Daniel 7





This chapter begins the second section of the book. All before this has been

narrative; visions are introduced into the narrative, but they were not given

to Daniel himself, but to others; his role was the secondary one of

interpreter. These visions and the events connected with them are related

more as incidents in the biography of Daniel, than as revelations of the

future. With this chapter begins a series of revelations to Daniel personally.

This chapter is the last chapter of the Aramaic portion of Daniel. Though

thus linguistically joined to what has preceded, logically it is related to

what follows.


1 “In the first year of Belshazzar King of Babylon Daniel had a

dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream,

and told the sum of the matters.”  The language of the Septuagint is

suggestive of the actual state of matters, “While Baltasar was reigning —

acting as king — for the first year, Daniel saw a vision (παρὰ  - parabeside)

his head upon his bed. Then Daniel wrote the vision which he had seen in

heads (κεφάλαια kephalaia - chapters) of (λόγων-  logon – narration).”

While these words do not necessarily imply that Belshazzar was not king,

but only acting as king, they yet may mean this. We know now that for five

years during the nominal reign of his father Nabunahid, Belshazzar really

reigned. Theodotion does not absolutely agree with the Massoretic reading

here, In the first year of Belshazzar King of the Chaldeans, Daniel saw a

ἐνύπνιον  - enupnion - dream) and the visions of his head upon his bed,

 and he wrote the dream. The omission of the final clause will be observed.

The Peshitta is closer to the Massoretic; it differs, in fact, only by the insertion

Of malcootha, “the reign of,” before “Belshazzar.” This is, in all probability,

the original heading of the tract in which Daniel first published his

prophecy. What were the circumstances, so far as we can attain a

knowledge of them, when thus the future was revealed to Daniel? The

Scythian forces under Astyages had conquered all the countries

intermediate between the steppes whence they had come and Babylonia.

Above all, they had overthrown the Median Empire, that was closely

associated with that of Babylon. They had pressed in upon Babylonia, and

were besieging its cities when Cyrus, the King of Ansan, rebelled against

Astyages. We may imagine that, from the extent of their empire, the Manda

would have to be somewhat scattered. Cyrus then might easily gain

advantage over the small division of Manda that held the canton of Ansan.

As usually, the attacks of Elam and Media on Babylonia and Assyria had

been made across the canton of Ansan; the rebellion of Ansan would thus

separate the Manda in Elam and Media from those in Babylonia — the

latter being the main portion. Cyrus succeeded in rousing the Medes,

Elamites, and Persians against this invading horde, and wrested the power

from them. Nabunahid, in a pious inscription, regards Cyrus as the

instrument in the hand of Marduk to overthrow these oppressive Manda.

Shortly after this uprising of Cyrus, Nabunahid is to appearance stricken

with illness, and for several years takes no part in the business of the

empire. In the seventh year of Nabunahid, we learn from the annals that the

king was in Tema, and did not come to Babylon, but that the king’s son

conducted the affairs of the monarchy. It was probably, then, in this year,

when Cyrus had defeated the Scythians, and had driven them out of Elam,

Media, and Babylonia, that Daniel had the vision recounted in this chapter.

Keen political insight might easily foresee the events in the comparatively

immediate future. The rise of a vigorous new power like that of Persia

meant menace to the neighboring powers. Babylonia, filled with treachery

and discontent, was in no condition to resist. The fall of Babylon seemed

imminent — its place was to be taken by Persia. But Babylon had

succeeded Assyria, and before Assyria had been the empires of Egypt and

the Hittites. He remembered the dream of his old master Nebuchadnezzar.

Now a dream is vouchsafed to himself, which repeats the vision of

Nebuchadnezzar with some differences. He is reminded that the changes

that come over the affairs of men are not unending. The rise and fall of

empires is not the confused whirl of uncontrolled atoms, but all tending

towards an end — the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the



2 “Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and,

behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.”  The

Septuagint omits the introductory clause, and renders, “On my couch I saw

in my night-sleep, and, behold, the four winds of heaven fell upon the great

sea.” Theodotion, like the Septuagint, omits the introductory clause, and

renders, “I Daniel beheld, and, lo, the four winds of the heaven rushed

upon (προσέβαλλονproseballonbroke forth) the great sea.” The Peshitta

seems as if transferred from the Massoretic text, the resemblance is so close.

The variations in the Greek Version may be due to condensation of a fuller

narrative. The verb translated “strove” in our Authorized Version is better rendered,

as in the Revised, “brake forth upon.” Luther’s version is, “sturmeten wider

einander.” This, like the Authorized Version, seems to be the result of the

Vulgate pugnabant. The only objection to this is that it ought to be

followed by a preposition. The translation suggested by Levy,

“stirred up,” appears still better. The sea referred to is naturally to be taken

as the Mediterranean; it is “the great sea” of the prophets (Ezekiel 47:10).

Jerusalem is not so far from the sea but that Daniel might have seen

it in his boyhood. The symbolic meaning of the sea is the mass of heathen

nations (Psalm 65:7). The “four winds of heaven” usually stand for the

points of the compass (Jeremiah 49:36). Here, however, the winds are

pictured as actual forces dashing down upon the sea, and stirring it up to

its depths. It may be objected that this is an impossible picture. It might be

replied that Virgil, in the first book of the ‘AEneid,’ 84-86, and Milton, in

‘Paradise Regained,’ has the same thing. Daniel has more freedom, for he

narrates a vision, and, further, to him the winds (rucheen) were under the

guidance of angels. Hitzig denies that the winds can be angelicae

potestates, as Jerome maintains; and, when Jerome supports his position by

a quotation from the Septuagint Version of Deuteronomy 32:8, gives

as answer a mark of exclamation. The passage, “He set the nations

according to the number of the angels of God,” represents a phase of

thought in regard to angelology, which Daniel elsewhere obviously has.

The double meaning of the word ruach made the transition easy. We see

the same double meaning in Zechariah 6:5. The sea, then, is to be

regarded as the great mass of Gentile nations, and the winds are, therefore,

the spiritual agencies by which God carries on the history of the world. As

there are four winds, there are also four empires. There are angelic princes

of at least two of these empires referred to later. May we not argue that

these empires had, according to the thought of Daniel, each an angelic

head? It may be doubted whether the most advanced critics know more of

angelology than Daniel, or can be certain that his view was a mistaken one.

Moreover, the Mediterranean Sea was the center round which the epic of

history, as revealed to Daniel, unfolded itself. Nebuchadnezzar marched

along the eastern shores of that midland sea; the Persian monarchs essayed

to command it by their fleets; across a branch of that sea came Alexander;

and from yet further across its blue waters came the Romans. The

Mediterranean saw most of the history transacted that took place between

the time of Daniel and that of our Lord.


3 “And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one

from another.”  The Septuagint rendering omits “great;” otherwise it is a

closely accurate representation of the Massoretic text, save that the

translator seems to have had, not aDAˆm ad, but as in the Syriac,

adjAˆm adj, as he renders ἓν παρὰ τὸ ἕν – en para to en – one from another.

 Theodotion has μεγάλα megalagreat - but does not so slavishly follow the

Aramaic construction at the end. The Peshitta is very close to the Massoretic, save

that in the last clause it agrees with the Septuagint. The number four is, in apocalyptic

writings, significant of the world; “the four winds” mean the whole world. Here it is

human history that is summed up in the four beasts. So in Zechariah we have “four

horns” that symbolize the oppressors of the people of God (Zechariah 1:18).

We have “four” chariots in Ibid. 6:1, which seem to be symbols of the

same thing. Beasts. Animals of one sort or another are used of nations in the

prophets; thus Egypt is symbolized in Isaiah 27:1 as “leviathan,” presumably a

crocodile, as “a dragon” in Ezekiel 29:3 Babylonia is figured as an

eagle (Ibid. ch.17:3). Composite beings are used as symbols also, as Tyre is

addressed as a ‘“covering cherub” (Ibid. 28:14).  In the Book of Revelation

Rome is figured as a beast with seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 13:1).

In the Book of Enoch (85. — 90.) we find this figurative use of animals carried

much further. Assyria and Babylonia and, following them, Persia made great

use of composite, monstrous animal forms as symbols, not so much, however,

of political as of spiritual powers. This distinction is the less important, that

political events were regarded as the production of spiritual activity.


4 “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till

the wing. thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth,

and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given

to it.” The Septuagint and Theodotion render “lioness,” but otherwise agree

with the Massoretic text. The Peshitta does not differ from the received text.

The word אריה is epicene. It is, however, to be noted that in later

Aramaic the terminal letter was א, not ה.  The word gappeen, “wings,” is

worthy of note; in this form it appears in the Peshitta, i.e. in Eastern

Aramaic; genappeen is the Targumie form.  Most commentators agree

that the first beast here is the Babylonian Empire.  Nebuchadnezzar is

compared (Jeremiah 49:19) to a lion and to an eagle (Jeremiah 4:7; also

Ezekiel 17:3), and suitable to this are the winged human-headed figures

found in the ruins of Nineveh and Babylon. If we assume that the empire of

Babylon is represented by this first beast, then we have to note, in the first place,

the avoidance of any reference to numbers. It may be objected that the “eagle’s

wings,” ˆ גַפִּין  (gappeen), are in the dual. Yet the number two is not

mentioned. That the word was in the dual in the pre-Massoretic text does

not appear from the versions, so the correctness of the dual pointing may

be doubted. Unity was the mark of the Babylonian Empire in the vision of

Nebuchadnezzar, and unity still remains its numerical sign. As swiftness

and aggressiveness are symbolized by wings, especially “eagle’s wings,”

when we read, I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked,” we learn that

before the fall of Babylon a period set in, during which Babylonia ceased to

be the aggressive conquering power it had been. A mans heart was given

to it. J.D. Michaelis thinks the reference here is to the fact that when they

first broke from their original seats, the Chaldeans were barbarians, but

they became civilized in Babylonia. We know more now of the early

history of Babylon and of the Chaldeans, and know that at one time the

latter were divided into many cantons, each under its separate king, and

that on and after the conquest of Babylon by Merodach-Baladan, they

became more able to act in concert. The circumstances connected with the

accession of Nabopolassar are wrapped in mystery. However, it is clear

this cannot be the reference here. The giving of the man’s heart is brought

into close relationship with the plucking of the wings. This fact also

decides us against the view so generally maintained, that there is here a

reference to the madness of Nebuchadnezzar. In his case the heart of a

beast was given to a man; in the case before us the heart of a man is given

to a beast. To us the contrast seems more obvious than the resemblance.

Much superior is Calvin’s interpretation. Speaking of the phrases, “set

upon his feet,” and “the heart of a man was given to him,” Calvin says, “By

these modes of speech one understands that the Assyrians and Chaldeans

were reduced in rank — that now they were not like lions, but like men”

(compare II Samuel 17:10, “Whose heart is as the heart of a lion”). There is

no reference, then, to any supposed humanizing influences which manifested

 themselves in Babylonian methods of government after Nebuchadnezzar was

restored to his reason. From being an empire that spread its wings over the earth,

it became limited very much to Babylonia, if not at times to little more than the

territory surrounding the city of Babylon. We find that Nabunahid felt himself

ready to be overwhelmed by the encroaching Manda. He manifests nothing of

lion-like courage or eagle-like swiftness of assault. This was the state of

things when Daniel had this vision. Nabunahid was in Tema, while his son

did his best to defend the frontier against the threatening encroachments of

Cyrus. Hitzig and Havernick maintain that the attitude suggested by the

phrase, “set upon its feet,” is what, in heraldic language, is called

“rampant;” it is possible, but it rather militates against the natural meaning

of the words. Before leaving this, it must be noted that, as in the vision

Nebuchadnezzar had of the statue, the symbol of the Babylonian Empire is

the noblest metal — the head of gold. Here the noblest animal is the

symbol of Babylon“the lion.” The same reason may be assigned here

for this, as in the passage in the second chapter for that — that the

Babylonian Empire had more in it of the symbol of Divine government. No

monarch was more like a god to his subjects; his power was unchecked,

unlimited, uncontrolled.


