he arises while the ten are still prevalent is required by the fact that

this little horn uproots three of them (vs. 8, 24). He arises later than the

ten, and in this sense is “after them” (v. 24), but while they still prevail as

kingdoms.

Furthermore, if three of these were plucked up by one on his arising, it

is obvious that the horns are intended to represent contemporaneous, not

successive, kingdoms.

This same final stage of tenfold division is symbolized also in the

prophecy of chapter two. True, it is latent there, not specific, but it is

there nevertheless. In the first description of the image, no further division

of details is made after the mention of the feet (2:33). But in the

interpretation it is further specified that “thou sawest the feet and toes”

(2.41). It sounds to me slightly like sophistical reasoning to hear it said

that no mention is made of ten toes (Young). Anyone who ever counted the toes

of a normal man would know that if this image of man had toes there would be

ten of them. That the toes were to symbolize kings is the evident meaning of

verse 44a. I present the portion to make this clear.

42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so

the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas

thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves

with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as

iron doth not mingle with clay. 44 And in the days of those kings shall

the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed…

(Daniel 2:42-44, A.S.V.)

To argue with the Amillennialists that “those kings” of verse 44 are the four

successive kingdoms is out of harmony with the facts of the symbols and their

interpretation. In only one case, the head of gold, are the king

(Nebuchadnezzar) and the kingdom equated. Furthermore, the connection of the

“toes” in verse 42 and of the “kings” in verse 44 is too close to allow any

conclusion except that the toes do represent the kings destroyed by the coming

Christ. 

Now to the present moment, the Roman kingdom has not assumed this form.

Grant even that the number ten is intended only to represent a large but

indefinite division of the empire (which may possibly be true), and the fact

remains that the “little horn,” whom many Amillennialists as well as the

majority of Premillennialists recognize to be the final Antichrist, has not yet

appeared among them and uprooted three. Until he does, the kingdom of Messiah

is in a definite and unique sense a future thing.

Related to this fact is still another:

(3) The kingdom of Messiah clearly follows the appearance of Antichrist

and his destruction, which events are still in the future, as explained by the

New Testament.

Auberlen says: “Here for the first time in the development of revelation,

the idea of Antichrist is clearly unfolded, because here for the first time the

entire course of the development of the godless and God-opposing world is

clearly surveyed down to its end” (op.cit., 39). Observe further that in this

first clear unfolding of the doctrine of Antichrist, his personal existence is

at least suggested by his description (eyes of a man, mouth speaking great

things, etc.) and by his actions (making war with the saints).

Nearly all Postmillennialists, Amillennialists, and Premillennialists

unite in affirming that the Man of Sin of Paul and the Antichrist and first

Beast of John are the same as this “little horn” of Daniel seven.

Innumerable reasons can be advanced for rejecting the prevalent view of

Postmillennialists that the Pope or the Papal system is Antichrist. However,

there is one grand reason which makes all the others unnecessary. That reason

is that Paul makes it clear in the second chapter of II Thessalonians that the

appearance of the Antichrist is an eschatological event to take place only at

the end of this present age. As we have shown elsewhere in this paper, his

coming is associated with certain events which at the present moment are still

future. (Please refer to the discussion of Antichrist in the first section of

this dissertation.)

But now we call on our Amillennialist friends to look, and to look

steadily for a moment, at the fact that the kingdom of Messiah which they

contend was established at the beginning of the present age is in this chapter

specifically predicted to appear after the appearance and destruction of

Antichrist, and only after the appearance and destruction of Antichrist.

In the next place:

(4) The kingdom established by Messiah at His coming is a kingdom of

power and glory, not one of suffering and cross-bearing.

This is evident in both chapters two and seven. The language is

applicable only to an all-prevailing, irresistible, glorious, civil as well as

religion kingdom. This utterly does away with the Postmillennial view. It

also militates against the Amillennial view, for though they do allow that in

final manifestation the kingdom will be thus, they postulate a present earthly

kingdom of Christ under the same figure when the figure will not allow it.

They are placed in the unenviable position of trying to have their logical cake

and eat it too. Their church kingdom they try to relate to the “saints” in the

passage, but the saints are clearly not the kingdom here, but the ones who

after a period of suffering receive a kingdom. So even granting (which I do

not) that the saints herein are the New Testament church (Young, Keil,

Leupold), their theory will not fit.

Finally,

(5) The Kingdom of the Most High is Jewish in some definite sense, just

as our Premillennial doctrine affirms of the coming kingdom of Messiah.

In verse 14 it is affirmed that “one like unto a son of man” is to

receive the world dominion, and that this is the final everlasting dominion.

Commentators, almost with one voice, agree that this is Christ possessing His

kingdom. But let it be remembered that Christ or Messiah is a Jewish

conception and the very name specifies His office as Jewish king.

In the verses following 14 it is four times affirmed that the “saints”

shall possess the kingdom, presumably Messiah’s kingdom. The identity of these

“saints” or holy people is the important question. In my opinion Auberlen was

precisely correct when he wrote:

By the “people of the saints of the Most High,” to whom dominion is

then to be given (Dan. 7:18-27), Daniel evidently could only understand the

people of Israel, as distinguished from the heathen nations and kingdoms,

which were to rule up till then (2:44); nor have we, according to strict

exegesis, a right to apply the expression to any other nations; hence we

cannot apply it immediately to the church….The prophet’s words refer to

the re-establishment of the kingdom to Israel, concerning which the disciples

asked our Saviour immediately before His ascension: and our Lord, though

refusing to reveal to them the date or chronology, did in no way negative the

subject matter of their question, and thereby confirmed it (Acts 20:6,7)

(op.cit., 216,217).

This matter is crucial for the Premillennial view, and needs full

examination.

The fact that the church of the New Testament is to be joined with Christ

in the rulership, as set forth in Revelation 20, is irrelevant to the question.

That is a New Testament revelation. The question is, Does this chapter affirm

that Israel, the covenant nation, shall have a place in that kingdom, and in a

real sense possess it? If so, then, a national restoration is in the plan of

God for that nation.

There are five refrerences to this group (v. 18): “the saints of the Most

High,” qaddishe elyonin, the same expression is used in verses 22 and 25. In

verse 22 they are also simply called “saints,” qaddishim, and in verse 27, “The

people of the saints of the Most High” am qaddishe elyonin.

To one versed in the Old Testament Scriptures, these can be understood in

only one fashion–of the covenant nation Israel. Consider the evidence. The

Hebrew adjective equivalent to the Aramaic qaddish, saint, is qadosh. In

Exodus 19:6 it is used of Israel and of Israel only in her peculiar relation to

God as His covenant people. In Leviticus 20:7,26 it is used in the same sense

as also in Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2,21. The Hebrew noun qodesh is also equivalent

to this Aramaic word, and is used of Israel and of Israel only in this special

sense of describing a people peculiar to God. This use appears many times.

However, one need look no farther than the Book of Daniel itself to find

who the “saints” or “holy people” are. Chapter eight may contain

eschatological material, viewed in a typical fashion, but most interpreters of

every school of eschatology unite in regarding it as primarily a prophecy of

the conflict of the Jewish people with the Greek kingdom of history, especially

as it developed between the Jews and Antiochus Epiphanes. Now, in verse 24 the

Jewish people are called by this name: am qedoshim, in the English versions

translated, “the holy people” but in the Hebrew literally (cf. A.S.V. margin)

“the people of the saints.” This is as near a linguistical equivalent of the

name given the people of Daniel 7:27, “the people of the saints of the Most

High,” as is possible. Even Dr. Keil, Dr. Leupold, and Dr. Young, whom I

regard as the leading advocates of the Amillennial approach to Daniel, think

that this expression refers to the Israelites in chapter eight. Why not, then,

the same in chapter seven? There is only one answer. It does not harmonize

with the exigencies of their eschatological system.

Again, Daniel 12:7 mentions the “holy people” (am quodesh). There also,

as in chapter seven, they suffer for three and one-half times (or years). The

correspondence with the suffering of the saints of chapter seven for the same

period of time (7:25) is unmistakable. Neither can it be seriously questioned

that this refers to the same tribulation of Israel prophesied in 12:1. There

these folk are called “the children of thy [Daniel’s] people,” and “thy

[Daniel’s] people.”

Dr. Keil, for all his learning and unquestionable piety, is certainly in

error when he writes:

The circumstance that in Daniel’s time the Israel according to the

flesh constituted the “holy people,” does not necessitate our understanding

this people when the people of God are spoken of in the time of the end,

since then the faithful from among all nations shall be the holy people of

God (Commentary on Daniel, 491).

The whole point is that Daniel was ref/spanerring to his own people when he

used these terms, and whatever the New Testament may add does not contradict

this simple fact.

Dr. Delitzsch, the famous collaborator with Keil on the Keil and

Delitzsch commentaries, regarded it “as an essential progress in prophetic

theology…that the following three ideas are recognized in their intimate

connection:–1. Israel in prophecy is not merely a type of the church; 2. that

Israel has yet a future; and 3. that before the last judgment there shall be a

time of a glorious kingdom of God” (Auberlen, op.cit., 219). With these words

of Dr. Delitzsch, all Premillennialists will heartily agree.

These facts demonstrate sufficiently that Premillennialism, and only

Premillennialism, gives a satisfactory explanation of “the Prophecy of the Four

Beasts and of the Ancient of Days.”

CHAPTER VII

The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks

DANIEL 9:24-27

The difficulty of the verses which now lie before us is evident to anyone

who has even attempted a cursory examination of them. As they stand in the

Authorized Version, they are more than enigmatical. Pick up almost any two

commentaries from the same school of eschatology, and it is not likely that

there will be agreement on the meaning of all the details of interpretation.

Premillennial writers of two or three generations ago were very far apart on

the details. Much of the same diversity appears in Premillennial contemporary

writers.

For example, take only what is usually called the terminus a quo of the

prophecy. Tregelles thinks it was the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the Persian

king, 454 or 455 B.C. (Remarks, 99), and that it is the decree of Artaxerxes

recorded in the second chapter of Nehemiah. Anderson advocated the same decree

but set the date at 445 B.C. West, quite to the contrary, adopted the view

that it was the decree of Cyrus recorded in the first chapter of Ezra and dated

it tentatively at 536 B.C. (Thousand Years in Both Testaments, 129). Auberlen

adopted still another, the seventh year of Artaxerxes, and advocated the

seventh chapter of Ezra as the description of it. The same diversity of

opinion prevails among Premillennial as well as other writers.

These difficulties manifest in the diversity of opinion among devout and

learned men have not, however, prevented general agreement on the main

significance of the prophecy. Interpreters of all schools have conceded,

“notwithstanding all minor differences as to the details of this prophecy, that

the central meaning of the seventy weeks was to be sought in the life of

Christ; and the diversities in the interpretation of details may all be reduced

to those that flow from three sources, a difference in the starting point, a

difference in the chronology of the life of Jesus, a difference in the

chronological methods selected by the various commentators as a basis”

(Havernick, quoted by Auberlen, op.cit., 92). Thus belief (with rare

exceptions like Stuart in America and Hofmann in Germany) always has presented

a united front against unbelief which would attempt to find the fulfillment of

the prophecy in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. I caution the reader,

however, not to construe these foregoing remarks to mean that this writer feels

that the terminus ad quem of the full seventy weeks is to be found in any event

near the earthly lifetime of our Lord, for such is not my opinion.

I mean to say only that the 490 years of the prophecy run at least to the

lifetime of Jesus, in which case the prophecy puts to rout the unbelieving

higher criticism which sees nothing of minute prediction in the book beyond the

time of Antiochus Epiphanes.

In full harmony with the division of the Book of Daniel into a Gentileslanted

portion and a Hebrew-slanted portion, the division falling at the

conclusion of the Aramaic section (7:27), this oracle concerns Daniel’s people

and them alone. It is given in answer to the very Hebrew prayer of a Hebrew

prophet in very Hebrew style. Furthermore, in the mind of the prophet it

develops out of the problem of the seventy years of captivity of the Hebrew

people in Babylon.

Now, as we come to the prophecy itself, we may expect that details of

former oracles of the book will be enlarged and some of the mysteries cleared

up. Chapter two gave the grand outline of four Gentile kingdoms to be

succeeded by a fifth and last, the kingdom of God Most High. The seventh

chapter developed around the same grand outline, but enlarged the revelation

concerning the fourth, introducing also the final Antichrist, and presented him

in conflict with God’s holy nation, Israel. It also showed that Israel would

have a peculiar and special place in the kingdom of the Most High. However, as

chapter nine opens, the people of Israel are in dispersion and captivity under

a foreign king–and their land in heathen hands, their holy city Jerusalem a

heap, and their temple a ruin. It will be around the future of that land, that

city, that temple, and the Hebrew people that this chapter’s revelations will

gather. There will be revelation concerning the immediate future, during which

the temple and city will be restored to Daniel’s people; there will be promise

of the coming of their Prince Messiah to consummate that restoration at the end

of a specified time, an enigmatical prophecy of His rejection and death, to be

followed by the destruction of their city, and more remotely by an unhappy and

tragic liaison between Israel and the false Prince, the Antichrist, introduced

in chapter seven.

Omitting the introductory prayer and vision of the prophet, we come

immediately to the apocalypse of Israel’s future given by Gabriel’s mouth to

Daniel.

24 Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to

finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make

reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness,

and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. 25 Know

therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to

restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall

be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again

with street and moat, even in troublous times. 26 And after the

threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall

have nothing: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy

the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood,

and even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he

shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of

the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease: and upon

the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even

unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon

the desolate (Daniel 9:24-27, A.S.V.).

