The Prophet Daniel’s Prophecy concerning the Messiah
Since the prophecy applies also to the bad shepherds in times after Christ, He foretells all men that He will raise up a single shepherd, David His servant, to be their ruler and shepherd. He says He will crush the yoke laid upon their necks and shatter it to pieces, and will make a covenant of peace with him, that is to say, with David, who is none other than Christ the Messiah, who, according to Daniel (2:44, 7:17-18) will establish a new kingdom on earth, which the saints of the Most High will take possession of, and there will be one flock and one shepherd over it. The end and fulfilment of these prophecies is nigh at hand, and the time is fast approaching when peace will reign upon the earth. So be it!
“Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, came flying, and touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he gave me to understand, and spoke with me, and said, O Daniel, I am come forth to instruct thee with understanding . . . . Seventy weeks of years are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to end sin, and to put a seal upon sins, and to wipe out the iniquities and to make propitiation for injustice, and to introduce everlasting justice and righteousness; and to put a seal upon the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies … ” (Dan. 9: 21-27).
In the foregoing passage the prophet foretells the time of the coming of Christ the Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom on earth. While Daniel was praying to God and invoking mercy upon Israel so that it might return from captivity to the fatherland, he heard a voice announcing the above prophecy. The period of captivity according to decisions of the Most High was fixed at seventy years (Zechariah 1:12) and was divided by Daniel into “weeks” as follows: seven, sixty-two, and one, and was stated as “seventy weeks of years.” During the seventy years of captivity, the city of Jerusalem and the temple therein would remain destroyed and ruined and devastated, and the expatriated people would be held captive in Babylon. During the seven weeks, or forty-nine years, the people are to return from captivity by permission of the kings of Persia, Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, and the temple and city and walls of Jerusalem are to be rebuilt; and the worship in accordance with the law and the form of government founded by Moses are to be restored.
During the period indicated as sixty-two weeks the priestly form of government is to be retained, and the coming of the son of David is to be looked forward to, which means that Christ the Messiah was expected to re-erect the fallen throne of the kingdom. But in the last week Christ the Messiah comes, is condemned to death by the lawless chief priests, the greatest sin is perpetrated which seals all the sins of the Jewish people, all acts of injustice are wiped away by the grace of Christ the Messiah, God’s eternal justice is revealed, the prophecies are fulfilled, and Christ the Messiah is established on Mount Zion, the holy mountain, and He issues the Lord’s commands.
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, the face of which was excellent, stood before thee; and fearful was the sight thereof. The head of the image was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Thou beheldest till a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands, and it smote the image upon the feet thereof that were of iron and clay, and at last brake it to pieces. Then were broken to pieces all at once the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold; and it became like so much dust on a summer threshing floor; and the muchness of the wind swept them away, and no place was found for them: and the stone which smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king . . . . And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of man; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and his kingdom shall not be left to another people, but shall break to pieces and scatter like chaff all other kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2 : 31-36, 43-44).
“These great beasts are four kingdoms which shall be set up on earth; but these kingdoms shall be done away with, and saints of the Most High shall take possession of the kingdom, and shall possess it for ever and ever” (Dan. 7: 7-18).
The king of the Babylonians, Nebuchadnezzar, saw a dream, or vision, and upon rising he was unable to recollect it. But the impression it made upon his mind was so vivid and persistent that he was unable to sleep or to rest. He summoned the wise men, or Magi, of Babylon to tell him the vision and the interpretation of it, but none of them was able to find out about what the dream was. The king then ordered that they be put to death. Notwithstanding this, however, they were saved, because Daniel the prophet, being one of them, learned about the vision and its meaning (spoken of in the Bible as its “interpretation”) as a result of his being enlightened respecting the facts by the God of heaven, whom Daniel worshipped heart and soul. In his explanation to the king, Daniel spoke as follows: Thou, O king, wert wondering what is to happen in the future, and God revealed to thee the facts in this image which thou saw with human eyes in a vision and which had a head of gold; thou art that head of gold, O king. After thee there shall arise another kingdom inferior to thine; it is symbolized by its breast and anus and hands of silver (meaning that of the Persians and Medes). Following that there will be set up a third kingdom, which shall conquer the whole world, and which is symbolized by its belly and thighs of brass (that was the Greek empire of Alexander the Great). And thereafter shall be set up a fourth kingdom which shall be as strong as iron: forasmuch as iron shattereth and subdueth all things, it likewise shall shatter and subdue all else, and it is symbolized by the iron legs and feet (the Roman Empire).
“And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of iron, because the clay thou sawest was mixed with iron; and as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so shall a part of the kingdom be strong, and a part thereof shall be. crushed to pieces. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as the iron is not mixed with the clay” (Dan. 2: 41-43).
Afterwards the Roman Empire was dissolved into various nations, ten in number, which are symbolized by the ten toes of the feet and by the ten horns (Dan. 7:7; Rev. 13:1, 17:3, 9, 12). By “stone” is meant our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born without the union of men and who was the Messiah and smote the image in the feet – that is to say, the ten nations – and after crushing them to pieces He will establish a new kingdom, which the saints of the God of heaven are to receive and to possess for ever and ever thereafter.