5 “And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it

raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it

between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much

flesh.” The Septuagint rendering here differs but slightly. “A second” is

omitted, and instead of “they said”, it is “one said” or “he said.”

Theodotion agrees with the Septuagint in omitting the word “second,” but

agrees with the Massoretic in having “they said.” The Peshitta begins more

abruptly than the others, “And the second beast [was] like to a bear,” etc.

In regard to the Aramaic text, the use of the haphel form must be observed.

The presence of the שׂ instead of the ס  is an indication of antiquity in the

word בְּשַׂר (besar), which becomes in the Targums בְּסַד. It has been

supposed that the reading should be בִשֵׁר (bishayr) with שׁ, which would

mean” dominion” — a phrase that would give a sense out of harmony with

the context. It is in regard to the meaning of this symbol that interpreters

begin to be divided. The most common view is that this refers to the

Median Empire. There is nothing to support the assumption that the author

of Daniel distinguished between the Median and the Persian empires;

everything, indeed, which, fairly interpreted, proves that, while he regarded

the races as different, he looked upon the empire as one. It is the laws of

“the Medes and the Persians” that are appealed to before Darius the Mede.

The united empire is symbolized as a ram with two horns. Dr. Davidson, in

his review of Professor Bevan’s Commentary (Critical Review) on Daniel,

shows the duality indicated by the animal raising one of its two sides. That

one race was stronger than the other had to be symbolized, and this was

done by making the symbolic animal raise one side. The attitude at first

sight may be difficult to comprehend. There is a figure in Rawlinson’s ‘Five

Great Monarchies,’ vol. 1. p. 332, in which a pair of winged bulls are

kneeling with one leg; the side opposite to the kneeling leg is thus the

higher. Kliefoth denounces this interpretation as mistaken, without

assigning any reason against it. The interpretation by which he would

supersede it is that it means “to one side of Babylonia.” There is no

reference to locality at all. Moreover, as all the animals come out of the

sea, their relationship to Babylonia would be remote. It had three ribs in

the mouth of it between the teeth of it. What is meant by these three ribs

has been much debated. In the first place, Havernick thinks that it is a

mistake to translate ˆ עלעין (‘ileen) “ribs;” he maintains the true rendering

to be “tusks.” He identifies עלע with צלע  (Hebrew); but even if we grant

this identification, we do not find any justification for this rendering. The

word for “tusks” seems rather to be ניבי, which occurs in the Targum of

Joel 1:6 and Job 29:17, and the same word occurs in the Peshitta.

At the same time, the symmetry of the figure would fit some such view. In

none of the other beasts is there any reference to what they are devouring.

Still, one cannot lay stress on this. When we come to consider what is

meant by the “three ribs,” we have great diversity of opinion. On the

supposition that the ribs are in the mouth of the bear, and being gnawed by

it, it must mean that at the time when by the conquest of Babylon it came

into the apocalyptic succession, the bear-empire had laid waste three

territories. Ewald agrees that three countries must be meant, but assumes

these countries to be Babylonia, Assyria, Syria. There is no evidence,

Biblical or other, that the Median Empire ever extended to Syria. Hitzig,

following Ben Ezra, takes the ribs as three cities — Nineveh and two others.

There seems nothing to identify “ribs” with “cities;” we can imagine it to mean

“provinces.” Thus we are led to Kraniehfeld’s opinion, that it represents

constituent portions of an older confederation broken up. The view of

Kliefoth, that the conquests of the Medo-Persian Empire are intended —

Babylonia, Lydia, and Egypt — sins against the symbol, which implies that

the ribs are already in the bear’s teeth when he enters into the sphere of

apocalyptic history. Jephet-ibn-Ali maintains the “three ribs” to refer to the

three quarters of the world over which the Persian Empire ruled; and this is

the view of Keil. It seems better, with Von Lengerke, to regard the number

three as not important, but a general term for a few, though, at the same

time, we can make approximation to the number when we look not at the

Medea, but at Cyrus. Moreover, had we a better knowledge of early

apocalyptic, it is at least a possible thing that we might find that “three”

was the designating number of Lydia or Armenia, as “two” was of Medo-

Persia, “four” of Greece, “five” of Egypt, and “ten” of Rome. It seems to

us that the position of Cyrus — at the time we assume the vision to have

been given to Daniel — suits admirably with the picture of the bear. Like

the bear, he came from the mountains, in contradistinction from the lion of

the plains. He united under his rule his hereditary kingdom Ansan, Elam,

and Media. Thus we might have the three ribs if we might lay aside the

notion of these being devoured. He overthrew the Manda and Croesus

before he conquered Babylon, and it is probable that Armenia had also to

be conquered before he could encounter Croesus. It is singular that writers

who are determined to maintain that Daniel drew all his information as to

Babylonian history from Jeremiah and other early writers, should also, by

implication, maintain that, in defiance of the continual mention by these

writers of kings of the Medes, as if they were a numerous confederacy

(Jeremiah 51:11), Daniel held that there was a united empire of the

Medes separate from the Persian Empire. The second empire is not, as

maintained by Ewald, represented by a bear, “because its empire was less

extensive than that of Babylon,” but because it was a falling off from the

theocratic monarch — the monarch who ruled as God. They said thus unto

it, Arise, devour much flesh. The speakers here may be “the watchers,” or

it may be used impersonally. On the assumption that the bear is the

shadowy Median Empire, what meaning can this command have? The

Medes, as distinct from the Persians, by the time that Epiphanes ascended

the throne, had become very shadowy. The scriptural account of them does

not represent them as pre-eminently cruel. Isaiah (Isaiah 13:17)

foretells they will conquer Babylon, with all the concomitants of a city

taken by assault. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:25) places the Medes with

other nations under the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, and

(Jeremiah 51:11, 28) he too asserts that the Medes will assail Babylon.

There is nothing here to indicate the expectation that Media should be a

pre-eminently destructive power. This applied correctly enough to Persia.


6 “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which

had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four

heads; and dominion was given to it.”  The Septuagint rendering is shorter,

“And after these things I saw another beast, like a leopard, and four wings

stretched over it (ἐπέτεινον  epeteinonstretched over), and

there were four heads to the beast.” The grammar of this is difficult to understand.

As it stands, it must be  translated as above; if, however, we might read ἐπιτεινον,

we should avoid the solecism of uniting a neuter plural to a plural verb, rendering,

“and it stretched,” etc. Paulus Tellensis renders as above, and adds a

clause, “and a tongue was given to it” — a reading to all appearance due to

the transposal of l and v. It is difficult, on the present text, to explain how

the Septuagint rendered “wings of a fowl,” “stretched over it.” If, however, the

original word were that used in the Peshitta, <ARAMAIC> (paehatha), it

is explicable that this should have been read פְרַשׁוּ. Theodotion and the

Peshitta do not differ from the Massoretic text. The majority of critical

commentators maintain this to be the Persian Empire. A leopard is a less

animal than a bear, and therefore, according to the argument these critics

used with regard to the second empire, it ought to mean that it symbolized

a still smaller empire. That, however, is impossible. Moreover, we have

the four wings declared to mean that the Persian power extended to all

quarters of the world, and attention is directed to the fact that the

statement is made concerning it, “dominion was given to it.” This assumes,

what would be admitted by everybody to be contrary to fact, had the critics

not a further conclusion in view. The traditional interpretation is that the

Hellenic Empire — that of Alexander the Great and his successors — is

intended here. In defense of this we have the fact that four, as we have just

said, is the numerical sign of the Greek power. In the following chapter we

have the goat, with its one notable horn, which, on being broken off, is

replaced by four. In the eleventh chapter we are told that Alexander’s

empire is to be divided to the four winds of heaven. But “wings” are not

prophetically so much the symbol of extensive dominion, as of rapidity of

movement. If Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 17:3) is a great eagle with long

wings, it is because of the rapidity of his conquests. Jeremiah says of his

horses, they are “swifter than eagles.” Again in Lamentations, “Our

persecutors are swifter than eagles.” Wings, then, symbolize swiftness of

motion. If we turn to the next chapter, the swiftness of Alexander’s

conquests is the point that most impresses the seer. Swiftness, compared

either with the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar or of Alexander, was not the

characteristic of the Persian conquests. Cyrus, in the course of thirty years,

had subdued Asia Minor, probably Armenia; had relieved Media, Elam, and

Persia from the alien yoke of the Manda; and had conquered Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar, after the battle of Carehemish, had advanced to the river

of Egypt. We do not know the extent and direction of his many campaigns,

but rapidity of movement characterized some of them we do know, and

Alexander’s conquests were made with extreme rapidity. Altogether the

figure seems much more suitable for the empire of Alexander the Great.


7 “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth

beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great

iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue

with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were

before it; and it had ten horns.”  The Septuagint differs

considerably, though not essentially, “After these things I beheld in a night

vision a fourth terrible beast, and the fear of it excelled in strength; it had

great iron teeth, it devoured and pounded down; it trode round about with

its feet; it differed from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten

horns, and many counsels were in its horns.” The sense of this does not

really differ, save in the last clause, which seems to belong to the next

verse. Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic text. The Peshitta differs

only by having” after these things,” following the Septuagint, instead of “after

this.” The identification of the empire intended by this beast has been the

crux of interpreters. Practically all ancient authorities — Josephus, and the

author of the Apocalypse of Baruch being among the number — maintain

the Roman Empire to be meant. On the other hand, a very large number of

modern critics, not merely of the exclusively critical school, have held that

it refers either to the Greek Empire as a whole, or to the Seleucid portion

of it. As we shall discuss this subject in a separate excursus, we shall at

present look at the principles to be adopted in dealing with such a question.

The important point is the numerical note of this “beast.” It is “ten” — the

same it may be remarked, as in the feet of the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s

dream. When we turn from the Apocalypse of the Old Testament to the

Apocalypse of the New, we find “ten” the note of Rome. Even though we

should put this to the one side, as merely the opinion of an apostle, and

therefore not to be considered at all in comparison with that of Hitzig or

Von Lengerke, yet he was writing little more than a couple of centuries

from the time when, according to critics, Daniel was written; moreover, he

was in the direct line of apocalyptic tradition. The Apocalypse of Baruch,

written in all probability B.C. 60, has the same view, and it is separated by

little more than a century from the time of the Maccabees. The Fourth

Book of Esdras, written about A.D. 80, has the same view. All three books

imply that it is the universally received opinion. This view is really the only

one that fairly meets the case. The view which separates the Seleucid

Empire from that of Alexander may be laid aside, although the first three

empires are correctly interpreted, because it is directly controverted by the

statement that this fourth empire is to be diverse from all that had gone

before. The empire of the Seleucids was in no sense diverse from that of

Alexander. This fourth empire was to be stronger than all that had gone

before. The Seleucid Empire was notoriously and obviously less powerful

than the empire of Alexander had been, and was merely a match for the

empire of the Ptolemies. Further, the next chapter shows that the writer of

Daniel regarded the empire of the Diadochi (the rival generals, families and

friends of Alexander the Great who fought for control over his empire

after his death in 323 BC.)as really a continuation of that

of Alexander the Great. The other view rests on a division between the

Median and the Persian empires, which is contradicted by any fair

interpretation of this book. The next chapter shows clearly that the writer

regarded the Medo-Persian power as one, but as having two dominant

races. The “great iron teeth” of the beast have a reference to the iron legs

of the dream-image which appeared to Nebuchadnezzar. This beast “is

diverse from all the beasts that were before it.” In all the previous empires,

the constitution was avowedly monarchical. With the Roman, the

republican constitution appeared, and even under the emperors the forms

of that constitution were preserved. In this sense it was diverse from all the

preceding empires.