It is difficult to attempt any scientific discussion of these verses in

the space of a chapter in a dissertation. Many books have been written to set

forth particular interpretations. Several have been written within the last

ten or fifteen years. To attempt to evaluate this literature which runs into

the hundreds of volumes is impossible, and probably useless also. Therefore,

my procedure will be to learn what can be learned from the Scriptures

themselves, largely without reference to other works–not that the other works

are without value, but because it is simply beyond the scope of this book to

treat them.

Many Premillenarian scholars have found nothing in these verses which

requires any interpretation essentially distinctive to Premillennial

eschatology. To illustrate: though Amillennial Dr. Young views the weeks as

symbolical periods–not specifically either days or years, Postmillennial Dr.

Barnes views the weeks as of years, and Premillennial Dr. Auberlen also views

the weeks as years; the three men are in general agreement as to the full scope

of the prophecy. They think that the seventy weeks run their full course by

the time the history of the early chapters of the Book of Acts has run its

course. Auberlen thinks it was at the time of the death of Stephen or

thereabouts. It was signalized by the turning of the apostolic witness from

the Jews to the Gentiles. In this Barnes agrees approximately. And though

Young would frequently disagree with Auberlen’s Premillenarian views on other

matters, he announces no essential disagreement on this score, merely

expressing a rather hopeless ignorance of any event with which the conclusion

of the seventy weeks may be said to occur.

 

There are, however, some features of this prophecy which cannot be placed

in the past–there are some which are unmistakably eschatological. Dr. Keil,

who certainly had no Premillennial leanings and devotes many pages to

refutation of the Premillennialism of Auberlen and Hofmann, saw a prediction of

Antichrist in the “prince that shall come” (v. 26).

But, while recognizing that there did seem to be an eschatological

element in the prophecy, Keil could not offer a satisfactory explanation of the

bearings of the whole prophecy on eschatology, though he devoted sixty-five

pages of his commentary to these four verses. His contention is that the

terminus ad quem of the seven weeks is the appearance of Christ and that the

appearance of Christ is also the terminus a quo of the sixty-two weeks, the

cutting off of Messiah (interpreted as defeat of Christianity at the close of

this age) being the terminus ad quem of the sixty-two and the terminus a quo of

the seventieth and last. The sixty-two weeks, then, cover the present age,

except for the one week at the end, which will close with the second coming of

Christ to destroy Antichrist. This, I submit to the readers, is something

close to nonsense, supported neither by an objective treatment of the passage

nor by judicious examination of many better explanations

Premillennialism, and only Premillennialism, has a better explanation to

offer. For long ages past there have been those who saw a better explanation

of the passage, and they have been Chiliasts or, as we now say,

Premillenarians.

In pursuance of the purposes of this book, I now present the features of

the book which require the Premillennialism I support for a rational

explanation. The presentation will take the form of five propositions.

1. The seventy weeks are 490 years, which relate wholly to the then

future of Israel.

2. The seventy weeks are divided into three periods of seven, sixty-two,

and one, which follow one another and run successively.

3. The first sixty-nine weeks ran out during the lifetime of Messiah and

before His crucifixion.

4. The death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem, both mentioned

in the prophecy, are events which follow the close of the sixty-ninth week and

precede the beginning of the seventieth week.

5. The seventieth week pertains to a seven-year relationship between the

Antichrist and Daniel’s people Israel, in eschatological times, and concludes

with the second advent of Christ.

(1) The seventy weeks are 490 years, which relate wholly to the then

future of Israel.

The opening words of chapter nine discover Daniel pondering on the

conclusion of a matter which related wholly to the fortunes of his people

Israel. He knew by studying the prophecies of Jeremiah (cf. Jer. 25:11) that

the duration of the Babylonian servitude was to be seventy years. Daniel had a

personal interest in this duration, for (cf. Dan. 1:1 ff.) he himself had been

among the first band of captives which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem

in the year 606 B.C.

He may well have wondered in this, the sixty-ninth or seventieth year

(the fist year of Darius was probably about 536 B.C.) of his own captivity, if

God meant to begin counting the seventy years from the date of his own

captivity (in 606 B.C.) or if one of two other possible dates might be

intended. A king (Jehoiachin) had been taken captive with a large group,

including the prophet Ezekiel, in 598 (cf. Ezek. 1:1 ff.). And it was about

twelve years after this that the Judaean kingdom came to an end with the

deposing of Zedekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. If the

second date were the one intended, then Daniel’s and his people’s release would

have to wait eight or nine more years, till 528 B.C., or, if the third, till

5l6 B.C. One can well imagine that Daniel wondered if he might live to see the

release come.

It is to be observed (if we may anticipate the details of the prophecy)

that Daniel was in somewhat the same position as the saints in the years

shortly before and after the birth of Jesus. If they knew the prophecy of the

490 years–483 of them to run out before the appearance of Messiah–they may

well have wondered if the starting point when the command went forth to

“restore and to rebuild” was the decree of Cyrus (536 B.C., Ez. 1:1 ff.), the

first decree of Artaxerxes (Ez. 7:1 ff.), or the second decree of Artaxerxes (I

do not choose to discuss here the identify of the king or kings) described in

the first chapter of Nehemiah. The difference in time between the first of

these and the last is no less than ninety years. I think this explains the

quiet expectancy of Simeon (Luke 2:25 ff.) and of others at the time of

Christ’s birth, “looking for the consolation of Israel.”

At any rate, Daniel’s pondering and prayer related only to the fortunes

of his people, and he was thinking in terms of a Hebrew prophecy of seventy

years. No doubt–and I think there is no room to doubt it–he wondered also if

the end of the seventy years would usher in the advent of the long-promised

Messiah Prince to save Israel and rule the nations.

When the answer of the Lord came, by way of the mouth of Gabriel, the

answer also is specifically said to relate to Israel: “Seventy weeks are

decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” No reputable interpreter

would claim that Daniel’s people were any other than Israel, according to the

flesh, and that his holy city was other than Jerusalem, the capital of Judah.

This is precisely what would be expected, as previously noted, in this the

distinctively Hebrew portion of Daniel’s prophecies.

Let the Postmillennial and Amillennial commentators look long and

steadily at this fact. This prophecy is a prophecy for Daniel’s people and

Daniel’s city. No alchemy of Origenistic spiritualizing interpretation can

change that. This prophecy must be something which promised the restoration of

the people to the divine favor, return to their land, revival of their capital

city, and restoration of the ancient line of kings who reigned there. The

specific details of the latter part of the prophecy serve only to emphasize

this truth.

As to the claim, herein, that the weeks of the prophecy are weeks (lit.

sevens) of years, little really needs to be said, even though volumes have been

written on the subject. I have examined many commentaries on the subject and

have yet to find one serious commentator who taught otherwise, unless he had

some private theory to defend by interpreting otherwise.

The most untenable view of all is the one that these sevens are only

symbolic periods (Keil, Young, Leupold, et al.). This makes the assigning of

proportional lengths to the divisions into seven, sixty-two, and one mean

precisely nothing, whereas I hold it to be obvious that a precise value was to

be assigned. Anything else would make the Scriptures misleading to readers who

expect the Bible to make sense. Even symbols should make sense–but a view

(like Keil’s) that lets seven equal approximately 560 years, sixty-two

something more than 1900 years, and one a wholly unknown number of years, is

not sense. It is nonsense.

Dr. Alva J. McClain (Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks) has aptly

summarized the evidence for the view that the weeks referred to are sevens of

years. After pointing out that there is nothing in the passage to indicate

that the “week” is a seven of days, as the English versions seem to suggest,

and that the Hebrews had a “week” or “seven” of years which was just as

familiar to them as the week of days, he presents the following reasons for

believing that Daniel had reference to the seven of years. I quote:

In the first place, the prophet Daniel had been thinking not only in

terms of years rather than of days, but also in a definite multiple of

“sevens” (10 x 7) of years (Dan. 9:1,2). Second, Daniel also knew that the

very length of the Babylonian captivity had been based on Jewish violation of

the divine law of the Sabbatic year. Since, according to II Chronicles

36:21, the Jews had been removed from off the land in order that it might

rest for seventy years, it should be evident that the Sabbatic year had been

violated for 490 years, or exactly seventy “sevens” of years. How

appropriate, therefore, that now at the end of the judgment for these

violations the angel should be sent to reveal the start of a new era of God’s

dealing with the Jew which would extend for the same number of years covered

by his violations of the Sabbatic year, namely, a cycle of 490 years, or

“Seventy Sevens’ of years (Dan. 9:24).

Furthermore, the whole context of the prophecy demands that the

“Seventy Sevens” be understood in terms of years. For if we make the

“sevens” of days, the entire period would extend for merely 490 days or a

little over one year. Considering now that within this brief space the city

is to be rebuilt and once more destroyed…it becomes clear that such an

interpretation is altogether untenable.

McClain’s last argument rests on the fact that in the book of Daniel,

wherein the word “week” appears in only one other passage (10:2,3), it is

stated that the prophet mourned “three full weeks,” the meaning is obviously

weeks of days–but is indicated by the addition of days yamim to the word

shabhuim, weeks. This, he rightly argues, indicates that a change from the

usage in chapter nine is meant.

The arguments are valid. And, I repeat, most of the best commentators of

every school recognize that whatever the problems of adjusting the seventy

weeks to the facts of subsequent history, weeks of years are probably meant.

Thus a basis for exposition of the prophecy is laid in the fact that the

seventy weeks are 490 years, which relate wholly to the then future of Israel.

(2) The seventy weeks are divided into three periods of seven, sixty-two,

and one, which follow one another and run successively.

Some of the proof for this statement must of necessity await the

development of the following propositions. Yet, the statement is needed at

this point in the argument, if only as an observation as to the simplest and

most obvious meaning of the text. Says Gabriel: “Know therefore and discern,

that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem

unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two

weeks” (v. 25). Then later he mentions that one “shall make a firm covenant

with many for one week” (v. 27).

I think it is perfectly clear to the unbiased reader that Gabriel

intended Daniel to know and discern that there would be two periods of the

seventy weeks before “the anointed one, the prince,” and one afterward. There

is a comma after “seven weeks” in the English versions, indicating a break in

thought. There is also an athnach in the Hebrew at this point, indicating

(sometimes) a break in thought. But neither the comma nor the athnach are

sufficient to require the conclusion that a complete break in thought is

intended at that point. If so, then (as Keil insists) the angel meant that

“from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem

shall be seven weeks”–period. The obvious explanation of the seven weeks, or

forty-nine years, has been recognized by hundreds of critical readers and by

far the majority of evangelical commentators as the period during which, as the

verse goes on to say, Jerusalem “shall be built again, with street and moat,

even in troublous times.” It is true that there is no precise information in

the latter books of the Old Testament as to how long this period of rebuilding

the city was. We do know that even after the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah

(the latest acceptable date for the terminus a quo of the prophecy) there were

delays and much opposition, as we learn in the Minor Prophets as well as in

Nehemiah. I, for one, in the absence of any better information, am fully

prepared to assert that whenever the decree went forth, forty-nine years later

the work was done. The second period of sixty-two weeks, or 434 years, then

covers the period from the completion of the work on the city to “the anointed

one, the prince.” The terms mashiach nagidh are both indefinite, and could

literally be rendered “Messiah, a prince.” I shall not enter into the

arguments for the position that this is a designation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

It is so generally accepted among the class of commentators whom believing

Christians accept, and so little controverted in current or past Christian

literature of the believing kind, that it is unnecessary. The only real

problem is to establish the event in the life of our Lord to which reference is

made. It is obviously some occasion when His official claims as the anointed

priest-king and ruler among the people should come officially before the

people. There are only two possible occasions, it seems to me (and the

commentators bear this out)–the baptism and the triumphal entry.

Now, the significant thing about this period of 483 years (seven plus 62

weeks) is that if our accepted calendars and chronologies are correct, it is

almost exactly 483 years from the latest possible date for the beginning of the

weeks (decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah) to the closing years of Christ’s life,

which brings us very close to the time of the baptism and triumphal entry. If

there were no further evidence than this remarkable correspondence between the

interpretation and the facts of history, there would be strong presumption of

truth in its favor. However, if the reader will examine “The Coming Prince” by

Anderson, whose mass of data is simplified in much more readable form by

McClain (op.cit.), he will find much more precise and striking correspondence

even than this. I am not personally competent to judge Anderson’s scientific

data, nor to say categorically that I am sure his calculations are correct–but

I can say that even if Anderson is wrong on some of the fine points of his

thesis–if we accept the ordinary solar year and the usual date for the decree

of Artaxerxes rather than the revised dates and the prophetic year of 360 days,

the correspondence is too close to be accidental and is a remarkable

confirmation of the view adopted here of the division of the weeks.

The final week of the seventy is mentioned in verse 27. It appears

strangely after a verse which seems to describe events not belonging to any of

the weeks. The details of these verses will be treated under the propositions

which now follow.

(3) The first sixty-nine weeks ran out during the lifetime of Messiah and

before His crucifixion.

Having now seen that the sixty-nine weeks have as their point of

termination “the anointed one, the prince,” more special attention must now be

given to this terminal point.

Neither the A.S.V. translation nor the Authorized (“the Messiah, the

prince”) is wholly satisfactory. The Hebrew words are used absolutely; that

is, they are without prefixes, suffixes, articles, or modifiers of any kind and

are in what is called the absolute state. They stand in immediate

juxtaposition, as follows: mashiach naghidh.