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what will be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried: but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time when a change shall be wrought in the continuation, after the sacrifice shall have been abolished forever, and preparation shall have been made for the giving of the abomination of desolation, shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that remaineth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. But go thy way till the end come: for thou shalt rest, and shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Dan. 12: 8-13).
Through the prophecy of the time of “seventy weeks of years” was fixed the time of the incarnation, or birth in the flesh, of Christ the Messiah until His crucifixion: that is to say, from the time, 457 B.C., when Esdra the priest, who was descended from Eleanor the son of Aaron, received authority from the king Artaxerxes the Long-armed to restore the Mosaic form of government in Jerusalem and Judea the number of years amounted to 490, in exact agreement with the prophesied time of “seventy weeks of years.” For in that year (457 B.C.) there had been built the street and the wall mentioned in Daniel 9: 25, and the Mosaic law had been put in effect again.
By the prophetic explanation of his dream about an “image” to king Nebuchadnezzar was foretold the establishment of the kingdom of Christ on earth, for, in the first place He was recognized as the chief priest for the exemption of God’s people from the taint of the “original sin” – more properly called the “primogenitorial” sin; and in the next place He was recognized as being the King and Professor and Great Teacher, just as He had been recognized as being the Chief Priest because the people were not in a position at first to recognize Him as king in actual practice. In addition, by this last prophecy, which was made by the “man clothed in linen,” and explained to Daniel, the time of the coming of the kingdom of Christ was fixed by means of historical events at 1,335 days, to be taken in the sense of years in accordance with the Scriptural use of the word as confirmed by the passage saying, “I have appointed thee each day for a year” (Ezek 4:6; Num. 14: 34), with reference to punishment of the people by God.
While Daniel was praying to God (Dan. 9:4), the Archangel Gabriel presented himself and encouraged Daniel by telling him that he was a man greatly beloved of God (Dan. 9 :23, 10:11, 19) and not to fear, but to stand upright and be strong. Gabriel then foretold to him the events which were to occur in the future, as recounted by Daniel, but in the end he said:
“But thou, O Daniel, shut the words up, and seal the book until the end of their fulfillment, until many men shall have been taught and knowledge shall have greatly increased” (Daniel 12:4).
When Daniel insisted that Gabriel explain “the end of these things,” and the events in question, he was told,
“Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end, when many shall be elected, and made white, and tried in the fire, and sanctified; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:8-10).
In other words, the archangel told him: Daniel, it is not time for knowledge of these events of the last days to be made known and intelligible; the knowledge of them is hidden and sealed up, but when that time comes these words will be understood by the wise, and they will perceive the events and the meaning of the prophecy. A similar observation holds good also with regard to the uninterpreted portion of the Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, which remained a mystery until the time came for it to be interpreted after the 1260 years of tribulation.
“And from the time when a change shall be wrought in the continuation, after the sacrifice shall have been abolished forever…” (Daniel 12:11)
The meaning of these words is to be seen in the fact that the “continuation” of the observance of the Mosaic law of animal sacrifice was changed by the sacrifice of Christ the Messiah on the Cross, and the former mode of sacrifice was abolished in favor of the type of bloodless sacrifice instituted then in the form of bread and wine in the cup, which is to be followed forever for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting, in accordance with the words of Christ.
“… And preparation shall have been made for the giving of the abomination of desolation, shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11 cont.)
The meaning of these words becomes more intelligible when note is taken of the fact that the evangelist St. Luke has given us a clue to their interpretation in the passage of his gospel in which he says:
“that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).
Hence it is evident that with the Lord everybody who has an exalted heart – that is to say, who has the temerity and self-conceit to be “stuck up,” or to think himself more important than other people – is an abomination. In like manner and for the same reason Scripture calls idols and idolatry an “abomination,” because God, who loves the truth, naturally abominates falsehood and whatever is false and fictitious, especially when it is presented as something marvelous or venerable. But in order for that “abomination of desolation” to appear among men and be recognized, it was necessary to pave the way for it and prepare men for its coming and its reception. The way was paved by Arius, the little antichrist, who infected the minds of many men by spreading abroad the heresy that “Christ is not God, but a creature of God,” which he was the first to propound publicly as a doctrine. Thus, when the great antichrist and “abomination of desolation” known as Mohammed actually came, he found a people (those who had been predisposed by the doctrine of Arianism) ready to welcome and accept his teaching, or rather misteaching, and it was to Mohammed’s kingdom or dominion the “thousand two hundred and ninety days,” understood as years, were given as the limit of its existence. But these days are prolonged to a thousand thousand three hundred and thirty-five. For Daniel says in the next verse,
“Blessed is he that remaineth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.” (Daniel 12:12)
The meaning of this statement is that there are to be forty-five years more in addition to the thousand two hundred and ninety, and he blesses those Christians who will remain in the faith in Jesus Christ persistently until the very end of Mohammedanism, because these last years are to be years of pronounced impiety rather than of piety and faith.