8 “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among

them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first

horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like

the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” The Septuagint

Version, if we consider it a rendering of the Massorotic, begins really with

the words which are made in it the last clause of the preceding verse, “And

counsels were many in its horns.” This reading is certainly not to be

preferred, although it can easily be understood how it has arisen. The

version proceeds, “And behold another born sprang up in the midst of them

— little in its horns” — this latter is a doublet — “and three of the former

horns were rooted out by it, and, behold, eyes as human eyes were in this

horn, and a mouth speaking great things, and it made war against the

saints.” Theodotion is practically in agreement with the Massoretic text, as

is also the Peshitta. As Daniel is gazing, his attention is directed to the

horns; he sees their appearance changing. An eleventh horn springs up,

much less than any of the former ten; quickly, however, it grows, and

before its growth three of the former horns are rooted up. This horn now

drew his gaze from all the others: it had human eyes, it had a mouth

speaking great things. In the changes of the dream the horn now seems

separated from the animal on which it is; it becomes an oppressor, and

makes war upon the saints. It is usual to identify this horn with that in ch.

8:7. When carefully looked at, the alleged resemblance is reduced to the

fact that in both cases “a horn” is used as a symbol of an oppressor of the

saints. We must remember that, according to the figure, these ten horns are

contemporary. If we take the typology of the next chapter as our guide,

these horns are kingdoms or dynasties. Unlike the Greek Empire, which

split up into four, this fourth empire splits up into ten. Another dynasty

rises up and sweeps away three of these earlier dynasties. Nothing like this

occurred in regard to the empire of the Diadochi. Of course, it is true the

number ought not to be pressed, save as a designative symbol. There must,

however, be more than five or six, as in such a case four would be a more

natural general number. It may, however, be twelve or fifteen. Several

events in the history of the kingdoms that have followed the Roman

Empire might satisfy one part of this picture — the replacing of three

kingdoms by one. It is a possible enough view that provinces may be

referred to, as Jephet-ibn. Ali maintains. As, however, the primary

significance of the “horn” is power, the most probable solution seems to us

to be to take the “ten” horns as the magistracies of Republican Rome. If

we reckon the magistracies, there were fewer, if we take the distinctive

individuals occupying the magistracies, more, than ten. The imperial form

of government replaced several of these magistracies, which may roughly

be reckoned at three. Certainly of the imperial power it might be said that it

had a mouth “speaking great things;” for the claim to deification made

openly was certainly a new claim. Other monarchs had claimed to be the

sons of their god; only the Roman emperors were addressed as divus

during their lifetime. Certainly the empire made war against the saints —

against the people of God. It was Nero, a Roman emperor, who decreed

war against the Jews; it was Vespasian, another Roman emperor, that

began the conquest of Palestine; it was Titus, a third Roman emperor, that

captured Jerusalem. Some support may be found for the Jewish idea that it

is Titus personally. If we are permitted to take the ten horns as successive

emperors, he was the eleventh emperor, and three emperors were swept

away before the Flavian dynasty. We must reserve fuller discussion of this

subject to a special excursus.





                        A Vision of Human Violence. (vs. 1-8)


Dreams have a foundation in external fact. The mind of man has a creative

faculty — a faint reflection of the Divine — and, when released from the

domination of visible things, it asserts its original power. Daniel was

advanced in years, had seen many changes in the government of Babylon,

and probably had been brooding seriously over the fortunes and prospects

of the Hebrews. The past and the future were inextricably interlaced.


·         NIGHT HAS ITS USES, AS WELL AS DAY. Night is not an entire

blank in a man’s history. God is as much with us by night as by day. “He

giveth his beloved sleep.”  (Psalm 127:2) But, at the same time, He supports the

imagination and memory in strange activity. Here we have a hint of the

separate life of mind and body. If this occurs now, may not the mind be

amply active, while the body is fast asleep in the grave? Night reveals to us

pictures, which the garish day dissipates. Darkness is freighted with

celestial light. What is darkness to the body need not be darkness to the

mind. Trial may have a rough exterior, but there is latent good within.

Sorrow is endowed with a Divine power of benediction. Death itself to the

saint is but a veil that hides the dawning light. Reality is often the antipodes

of phenomenon.



THEIR TRUE CHARACTERS. The mind, in its infantile state, is most

impressed with visible and tangible things. “The great sea” is a significant

picture of the mobility and restlessness of the multitude. The masses of

men, having no settled beliefs, no fixed principles of action, are as fickle,

and as easily wrought upon, as the unstable sea. As the briny waters are

promptly driven hither and thither by every wind that blows, so the

multitudes are moved and tossed by every passing passion — by the

faintest prospect of self-advantage — or by the fevered ambition of a

stronger will than their own. The Jews, having relinquished their safe

anchorage, viz. faith in God, were driven helplessly north and south, east

and west, by the wind passions of unscrupulous conquerors. It seemed as if

the four winds of heaven strive at one and the same time upon this Hebrew

sea. “The wicked are like the troubled sea.”  (Isaiah 57:20)



MILITARY CONQUERORS. One is like a lion, though, as years roll on,

he at length acquires a man’s heart — the sensibility of human tenderness.

A second is like a leopard; yet so swift is he for destruction, that the

fleetness of the leopard fails to convey all the truth; therefore four wings of

a fowl are added to the symbol. A third is like a bear, intent only on tearing

and consuming much flesh. A fourth destroyer of men is so fierce and

death-breathing that not one of the savage beasts in nature can represent

him. He is a “beast dreadful and terrible,” having teeth of iron. It is rare

that beasts of prey make war upon their own species, much less upon their

own kindred. God has provided the wildest beast with but two horns, to

serve as weapons of defense; but this human monster was furnished with

ten horns. One cannot but be struck with the singular incongruities we

meet with in this prophetic dream; yet even this fact is instructive. The

wildest vagaries of the imagination are outstripped by the moral

incongruities of human character and human conduct. Where shall we find

an incongruity so strange as this — the wilful degradation of the man to a

level lower than the untrained beasts?



OBSCURE, PARTLY CLEAR. “We know only in part; hence we

prophesy only in part.” We may be sure that this arrangement is best. It is

an act of kindness and of wisdom on the part of God. It serves to stimulate

inquiry on our part. We may learn from it to cherish humility, inasmuch as

we are not at present competent to receive larger communications of

God’s will. Thankful ought we to be that we have enough knowledge of

God’s will for our practical guidance; and when we have worked up all this

raw material into personal service, we shall obtain more. God “made

known His ways unto Moses,” but His acts only unto “the children of

Israel.” “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.” It is one

of the attractions of the heavenly state, that fresh light will continually be

shed upon the past history of our race, as well as upon the wisdom of the

Divine government.     


9 “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit,

whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool:

His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire.  10 A fiery

stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered

unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the

judgment was set, and the books were opened.” The Septuagint Version here does

not differ much from the Massoretic save that there are two cases of-doublet.

Theodotion and the Peshitta are evidently translated from a text identical

with that of the Massoretic. There is, however, one point where the

versions agree against the Authorized Version — the thrones are not cast

down, they are “placed,” as in the Revised. Luther and most German

commentators render thus, as does Jerome. Ewald translates “cast,” that is,

“set.” In the third chapter, where we have the same word, it means” cast

down; “this leads us to prefer the Authorized rendering. The word for

“throne” is to be observed. It means not so much the throne-royal as the

seat of a judge; but the office of judge was that essentially of

the king. The Ancient of days did sit. It is not “the Ancient of days,” but

“one ancient in days,” that is to say, the phrase is not appellative, but

descriptive. After the thrones of these earlier kingdoms were cast down,

then one appeared like an old man clad in a garment of snowy whiteness,

and the hair of His head as wool. That this is a symbolic appearance of God

is beyond doubt. Ewald remarks on the grandeur of the description as

excelling in boldness even the vision of Ezekiel. The throne, the judgment seat

of the Ancient of days, is a chariot of “fiery flame,” with “wheels of

burning fire” — a description that suggests the translation of Elijah. His

throne is at once the judge’s seat and the chariot of the warrior. From

beneath this chariot-throne “a fiery stream issued forth.” In the Book of

Revelation (Revelation 22:1), from beneath the throne of God there

issued the river of the water of life, clear as crystal.  Compare with this also

Enoch 14:9-22 below:


And I went in till I drew nigh to a wall which is built of crystals and

surrounded by tongues of fire: and it began to affright me. And I went into

the tongues of fire and drew nigh to a large house which was built of crystals:

and the walls of the house were like a tesselated floor (made) of crystals, and

its groundwork was of crystal.  Its ceiling was like the path of the stars and

the lightnings, and between them were fiery cherubim, and their heaven was

(clear as) water. A flaming fire surrounded the walls, and its portals blazed

with fire. And I entered into that house, and it was hot as fire and cold as ice:

there were no delights of life therein: fear covered me, and trembling got hold

upon me. 14. And as I quaked and trembled, I fell upon my face.  And I beheld

a vision, And lo! there was a second house, greater than the former,


Enoch’s description is derived from this, but amplified to a

great extent. Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand

times ten thousand stood before Him. The word “thousands” in the

Aramaic has the Hebrew plural termination in the K’thib, but in the most

ancient forms of Aramaic there are many points where the two tongues

have not yet diverged. The symbol here is of a royal court, only the

numbers are vaster than any earthly court could show. The angels of God

are present to carry out the decisions of the judgment. Compare with this

Enoch 1:9 (Charles’s translation), “Lo! He comes with ten thousands of his holy

ones, to execute judgment upon them” (See Jude 1:14-15).  Those that minister

unto the Judge are those whose duty it is to carry out the Divine sentence; those

who stand before Him are those who are spectators of this great assize. The

judgment was set. This translation is not accurate. The word translated

“was set” is the same as that rendered in the second clause of the preceding

verse “did sit.” Again, although deena’, thus vocalized, means “judgment,”

it may be differently vocalized, dayyana, and mean “Judge.” If we take the

present pointing, the phrase may be taken as equivalent to “the assize

began.” And the books were opened. It ought to be noted that the word

here used for “books” is derived from a root primarily meaning “engrave.”

The Babylonian books, as they have come down to us, are clay tablets

“engraved” or “impressed” with letters. We have all manner of legal

documents in this form. The piles of tiles and cylinders which contain the

deeds of those before the judgment-seat stand before the Judge. One by

one they are displayed before Him. The scene presented is one of

unspeakable grandeur, and all put before us with a few masterly strokes.

We see:


·         the great fiery throne;

·         the Judge, awful with the dignity of unnumbered ages,

·         attended by a million of angels who are ready to do His will; and

·         a hundred million watching and listening spectators.