Leaving this passage, for the present, in every use of the word mashiach,

anointed (adjective, masculine, singular), except three, it is used

substantively with a pronominal suffix (that is, a possessive pronoun) or with

a possessive noun. It is in all these cases “his anointed,” “mine anointed,”

etc., or “the Lord’s anointed,” etc. In the three other cases the word is used

attributively, and hence they do not bear on the use in our passage where the

word is a substantive in use.

This being the case, it can hardly be otherwise intended than as a

descriptive proper name–Messiah, or translated into English, Anointed.

Priests and kings (and on at least one occasion a prophet also) were by Hebrew

custom inducted into office with the anointing ceremony. Prophecy assigned to

the coming deliverer of Israel all of these office. This being the case, it

seems clear that the official position of Christ as the final great prophet of

whom Moses spoke, the great high priest who would in his own self accomplish

the work of bringing the nation to God, and the great “shoot out of the stem of

Jesse” who would consummate the kingship of David’s dynasty, are meant.

Messiah, then, was His primary name with reference to Israel, and He gathers up

all His functions in relation to that people.

The other word in the series, naghidh (A.S.V., the prince) is translated

captain, ruler, leader, governor, prince, and is frequently used of the

function of the kings of Israel, being first used of Saul. Significantly, it

is seldom used of any except an Israelitish ruler of Israelites. Usually it is

of “my people,” “Israel,” “the camp,” or some other designation of Israelites.

For this reason is seems likely that it applies to Messiah’s supreme position

among Israelites rather than to His yet future mission to judge and rule the

nations.

So, the terminus of this prophecy of sixty-nine weeks is the appearing of

Christ as the Messiah-leader of “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” to whom

alone, in His first advent, our Lord said He came. The events of the second

advent are completely out of sight still at the conclusion of the sixty-nine

weeks.

As previously indicated, there are some who suppose that the event which

placed our Lord before Israel as their Messiah Nagid was the baptism. But the

baptism had no reference to the presentation of Christ to man–it was rather a

self-dedication of Christ to God, and act which procured for Him the Father’s

approval, but since it had no reference to Israel evoked no response from them

at all.

The plain fact is that at no time in His life did Christ plainly and

publicly present Himself to Israel as their Messiah Nagid, except at the time

of the so-called triumphal entry. It is the opinion of this writer that no

other event fits the language of this text and the record of history (so also

Seiss, Ironside, Anderson, McClain, et al.).

The crucifixion it could not be. Important in time and eternity as that

event was, it certainly was not a presentation of Christ as the Messiah Nagid

of Israel–and all the attention given by some writers to Pilate’s inscription

on the cross does not make it so. The fact that settles this is the language

of our prophecy. The terminus of the sixty-nine weeks is described as Messiah

Nagid in verse 25. It is clearly some presentation of a person that is meant–

not an era within the sixty-nine weeks. Then verse 26 plainly goes on to say,

“And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and

shall have nothing.” These words have been interpreted in various ways. Some

think that the cutting off refers not to the death of Christ, but to His loss

of that which was rightly His as Messiah (so Keil) and is equivalent to “shall

have nothing” in the same verse. This may very well be true, but if so the

crucifixion was merely the final step in that loss, if such it is. With the

majority of the commentators, therefore, and also in harmony with the first

meaning of Karath to “cut off,” which usually specifies a violent kind of

death, I take it to refer to the crucifixion.1 Note that this death of Christ

was to take place “after the threescore and two weeks” (v. 26). There can be

no honest difference of opinion about that–the cutting off of Messiah is

“after” the sixty-two weeks. It is not the concluding event of the series of

sixty-two weeks. Neither is it said to be the opening event of the seventieth.

It is simply after the seven plus sixty-two weeks. The Hebrew weachare (and

after) does not designate how long after–it could be immediately afterward or

a thousand years afterward–but it must be after.

It should not be necessary to discuss whether the Messiah Nagid of verse

25 and the Messiah of verse 26 are the same. By any fair consideration of the

obvious meaning of the passage, they cannot be otherwise, as most agree.

(4) The death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem, both mentioned

in the prophecy, are events which follow the close of the sixty-ninth week and

precede the beginning of the seventieth week.

It will not be necessary to repeat the evidence for stating that the

death of Christ was to take place after the conclusion of the sixty-ninth week.

Attention must now be directed to the statement following the reference

in verse 26 to Messiah’s being cut off. The whole statement is as follows:

“And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and

shall have nothing: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy

the city and the sanctuary.”

It is of utmost importance to see that whatever is meant by the

destruction of the city and sanctuary, it is joined in time with the cutting

off of Messiah as “after the threescore and two weeks.” Dr. Keil labored at

length to prove that the sixty-two weeks began with some event in the earthly

life of Christ and that they end with the last strokes of victory for the

church in this present age, the church being the “city” which the angel

predicts will be built. Leupold, reflecting an interpretation common in his

church, holds the same view. However, Young, Amillennial in his theology like

Keil and Leupold, rejects this interpretation of the prophecy as untenable and

frankly admits that the seven plus sixty-two weeks come to an end before the

death of Christ and maintains that the death of Christ and the destruction of

Jerusalem described in verse 26 take place in the seventieth week.

But the language of verse 26, both in the Hebrew and in the English of

the American Standard Version, clearly specifies that the cutting off of Christ

and the destruction of “the city” by “the people of the prince that shall come”

not only follow the close of the sixty-ninth week but precede the beginning of

the seventieth.

I do not feel called on to labor at length the view that the destruction

of the city is that of Jerusalem by the Romans in the first and second

centuries A.D. It has been always the prevailing interpretation 

Neither is there any difficulty with our Amillennial friends over the

identity of “the coming prince,” or, as the version has it, “the prince that

shall come.” Keil and Leupold recognize him as the final Antichrist, said to

be “coming” because already selected for prophecy in direct language in chapter

seven as “the little horn,” and in type in chapter eight as “the little horn.”

Young thinks otherwise, but is outweighed on his own “team.”

That the opening of the seventieth week is subsequent to the events of

verse 26 is manifest by the text itself. The seventieth week is not picked up

for mention till verse 27 is reached. When that point is reached, it is

introduced by a waw consecutive,2 indicating that the contents of verse 27 are

subsequent and consequential in relation to verse 26. All attempts to place

the events of verse 26 (the cutting off of Christ and the destruction of

Jerusalem) in either the period of the sixty-two weeks (Keil and Leupold) or in

the seventieth week (Young and a host of writers in the past) stumble and fall

on the simple language of the text itself. There is but one natural

interpretation–and that is the one which regards the events of verse 26 as

belonging to a period between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks, when God

has sovereignly set aside His people Israel, awaiting a time of resumption of

covenant relationship in the future, after Israel has been restored to the

land. 

This writer cannot help but reflect on the possible explanation for a man

like Dr. H. C. Leupold, who issued a lengthy, and in many respects valuable,

commentary on the Book of Daniel in 1949 without so much as a reference to this

“gap,” “hiatus,” or “intercalation” in this prophecy. Surely he knows that

some of the greatest names in Biblical study in Germany, England, and America

are listed among the advocates of these things. I think of Nathaniel West,

Samuel Tregelles, Joseph Seiss, Sir Robert Anderson (who merits this

distinction)–if we are to ignore the host of popular writers who have given

these views currency in the last several generations. One feels moved to

suggest courteously to Dr. Leupold that there are some writers outside the

Lutheran fold who have written worth-while treatments on Biblical questions,

and that at least a few of them were more versed in English than in his beloved

German. He could profit by giving them some attention.

(5) The seventieth week belongs to a seven-year relationship between

Antichrist and Daniel’s people Israel in eschatological times, and concludes

with the second advent of Christ 

This is required by the language of the last verse of this prophecy,

verse 27, which reads as follows:

And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the

midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease;

and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate;

and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured

out upon the desolate.

To develop this proposition in full would require a book at least as

great in bulk as this book. The reader who is informed in eschatological

matters will recognize that here the writer must for the sake of brevity deny

himself the privilege of following the theological trails very far beyond the

strict limitations of the text before us. Indeed, it is not necessary to go

beyond the verse itself to demonstrate the truth of this proposition.

In the first place, the ordinary rules of grammar establish that the

leading actor of this verse is the Antichrist–the great evil man of the endtime.

“He shall make a firm covenant” etc.–thus the verse opens. A more

literal reading of wehighbir berith is: “And he shall cause to prevail a

covenant.” If the pronoun “he” were present in the Hebrew, a case might

possibly be made for the introduction of an entirely new personality into the

story at this point. However, there is no pronoun–only the third masculine

singular form of the verb indicating that an antecedent is to be sought, and

that of necessity in the preceding context. There is only one antecedent

admissible, according to the accepted rule that the last preceding noun which

agrees in gender and number and agrees with the sense is the antecedent. This

is unquestionably the naghidh habo, “the coming prince” of verse 26. He is a

“coming” prince, that is, one whom the reader would already know as a prince to

come, because he is the same as the “little horn” on the fourth beast of

chapter seven. He is a Roman prince because he is of the people who destroyed

Daniel’s city after the restoration of the first seven weeks, and also because

the “little horn” of chapter seven can be only a Roman prince. He is

Antichrist, because Paul and John clearly identify this personage of Daniel’s

prophecy as a final evil personage–the final Antichrist.

In the second place, the parties with whom the Antichrist of this verse

deals can be identified only as Daniel’s people Israel. His dealings are

larabbim, literally, “with the many.” It is significant that this word rabbim

is used in Isaiah 52:14 of the Jewish nation which rejected Christ at his first

coming, and in Isaiah 53:12 of the same Jewish nation whose sins He bore. But

even aside from this evidence, which, of course, is not conclusive in itself,

the opening words of Gabriel’s prophecy remain–these seventy weeks were

decreed on Daniel’s people Israel, and on Daniel’s city of Jerusalem.

Furthermore, this evil prince is presented in chapter seven as persecuting the

“people of the saints,” who have already been identified in this paper as

Israelites, for a period of “a time, times, and half a time.” The

correspondence of this period (which easily could be interpreted as three and

one-half years) with the three and one-half years of this verse (second half of

the week) during which this prince shall be not a blessed anointed prince but

an abomination, is too close to be accidental. They unquestionably point to

the same thing–persecution of Israel by Antichrist.

In the third place, this verse places a certain blasphemous act of

Antichrist in the seventieth week, which act is elaborated in II Thessalonians

and in the Revelation and definitely placed in an eschatological setting. I

have in mind the word weal kenaph, rendered in the common English version, “and

for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate.” The American

Standard Version renders it, “and upon the wing of abominations shall come one

that maketh desolate.” Leupold renders it, “and upon the wing of abominable

idols shall the destroyer come.” Young translates it, “and upon the wing of

abomination (is) one making desolate.” 

The record of discussion of the translation of these words is simply

tremendous. The translation which appeals best to me recognizes the same

person, Antichrist, as the subject of all the verbs in the verse down to the

last clause, and which would then translate the whole verse: “And he shall

cause to prevail a covenant with the many for one week, and at the middle of

the week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease, and upon the wing of

detested things desolating, even unto consummation, and that determined shall

be poured out on the desolator.” More will be said of this translation later.

The important thing to know is that almost every reputable commentator of

every school, and that includes even the unbelieving higher critics, discovers

an act of desecration of the Jewish temple either specifically prophesied or

shaping the form of language used. There are almost no exceptions. The Greek

translations, both of the Seventy and of Theodotian, whose translation has for

many centuries replaced the version of the Seventy in the Greek Old Testament,

plainly imply the same. The Greek of the Seventy is epi to hieron bdelugua

tes eremoseos, rendered by Boutflower, “over the temple there shall be an

abomination of desolations.” Theodotian is the same except for the singular

number of the last word. Furthermore, this is connected immediately in the

verse with an act of Antichrist said to take place in connection with

Antichrist’s causing “sacrifice and oblation” to cease.

 

Now, it should be clear to everyone that such acts as these cannot take

place except that Jewry be worshiping in a rebuilt Jewish temple under some

kind of an arrangement or league with Antichrist. It also seems clear that

just such an arrangement is predicted in the words of our text: “And he shall

make a firm covenant with many for one week.”

Now will the reader observe that the future existence of a Jewish temple

is predicted in Revelation 11:1,2; that the same passage also predicts that for

forty-two months (the three and one-half years of Daniel 9:27) the holy city

shall be trodden under foot. The correspondence with this prophecy can hardly

be accidental. Furthermore, in a passage whose interpretation cannot be

questioned, Paul predicts that just before his destruction by Christ at his

second advent, Antichrist shall sit “in the temple of God, setting himself

forth as God” (II Thes. 2:4).

These predictions of Paul and John can hardly be wrested from their

obvious relationship to Daniel 9:27, and I say this demonstrates the truth of

our proposition that the seventieth week belongs to a seven-year relationship

between Antichrist and Daniel’s people Israel in eschatological times.

A fourth reason for this view is that the last events of the seventieth

week are said to be: “even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath

be poured out upon the desolate.” A better translation of the last phrase is

“upon the desolator.” If the first translation be adopted, a full end of

idolatry and persecution of God’s people is specified; if the second, then the

final destruction of Antichrist. In either case, the concluding event of the

week must be the coming of Christ in glory to destroy Antichrist and to rescue

his people.

A fifth reason, not based on my own fallible interpretation of the text,

nor on the tracing of a connection of this text with similar events in the

eschatological portions of Paul’s and John’s inspired writings, but upon what

appears to be the interpretation of Christ Himself, is this: that our Lord

interpreted the event which marks the mid-point of this seventieth week to be

in the period of time immediately preceeding His own advent in power and glory.

The Septuagint translation of this passage, as already noted, contains

the expression bdelugma ton eremoseon, intended quite evidently as a

translation of shiqqutsim meshomem in the Hebrew text. It is not a very good

translation, it must be admitted, but it does not distort the essential meaning

of the text, which is evidently a reference to some consummate act of

sacrilegious idolatry. Now, our Lord made reference to this phrase in His

Olivet discourse and quoted it almost exactly as it appears in the Septuagint.

It is true that Daniel contains the same expression in the Septuagint rendering

of 12:11. But I see no reason for asserting that Daniel referred to one of

these in particular (as Tregelles does), for it seems quite obvious that the

reference is to the same event in both cases. The taking away of the regular

sacrifices is connected with the setting up of this abomination of desolation

in both passages. I think he had both texts in mind.

The important thing may easily be lost in the confusion about the

translations. But it need not be, for it is as obvious as can be. Jesus

simply said in this, the most extensive of his eschatological discourses, “When

therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through

Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place….” (Matt. 24:15). He said

this to indicate that the appearance of this abomination of desolation would be

a sure sign of the immediate end of the age and of His coming in glory. He had

just said, “But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. And this

gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto

the nations; and then shall the end come” (v. 14). In such a context, I

repeat, the setting up of the abomination must be understood as a sign of the

immediate end of the age. This is further emphasized in the words which

follow. These verses (16-28) describe a time of tribulation and persecution

for God’s people. Verse 22 adds that the time will be shortened, that is

limited. (This must have reference to the fact that it will extend for only

the three and one-half years of Daniel’s prophecy.) Then verses 29 and 30 add,

“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened,

and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven,

and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign

of the son of man…coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 

I regard this as incontrovertible evidence that Jesus placed the

seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy in the last seven years of this present

age, thus specifying that it would be the last seven years of human history

before His own return in power and glory.

The sixth and final reason for believing that the seventieth week is yet

future and ends coincidentally with the coming of Christ in His kingdom is that

the scope of the prophecy set forth by Gabriel (Daniel 9:24) requires that the

last week terminate no earlier than the coming of Christ in His kingdom at the

second advent. I mean to say it presupposes the rule of God among men and the

establishment of the kingdom of God on earth.

Gabriel said: “Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy

holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make

reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to

seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.”

There are six infinitive clauses:

(1) to finish transgression,

(2) to make an end of sins,

(3) to make reconciliation for iniquity,

(4) to bring in everlasting righteousness,

(5) to seal up vision and prophecy,

(6) to anoint the most holy.

Three common views have been adopted among believing commentators

concerning the scope of these six clauses. The least acceptable one, advocated

notably by Stuart, is that which views all six of these blessings as following

the conclusion of the seventy weeks, which conclusion is said to be in the

events connected with the destruction of Antiochus Epiphanes. The idea is that

the seventy weeks specifically concern the remaining years of Israel’s

submission to and persecution by Gentile power. This is thought to terminate

with Antiochus. The six blessings are then said to be simply the Messianic

Kingdom, conceived in a Postmillenarian fashion. Another, championed notably

by Barnes among the Postmillennialists, by Young and Mauro among the

Amillennialists, and by Auberlen among the Premillennialists, regards the

seventy weeks as terminating shortly after the death of Christ and the six

blessings as being conferred within the seventy weeks. These men feel that “it

was by the cutting off of Messiah that the six predictions of verse 24 were to

be fulfilled” (Mauro, The Seventy Weeks, 43,44). Mauro states the view

succinctly: “When our Lord ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit descended,

there remained not one of the six items of Daniel 9:24 that was not fully

accomplished” (ibid., 53).

A third position, adopted by Thomson (Daniel, Pulpit Commentary) among

the Postmillennialists, by Keil and Leupold among the Amillennialists, and by

almost all the Premillennialists of the past seventy-five years (West,

Anderson, Gaebelein, Kelly, Tregelles, Seiss, Ironsides, McClain, Cooper,

Brooks, Larkin, Chafer, Bauman and many others) is that these six blessings

arrive in full only at the termination (immediately after) of the seventieth

week. These men generally recognize that the basis was laid in the grand

providence of God which took place at the death of Christ but contend that the

full effecting of these blessings comes only at the second advent.

The following considerations settle the matter in the favor of the third

view.

In the first place, the seventy weeks are preserved throughout the verse

as a singular subject of all the infinitive clauses. shabuim shibim, “seventy

weeks” is indeed plural, but the verb, nechtakh (simple degree, passive voice,

third person, masculine gender, singular number), translated “decreed,” shows

that Gabriel regarded the seventy weeks as a single unit in the divine

determination. Seventy weeks IS [not are] determined upon thy people and upon

thy holy city. This being the case, if the accomplishment of one of these six

can be fixed at the second coming of Christ, the full accomplishment of them

all awaits the same event. 

In the second place, it can be shown that at least the last of these six

awaits its accomplishment at the second advent of Christ. Keil devotes five

pages to proof of this point. Leupold also give much attention to the same

point. The promise is “to anoint the most holy,” or, according to the American

Standard Version margin, “to anoint a most holy place.” The Hebrew, limshoach

qodesh qadashim, is literally “to anoint a holy of holies.”

Now, Young disposes of all of Keil’s weighty and cogent argument, as well

as the linguistic evidence, with a single stroke of the pen. But this cannot

rightly be done. The simple fact remains, as Keil demonstrates, that the

American Standard Version marginal reading gives the sense of the passage: “to

anoint a most holy place,” that is, a temple of Jehovah God of Israel. The

linguistic evidence is unquestionably in this direction. In only one passage

in the entire Old Testament (I Chron. 23:13) can these Hebrew words be used of

any other than the temple or some one of its parts. It would be exceedingly

strange for Gabriel to depart from the usual meaning here in a passage so

closely tied in thought to the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple. 

And “if thus the anointing of a most holy is here announced, then by it

there is given the promise, not of the renewal of the place already existing

from of old, but of the appointment of a new place of God’s gracious presence

among His people, a new sanctuary….Since this statement is closely connected

with those going before, and they speak of the perfect setting aside of

transgression and of sin, of the appearance of everlasting righteousness, and

the shutting up of all prophecy by its fulfillment, thus of things for which

the work of redemption completed by the first appearance of Christ has, it is

true, laid the everlasting foundation, but which reach their completion in the

full carrying through of this work of salvation in the return of the Lord”

(Keil, op.cit., 348,349).

As an Amillennialist, Keil’s views of the course of events after the

second advent naturally differ from mine. But his arm and pen are mighty in

proof of the essential contention here, namely, that the blessings of these

seventy weeks promised in the passage arrive at the conclusion of the series of

seventy, a conclusion which is marked by the second advent of Christ in power

and glory.

For these six reasons, furnished almost entirely by the language of the

text of Daniel itself, it is evident that our proposition is correct, that,

indeed, the seventieth week belongs to a seven-year relationship between

Antichrist and Daniel’s people Israel, in eschatological times, and concludes

with the second advent of Christ

SUMMARY

In summation on the prophecy of the seventy weeks, five facts appear:

that (1) the seventy weeks are 490 years, which relate wholly to the then

future of Israel; (2) the seventy weeks are divided into three periods of

seven, sixty-two, and one, which follow one another and run consecutively; (3)

the first sixty-nine weeks ran out during the lifetime of Messiah and before

His crucifixion; (4) the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem, both

mentioned in the prophecy, are events which follow the close of the sixty-ninth

week and precede the beginning of the seventieth week, and (5) the seventieth

week pertains to a seven-year relationship between Antichrist and Daniel’s

people Israel, in eschatological times, and concludes with the second advent of

Christ.

In support of the crucial fifth of the propositions cited above, six

arguments have been set forth, as follows: (1) the grammar of the passage

indicates that the “prince” of verse 26 is none other than the Antichrist of

end-time prophecy, and it is he who makes a covenant, thus associating the

prophecy with eschatological events. (2) The “many” with whom this prince

makes a covenant are shown to be none other than Daniel’s people Israel, thus

placing that ancient people in an eschatological situation. (3) The

blasphemous act of the prince in desecrating the temple, described in the

words, “For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate,” is

placed by Paul (II Thes. 2:4) and John (Rev. 11:1 ff.) in an eschatological

setting. (4) The prophecy specifies that the seventieth week will end forever

(v. 27) Jewish idolatry and persecution, or, on the basis of an alternate

translation, with the final undoing of Antichrist–neither one possible short

of the second coming of Christ. (5) Our Lord Himself interpreted this prophecy

as a prediction of events at the close of this age (Matt. 24:15); and (6)

finally, the scope of the prophecy which is said (cf. v. 24) (a) to finish

transgression, (b) to make an end of sins, (c) to make reconciliation for

iniquity, (d) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (e) to seal up vision and

prophecy, and (f) to anoint the most holy, requires that it include end-time

events.

Finally, it appears that only a Premillennial system of eschatology can

approach a full explanation of the details of this prophecy or utilize all the

facts of it. Postmillennialism fails because of its wholly wrong view of the

course of this age. Amillennialism fails because it does not wish to recognize

the peculiarly Israelitish flavor of the prophecy, which promises a rich future

for Israel after the return of Christ in glory, and the rôle of Israel in

conflict with Antichrist during the last years of this present age. On the

other hand, our doctrines of Antichrist, of the restoration of Israel, and of

the Great Tribulation find not only support but [also] their chronological

unraveling in this prophecy.

CHAPTER VIII

The Prophecy Concerning Daniel’s People Among the Nations Especially

at the Time of the End

DANIEL 10:14; 11:36-45; 12:1-3

The last three chapters of Daniel are one oracle, not three. In this

respect the chapter divisions of Daniel do not do the book justice. Up to the

end of chapter nine the chapter divisions do separate distinct prophecies, but

the chapter divisions between chapters 10, 11, and 12 serve only to confuse the

reader, for the section is one prophecy. If the parts were united, they would

compose one chapter of seventy-nine verses (chapter two has 49).

The prophet’s experience herein is a marvelous culmination of growing

spiritual experience in the life of Daniel, and in his function as a prophet

and seer. In chapters two and four he interprets the dreams of another; in

chapter five he interprets a divine writing; in chapters seven, eight, and nine

he sees visions of his own and in the rapt state one (Gabriel) appears to

interpret his dream to him. But in this last culminating prophetical

experience, he seems to see visions in the natural state–divine revelations

evidently are brought before him in his ordinary waking condition (vide,

10:4-7).

A large portion of this prophecy has been suspected by many evangelical

scholars as spurious. It is often said to be overlaid with a Targum.

Suspected portions are 10:1, 15-21; 11:1, 5-25. No convincing textual

evidence, however, has ever been produced against these sections. Really,

about all this criticism has done has been to sort out most of the noneschatological

material.

In harmony with the procedure in the previous portions of this

dissertation, I shall treat in detail only those portions which relate to

eschatology. Here, however, a real problem arises. How much of these chapters

is eschatological?

Before entering into a formal discussion of this problem, a sketch of the

whole prophecy is in order. This I shall present in the form of an outline 

OUTLINE OF THE PROPHECY

I. The Introductory Revelation (chapter 10)

1) The circumstances of the Revelation (1-4)

2) The description of the revealer (5,6)

3) The effect of the revelation (7-9)

–on Daniel’s companions (7)

–on Daniel (8,9)

4) The reason for the granting of the revelation (10-12)

5) The scope of the prophecy (13,14)

6) The strengthening of the prophet (20,21

7) The encouragement of the prophet (20,21

II. Prophecies Concerning the Nations as They Move Toward Final Conflict with

Israel (chapter 11) 

1) Introduction (1)

2) Prophecy concerning Persia (2)

3) Prophecy concerning Grecia (3,4)

4) Prophecy concerning the historic king of the south and of the north (5-20)

5) Prophecy concerning the vile person, last of the so-called kings of the

north (21-35 

6) Prophecy concerning the willful king (36-45)

III. Prophecies Concerning Israel at the time of the end (chapter 12)

1) Concerning the great tribulation (1)

2) Concerning the resurrection of the dead (2)

3) Concerning the final reward of the just (3 

4) Concerning the disposition of the prophecy (4)

5) Concerning final questions (5-12)

Conclusion to the Prophecies of Daniel, final words to the prophet (13)

Eschatological Sections of the Prophecy

 

There is small doubt in the minds of any except a very few that the first

portion of chapter 12 is prophecy concerning “last things”–in the theological

nomenclature, “eschatology.” Events connected with the resurrection of the

dead and final rewards and punishments can hardly be otherwise.

 

If there were a clean break in thought between chapters 11 and 12, it

might be possible to say that all of the previous section of the prophecy

relates to events of now past history. But such a break does not exist.

 

Rather, a chronological connection is clearly provided between the last of

chapter 11 and the first of chapter 12 by the opening words of chapter 12.

Referring to the destruction of a certain king whose career is predicted in the

last part of chapter 11, chapter 12 opens thus: “And at that time (ubhaeth

hahi) shall Michael stand up,” etc. Thus a clear connection with the

eschatological prediction of chapter 12 is established for the last portion, at

least, of chapter 11.

 

On the other hand, the predictive portion of the prophecy, which begins

with 11:2, deals with ancient kings and kingdoms throughout the early portion

of the chapter. First, the kings of Persia, then the king of Greece, and next

the kings of Egypt and Syria after the age of Alexander come to view. This

brings us down to verse 20. Commentators are quite in agreement up to that

point. From verse 21 onward, however, there is not this agreement. A

“contemptible person” is introduced in verse 21 and traced through verse 35.