We find that this description of the judgment in the first Apocalypse reappears,

modified and made yet more solemn, in the last Apocalypse (Revelation 20:11-15).

We are, however, not to regard this as the final judgment. Daniel is rather admitted

into the presence of God in the heavens, and sees His judgment continually being

prepared against the wicked.



God’s Books (v. 10)


“The books were opened.”




Ø      The book of remembrance.


o       God keeps a record of His people’s troubles (Psalm 56:8).

He is not ignorant of them, nor indifferent to them. He

takes notice and gives sympathy. He will take account of

them in the future, turning them to good, or compensating

for the endurance of them.


o       God keeps an account of His people’s faithfulness

(Malachi 3:16).  Though they appear to be forgotten, their

humble service is all noted.


o       God preserves a remembrance of men’s sins. God forgets

sin when He forgives it, but till then our forgetting it does

not remove it from His book of remembrance, any more

than our forgetting a bond releases us from the

obligation of it when it is presented.


Ø      The book of life. Paul refers to those “whose names are written in the

book of life” (Philippians 4:3; see also Exodus 32:33; Revelation 3:5).

God preserves a record of the heirs of eternal life. He knows them,

if men do not. He takes note of them individually; their names

are written. The world is redeemed, not in the mass, but individually.

Each one of us either has or has not his name written down in the

“book of life..”  The most important question for each to ask is

whether his name is there.


Ø      The book of the future. The future is known to God, and the course of

providence and redemption by which He will work out His purposes of

righteousness and mercy is determined (Revelation 5:1). Sudden

changes surprise us, but they were anticipated by God. There is no

chance, but an overruling wisdom fixes the great landmarks of the future.




Ø      The book of remembrance is sealed. We have no present visible proof

that Got notes our trouble, our fidelity, or our sin. We may forget our

past, and it will lie hidden and silent.  (It would not surprise me if

God has our life in some form of “virtual reality”! – CY – 2014)


Ø      The book of life is sealed.


o       We may have sure evidences of our redemption, but we cannot

directly read our names in the book of life. Perhaps the reason

for this is that we may walk by faith and experience its discipline.


o       We cannot read the names of others. Therefore we cannot

Pronounce judgment on them, nor say how many or who

will be saved.


Ø      The book of the future is sealed. Prophecy has extracted a few pages.

But the great volume will only be unrolled as it is accomplished. It is

best that we should not know the future, as we only have sufficient

strength to bear the burden of the present (Matthew 6:34). It is best

also because we can learn to walk humbly and trustfully, while we

resign the future to the care of our Father in heaven (Ibid. v.32).

                        (“…..as thy days, so shall thy strength be.”  Deuteronomy 33:25)


  • GOD’S BOOKS WILL BE OPENED. The judgment-day will be first

of all a day of revelation. The decrees of reward and punishment will

follow the opening of God’s books.


Ø      The record of our conduct will be brought to light. (“For there

is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that

shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken

in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the house tops.”

Luke 12:2-3). Forgotten deeds will be remembered, and the truth

of character made clear (I Corinthians 14:25).


o       Hidden sin will be revealed.

o       Unrecognized merit will be honored.


Ø      The roll of the redeemed will be read. Not one of God’s people

      will be forgotten. Christ will own the humblest of His followers.


Ø      The purposes of God concerning the future will declare themselves.

The book of the future is unrolled by degrees as time passes. But its

most momentous contents will be those which will be made clear

when the great facts of the unseen world are first brought to light.

Then God’s purposes with mankind will be understood as we on

earth can never comprehend them.


11 “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words

which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his

body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.”  The Septuagint

Version has been translated from the same text; but the word translated

“because” is rendered τότε – tote - then, according to the usual meaning of

the  word. Theodotion has a doublet. The Peshitta is much briefer, “I saw that

this beast was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was cast into the flame

of fire.” The voice of the great words; that is, blasphemies. The punishment

of blasphemy among the Babylonians was burning. On account of the

blasphemies of the little horn, the whole empire to which it belonged was

destroyed. If we regard the fourth beast as Rome, and the little horn the

imperial dignity, it was on account of its blasphemies that the empire really

ceased. The blasphemous claim to divinity wrought madness in the minds

of such youths as Caligula, Nero, Commodus, Caracalla, and Heliogabalus.

The process might be a slow one. God had His purpose in the history of the

race to work out by the Roman Empire; yet it was none the less the

madness of the emperors that brought the empire down. The way the

provinces were harried by barbarians East and West could well be

described as burning the body of it with fire.


12 “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their

dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and

time.”   The Septuagint has a different reference, “And those about

him he took away from their dominion, and time of life was given them for

a time and a season.” Here, as in the seventh verse, we have shear. The

reference then would be to the horns that still remained after the one

blaspheming horn was destroyed. Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic.

The Peshitta differs, but only slightly. As the Massoretic text stands, there

is difficulty in maintaining that the reference here cannot be to any other

than to the other three beasts. They should still occupy a place, but possess

no dominion, even after they were removed from supreme authority. After

Babylon lost imperial power, it still continued for a time a highly important

province in the Persian Empire, and the sensibilities of the inhabitants were

considered throughout the whole period of the Persian rule. After the

Persian Empire was overturned by Alexander, there was still the province

of Persis; and from the remains of the Persian Empire sprang up Parthia,

and then the second Persian Empire; and after the rule of the caliphs had

been broken, Persia revived as a Mohammedan power. When the Greek

Empire fell, Greece still survived, not independent, but still influential.

Parthia certainly might represent Persia, but where was Media?

“For a season and a time” does not refer to any definite time. Jephet-ibn-

Ali regards the reference till the end of the rule of the fourth beast. This

militates against the idea that ‘iddan must always mean “a year.”



Godless Kingdoms (vs. 1-12)


Daniel’s vision brings before us the origin, the character, and the destiny of

godless kingdoms.




Ø      Earthly. The Divine kingdom comes from above “with the clouds of

heaven” (v. 13). These kingdoms come from below — from the dark

depths of the sea. Earthly passions, not the will of God, shape their origin.


Ø      Tumultuous. “The four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea;” the

kingdoms issued from the throes of the storm. The great monarchies of

antiquity did not grow up by the development of peaceful arts and

commerce. They were formed by wars of conquest, and wild, wicked

strifes of ambition. The glory of political success often leads men to

disregard the crimes by which it is achieved. But these cannot be

ignored by God.


Ø      Successive. One after another the great beasts rise from the sea. God’s

kingdom is one and lasting, but as these earthly kingdoms are transient,

new kingdoms take the place of the old. Thus the same drama is reacted in

many ages. Till the reign of Christ is complete, we must expect to see the

rise and fall of earthly ambition.




Ø      Points of agreement.


o       They are all more or less brutal. To Nebuchadnezzar the

kingdoms appeared bright and glorious (ch. 2:31). To Daniel,

the prophet of God, they appeared savage and brutal. The

passions of godless politics are low and unspiritual.


o       They are destructive. The true end of government is the peace

and welfare of the world (Romans 13:1-4  ).  But it has always

been the work of wicked ambitious monarchies to spread

devastation and misery.


Ø      Points of difference. The great beasts are “diverse one from another.”

Nationalities are of various types. The faults of governments are not all

alike. Evil assumes various forms. All godless kingdoms are not equally

bad. In the vision, the first kingdom shows signs of improvement in its

later days (v. 4). The second is far more destructive (v. 5). The last

power is least in apparent size, yet most fatal to its neighbors (v. 8).

Thus human history is full of variety, change, and surprise. It is only in

the Divine order that we meet with assured and peaceful stabilty.




Ø      They are all only temporary. One succeeds another.


Ø      They all come up for judgment (v. 10). There is a judgment on nations

as well as on individuals. The proudest earthly power must bow before

the judgment-seat of God. They who ignore God will not escape His



Ø      As there are degrees and varieties of crime, so there will be degrees and

varieties of punishment. The worst of the great beasts is entirely

destroyed (v. 11). The others are dealt with more leniently. Thus at the

great judgment the sentence will be proportionate to the sin (Luke



Ø      The godless kingdoms will all be superseded by the universal and eternal

kingdom of heaven. GOD’S RIGHTEOUS RULE  will ultimately take

the place of the most violent and destructive earthly powers. Evil will




Brute Rule (vs. 1-12)


“Four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another” (v.3).

We remark the transition here from history to prophecy; the date, the

first year of Belshazzar, that is, before the fall of the first of the world powers

about to be described; the form, a dream, — before this Daniel had

interpreted others’ dreams, he now dreams himself; the fact that it was at

once committed to writing, i.e. not set down after fulfillment; and that the

prophecy is only an outline, so that we must not expect too much detail.

All this in v. 1. The nature of the prophecy rebukes dogmatism. It may be

well to call attention here to the fact that all these expositions and homilies

are written independently of each other; there may be, then, possibly some

diversity of critical judgment; this, however, will be no disadvantage to the

student. For our own homiletic purpose we treat this chapter under three



o       in the first, we have a vision of brute rule;

o       in the second, of Divine sovereignty;

o       in the third, of a great rebellion.


·         ITS CONDITION. “The great sea” is distinguished from all inland seas.

The ocean. The image of our troubled world (Isaiah 17:12-14;

Revelation 21:1). Out of the commotion and confusion of troubled

peoples the four forms of brute rule arose.


  • ITS CAUSE. “The four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea.” As

the wind plays on ocean, so do supernatural powers (in this case evil) lash

into fury the passions of a troubled world; and out of revolutionary

confusion emerges often brute despotism.


  • ITS GENERIC NATURE. “Four beasts.” Four great empires. Same

as described in ch. 2. Why the different form? That vision gave the external

glory; this the inmost nature. They had life in them, but it was a life less

than human. Man sinks below the human when the πνεῦμα pneuma

spirit - is no longer animated by the Spirit of God. As with man individually,

so collectively, so with nations, governments. Government is of God, but may

lose the Divine in it, and so become BRUTAL!   A beast may inspire terror;

but its look is not heavenward, but earthward; hears no Divine voice; has no

conscious relations with God. “Four beasts,” but “diverse.” All brutal.




Ø      The lion-form. The Babylonian empire. Dominant, like the king of the

forest; swift and reaching far, like the eagle. Then came deteriorations.

The deteriorations developed slowly. “I continued looking” is the sense.

Swift energy was crippled. Not even with the speed of a lion walking

did the empire advance; but painfully, slowly, as a beast marching on

hind legs alone. Then instead of the lion-heart at the center of

government, the timid heart of a man. Here we have the glory of

Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, its gradual decay under his successors,

until it fell before one mightier than itself. So do governments

without God go down.


Ø      The bear-form. The Persian empire. Less noble than the lion; fierce,

heavy, slow. Of these characteristics, the most striking illustration would

be the cumbrousness and slow advance of the Persian armies; e.g. the

invasion of Greece by Xerxes (see the histories). Note the accessories of

the symbol. Raising itself on one side, and perhaps striking out with its

right forearm. This indicates the combination of Mede with Persian — the

latter the stronger and more aggressive. The three ribs devoured stand for

Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, subdued. “Devour much flesh” suggests the awful

waste of life incident to Persian progress. How many of the two millions

returned from Greece?


Ø      The leopard-form. The Greek empire, specially under Alexander.

Characteristics: insatiable appetite for blood, swiftness, subtlety. “Four

wings.” “Four heads.” The Greek dominion essentially one, but with

four centers. Trace the analogy. Alexander’s determination to conquer

the world. Swift movement, equalled only by Napoleon I. The subtlety

of his genius. The division of his empire into four.


Ø      The nameless form. The Roman empire. So terrible is this power, that

no one creature can represent it, nor the combined attributes of many.

The eminence and importance of this empire are apparent from:


o       Its prominence in this chapter.

o       Daniel’s anxiety to “know the truth of the fourth beast.”

o       Its collision with the Divine kingdom.

o       Its successive historical aspects.


§         Its first aspect. (See v. 7.) All this exhibits the utterly

destructive energy of Rome. What it did not devour,

it destroyed for destruction’s sake. A contrast with

the other powers. They ravaged, subdued, extorted

tribute; “but their connection with the states which

they subdued was loose and disjointed.” Rome:


v     conquered all,

v     kept all,

v     assimilated all


§         Two developments.


v     “Ten horns. Horn is the symbol of power.

The ten were on the head from the beginning,

to manifest the unity of the Roman empire plus the

European nations. Their development, however,

was not at once.

v     The one. Small at the beginning. Displaces a third

(nearly) of existing powers. A development of the

Roman domination. “Eyes” for a certain

intelligence. Pride and blasphemy out of its

“mouth”? What can this be but the papacy?


  • ITS JUDGMENT AND OVERTHROW. Not for ever and for ever

shall the brutal reign. How sublime the contrast ushered in by v. 9!

Below, the ocean, lashed by powers of evil; out of it the brutal, its last

developments the worst. Now heaven opens. Thrones were set (not “cast

down”). A central throne. On it the Eternal!  The throne the source of all

splendor, the fount of energy (Revelation 4:5). Judgment proceeding.

Not the last judgment. But the continuous judgment of men and nations.

The Roman empire, and all that came of it doomed — annihilated. The

other empires long gone, though for a while they lingered.


  • Learn:


Ø      The eternal supremacy of God.

Ø      The righteousness of His judgments.

Ø      The certain doom of all that is alienated from His own Divine



Individuals and nations are human and humane only as THEY LIVE IN HIM!

The reign of the brutal in any form cannot be eternal. Animalism in all its

ugly, cruel, sensual forms, must go down; for God in Christ “must reign,

till He hath put all enemies under His feet.”   (I Corinthians 15:25)


13 “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of

man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days,

and they brought Him near before Him.”  The version of the Septuagint is

different in the last two clauses of this verse, “As the Ancient of days He

came, and those standing around were present to Him.” Although the

reading here is supported by Paulus Tellensis, we suspect some error of

copyists. Theodotion practically agrees with the Massoretic. The Peshitta

renders the last clause, “Those standing before Him approached Him.”

These earthly kingdoms having been destroyed, THE NEW KINGDOM

OF GOD IS USHERED IN!”   “A son of man” (not “the Son of man,”

as in our Authorized Version) appears in the clouds of heaven. It is a question

whether this is the King of the Divine kingdom, the personal Messiah, or the

kingdom itself personified. It is agreed that, as the previous kingdoms were

represented by a beast, a man would be necessary symmetrically to

represent at once the fact that it is an empire as those were, but unlike

them in being of a higher class, as man is higher than the beasts. Further, it

is brought in line with the image-vision of the second chapter, where the

stone cut out of the mountain destroys the image. But we must beware of

applying mere logic to apocalyptic. In this vision we see that “a man’s

heart” really meant weakness as compared with the courage and strength

represented by the lion. Further, the point of distinction between this vision

and that of Nebuchadnezzar is that this is more dynastic, looking at the

monarchs, while the other looks at the powers — the empires as distinct

from their personal rulers. Hence, while the Son of man here refers to the

Messianic kingdom, it is in THE PERSON OF THE KING!   It is to be

observed that, while the beasts came up out of the sea, the Son of man

came with the clouds of heaven. This indicates the THE DIVINE

ORIGIN OF THE MESSIAH!   That the writer might not apprehend this

is no argument against this being really symbolized. When He comes to the

throne of the Ancient of days, He is accompanied to the presence of the

Judge by the attendant angels — a scene which might seem to justify the

Septuagint Version of Deuteronomy 32:43 as applied by the writer of the

Hebrews.  “And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the

World, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.”  (Hebrews 1:6 –

below is the commentary on this verse)


“But, again, with reference to the time when He shall introduce this

SON, the Firstborn, into our inhabited world, He speaks thus of the

angels.” Or it may be, “But whenever he shall bring a second time into the

world the Firstborn who has already once appeared, He speaks thus of the

angels.” But the first meaning seems more suitable to the general context.

The force of the writer’s argument is the same, whichever view we take;

the point being that, at the time of the advent of the Son, whatever advent

may be meant, the angels appear only as attendant worshippers. As to the

understood nominative to saith,” we may suppose it to be “God,” as in

v. 5. But it is to be observed that λέγειlegeisaith – He is saying, without

an expressed nominative, is a usual formula for introducing a scriptural quotation.

The question remains — What is the text quoted, and how can it be understood

as bearing the meaning here assigned to it? In the Hebrew Bible we find

nothing like it, except in Psalm 97:7, “Worship Him, all ye gods,” Authorized

Version; where the Septuagint has  προσκυνήσατε αὐτῷ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ

 proskunaesate auto pantes hoi aggeloi autouworship Him all ye gods (angels). 

But in Deuteronomy 32:43 we find in the Septuagint, though not in the Masoretic

text, - καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες υἱοὶ θεοῦ - kai proskunaesatosan auto

pantes huioi Theou - the very words, including the introductory καὶ (and) which

are quoted. Hence, the quotations in this Epistle being mainly from the

Septuagint, we may conclude that this is the text referred to. It occurs

towards the end of the Song of Moses, in connection with its concluding

picture of the LORD’S final triumph, in which the nations are called upon to

rejoice with His people, when He would avenge the blood of His servants, and

render vengeance to His adversaries, and make atonement for (Greek,

ἐκκαθαριεῖ  - ekkathariei - expiation) His land and for His people. Viewed in the

light of later prophecy, this triumph is identified with that of the Messiah’s

kingdom, and is therefore that of the time of bringing “the Firstborn into the

world.” compare Romans 15:10, where “Rejoice, ye Gentiles,” etc., from the

same passage, is applied to the time of Christ. It is no objection to the quotation

that, as it stands in the Epistle, “the Firstborn,” though not mentioned in

the original, seems to be regarded as the object of the angels’ worship. The

passage is simply cited as it stands, the reader being left to draw his own

inference; and the main point of it is that the angels in “that day” are not,

like the Son, sharers of the throne, but only worshippers.


14 “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.”  The versions differ

only slightly and verbally from this. The personal element is here made

prominent. Compare with this Revelation 5:12, “Worthy is the Lamb

that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and

honor, and glory, and blessing.” (I recommend listening to Agnus Dei

by entering it in your browser and listening to your favorite rendition to

get a perspective of heavenly things!  - CY – 2014)  The Messianic kingdom,

and with it the Messiah, WAS TO BE EVERLASTING!   The resemblance is

great, as might be expected, between this statement and that in ch. 2:44, “A

kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to

other people.” It is to be noted that even His dominion is bestowed upon Him.

The Ancient of days, whose sentence has deprived the other dynasties of

their empire, bestows boundless empire on the Messiah (Compare Psalms 2.

and 72.). Jeremiah’s account of the state of matters on the return from the

Captivity (Jeremiah 30:21)is compared to this, but there it is

not a king who is to come near before God, it is simply “governor”

(mashal). In Jeremiah we have to do with a subject-people living in the fear

of the Lord, but under the yoke of a foreign power.



The Real King-Maker (vs. 9-14)


The panorama which passed before Daniel’s mind in the night-season did

not terminate in a scene of confusion and misery. This scene of brutal

ferocity occurs in the middle of a great tragedy, and leads on to a peaceful

triumph of truth and righteousness. These inhuman kings were not masters

of the situation. One higher than they watched the moral chaos from His

supernal throne, and, out of the tangled mass of conflicting ambitions and

passions, brought a condition of permanent prosperity and peace.



appearance of venerable age — “the Ancient of days.” These inhuman

monsters were “but of yesterday;” and, knowing that their time was short,

were eager to make for themselves a name, be the methods what they may.

But the Ruler of the nations is “from everlasting.” His years outnumber all

the generations of men. Human tribes come and go; dynasties rise and fall;

to Him they are like the meteorological changes on an April day. He sits

unmoved, the calm Monarch of the universe. His clothing, “white as

snow,” betokens the immaculate righteousness of His administration. No

intelligent being has ever detected the slightest blemish in His just and

impartial sway. It is not consistent with His supreme dignity to give an

account of His doings to human creatures, but to the extent that our moral

judgments can comprehend His acts, we can join with the seraphim in the

acclamation, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty” (Isaiah 6:3);

“Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” (Revelation 15:3)

He is not an indifferent spectator of human affairs. He may be slow to anger,

yet is He the more sure to punish. “His throne was like the fiery flame, and

His wheels as burning fire”   (v.9).  Sin, lust, crime, of every sort, shall be

swept from His domains with a fiery besom; yea, all creatures who identify

themselves with wickedness. Every force and element in nature is His servant,

and a stream of fire issues from his feet. The earth, long stained with shameful

crime, shall be purified, and the saints shall emerge from the trial “as gold that

has been purified.”  Though long delayed, complete retribution shall in due

time come, and the oppressed among the sons of men shall be publicly

vindicated and honored.


  • HIS SPLENDID RETINUE. His army is not reckoned by thousands,

but by myriads, The largest number known to the ancients is put for an

indefinite number. Everything that lives and breathes minister unto Him.

The orders and ranks of unfallen angels are His lieutenants. At a single

glance of His eye they fly on fleetest wing to fulfill His Divine behests. One

angel, with his invisible sword, scattered and decimated the proud army of

Sennacherib. An east wind discomfited Pharaoh’s host. A few flakes of

snow annihilated the regiments of Napoleon. More than once a

thunderstorm has defeated the most valiant troops of warriors. The locust,

one feeble branch of God’s military retinue, has chased a whole nation

from the field. “To whom, then, shall we liken God?” And is not he a

prodigious fool who challenges God to a contest? “Let the potsherds strive

with the potsherds of the earth; but woe to the man who strives with his

Maker!”  (Isaiah 45:9)  Filled with Divine courage, “one man shall chase

a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.”  (Deuteronomy 32:30)


  • HIS JUDICIAL. OCCUPATION. “The judgment was set.” This

language does not refer exclusively to the final and general judgment of

mankind. It refers especially to a present judgment, and a special

adjudication touching the ambitious kings. The activity of God’s mental

judgment is never in suspense. Judicial acts are always proceeding. “For

judgment,” said Christ, “I am come into the world”  (John 9:39).  Still,

it is permitted us to think of state occasions, when public investigations are

made, clear proofs of human guilt are adduced, and world-wide approval

is given of Divine verdicts. “The books were opened” (Revelation 20:12),

viz. the volume of Divine Law, clearly read by men; the book of history;

the book of memory; the book of conscience. The decision shall not be

reached with unseemly haste. The investigation shall proceed under the

superintendence of Wisdom herself, and her calm decisions can never

be called in question.