By far the majority of commentators feel that he is none other than Antiochus

Epiphanes–the little horn of chapter eight. A very few think he is the

Antichrist of the end-time. Keil feels that he is primarily and directly

Antiochus and typically Antichrist–just as he feels about the little horn of

chapter eight. Some of these interpreters think that Antiochus is the theme of

the prophecy to the end of chapter 11.

 

My own opinion (following the majority of recent Premillennial

commentators) is that the prediction relates to Antiochus from verse 21 to

verse 35, but that beginning with 36, Antichrist, by the designation of “the

king who shall do according to his will,” is the theme of the prophecy, to the

close of chapter 11. With the view mentioned above, that Antiochus is

described in verses 21-35, and that the history detailed is typical of

Antichrist’s future career, I have no quarrel. Yet I do contend that verses

36-45 are directly predictive of the career of Antichrist and of him alone.

 

In pursuance of this contention, I present a brief of the evidence that

the prophecy concerning the willful king in Daniel 11:36-45 is an

eschatological prediction relating to the career of the final Antichrist:

(1) The scope of the prophecy, as indicated by the angelic revealer,

permits, if it does not demand, an eschatological element in the prophecy. I

have reference to Daniel 10:14, which reads: “Now I am come to make thee

understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for the vision is

yet for many days.” There are two expressions here, designating the scope of

the vision–“latter days” and “for many days.” The first is a technical term

taken out of the previous prophetical literature of Israel, and always in

Scripture includes some eschatological reference. This is recognized by the

vast majority of evangelical scholars of all schools of eschatology. Leupold’s

comment (in loco) is quite typical: “In all instance that we know of, this term

reaches out into the Messianic age. Obvious instances are Genesis 49:1;

Numbers 24:14; Isaiah 2:2. We believe that the same is the case in this

instance.” The other expression, “for many days,” is literally “for the days.”

Whether it be taken as referring to the “latter days” or only, as most

commentators allow, to long extended futurity, this expression also counts for

an eschatological reach to this prophecy.

 

For those who believe in the accuracy of predictive prophecy, it is of

most importance that

 

(2) the correspondence of the predictions of chapter II with now past

history breaks down at the end of verse 35. I mean to say that if verses 36-45

were intended to refer to Antiochus, the last great Seleucid king, then the

author appears to be guilty of introducing error into the Scriptures. There is

nothing known in history which corresponds to the prediction of Daniel

11:36-45. Evidence of this is the utter confusion in the commentaries of those

who insist that Antiochus is the chief figure down to the end of the chapter.

 

(3) The statement in 11:36 that “he shall prosper till the indignation be

accomplished” suggests that the fulfillment of the predictions of the willful

king is in eschatological times. “The indignation” is another technical term

out of Israel’s prophetical literature, referring frequently to the wrath of

God on men in the last times. We have previously dealt with the Great

Tribulation of Israel in the end-time. During the time of that tribulation of

Israel, God will be dealing in wrath with the Gentiles also, and frequently

that wrath on the nations of men is called zaam, “indignation.” The word

appears twenty-two times in the Old Testament, and while it does not always

refer to this particular indignation, it sometimes does. Isaiah 26:20 is a

good illustrative passage. It is not conclusive, of course, but it does bear

some weight.

 

Of greater weight is the fact that

 

(4) this predictive section corresponds so precisely with other

unquestionable predictions of Antichrist that the identity of the reference can

hardly be doubted. Leupold, Young, and Keil of the Amillennial school as well

as most of the Premillennial writers agree in this. The behavior of the

“little horn” of chapter seven, the “man of sin” of II Thessalonians, and of

“the beast” of Revelation 13 is so strikingly similar that on this basis of

correspondence alone a strong case could be built. This king not only does

according to his will, but he “shall speak marvellous things against the God of

gods” (11:36), just as John reveals (Rev. 13:6) of “the beast.” He also “shall

magnify himself above all” (11:37), just as Paul says of the man of sin (II

Thes. 2:3 ff.). He meets his end at the end of “the indignation” (11:36,45)

and that in an unusual manner, just as Revelation 19:20 says the “beast” will

come to his end. Each one of these features is found, as indicated above, also

in chapter 7 in relation to the “little horn.”

 

(5) Another expression, “at the time of the end” (11:40), seems to

indicate eschatological times. I do not feel that this evidence, taken by

itself, can be pressed too far, for obviously the end of whatever series of

events is in the mind of the author is designated by the expression, “time of

the end.” This is not necessarily a series reaching on to the consummation of

the ages. However, it is quite clear from 10:14, which fixes the scope of the

prophecy to include “the latter days,” that the “time of the end” in this

prophecy is with reference to the period consummated by the establishment of

the Messianic kingdom.

 

(6) The conclusive and decisive evidence for an eschatological setting of

the prophecy of the willful king (Dan. 11:36-45) is (as noted in passing above)

the phrase at the opening of chapter 12. This phrase is “And at that time.”

 

Then follows a listing of three of the most important events of eschatology–

the great tribulation of Israel, the resurrection of the dead, and the final

reward of the righteous. It is unquestionably true that if the career of the

willful king and his conflicts with the king of the south and the king of the

north are at the time of these things, then he is none other than the final

Antichrist.

 

But, having settled that some of the last portion of Daniel 11 refers to

Antichrist, it remains to show that the portion begins at verse 36.

Tregelles was convinced (though not without qualifications) that the

prophecy shifted to Antichrist with the mention of “a contemptible person” (v.

21). The parallel of the history of this person in chapter 11 with the history

of the “little horn” of chapter eight led Tregelles in this direction, inasmuch

as he regarded the little horn of chapter 8 as Antichrist. That there is much

to lead one in this direction is clear. Verse 35, for instance, places the

persecuted saints of this section in the “time of the end,” and this is called

“the time appointed” in both verses 27 and 35. Furthermore, there is much

obvious parallel between the respective careers of Antiochus and of Antichrist.

So, while I feel that Antiochus’ career (chapter 8, 11:21-35) is adumbrative of

Antichrist’s, it also appears that the prophecy of Antichrist (11:36-45) may be

reflected backward to Antiochus. To one acquainted with the technique of the

prophets, this will not appear strange. It is one of the commonest of

phenomena to find events of similar nature, but separated widely in time,

united in one prophetic oracle. Barnes calls it the “law of prophetic

suggestion.” Delitzsch said that prophecy is “apotelesmatic.”

This being the case, Keil is correct when he says: “These

circumstances…show that in the prophetic contemplation [Daniel 11:20-45]

there is comprehended in the image of one king what has been historically

fulfilled in its beginnings by Antiochus Epiphanes, but shall only meet its

complete fulfillment by the Antichrist of the end” (Commentary, 462,463). The

interested reader will find a very good history of the interpretation of Daniel

11:36-45 in Keil’s Commentary, 461,462.

 

My reasons for dividing off the directly eschatological prediction at the

beginning of verse 36 are four.

 

In the first place, a natural break in the thought appears at this

point–a break which sets off the last ten verses from the previous narrative.

This break is noted by the American Standard Version. The same version also

makes a break at the end of verse 39, but the obvious sense of the passage is

that the same willful king is discussed on both sides of the break.

 

In the second place, as many have noted, the known correspondence of the

history of the past (during the age of Antiochus) breaks off at the end of

verse 35. Since nothing in the past is known to correspond with verses 36-45,

it is quite proper to look for such correspondence in the future,

In the third place, a totally new subject is introduced at the beginning

of verse 36. Up to that point the immediate portion of the chapter is dealing

with the king of the south (Egypt), the king (Antiochus) of the north (Syria),

and their conflicts one with another and with Israel. Here, however, the

willful king is a third party in conflict with both kings.

 

In the fourth place, since this fourth party may be identified by

correspondence with other predictions of Antichrist, as Antichrist, it seems

most likely that the point at which his career is begun in the prophecy (v. 36)

is the place at which to begin the eschatological interpretation. Begin

somewhere it must, and it is not possible to introduce it later in the chapter.

 

The Crucial Eschatological Data

 

In a commentary, all portions of this eschatological section would call

for attention. However, the purpose of this dissertation, to establish that

Premillennialism alone can adequately explain all the book, requires that we

turn our attention only to the verses which occasion disagreement among the

various schools of eschatology.

 

With the main portion of the prophecy of Antichrist (11:36-45), there is

no necessary quarrel either with Amillennialists or with Postmillennialists.

Reputable representatives of both these schools join with Premillennialists in

recognition of the fact of Antichrist, and of the general character of his

person and career. Neither is there any disagreement over the final reward of

the righteous (12:3). All Christians are in agreement on this.

 

The conflict arises chiefly with the recent expressions of Amillennialism

over three things: first, the predicted conflict of Antichrist with Israel

(11:41,45), the tribulation of Israel (12:1), the resurrection of the dead

(12:2). Few commentators provide extended treatment of these at this stage of

their commentaries, for the same subjects (except for the resurrection) appear

much earlier in Daniel and hence the views have been expressed previously. I

shall follow their example in making my remarks as brief as possible–and for

the same reasons.

 

(1)   The conflict of Antichrist with Israel (11:41,45)

 

The passages involved are now presented, as follows:

 

He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be

overthrown; but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom, and Moab,

and the chief of the children of Ammon….And he shall plant the tents of

his palace between the sea and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall

come to his end, and none shall help him (Daniel 11:41,45, A.S.V.).

 

Premillennialists have a reasonable explanation of this passage. The

passage means literally what it says. He (Antichrist) shall seek to destroy

Israel in his own “glorious land” (Palestine) and to obliterate the then

revived worship of Israel in the land. This is the most obvious explanation of

the statements that “he shall enter also into the glorious land,” and that “he

shall plant the tents of his palace between the sea and the glorious holy

mountain.” Most commentators of all schools admit that this is, indeed, the

literal meaning. We further believe that the prophecy, “he shall come to his

end, and none shall help him,” is fully explained in a literal fashion by Paul

(II Thes. 2:2 ff.) and by John (Rev. 19:11 ff.). This interpretation accepts

the doctrines of a final Antichrist, of a restoration of Israel to the land in

the latter part of this age, and of a millennium during which Israel is blessed

to follow this age.

 

Postmillennialists and Amillennialists have almost nothing but hopeless

guesses to offer by way of interpretation of this section. The Amillennialists

especially, since they generally believe in the literal existence of the

Antichrist in the last days and in a literal interpretation of the willful

king, are hard put to explain these verses.

 

I submit Dr. Young’s comments on verse 45–hopeless confusion of literal

interpretation, symbolical interpretation, and of pure speculation–as

constituting their own refutation and a demonstration of the inability of

Amillennialism to interpret this passage.

 

The tents of his pavilion is about equivalent to his royal pavilion.

This he will plant (note that the future is employed. We are dealing with

the language of predictive prophecy) as one plants a tree, i.e., he will

establish between the sea and holy mountain of Delight (lit., between seas to

the mountain of the delight of holiness). The plural, seas, is poetic (cf.

Deut. 33:19) and the reference is to the Mediterranean Sea. The glorious

holy mountain is Jerusalem or Zion. Hence, the king is to make his final

stand between the Mediterranean Sea and Jerusalem. This statement cannot

possibly apply to Antiochus, since he died at Tabae in Persia. It should be

noted that in placing the destruction of the great world power which opposes

the people of God near to Jerusalem, Dan. is in harmony with other similar

references (cf. Joel 3:2, 12 ff.; Zech. 14:2). However, inasmuch as such

names as Egypt, Moab, Edom, Ammon, etc., are employed in these verses in a

symbolical sense, so also is this present description employed. Precisely

what is the significance is difficult to determine. At any rate, the great

final enemy of the people of God, the Antichrist, will make his last stand

and will come to his end in territory which is sacred and holy (peculiarly

delighted in by the people of God–note the expression mountain of the

delight of holiness–does this have reference to the church?). His end will

be complete, apparently brought about by the glorious return of the Son of

God from heaven” (op.cit., 253).

 

I rejoice, of course, that Mr. Young plainly affirms his belief in the

validity of predictive prophecy here. It gives me assurance that I read the

writing of one who believes in a supernatural Christianity and a divine

Christ–one with whom I can have true Christian fellowship. His affirmation

that Antichrist is the king herein gives added fellowship in the Word and leads

me to believe that we share the “Blessed Hope.” I do not rejoice, however,

that while insisting on the literal meaning of the prophecy down to the mention

of things which plainly pertain to God’s people Israel and to their land–in an

eschatological setting–he immediately shifts into a symbolical interpretation.

 

There is absolutely no justification for interpreting the prophecy of

Antichrist’s end in a literal Palestine and then interpreting “the mountain of

the delight of his holiness” as the church, unless it is a system of theology

which will not accept the restoration of Israel. And I think it is this

prejudice alone which explains this shift. Neither is there any evidence that

the other nations mentioned in the chapter are symbolical only.

 

In similar fashion, Leupold declares that “the picture is apparently

taken from the location of Jerusalem, and so Jerusalem again appears as the

prototype of the church of the last days” (op.cit., 523). Keil, while

frequently referring to the people of this chapter as the people of God, or

Israel, plainly indicates that it is not the ancient people Israel but the

church of the last days (op.cit., 482). The fact is, the people are not

referred to as God’s people (which could, indeed, taken absolutely, refer to

the church) but as “the children of thy people” and “thy people” (12:1), that

is, Daniel’s people. Everyone knows who they were–the people of Israel.

 

(2)   The tribulation of Israel (12:1, A.S.V.)

 

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who 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.

 

Precisely the same situation prevails with reference to this prediction

that holds concerning the one just treated. The recent Amillennial writers

follow Keil in admitting, what Premillennialists also believe, that this

describes conditions of the last days under Antichrist. But, contrary to the

Premillennialists, they transfer all the references to Israel to the church.