  • HIS ROYAL AWARDS. The act of Divine judgment, which was

present to the view of Daniel, was an act concerning the “great beast.” He

had been seized by God’s detectives, and arraigned before the bar of

heavenly justice. His last daring act of rebellion was that of speaking proud

and defiant words against God. Thus the haughty oppressors of nations

boast, “Our wills are our own: who is Lord over us?” But their

discomfiture will be complete and overwhelming. The beast was slain. Life

was withdrawn. Nor this only. His body was destroyed. As he had

consumed others, so, by a righteous retribution, he shall be consumed in

the burning flame. Lesser penalties are imposed on the other beasts.

Further opportunity of amendment is given to some. Dominion is forfeited,

but life for a brief season is prolonged. Yet, in this heavenly assize, there

are not only wrongs punished; rights are vindicated. Obedience, excellence,

merit, are commended, are exalted to the highest place. The human

monarchs, who abused their sovereign trust, shall be dethroned — yea,

destroyed; but in their place another shall arise — A KING OF

RIGHTEOUSNESS, A PATTERN PRINCE!  Instead of savage beasts,

there shall be, as King of nations, a Son of man — a man fresh from the

hands of God. His innate glory shall be partly veiled, “He came in the clouds

of heaven.” His is no usurped authority. He does not take this honor of himself.

He professes allegiance to the world’s Ruler and Judge, and receives the

kingdom at the hands of God. “Angels and principalities and powers” delight

to do Him honor; “they brought Him near” the everlasting Father. The Son

of man does not disdain to receive the kingdom from the Creator and

Originator of all things. Because of His meekness and righteousness

(not because of muscular power and violence) the Son of man receives

investiture of UNIVERSAL SOVEREIGNTY!   Others, like Alexander

and Timour, had aspired to this, but they were not worthy. Real merit shall

at length rise to the surface, and reach the topmost place. Before Him

“every knee shall bow,” either attracted by His grace or awed by His power.

To Him shall appertain, not a kingdom only, but transcendent glory, and

dominion born of love. All nations and languages shall ultimately serve Him,

and His kingdom shall be durable as eternity. Universality and permanency

are the indelible marks of MESSIAH’S EMPIRE!



The Kingdom of the Son of Man (vs. 13-14)


In contrast with the brutal godless kingdoms, we have here a description of

the higher final kingdom — its origin, character, and destiny.




Ø      It comes from above. Divine providence inaugurates it, and heavenly

principles inspire it. Christ and His kingdom are from above (John



Ø      It is in intimate relations with God. The Son of man “came to the

Ancient of days,” and was brought “near before Him.” The source

of the power of Christ is His oneness with the Father (John 10:30),

His dependence on the Father (Ibid. ch. 5:19), and His obedience to

the Father (Psalm 40:8; Hebrews 10:7).


Ø      It is a gift of God. The other kings seized their power. To the Son of

man a dominion is “given.” Christ does not conquer the world by force.

He receives His kingdom through the influence of God’s grace and

providence on men (John 18:36).




Ø      It is a true dominion. Christ came to save the world by ruling over it.

He is King as well as Redeemer. He claims obedience and more

thorough submission than the greatest earthly despot can exact, viz.

the submission of the heart (Colossians 3:23).


Ø      It is typified by “the Son of man,” and therefore:


o       more spiritual and higher in character than the godless

kingdoms which are represented by ravenous beasts;


o       more humane, — gentleness and mercy are great characteristics

of Christ’s kingdom (Isaiah 32:2; 42:1-3; Matthew 11:28-30);



o       characterized by oneness and sympathy with its subjects,

the old monarchs were destructive tyrants, Christ is one

with His people, a son of man (Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15).


Ø      It is glorious. Christ was of humble earthly origin, and His kingdom

came in obscurity (Luke 17:20). Thus it was apparently inglorious

when compared with the pomp of worldly monarchies. But it has

God’s glory, THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS!  This glory is seen

in its principles and in its achievements, triumphing over sin and

securing the peace and blessedness of obedience to God’s will

(Colossians 1:27).




Ø      It is to be universal. The greatest human monarchies were limited in

extent. Christ’s is to be world-wide.


o       Christ claims all, and will not be satisfied till He has

recovered the lost (Isaiah 53:11).

o       Christ suits all. He is the true “Son of man.” Therefore all


o       Christ will attract all. His appeal is to the common human

heart of the world (John 12:32).


Ø      It is to be everlasting. Other kingdoms are temporary, and subject to

final destruction. The kingdom of the Son of man is indestructible

and everlasting.


o       It is Divine, and the Divine is eternal (Psalm 145:13).

o       It is righteous in principle. There is no evil in it to be a

seed of corruption (Psalm 72:7).

o       It is founded upon eternal principles, not on maxims of

temporary expediency.

o       It brings blessings which will be always of value (Matthew




The Enthronement of Christ (vs. 13-14)


“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man” (v 13).

Either after, or more probably in connection with, the destruction of the

fourth world-power, universal empire was given to Christ — the Messiah

of Hebrew expectation. We assume, for the present, that it is He who is

described in the next paragraph. That the assumption is well-founded will

immediately appear.


  • THE KING. We read v. 13 thus: “I continued looking in the visions of

the night, and behold!  with the clouds of heaven like unto a Son of man

was advancing, and to the Ancient of days to come, and before Him they

caused Him to approach.”


Ø      The Personage was Divine. Advancing, girt with clouds, marks the

Divine. Clouds hide the glory behind and beyond. They symbolize the veil

that dims the glory of God. Many are the scriptural passages to illustrate.

Select a few, and we shall see how the same idea starts up in successive

ages of the Church (Exodus 13:21; 14:24). If these describe the action

of the Angel-God, they are all the more pertinent as illustrations of this

passage in Daniel (Exodus 16:10; 40:34; Leviticus 16:2; II Chronicles

5:13-14; Psalm 97:2). Christ takes up these representations,

and applies them to Himself (Matthew 26:64). (In this last passage, note

“the Son of man” so again in Ibid. ch. 25:31.) Similar, though not

identical, is the imagery of II Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 1:7.

Holy Scripture is consistent in applying such descriptions only to God,

and to God in Christ. See the charge against one enemy of the Church

in olden time (Isaiah 14:13-14). These intimations of the Divine in

Christ of the Old Testament are like the gray that precedes the dawn.

If Daniel anticipated that the Messianic Deliverer would be one of the

race, it is clear, and will be clearer, that he had a glimpse of the truth

that He would be Divine.


Ø      The personage was also human. “A Son of man.” The phrase is used

in the Old Testament:


o       For man simply (Numbers 23:19).

o       To remind the gifted and inspired of their oneness with the race.

So eighty times in Ezekiel (3:10-11, 17, et passim). So here the

advancing one was partaker of the infirmity (innocent) of the

race. With “clouds,” the engirdlement of the Divine, He might

come; so also like “a Son of man.” Of none other can this

double affirmation be made except the Lord Jesus.


That the phrase here denotes the Messiah is clear:


o       From a general consensus of rabbinical opinion.

o       From the Lords own assumption of the name. Christ calls

himself “the Son of man,” though others call Him

“the Son of God.” What is its significance?


Answering, we do not limit ourselves to Daniel’s standpoint.


o       The Christ was to be of the human race. The humanity is

Christologically as important as the Divinity, and each is

indispensable to the mediatorial office.


o       In the name is an intimation of the universality of the Saviours

mission. An implied protest against Jewish exclusiveness.

“Son of Davidpoints to the throne of Israel. Christ’s right to it,

albeit the sway spiritual.  “Son of man” to his relation to the race;

“Son of God” to His relation to the Eternal.


o       Of world-wide dominion. “The Son of man” was to be no

ordinary mortal, but King of the race, and King for the race

(compare Psalm 8:4-8 with Hebrews 2:5-9). (A most

impressive missionary sermon might be preached from the words,

“Now we see not yet all things put under him [man]; but we see

Jesus!”  - Ibid. v.8 - i.e. on the way surely to universal empire.) 


Note in this connection the wide horizon of Daniel’s prophetic vision. It is

no longer merely Israel, but the whole world, that is in view. In keeping

with the prophet’s historical position. His watch-tower is no longer

Jerusalem, but Babylon. His look is across the Assyrian plain, at the great

world-powers, their developments in relation to the everlasting rule.




Ø      The King came from the heavenly world. Out of it, and down from it.

He “came with the clouds of heaven.” This empire is not like those that

arose out of “the sea,” from the turbulences of men.


Ø      He received the kingdom from the Eternal. Abundant illustration will be

found in Matthew 28:18; John 3:35; 13:3;17:2; I Corinthians 15:27.


Ø      The enthronement has no relation to the categories of time or space.

We are not to suppose that at some place, at some moment, there was

to be some literal fulfillment; that the Eternal under venerable form,

would sit on a throne; that the Christ would come to sue for empire,

etc. This is the rock on which many interpreters are wrecked. Nor is

there reference to the last judgment, for then Christ Himself is on the

throne. Broad views, free from mere literalism, on such matters are



Ø      And yet there are the pomp and circumstance of an indefinite and

multitudinous accompanying of the King “They caused him to

approach.”  A sort of grand indefiniteness in the expression. Not

alone does Jesus come to reign.  (“Behold, the Lord cometh with

ten thousands of His saints,  To execute judgment upon all, and

 to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly

deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard

 speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Jude 1:14-15)





Ø      Supernatural in origin. “There was given Him.”

Ø      Spiritual in character. Invisible rule over souls. We speak of the

empire of mind; we see in vision matter at the footstool of

intellect. But what shall we say of the empire of religion, of

Christianity, of Christ? Mind at the feet of Jesus, and, as a

consequence, all below mind! Imaginations cast down,

etc. (II Corinthians 10:5).

Ø      Universal in extent. “All people,” etc,

Ø      Everlasting. “Shall not pass away,” etc.



Excursus on The Son of Man.


The title given here to the Messiah for the first time, appears prominently

in the Book of Enoch, and becomes consecrated to us in the lips of our

Lord, as the favorite title by which He designated Himself as the Messiah.

The phrase, “son of man,” ben-adam, is used of man as contrasted with

God: Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man that he should lie, nor the son

of man that he should repent;” of man as weak: Isaiah 51:12, “Who art

thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of

man which shall be made as the grass?” (so Job 25:6; Psalm 144:3).

Again, it is used simply as equivalent to “man:” Jeremiah 49:18, “No

man shall abide there, neither shall son of man dwell in it” (see also

Jeremiah 51:43). The contrast, so far as there is a contrast, is between

אִישׁ and בֶּן־אָדָם. In the Psalms we have benee adam and benee ish

contrasted: Psalm 62:9, “Surely men of low degree (benee adam) are

vanity, and men of high degree (benee ish) are a lie.” This distinction does

not apply to Aramaic, in which enush is the only generally used word for

“man.” In the prophecies of Ezekiel the phrase becomes determinative of

the prophet. The question is complicated, however, by the fact that in

Eastern Aramaic barnesh, a contraction for bar-enasho, is used very

generally for “men,” as col-bar-nesh, “everybody.” It also occurs in this

sense in Targumic, though more rarely, as Job 5:7. The title here, then,

simply declares that one, having the appearance of a man, was seen coming

in the clouds of heaven. The phrase in the Peshitta for “the Son of man” is

batch dnosh. It is implied that this mysterious Being had the form of a

man, but further, it is implied that he was other than man. In the Book of

Enoch the phrase has ceased to be descriptive merely, and has become an

appellation. Thus Enoch 46:1-2:



1 “And there I saw one who had a head of days, and His head was white

like wool, and with Him was another being, whose countenance had the

appearance of a man, and his face was full of graciousness like one of the

holy angels. 