My discussion on the tribulation of Israel in the first part of this book and

the remarks just previous on the conflict of Antichrist with Israel pertain

here also.

 

(3)   The resurrection of the dead (12:2, A.S.V.)

 

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 is an important text, and more than passing attention must be given

to it.

 

I think that Gaebelein was gravely in error and most inconsistent when he

wrote:

 

Physical resurrection is not taught in the second verse of this

chapter; if it were the passage would be in clash with the revelation

concerning resurrection in the New Testament….We repeat, the passage has

nothing to do with physical resurrection. Physical resurrection is, however,

used as a figure of the national revival of Israel in that day (The Prophet

Daniel, 22).

 

The thing so utterly unacceptable about this is that Gaebelein adopts the

very “spiritualizing” or “symbolizing” principle of interpretation which our

opponents adopt–and that in the midst of a passage where everything else is

esteemed (by Gaebelein and all Premillennialists) to be literal, not

figurative. He does with this passage precisely what the Postmillennialists

and Amillennialists do with the reference to a first resurrection in Revelation

20. Thus he throws away the hermeneutical advantage of Premillennialism.

Gaebelein’s categorical assertion is so utterly without foundation that it does

not merit further attention. As Robinson says: “If a resurrection of the body

is not here declared, it will be difficult to find where it is, or to imagine

words in which it can be” (quoted by Biederwolf, Millennium Bible, 236).

Tregelles asks, “If the language of this verse be not declaratory of a

resurrection of the dead, actual and literal, is there any passage of Scripture

at all which speaks of such a thing as a resurrection?” (op.cit., 168).

 

Now, granting, with the almost unanimous support of all believing1

interpreters, that physical resurrection is here predicted, to what

resurrection does it refer? Biederwolf (op.cit., in loco) has classified the

views as follows:

 

(1) To the general resurrection at the end of all things.

 

(2) To a limited resurrection immediately after the tribulation, and

prior to the last and general resurrection, and one confined to Israel.

 

(3) To a resurrection of the righteous just before Christ’s second

coming, and of the wicked at the end of time, no notice being taken by the

angel of the hiatus between them.

 

(4) To a resurrection of all that sleep in the dust after the time of

great tribulation; the good, at that very time (immediately after), and the

wicked later, at the end of all time, with no notice taken by the angel of the

hiatus or intervening time.

 

The first of these views, that the reference is to the so-called general

resurrection at the end of all things, is championed by many Amillennialists

and Postmillennialists. The second, third, and fourth views are views adopted

by different Premillennialists. Several of the rationalistic commentators as

well adopt view 2.

 

The second view is acceptable to pre-, mid-, and post-tribulation

rapturists (among the Premillenarians). So also is the third view. The fourth

is distinctive to the post-tribulationists. Nathaniel West (Daniel’s Great

Prophecy, 197) adopts approximately the same view as the fourth, though he

seems to see no prediction of the resurrection of the wicked here.

 

Now, it must be frankly admitted, by all except the most narrowly

partisan, that any one of these four general views is exegetically admissible.

 

The simple fact is that this verse is only the first in a long series of

biblical revelations which directly, and in clear language, predict the

resurrection of the dead. This being the case, the questions of

Premillennialists concerning the order of the resurrection of the righteous in

relation to the tribulation and the millennium cannot be expected to be

answered here. It must be admitted, however, that the close connection (joined

by waw, and) of verses one and two gives West, Reese, and other advocates of a

post-tribulation rapture strong support.

 

On the other hand, if the second view is adopted, no question concerning

the relation of the rapture of the church and tribulation even enters the

picture.

 

Without being dogmatic, I advocate the second view as being the one most

acceptable. My reasons are as follows.

(1) The language favors a selective, or limited, resurrection rather than

a general resurrection.

 

The first clause is werabbim miyyesheme admath aphar yaqitsu, “And many

from the sleepers of the land of dust shall arise.” “Many,” rabbim, is less

than all. Some insist (without warrant) that Jesus expanded this to mean all

in John 5:28. But the word rabbim remains. And Dr. Keil, who, being an

Amillennialist, might have wished that the word were kal, “all,” says that we

cannot “obtrude upon rabbim the meaning of all, a meaning which it has not and

cannot have, for the universality of the resurrection is removed by the

particle min, which makes it impossible that rabbim = haribbim, hoi polloi =

pantes (cf. Rom. v. 15 with v. 12)” (op. cit., 482). Keil’s reference to min,

“from” is correct. I quote him again on this point:

 

The partitive interpretation of min is the only simple and natural one,

and therefore with most interpreters we prefer it. The rabbim can be rightly

interpreted only from the context. The angel has it not in view to give a

general statement regarding the resurrection of the dead, but only discloses

on this point that the final salvation of the people shall not be limited to

those still living at the end of the great tribulation, but shall include

also those who have lost their lives during the period of the tribulation

(op.cit., 481).

 

If the reader will revert to my comments on the resurrection of the

martyr saints of Revelation 20:4, he will see how well this view coincides with

our doctrine of the resurrections and the Millennium (vide. also Appendix II).

 

(2) The Hebrew of the passage permits, and according to many of the best

authorities, demands a translation favoring this view.

 

The translation, brought to the attention of the English reading public

by Tregelles (op.cit., 162 ff.) and advocated before him by Jewish commentators

Saadia Haggaon (10th century) and Aben Ezra (12th century), was favored by

Seiss and Fawsett, and was fully adopted by Nathaniel West. As given by

Tregelles, it is: “And many from among the sleepers of the dust of the earth

shall awake; these shall be unto everlasting life; but those the rest of the

sleepers, those who do not awake at this time, shall be unto shame and

everlasting contempt.”

 

In favor of this translation is the plain fact (already advanced) that

the resurrection is to be selective. And it may be added, so far as the

specific language of verse three is concerned, it is only of righteous people.

If the resurrection of “all” were intended, rabbim would have to be changed to

kal. The main question is, Does the Hebrew demonstrative elleh, which appears

at the head of each of the last two clauses, bear the meaning of

“these…those”? It must be admitted that this does not appear in either of

our common English versions. However, the Brown, Driver, and Briggs Lexicon

(most authoritative in the English language) gives this as one of the possible

uses, and lists Deuteronomy 27:13, Joshua 8:22, Isaiah 49:12, and Psalm 20:8 as

illustrations. This being the case, the proposed translation seems to be

acceptable.

 

My closing remarks on this verse I wish to be, that the case of

Premillennialism is not in the least affected by it. Taken in the usual

translations of our English Bibles, it is capable of natural interpretation in

a Premillenarian fashion. If Daniel 12:2 were the only verse in the Bible on

the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, a case for a “general

resurrection” at the end of time might be constructed. But, as the facts

stand, the doctrine of two resurrections taught clearly in the New Testament

remains as the best interpretation of Daniel 12:2–and I think the only

acceptable one.

 

With these remarks the case is rested with the reader. I think the

thesis of this book has been sustained: that the whole Bible teaches a

Premillennial eschatology, and that eschatology alone can satisfactorily

explain the predictions of the prophet Daniel.

 

APPENDIX I

 

The Time and Extent of the Coming World Dissolution

 

It is commonly taught by orthodox Protestant theologians of about every

variety of millennial persuasion, that before the final age begins there shall

be drastic changes in the present natural order.

 

Several texts are thought to relate to such a change, but, without

controversy, the most graphic is II Peter 3:10. In order to clarify some of

the Biblical material relating to the consummation of the ages and to round out

some details of my own premillennial views, this discussion of the subject

matter of II Peter 3:10 is added. As originally prepared in a monograph, these

lines extended to over one hundred pages. I have tried to compress and

condense the material as much as possible here.

 

The passage follows as it appears in the American Standard Version: “But

the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass

away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat,

and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

 

It should be observed that the A.S.V. margin renders the last part of the

verse “shall be discovered (eurethesetai) instead of “shall be burned up”

(katakaesatai). The oldest manuscript evidence is for the marginal reading,

though the exact text is not fully certain.

 

A bit later Peter writes: “According to his promise, we look for new

heavens and a new earth” (II Peter 3:13). The promise to which he refers can

hardly be any other than that of Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22, wherein a new heavens

and a new earth are twice predicted.

 

THE PROBLEMS INVOLVED

 

Two main problems are involved in interpreting II Peter 3:10 and these

related texts: (1) When does this event (or when do these events) occur–at the

beginning of the Millennium or at the close of it? and (2) What are the extent

and nature of the changes involved–are they an annihilation or a renovation,

and if renovation, how drastic are the changes involved?

 

Most readers will be acquainted with the fact that the majority of modern

Premillennialists have identified (or at least synchronized) this conflagration

with the judgment of the great white throne described in Revelation 20.

 

Amillennialists and Postmillennialists, generally, merely associate the event

with the second advent of Christ and with the so-called “general judgment.”

 

The view advocated herein is that as to time the new heavens and new

earth anticipated by Peter and the other prophets are to appear at the

beginning of the Millennium, and that in nature and extent the conflagration

which introduces the new heavens and new earth shall consist of a strictly

limited renovation rather than annihilation of the existing natural order. The

recent Premillennialists who advocate this view are not numerous. However,

George N. H. Peters, whose exhaustive work (entitled The Theocratic Kingdom

etc.) sets forth his views, is a notable advocate of it. To him the present

writer owes a debt of thanks for suggesting many of the arguments now to

follow.

 

THE TIME OF THE CONFLAGRATION

 

To conserve space and words, the views of the writer with the evidence

for them will be briefly stated. The reader will kindly attribute what may

seem to be excessively terse or dogmatic forms of statement to the present

desire to conserve space, words, and the reader’s time.

 

The time of the great conflagration is to be at the beginning of the

Millennium, during the period immediately adjacent to that aspect of the second

coming of Christ known as the revelation.

 

Evidence for this statement follows:

 

1. The Old Testament prophets uniformly declare that a judgment of fire,

similar to the one Peter describes, shall immediately precede the

establishment of the future Messianic Kingdom.

 

One is faced with a problem in selecting only the plainest passages, they

are so very numerous. Joel 2:30,31 is an example: “And I will show wonders in

the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke…before

the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh.”

 

Another of this type is Malachi 3:1-3: “…and the Lord, whom ye seek

will suddenly come to his temple….But who can abide the day of his coming?

and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and

like fullers’ soap.”

 

A third is Malachi 4:1: “For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a

furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and

the day that cometh shall burn them up.”

 

This scriptural evidence renders it certain that when Peter wrote of the

coming Day of the Lord with its attendant fiery judgments, he was broaching no

new subject–as is indicated by his words: “seeing that ye look for these

things.” The Jews had been looking for such consuming fire to presage the

coming kingdom of Messiah since the days of the Old Testament prophets.

 

2. The Old Testament repeatedly states that disturbances in the material

heavens, of a type identical with those described by Peter, shall transpire

immediately before the establishment of the kingdom. What has just been shown

to be true of the “fire” of Peter’s prophecy is now shown to be true also of

the heavenly disturbances–“the heavens shall pass away with a great noise.”

A good representative of passages on this subject is Isaiah 34:4 in a

context clearly associated with the beginning of the coming Messianic Kingdom:

“All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled

together as a scroll,” etc. Such words as these are frequent in the Old

Testament. The astonishing thing is that Premillennialists generally unite in

applying them to events at the beginning of the Millennium without seeing any

connection with II Peter 3:10 or considering their possible relation to the new

heavens and new earth of Revelation 21 and 22. Other passages are Haggai

2:6,7; Joel 3:16; Isaiah 13:13; Isaiah 51:6.

 

If anyone should argue that some of the passages speak of disturbances at

the beginning of the Millennium and others of disturbances at its close, he

should read Hebrews 12:26 (quoting Hag. 2:6), in which the Lord distinctly

promises, “Yet once more [not twice] will I make to tremble not the earth only,

but also the heaven.”

 

Thus the Old Testament (dispensational and prophetic charts and teachers

notwithstanding) places the coming cosmic disturbances at the beginning of the

coming kingdom, not at some point one thousand years along the course of it.

 

3. New Testament writers are just as definite in placing a judgment of

fire at the inception of the kingdom as are the Old Testament writers. Most

convincing is Paul’s testimony: “And to you that are afflicted rest with us, at

the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in

flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that

obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (II Thes. 1:7,8). Another is Revelation

16:8,9, which portrays a fiery judgment under the fourth vial. Most

Premillennialists of today feel that this event transpires in a period shortly

before the inception of the Millennium. No one can read these plain words with

an unprejudiced mind, it seems to me, and not feel that the New Testament

predicts a judgment of fire at the commencement of the coming Kingdom.

 

4. The Bible declares that the coming kingdom shall occupy a regenerated

earth from its beginning; therefore the purifying effects of this prophetic

dissolution must be at the beginning, rather than at the close of the

Millennium. The two most important passages are Isaiah 65:17-25 and 66:22-24.

The first begins with a presentation of the new heavens and earth: “For,

behold, I create new heavens and a new earth.” Then follows a description

which Premillennialists almost unanimously unite in saying to be Millennial.

The second is similar. It begins, “For as the new heavens and the new

earth, which I make, shall remain before me, saith Jehovah.” Then, again,

follows a Millennial scene, viz.: “so shall your seed and your name remain.

And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one

sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah.

And they shall go forth, and look upon the dead bodies of the men that have

transgressed against me,” etc. Hold in mind that this is all related to the

new heavens and new earth. It was this same which Peter expected “according to

his promise” (II Peter 3:13).

 

I do not see how the conclusion can be avoided that the Spirit of

prophecy in Isaiah intended that the impression be conveyed that the coming

Messianic Kingdom shall occupy from the first “new heavens and [a] new earth.”

 

5. The immediate context of II Peter 3:10 indicates that Peter had in

mind something which would occur at Christ’s second coming, and not in a

period still remotely future at the revelation of Christ. A hasty reading of

the third chapter of II Peter brings to one’s attention several significant

expressions demonstrating this proposition. They follow: “Where is the promise

of his coming?” (v. 9); “…comes as a thief” (v. 10); “…ye look for these

things” (v. 14). These brief notices indicate that Peter did not question the

possibility that people whom he then addressed might live to see the

inauguration of the very things he describes in verse 10. How inconsistent

such statements are with the view that verse 10 describes events known to be at

least a thousand years away needs only to be noted to be appreciated.

 

6. A perpetual and continuous kingdom such as is repeatedly promised

demands that no such destruction as is often urged be placed at the end of the

Millennium to interrupt the continuity of that kingdom. It should be

remembered that even though a change in the mediation of rulership of that

kingdom is predicted (I Cor. 15:23-28), an abolition of the earthly realm is

nowhere promised–unless II Peter 3:10 be the exception. Contrariwise, the

perpetuity of the kingdom is repeatedly asserted in the most positive terms, as

follows:

 

(1) The angelic announcement to Mary, the human mother of the Messianic

King, carefully specifies that “of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke

1:32,33).

 

(2) The saints of the Lord are commonly associated with Christ in an

eternally enduring kingdom, as, for example, in Daniel 7:18, “The saints of the

Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even

forever and ever.”

 

(3) The scriptures further specify the perpetual continuity of the

kingdom itself per se. Daniel 2:44 states: “And in the days of those 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 stand

forever” (cf. also Dan. 7:14).

 

(4) The limit of a thousand years, which is by premillennial interpreters

of Revelation 20 frequently attached to the “kingdom” as such, is not a limit

on the reign of Christ or of His saints, but rather the limit of the

imprisonment of Satan and of the period between the resurrections.

 

7. Christians are exhorted on the basis of this predicted dissolution,

as if it were something they should expect to see if they should live to the

end of the present age rather than as if it were something at least a

millennium away. The entire third chapter should be read to appreciate this

fact. The most significant portions are the phrases in verses 11-14: “looking

for and earnestly desiring the coming…beloved, seeing that ye look for these

things,” etc. Is this not the same hope of the second coming of Christ with

the same attendant moral lessons as those set forth in Mark 13:32-37, Matthew

24:42-51, and Luke 21:25-36? The inquiring reader will be rewarded by

comparing these chapters with the third chapter of II Peter.

 

For these reasons I am convinced that the great prophecy of II Peter

3:10, and many other predictions of the coming dissolution with the resultant

new heavens and new earth refer to events at the inauguration of Messiah’s

kingdom. That there may be further changes at the conclusion of the thousand

years, perhaps in connection with the judgment of the great white throne (Rev.

20:7-15) is entirely possible. However, if so, the Bible seems to be silent

about it. This view is not without its difficulties, but I believe that many

of them are dissipated as proper consideration is given the question of the

extent of the predicted dissolution and the nature of the new heavens and new

earth.

 

THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE COSMIC CHANGES

 

If the coming conflagration is to be at the time of a “general judgment,”

certain possibilities exist–possibilities which no one will expect to find

explained and defended in this premillennial treatment of eschatology. If it

is to come at the end of the Millennium, certain others exist. And if it is to

come (as I have sought to show) at or near the beginning of the millennial

period, then still other possibilities appear.

 

Briefly, as I have considered the possibilities, it seems that–the

cosmic disturbances described in II Peter 3:10 shall consist of a limited

renovation involving the death of all living wicked men at the revelation of

Christ and such changes in the realms of inanimate material, of vegetable,

animal, and human life as are necessary to produce conditions which the

prophets declare shall prevail during the coming kingdom age.

 

All this is best described, to use Jesus’ own word for it, as a

“regeneration.”

 

This statement may be reduced to four propositions.

 

1. The prophetic dissolution shall consist of a renovation, rather than

an annihilation.

 

(1) In proof is the fact that nowhere in the Bible, unless II Peter 3:10

be treated as an exception, is the annihilation of the cosmos taught.

 

(2) Further, the words of II Peter 3:10 do not in any sense require

annihilation. “Shall pass away” translates pareleusontai, the root of which is

parerchomai. The Authorized Version translates this come, come forth, go,

pass, pass over, transgress, and past. The standard lexicons offer about the

same shades of meaning. Never does it mean annihilate, so far as I have been

able to determine. The meaning is rather to pass from one position in time or

space to another. And, even granting the most destructive ideas as the

meanings of luthesetai (be dissolved) and katakaesetai (be burned up, if we

adopt the Textus Receptus), the words certainly do not describe annihilation.

 

2. The prophetic dissolution is by Scripture confined to a strictly

limited renovation, affecting certain aspects of the cosmos only.

 

(1) In the first place, to insist that the materials of earth must be

cremated to remove sin is to insist on an erroneous doctrine of sin–that the

seat of sin is in matter rather than in the spirits of free agents.

 

(2) Further, the Bible declares categorically that so long as the earth

remains, the order of nature will stay constant and without interruption. I

cite Genesis 8:22: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold

and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (cf. also

v. 21).

 

(3) The several passages in the Bible which seem to require or imply

absolute dissolution of the earth or destruction of the order of nature are in

every case limited by the context to less drastic changes. An example is

Genesis 6:17 (see also 6:7,13), “And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters

upon the earth, to destroy all flesh…everything that is in the earth shall

die” (italics mine). Yet the context shows that eight human beings and a ship

loaded with animals and provender, and of course, specimens of all water life,

escaped. (Similar phenomena occur in Deut. 32:22; Nah. 1:5; Micah 1:4; Isa.

13:9-14; Isa. 24:19,20; Amos 9:9, and others.)

 

3. The future conflagration at the coming of Christ shall involve the

destruction of Antichrist and his forces.

II Thessalonians 1:7-10 predicts a fiery destruction of wicked men at the

revelation of Christ. Fire is mentioned in connection with the destruction of

Antichrist at our Lord’s return (Rev. 19:20). There is no good reason for

separating these things.

 

Is it possible that the Lord may destroy all wicked men at His appearing?

It is asserted by Paul (II Thes. 1:7-10) that “at the revelation of the Lord

Jesus…in flaming fire” He shall “render vengeance to them that know not

God…who shall suffer…eternal destruction.” These words promise a truly

dreadful judgment. But if they are applied to the destruction of all men at

our Lord’s second coming, they prove too much. Amillennialists will be quick

to ask, Who will populate the earth during the Millennium if at its

inauguration the righteous are all glorified and the wicked are killed?

 

If one adopts the pretribulational view of the Rapture, he can suppose

the formation of a new group of saved men during the tribulation to enter the

Millennium in natural bodies and to propagate the race during the 1,000 years.

 

Many pretribulationists, however, postulate another “rapture” and resurrection

for tribulation saints only at the end of the tribulation. This would still

leave no people to live as natural men on earth during the Millennium.

 

If one adopts the posttribulational view of the Rapture, then there

certainly would be no people to live as natural men on earth during the

Millennium. The saved would all be in glorified bodies, in which condition

Jesus said there would be no function of propagation. If the judgment on the

wicked of II Thessalonians 1:7-10 is to be regarded as universal, then the

wicked would all be dead.

 

Two live possibilities appear as solutions. One is to interpret this

statement in II Thessalonians 1:7-10 in a limited sense, applying it only to

Antichrist, his armies, and possibly other incorrigible rebels against the

Lord. A number of passages (Zech. 12-14 especially, Matt. 25, etc.) appear to

fall in line in support of this view. Another possibility suggested by a

recent writer is that the eye of Paul, here functioning as a “seer,” is

including a whole series of events in his line of prophetic vision and has

included elements of the final judgment after the 1,000 years. This has strong

appeal, though proof is lacking.

 

Whichever of these possibilities is adopted (and the present writer

prefers the former), the possibility of a Millennium remains. The proposition

affirming the destruction of Antichrist and his forces at Christ’s coming is

true in either case.

 

Perhaps the advance of Biblical studies in the hands of reverent scholars

will give us more certain light at this point. Problems like this one should

give all prophetical interpreters “humble pause” as they seek to teach the

Bible.

 

4. The renovation of the cosmos at the coming of Christ will involve

such changes in the realms of inanimate material, of vegetable, human, and

animal life as are necessary to produce conditions which the prophets declare

shall prevail during the coming kingdom age.

 

The Old Testament prophets (especially Isaiah) are replete with

predictions of the beauty and perfection of that coming age. The whole of

nature and of society is to be restored as it was (or would have become) before

the fall. There is not space here to treat those prophecies, save to say that

society will be full of joy and gladness. Sin and rebellion are said to be

repressed till the close of the thousand years, when (according to Rev. 20) it

will be interrupted for a short time, after which earth, entirely cleansed of

every vestige of sin, shall continue in uninterrupted peace forever.

 

However, it is also predicted that the introduction of these improvements

will be attended by numerous unusual supernaturally superintended physical

wonders in the earth (earthquakes, etc.) and in the heavens (stars falling,

etc.)–all directed toward moral ends. That is, these natural wonders

(described, I think, in much detail in Revelation 6 to 19) shall be judgments

on men living at that time, and constitute what is called the Indignation.

 

Now, if Peter’s great prophecy is to be fulfilled at the beginning of the

Millennium, then it must have reference to these phenomena. “The heavens shall

pass away with a great noise” must refer to the same event as Isaiah 34:4, a

clear millennial passage, “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and

the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their hosts shall

fade away.”

 

“The elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat” is more difficult to

understand because of questions about the meaning of “elements” (stoicheia).

If, as the A.S.V. margin suggests and a host of commentators likewise, it

refers to heavenly bodies, then it may have reference to the same heavenly

changes set forth in the preceding clause. However, this word is used five

times in the New Testament outside of II Peter 3. In every one of these it has

clear and unquestionable reference to false moral and spiritual principles, and

hence is also translated by our word “rudiments.” If this is the meaning in II

Peter 3:10 and 12, then it would seem to refer to the coming judgments on false

religion, false philosophy, etc., as set forth in Revelation 17, 18, and 19.

If the word has reference to the actual elements of the matter of

terrestrial earth, it could be applied to the widespread physical changes which

shall precede the establishment of the kingdom.

 

Which of these three meanings (all of which have precedents in classical

Greek literature) is the correct one does not seem possible to determine

finally. It is not necessary to determine. All that is incumbent on us is to

show that it is nothing more than the prophets frequently affirm will take

place at the inception of Messiah’s coming kingdom. This, I think, has been

done.

 

The “works” which shall be “discovered” are undoubtedly the works of man:

literature, art, architecture, etc., all of which will be subject to the

searching discrimination and judgment of the Son of God when He shall come.

It is quite remarkable that the same Peter who made this prophecy spoke

definitely of this subject on another occasion, and in a fashion which fully

harmonizes with the interpretation just now placed on his words in the epistle.

I refer to his words to the Jews at the temple, as recorded in Acts 3. After

calling for repentance and referring to the second coming of Christ, Peter

says: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all

things, whereof God spake by the mouth of his holy prophets that have been from

of old.” Christ will remain in heaven until He comes again, when He will

restore all things which the Old Testament prophets predicted. I think there

can be small doubt, indeed, that Peter (in Acts 3:21 above) had reference to

the very changes which the prophets indicate shall introduce the coming

kingdom, and that he was referring to the same in II Peter 3:10 and 12.

 

4. Finally, this whole affair is best described and integrated by the

name “regeneration,” the word which our Lord Himself used of it.

 

Jesus used this word of His coming kingdom when He told the apostles:

 

“Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration [Gr.

palingenesia] when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also

shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt.

19:28). The word means new birth. A standard lexicon says it is “that signal

and glorious change of all things (in heaven and earth) for the better, that

restoration of the primal and perfect condition of things which existed before

the fall of our first parents, which the Jews looked for in connection with the

advent of the Messiah, and which the primitive Christians expected in

connection with the visible return of Jesus from heaven” (Thayer, Greek

English Lexicon of the N.T.).

 

Observe that Paul uses the same word of the believer’s new birth (Titus

3:5), that in reference to the same fact he also speaks of it as a “new

creation” (II Cor. 5:17), and further specifies that old things have passed

away, and that all things have become new.

 

Everyone knows, though, that even after new birth the believer still has

sin in him. This will be removed completely at death or at the rapture of the

saints (I The. 3:13).

 

This comparison is at once an answer to those who object that if the new

heavens and new earth begin at the inauguration of the kingdom, then there can

be no sin at all in it, as is described in Revelation 20.

 

These things are well summed up by Paul, when he writes: “For the earnest

expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. For

the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him

who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from

the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God”

(Rom. 8:19-21).

 

Will the reader permit a restatement of the main propositions as a

summary?

 

The time of the great coming conflagration is to be at the beginning of

the Millennium, during the period immediately adjacent to that aspect of the

second coming of Christ known as the revelation.

 

The great cosmic disturbances described shall consist of a limited

renovation involving the death of all living wicked men at the revelation of

Christ and such changes in the realms of inanimate material, of vegetable,

animal, and human life as are necessary to produce conditions which the

prophets declare shall prevail during the coming kingdom age. All this is best

described, to use Jesus’ own word for it, as a “regeneration.”

 

APPENDIX II

 

Interpretations of the Millennium

 

REVELATION 20:1-7

 

Throughout this treatise I have sought to conserve the reader’s time and

to retain his interest by excluding discussion of matters not precisely germane

to the points under discussion.