2.  And I asked the angel who went with me and showed me all

the hidden things concerning that Son of man, who He was, and why He

went with the Head of days.


2 And he answered and said unto me, This is the Son of man, who hath

righteousness, with whom dwelleth righteousness, and who reveals all the

treasures of that which is hidden, because the Lord of spirits hath chosen

Him, and His lot before the Lord of spirits hath surpassed everything in

uprightness for ever.”


This is clearly borrowed from the chapter before us.  Elsewhere we have endeavored

to fix the date of this part of the Book of Enoch, as B.C. 210. Of course, in this view

the Maccabean origin of Daniel is definitely set aside. If, however, we take the date

assigned to this part by Mr. Charles, then we have a choice between approximately

B.C. 90 and B.C. 70. Even then the date seems too near the critical date of Daniel to

explain the rapid development the idea has undergone. In Daniel the person

“like a son of man” may be a personification of Israel, though not naturally

so; here in Enoch we have to do with a super-angelic being.


The view that it is the Messiah who is meant by the “Son of man” was held

practically by all interpreters, Jewish and Christian, until the middle of last century.

If we look at the phenomenon of prophetism, we shall find ourselves open

to another view of the matter. From I Peter 1:10 we see that prophets

did not necessarily know the meaning of their own prophecies. It might

well be, then, that to Daniel the distinction between the Messianic King and

the Messianic kingdom was not one clearly apprehended. We see in the

prophecies of the second Isaiah that the “servant of the Lord” is first the

holy people, then the prophetic order, and latterly a person. There probably

was a similar uncertainty here. If we grant this indefiniteness, the next

question that rises is — What is the special aspect of the Messianic

kingdom that is intended to be portrayed when this title is given to its

King? If we are guided by what is incomparably the oldest interpretation,

that of the second Book of Enoch, this title implies an incalculable dignity.

When we come to our Lord’s use of it in the Gospels, there is nothing to

oppose this. Thus John 5:22, “And hath committed all judgment unto

Him, because He is the Son of man;” so Matthew 9:6, “The Son of man

hath power on earth to forgive sins.” This is not contradicted by

Ibid. ch. 8:20, “The foxes have holes,… but the Son of man hath not

where to lay his head.” The emphasis of the statement lies in the contrast

between the inexpressible dignity of the Person and the poverty of his

earthly circumstances. It is because the ideas of superhuman dignity had

been associated with the title that our Lord had, in foretelling his

approaching crucifixion,. to bring the two facts into close connection, “The

Son of man must be lifted up.” So after Peter’s confession, “The Son of

man must suffer many things.” We see that the multitude of the Jews

understood the title to have this lofty meaning, for they demand (John

12:34), “How sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this

Son of man?”  The attempts to make it imply something humiliating by

dwelling on the fact that not adam or ish is the word for “man,” but

enosh, are beside the question, for these deductions apply to the Hebrew

words, not to .the Aramaic. And in Aramaic neither ish nor adam is in

common use as equivalent for “man.” It is as much beside the point as if

one, knowing the difference between man and mann in German, should lay

stress on the fact that in this phrase in English “man” has only one n.

The connection of this surpassing dignity with humanity has probably deep

roots in human nature.


15 “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the

visions of my head troubled me.  16 I came near unto one

of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told

me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.  17 These great

beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the

earth.  18 But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and

possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.”  The version of the

Septuagint differs in some points from the Massoretic. In the fifteenth

verse there is no reference to the spirit being in the body; it adds “of the

night” after “visions,” and changes “my head” into “my thoughts.” The

sixteenth verse presents no essential points of difference. In the seventeenth

verse the differences are more considerable, “These great beasts are four

kingdoms, which shall be destroyed from the earth.” There seems a good

deal to be said for the reading behind this version. The first variation,

“kingdoms” instead of “kings,” may be due to logic, but it has further

“destroyed from” instead of “arising out of,” which cannot have resulted

from the Massoretic. The verb qoom, “to stand up,” followed by rain,

“from,” is not elsewhere used in the sense which we find in the Massoretic

here. When one is prone on the earth, as Saul before the revelation of the

witch of Endor, “he stood up from the earth” (I Samuel 28:23, Targum

Jonathan) — word for word as here. When Abraham (Genesis 23:3,

Targum Onkelos) arose from before his dead, we have a similar

construction. In II Samuel 11:2, “David arose from his couch.” This

construction involves change of position, either directly or implicitly. It is

difficult to understand how the one reading arose from the other. The

condensation of the sense as it appears in the Septuagint is not likely to be

attained by a falsarius. In v. 18 there is nothing calling for remark, save

that the reduplication of “for ever and ever” is omitted. While Theodotion

is nearer the Massoretic text, he too differs from it in some points — his

rendering of nidnay by ἕξει hexei - body. Schleusner thinks this probably

a false reading for εκστασἰς - ekstasis – trance.  However, in Judges 14:9

we have ἕξει  used for “body.”  In the seventeenth verse we have “kingdoms”

instead of “kings.” The last clause agrees with the Massoretic, but there is

subjoined ἀναστήσονταιanastaesontai – shall arise  - “which shall be taken

away” — an addition that suggests that some of the manuscripts before

Theodotion had the same reading as that before the Septuagint translator.

He renders yeqoomoon rain by ἀναστήσονται ἐπὶ - anastaesontai epi

shall arise out of - showing that at all events he had a different preposition.

The reduplication of “for ever and ever” is omitted.  The Peshitta v. 15

has “in the midst of my couch” instead of “in the midst of my body."

In the seventeenth verse the preposition is not min, but ‘al.  Jerome, instead of

corpus, “body,” has in his, “in these,” — as if he had read bidena instead of

nidnay; he also in v. 17 reads regna, not reges. The Massoretic text has some

peculiarities.  The first words afford one of the rare instances where we have

the ‘ithpael instead of the hithpael; it may be due to scribal correction. In the

seventeenth verse ‘inoon (K’thib) affords an instance of the frequent

Syriasm in Daniel. The “Most High” is rendered by a plural adjective,

  עֶלְיונִין, (‘elyoneen); it is explained differently. Kranichfeld and Stuart

regard it as pluralis excellentiae. Bevan and Behrmann regard it as a case

of attraction, the latter giving as parallel instances, hence ayleem

(Psalm 29:1) and benee nebeem. The difficulty remains that neither the

pluralis excellentiae nor change of number is known in Aramaic. The fact

that this strange form has produced no effect on any of the versions makes

the reading suspicious. Professor Fuller sees in this word a proof of

Babylonian influence, but he does not assign his reason.  We now enter a

new stage in the development of this vision. After the wonderful assize has

ended, Daniel dreams that he is still standing among these innumerable

multitudes, and, feeling that all these things are symbols, he is grieved

because he cannot comprehend what is meant by them. So from one of

those attendants who crowd the canvas of his vision he asks an

explanation, or rather “the certainty,” of this vision; he wishes to know

whether it is s mere vision or of the nature of a revelation. This is a

perfectly natural psychological condition in dreaming. In the act of

dreaming we question ourselves whether we are dreaming or not; we may

even ask one of the characters in our dream the question. The

interpretation is interesting, but has been already, to some extent

forestalled. A difficulty is seen by some commentators — how these four

kingdoms could be said to arise, when one of them was nearing its fall. If

we take the reading of the Septuagint, this difficulty is obviated. Saadia

Gaon makes these four kings the nominative to the verb “receive”

(wrongly translated in our Authorized Version, “take”), and maintains each

of these empires shall hold the kingdom of Israel UNTIL THE MESSIAH

SHALL COME!   This view would necessitate grammatically that the

Messiah should never come, but that the reign of these four world-empires

should be prolonged into eternity. “The saints of the Most High,” in the

thought of Daniel would be, of necessity, the Jews; for we need not discuss

the possibility of the angels being the holy ones implied here — they always

have the kingdoms of the world under them — but we may see the Israel

of faith in this figure. The believers in Christ are the true Israel, and the

kingdom of heaven which Christ set up is thus promised to fill the earth.

The Church is thus the true ultimate state. If we regard the Church as a

society formed of those who are mutually attracted to each other, have a

mutual love for each other, and have a common love to God, then all the

history of the world is tending towards the establishment of such a society,

universal as the world. National hatreds are much less acute now than they

were. (This was written a couple of centuries ago.  A lot has happened and

is happening since then, so much that the Scripture seems to be fulfilled

before our very eyes!  Jesus said, “When ye see these things come to pass,

then look up, and lift up your heads;  for your redemption draweth night!” 

Luke 21:28 – CY – 2014)  Despite the efforts to rouse class against class,

there seems more sympathy between classes than there was. (Once again,

this was written long ago.  In the study of ch. 2:43, I was especially

struck at the seeming fulfillment today of the words “they shall mingle

themselves with the seed of men:  but they shall not cleave one to

another.”  - I refer to the Arab- Israeli situation in the Middle East, ISIS’s

treatment of Christians in Iraq,  and the haves and have-nots of the USA

with the illegal immigrant situation thrown in! – CY – 2014)   The final

break-down of national and class oppositions, not necessarily by the

abolition of either class or nation, will prepare the way for the

Christ-commanded love which is the tie that unites the members

of the true eternal Church of God


19 “Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast,

which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth

were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces,

and stamped the residue with his feet;   20 And of the ten horns that were

in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three

fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very

great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.   21 I beheld, and

the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints

of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the

kingdom.”   In regard to the version of the Septuagint here, we have the

advantage of Justin Martyr’s transcription, in which, however, the

difference from the Chigi texts are not of great importance. The Septuagint

here is pretty close to the Massoretic text. “Behold” has intruded into the text;

it is, however, omitted from Justin Martyr. Another clause, evidently a

doublet, is emitted also, and the clause assumes nearly the shape it has in

Theodotion. It is difficult to imagine how the reading of the Septuagint arose.

The differences from the Massoretic text are for the rest not essential. This

is the case with Theodotion and the Peshitta. These verses to some extent

recapitulate the earlier description of this fourth beast. There are, however,

features added — to the “iron teeth” of the seventh verse are added “claws

of brass.” The main change is in regard to the little horn that came up last.

We not only learn here that three other horns were plucked up before it,

but the personification is now carried further, and the horn makes war,

then it is not warfare against a nation, but against a community like a

Church. If we look upon the Christian Church as succeeding to the position

of Israel, then Rome persecuted the Church, and persecution ceased only

when Rome became Christian. But a wider view opens itself to us. All

modern states are in a sense a continuance of Rome, and so far as they do

not submit themselves to the direction of Christ, they are still at war with

the saints. It is only when the Son of man comes in His power that the

kingdom will belong to the saints. It is to be observed, the figure of an

assize is still kept up, and “judgment is given to” or “for the saints,” and in

virtue of this decision they possess the kingdom.