 

Nevertheless, in the interests of fairness to opponents, and in order to

demonstrate more fully the truth of my proposition that “the Millennium is

specifically (1) the period of time between the resurrection of the just and of

the unjust, and (2) the period of Satan’s imprisonment,” this appendix is

added.

 

It becomes more evident, after examination of many treatments of

Revelation 20:1-7, that the literal interpretation is self-evidently the only

acceptable one. And this is said with due respect to the names of many great

men in the field of Biblical exegesis who insist, on the contrary, that little

or nothing in these seven verses is to be taken literally–some of whom insist

even that there is no numerical notation in the entire Book of Revelation which

is to be taken literally.

 

It will not be convenient to classify the views of the “thousand years”

or Millennium simply as Postmillennial, Premillennial, or Amillennial. Nor

will a division be made solely between the figurative (or spiritual, topical,

metaphorical, or nonliteral) and the literal interpretations, though, so far as

the thousand years is concerned, such classification is feasible. The method

to be followed will be to classify the different views according to the

specific interpretation given the Greek words chilia etee, translated “a

thousand years” in the English versions. Then, in connection with each of

these views of the thousand years, the variations in interpretation of the

details of the prophecy will be added. I have excepted the Premillennial

interpretation from treatment in this appendix, inasmuch as this view is

adopted and explained in the entire book.

 

Without pretending to have exhausted the number of variations of

interpretation of the “thousand years” of Revelation 20 advocated since John

wrote the words on Patmos, at least seven distinct views besides the

Premillennial view are to be discerned. That is, there are at least these

seven which have important differences and have been held by able orthodox

Christian theologians. The views of Swedenborgians, Russellites, Seventh Day

Adventists, and other groups not usually regarded as orthodox do not come

within the limits of this survey.

 

It would be a hopeless task to attempt exhaustive description of every

variation of a view. Therefore the course followed will be to name, state, and

describe each view as set forth by its leading advocate or advocates. The

effects of the view of the interpretation of the rest of the passage will be

presented also. Most of the refutation is reserved for a brief treatment of

the linguistic arguments at the close.

 

For want of any more descriptive term, I label the simplest, and probably

least acceptable, of all views as

 

1. The Agnostic View: The “thousand years” are an unintelligible

hieroglyph.

 

This view has been unconsciously adopted by the many preachers and

writers who either explicitly or implicitly pass by the entire Book of

Revelation as if it were totally incomprehensible. However, at least one has

specifically adopted this, in a formal way, as his view of the Millennium.

After surveying the Biblical support for the Chiliastic doctrine, he

admits that “there are…passages, which, if interpreted strictly and

exclusively according to the letter, afford some ground for the millenarian

doctrine” (art. “Millenarianism, Millennium,” C. A. Semisch, Schaff-Herzog

Ency. of Rel. Knowledge, third ed. revised and enlarged). He adds, “It cannot

be disputed that the Book of Revelation (20:4 sqq.) contains the fundamental

characteristics of millenarianism.” Then, after rejecting the views of

Hengstenberg and of Augustine, he states his own view as follows:

 

In view of the difficulty of separating figure from real fact, we

conclude that the millenarianism of the Book of Revelation is a hieroglyph

whose meaning has not yet been satisfactorily solved (ibid.).

 

The writer recently heard a very learned gentleman from New Zealand give

a lecture1in which he asserted that probably the Book of Revelation was a

“cryptic letter” from the “concentration camp” on Patmos, and that as read to

the seven churches of Asia was furnished with some sort of key to the symbols–

a key which unfortunately has been lost and is probably beyond recovery. In

the lecture he did not apply this theory to the text now under consideration,

but it may be presumed that if the occasion arose he would do so. His view,

probably shared by others, seems to be essentially agnostic so far as the

symbolism goes.

 

There is something to commend about this view. There is certainly more

in the Book of Revelation, and specifically in 20:1-7, that any one interpreter

is likely to discover. Yet there is nothing essentially esoteric or cryptic

about the passage as it stands. The problems are no greater than those which

prevail in most apocalyptic and predictive sections of the Bible. It is not

likely that many will care to associate themselves permanently with Semisch’s

agnosticism.

 

2. The Postmillennial View: The “thousand years” are a literal period of

time at the latter part of the present age, to be terminated some time before

the second advent of Christ.

 

An explanation must be offered quickly. Though all Postmillennialists

agree that the “thousand years” of Revelation 20 refer to a literal period of

time, they do not all agree that there will necessarily be one thousand literal

years of it. That is, some suppose the the “thousand years” stand figuratively

for a long period of time.

 

Postmillennialism is of comparatively recent origin. Several of the best

advocates of the view attribute its origin to Daniel Whitby (1638-1726), an

English Arminian theologian who near the end of his life adopted Arian views of

the Godhead. A. H. Strong, for example (Systematic Theology, 1014), writes:

“Our own interpretation of Revelation 20:1-10, was first given, for substance,

by Whitby.”

 

The best known statement of the Postmillennial position is probably that

of A. A. Hodge (Outlines of Theology, 450 ff.). With his customary force,

skill, and brevity, Mr. Hodge has presented the case as follows:

 

What is the Scriptural doctrine concerning the millennium?

1st. The Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, clearly reveal

that the gospel is to exercise an influence over all branches of the human

family, immeasurably more extensive and more thoroughly transforming than any

it has ever realized in time past. This end is to be gradually attained

through the spiritual presence of Christ in the ordinary dispensation of

Providence, and ministrations of His church.2

 

2nd. The period of this general prevalency of the gospel will continue

a thousand years, and is hence designated the millennium.

 

3rd. The Jews are to be converted to Christianity either at the

commencement or during the continuance of this period.

 

4th. At the end of these thousand years, and before the coming of

Christ, there will be a comparatively short season of apostasy and violent

conflict between the kingdoms of light and darkness.

 

5th. Christ’s advent, the general resurrection and judgment, will be

simultaneous, and immediately succeeded by the burning of the old, and the

revelation of the new earth and heavens.

 

Hodge, then, seems to feel that the “one thousand years” are a literal

period of one thousand years, and that they will run their course in the latter

portion of this present age.

 

However, David Brown, certainly the most voluminous writer in support of

Postmillennialism, has taken a slightly different view. He writes:

 

One remark, however, I must request the reader to bear in mind….I

attach no importance, in this argument, to the precise period of a thousand

years. It occurs nowhere in Scripture but in one solitary passage. There

are reasons for taking it definitely and literally; but to some these reasons

appear slender. They think it means just a long indefinite period; agreeing

with us, however, as to its being yet to come (The Second Advent, 27,28).

 

There are variations in the minor points among Postmillenarians but most

would agree on the general scheme of Hodge above. Another orthodox and

scholarly advocate of Postmillennialism was A. H. Strong. I cite his views as

characteristic of most orthodox Postmillenial doctrine.

 

The binding of Satan is presumably the restraint put on the devil by

the ultimate prevalence of Christianity throughout the earth–when Jew and

Gentile alike became possessed of Christianity’s blessings (Systematic

Theology, 1008).

 

The first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6) is

 

not a preliminary resurrection of the body, in the case of departed saints,

but a period in the latter days of the church militant, when, under special

influence of the Holy Ghost, the spirit of the martyrs shall appear again,

true religion be generally quickened and revived, and the members of Christ’s

churches become so conscious of their strength in Christ that they shall, to

an extent unknown before, triumph over the powers of evil both within and

without (ibid. 1013).

 

Strong feels that the release of Satan (Rev. 20:7) for “a little season”

indicates that

at the close of this millennial period, evil will again be permitted to exert

its utmost power in a final conflict with righteousness. This spiritual

struggle, moreover, will be accompanied and symbolized by political

convulsions, and by fearful indications of desolation in the natural world

(ibid. 1009).

 

Thus the “little season” is the great tribulation period.

The destruction of Satan, Gog and Magog, the general resurrection and the

general judgment of the great white throne are held to be at the second advent,

some time after the close of the millennium.

 

It should be seen that Postmillennialists have not generally held that

the second advent closes the Millennium, for by Strong’s view, the “little

season” is said to intervene. It is after the Millennium–but how long after

is not declared.

 

It needs to be added that many advocates have felt that neither the

church nor the world may be conscious of either the beginning or the close of

the Millennium. Brown makes this clear:

 

Let no one suppose I expect that the beginning and end of this period

will be so clearly discernible as to leave no room for doubt on any mind. On

the contrary, I think there can hardly be a doubt that it will follow the law

of all Scripture dates in this respect–of Daniel’s “seventy weeks,” and of

the “twelve hundred and sixty days” of Antichristian rule. The beginning and

end of the former of these periods is even yet a matter of some controversy,

etc. (op.cit., 28).

 

The period during which Postmillennialism was at its height of acceptance

was the latter half of the nineteenth century and during the first quarter of

the present [twentieth] century. Among the great theologians of this era,

Strong, C. A. Hodge, A. A. Hodge, C. A. Briggs were Postmillennial.

 

Postmillennial writers of the more popular sort were Albert Barnes

(Commentaries on the New Testament) and David Brown, to mention only a couple.

Snowden (The Coming of the Lord, 1919) and Carroll (The Book of Revelation,

1916) are among the most recent thorough-going Postmillennial orthodox writers.

 

During the “golden age” of American Protestant Modernism, which came to an end

with World War II, Modernists adopted a kind of Postmillennialism to which

earlier advocates would have given no approval (e.g., Rall, Modern

Premillennialism and the Christian Hope). It was based more on the theory of

evolution and humanism than on any interpretation of the Bible, and need not

occupy our attention here. The present heirs of Modernism, the Neo-orthodox

and Neo-liberal people, are scarcely more optimistic about the course of the

present era than Premillenarians, and so are not inclined to Postmillennialism.

Postmillennialism has no strong, vocal present-day advocates. But it is

not likely that it is dead. It seems probable that any period of prolonged

peace in the world would provide the climate in which a revival of

Postmillennialism might take place.

 

3. Augustinian Amillennialism: The “thousand years” are probably a

literal designation of the length of the present age, to be closed by the

second advent of Christ. The reference is to the course of the church on

earth during this period.

 

Note the word “probably.” I think Augustine would have approved the use

of this word in this connection. As will be seen, he had a wholesome restraint

in stating his views on some features of Bible prophecy which could well

continue to be emulated.

 

Augustine’s views on eschatology, among many other subjects, are set

forth in The City of God, the result of thirteen years of labor (A.D. 413-426).

The part which relates to the Millennium is Book XX, chapters 6 to 15. This

will be found in “The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series,” volume

II, translated by Marcus Dods. It is safe to assert that until this section of

Augustine’s great work is mastered, one cannot fully appreciate the millennial

discussions which have followed since his day. It is almost, if not wholly,

true that all Amillennial and Postmillennial systems have been postscripts to

The City of God.

 

Having just now read the entire section in The City of God again several

times, I do not feel that it can be positively asserted that Augustine was

convinced that the thousand years should be taken literally. He seems to say

so, but he is not unequivocal. His nearest approach is in chapter 10. There

he seems to say that the Millennium may be either the last one thousand years

before the consummation, into which the present age falls, or it may be the

entire period of the world’s history, called one thousand years because one

thousand as the cube of ten would be “the number of perfection to mark the

fulness of time” (ibid. XX, 6). He seems to lean toward the first of the two

possibilities. But, in either case, whether he thought the one thousand years

to be literal or a figure, he believed the term stood for a real period of

time, whether one thousand years or six thousand years.

 

At any rate, he believed the whole present age to be in the Millennium

and that the termination of the present age and of the Millennium would be

approximately synchronous. It also appears that he followed the Septuagint

chronology (it is believed that he did not know Hebrew) and thought the sixth

thousand years of human history to be well in progress when the present

dispensation began. He also evidently believed that at the end of six thousand

years of history, Christ would come again and end the current age (City of God,

XX,7). He specifically rejects the idea that the Millennium is a future age

after the close of the present dispensation.

 

Later on, he makes it clear that he feels the Millennium refers to the

course of the church in the world, and the reign of saints to be a present

situation on earth, except insofar as the unity of the church living and dead

involves a secondary reference to the saints in heaven as well.

 

His basic position on the Millennium is clarified as he goes on to give

his views on the rest of Revelation 20.

 

“The first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4-6) he holds to be a spiritual

resurrection–the same as that “resurrection” or “regeneration” described in

John 5:26,27. It is the same as personal salvation. It is participated in

only by the saved, as he says, “in the first resurrection none have a part save

those who shall be eternally blessed” (ibid. XX, 6).

The second resurrection described in Revelation 20 is a physical

resurrection of all men, according to Augustine. He speaks of it as a

resurrection “of judgment” (XX, 6) almost as a Premillennialist, but he goes on

to clarify his statement and show that he means only that the saints, all of

whom participate in spiritual regeneration (first resurrection), shall not be

“judged” (damned) in this second or physical resurrection at the consummation,

even though they do participate in the resurrection.

He concludes:

 

So are there these two resurrections,–the one the first and spiritual

resurrection, which has place in this life, and preserves us from coming into

the second death; the other the second, which does not occur now, but in the

end of the world, and which by the last judgment shall dismiss some into the

second death, others into that life which has no death (ibid. XX, 8).

 

On the binding of Satan, he asserts that it has regard to the nations (as

Rev. 20 says) but that this means “no doubt, those among which the church

exists.” Later he clarifies this to mean that Satan will not be able to seduce

the elect of the church militant. This binding took place at the beginning of

the present age when Christ first bound the “strong man” in order that he might

“spoil his goods” (he cites Mark 3:27). This binding he seems to conceive of