23  “Thus he said, The fourth boast shall be the fourth

kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and

shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in

pieces.   24  And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall

arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from

the first, and he shall subdue three kings. The Septuagint  

differs in some minute points from the Massoretic text.  The text as given

by Justin Martyr is slightly shorter by omitting some words. Theodotion

and the Peshitta also agree. What remarks can be made on this have been

made already. It is to be observed that it is the whole earth that is devoured

by the fourth beast as presented to us now. In the earlier presentation,

although very terrible, his devastation is limited. There is nothing said to

indicate that the kings are successive, but the inference rather is that they

are contemporaries. If the fourth kingdom is the Greek Empire, then ten is

a number far too small for the various kings of the various dynasties that

sprang up. There were seven or eight Lagids, as many Seleucids, three or four

Attalids, five or six Antigonids, not to speak of such men as Lysimaehus and

Perdiccas, who were kings, but who did not found dynasties. If the fourth kingdom

Is tacitly reduced to the Syrian kingdom, then how is it explained that the

author of ‘Daniel’ was ignorant, in the seventh chapter, that the Lagids

were also successors of Alexander as well as the Seleucids?


 25 “And he shall speak great words against the Most High,

and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change

times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and

times and the dividing of time.  26 But the judgment shall sit, and they

shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the

end.   27 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 dominions shall serve and obey Him.”  The versions do not present

much of note in, v. 25, save that the Greek versions imply that dominion

over all is given to the oppressors. Throughout the Septuagint has traces of

explanatory expansion. He shall speak words against the Most High. The

word “against,” letzad, is really “to the side of.” This clause may refer to

blasphemy against God, but more naturally refers to self-exaltation to a

place alongside of God. Shall wear out the saints of the Most High.

Persecute them, or maintain war against them; the natural meaning of the

word is “afflict.” And shall think to change times and laws. It ought not to

be “laws,” in the plural, but “law.” It may refer to the marked changes

introduced into the calendar by Julius Caesar. Certainly the law or

constitution of the Roman state was changed by him. And they shall be

given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Who

shall be given into his hands? It is usually assumed that it is the saints; hut

the Septuagint asserts that it is universal dominion that is given into the hands of

the oppressors. We have no right to assume that ‘iddan, “a time,” means “a

year;” it is really any defined time. Certainly it does approximate to the

time during which the temple was polluted with heathen offerings; but it

also coincides with equal accuracy to the campaigns of Vespasian and

Titus against the Jews. Vespasian landed in Galilee in the beginning of A.D.

67, and Jerusalem fell on September 5, A.D. 70. There was thus,

approximately, three years and a half occupied by this war. But “centuries”

might also be meant. From the birth of our Lord, on whom the oppression

was first exercised, till the accession of Constantine, was three centuries

and a portion of a century. The judgment shall sit. Not necessarily the last

judgment, but the evil that is being done comes before God for judgment.

The taking away of the kingdom and dominion is immediately at the end of

the period indicated by “a time and times and a dividing of time.” The

dominion was not taken away from Epiphanes then, nor from Vespasian; it

did, however, pass from the heathenish empire when Constantine ascended

the throne. At the same time, any such purely limited explanation is against

the whole symbolic character of this vision. It is a period of time measured

by “seven” halves. The times may receive their definition, not from the

calendar, but from their spiritual import or dynamic content. The three

years of our Lord’s ministry is of more moment for the history of the race

than all the millennia that preceded it.


 28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my

cogitations much troubled me and my countenance changed in me:

but I kept the matter in my heart.”  The first clause here is in the Septuagint

joined to the preceding verse, and rendered, “And all power shall be given

to him, and they shall obey him to the end of the matter” — a connection

that in many ways is suitable. The difficulty is thrown further back. To

whom is this power to be given, and whom are all to obey? The Septuagint

clearly takes the reference to be to the little horn, as “end” is rendered by

καταστροφῆςkatastrophaes. The more common view is that

the reference here is to the Son of man as the Head or the

embodiment of the Messianic kingdom. The remaining portion of the verse

is rendered, “I Daniel was exceedingly overcome with astonishment, and

my habit (ἕξιςhexis) was changed to me, and the word I confirmed in my heart”

— a translation that does not seriously differ from the Massoretic.

Theodotion and the Peshitta render from a text practically identical with

the Massoretic. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me. The

prophet himself did not understand the revelation that had been made to

him, even after he had received the explanation. Further, there was the

thought of the distress that would befall his own people. And my

countenance changed in me. “My splendour,” “brightness.” Daniel was

now an old man; but yet there might be a certain brightness, the remains of

his former personal beauty. He becomes pale and emaciated as he

meditates on what he has seen. But I kept the matter in my heart. Thus

Mary retained in her heart all the wonders she had seen regarding her Son.

This statement is introduced as a guarantee that the vision is correctly

recorded. Daniel retained the vision in his mind, and so was ready to

recognize the fulfillment of a portion.


(I studied Daniel from the Pulpit Commentary in the early 1960’s – I

remember being on a basketball trip at Gannon University in Erie, PA

and I was studying it.  Then, it was hard reading and now also.  I regret

that there is not more help here.  We must look to the Author, the Holy

Spirit for help!  However, I personally have received quite a bit of

insight on this study of Daniel with the Pulpit Commentary, but

this chapter has been difficult.  CY – 2014)



The Great Antagonist (vs. 15-28)


“I beheld, and the same horn,” etc. (vs. 21-22). In introducing this

subject, let the following interesting facts be noted. The dream occasioned

Daniel great anxiety. “Even I Daniel grieved was my spirit, in the midst of

[its] sheath. The soul a sword in its scabbard. He solicited information

from one of the myriads in attendance on the Eternal. In answer, two or

three suggestions were made, leading Daniel to inquire further, which he

did, especially respecting the fourth brute power. The angelic interpreter

explained, and also gave additional touches to the picture, of which we

shall make use in the homily. All this is the dream, mark! We shall assume

that the single horn does not stand for the antichrist of the Old Testament,

viz. Antiochus Epiphanes; and that the schemes of interpretation which

involve that it does so break down. The reasons for that assumption we

could give, but would be more proper to the body of a critical commentary

than to a homily. We must assume all this in homiletical treatment. This

prophetic Scripture throws forward lights, then, on:




Ø      It was the fourth brute world-power. (v. 17.)

Ø      Its genius differed from those that had gone before. “Diverse,” etc. (v.23).

Ø      It appropriated to itself the good of every land. “Shall devour,” etc. (v. 23).

Ø      Its tyranny was oppressive. “Shall tread,” etc. (Ibid.).

Ø      It survives until the final overthrow of all brute-power by the

establishment of the eternal kingdom. Rome imperial, Rome dismembered,

Rome papal, are still Rome. “One! — one mighty and formidable power,

trampling down the liberties of the world; oppressing and persecuting the

people of God, the true Church; and maintaining an absolute and arbitrary

dominion over the souls of men; as a mighty domination standing in the

way of the progress of truth, and keeping back the reign of the saints on





Ø      The “ten horns” were sovereignties.

Ø      Developments of the Roman empire.

Ø      Contemporaneous.

Ø      The exact designation of them is not necessary.


The “ten” have been designated. But differences of opinion have arisen.

This not surprising seeing that the new powers arose in a time of great

confusion, and the boundaries were frequently changing. Perhaps strict

literal and numerical exactness is not to be expected. The vague character

of prophecy generally would warrant a contrary conclusion.


  • ROME PAPAL. The rise and progress of the papacy constitute a truly

wonderful fulfillment of Daniel’s dream. But it is necessary in all

contemplation of the Romish religious system to distinguish carefully and

ever in our minds between the Christian element in it, and the corruption of

that Christian element. (As illustration of this distinction, Collette’s

Novelties of Romanism,’ R.T.S., is invaluable.)


Ø      The “other” horn was another sovereignty.

Ø      It sprang from the Roman domination. Papal Rome in many ways

represents Rome imperial, in the world-wideness of its sway, in

possessing the same capital, etc.

Ø      It came into being after the dismemberment. After the ten.

Ø      Small at the beginning. From the apostolic age there had been a bishop

at Rome; but the rise of the papacy is to be dated from the assumption

of civil power. When? This one of the most difficult questions in history.

Different theories of interpretation depend on the answers. Enough that

so small was the beginning, that none can answer with certainty when?

Ø      The sovereignty differed from all other. (v. 24.) Combination of

spiritual with secular power. This involves a mighty difference.

Ø      It displaced other sovereignties. (v. 25.) “He shall subdue three

kings.” Either three kingdoms went down before it, or a third, about

a third of the power and influence of existing monarchies disappeared.

Distinct governments vanished before the rising papacy; and the papacy

Itself assumed civil functions. Here again it is not necessary to involve

the broad incontrovertible facts with questionable historic detail

(see end of v. 20). “More stout” refers to the magnitude finally


Ø      Has been distinguished by a far-seeing sagacity. “Eyes like the eyes of

a man.” A sagacity of human sort, not Divine. The diplomacy of Rome,

the sublety of the Jesuit, are notorious. The historical illustrations,

medieval and modern, are infinitely varied and innumerable.

Ø      By blasphemy. (v. 25.) “He shall speak great words against the Most

High.” Blasphemy

o       either denies to God something of His essential glory;

o       or assumes the names, attributes, and works of God for the

creature. In both senses the papacy has been guilty. The

illustrations are numberless which are to be found in the

doctrine, ritual, practice, and history of the Roman Church.

Some of them terrible. Many of them are now open before

us, but we cannot present them here in our limited space.

o       By persecution.

o       The new sovereignty has” changed times and law.” Not “laws,”

but the fundamental and eternal law of right. Of this, too, the

illustrations are without number.


  • ROME JUDGED (vs. 11, 26.)


Ø      The dream even now waits fulfillment. Much has been fulfilled, but

Much remains to be. Imperial Rome has gone. The many other

kingdoms have arisen; and a part of their power has disappeared

before the growing supremacy of papal Rome. But even that has

within the last half-century been shorn of its strength. (Early

1800’s)  Still much remains for the future to disclose.

Ø      Rome papal will stand for a definite time. “Until a time,” etc. (v. 25).

The time is definite, though to us, as we believe, unknown.

Ø      But will certainly fall. (vs. 11, 26.) Note the reason in v. 11.

Ø      Then to rise no move. (vs. 11, 26.) Are explicit and strong.


  • HER POWER TRANSFERRED. Given to the saints; once theirs, theirs

everywhere, theirs for ever. War was indeed made against the saints,

achieved, too, a certain success. But principle never dies. The final victory

lay with the persecuted. Dominion passed over to them. In what sense? We

might say that good men made the laws, but this would be a poor thing to

say. Rather is this the truth — that the need of government almost passed


judicial administration might be necessary to arrange debatable points. But

deliberate crime had now become non-existent. To illustrate: Mr. Goldwin

Smith, after saying that, in a particular instance, “not the special form of

the government, but the comparative absence of necessity for government,

is the thing to be noted and admired,” goes on to say, “The proper sphere

of government is compulsion. The necessity for it in any given community

is in inverse proportion to the social virtue and the intelligence of the

people. The policeman, the executioner, the tax-gatherer, — these are its

proper ministers, and the representatives of what we call its majesty. It is

destined to decrease as Christianity increases, and as force is superseded by

social affection, and spontaneous combination for the public good. The

more a community can afford to dispense with government, the more

Christian it must be” (‘The Civil War in America,’ p. 27). The Ancient of

days gives over empire to the Son of man; His sovereignty is exercised

through His saints. They have something of his own sway. What is that?

The sway of spiritual supremacy. The rule of righteousness. The law of

love. The empire of Calvary.





            Godly Obedience the Basis of Permanent Dominion (vs. 28).


Wisdom and righteousness are the qualities of a real king. Daniel, though

not ambitious of a material sceptre, yet, by virtue of his weighty influence,

swayed the destinies of the Babylonian empire. He ruled by an

unpretentious grace.



THAN FOR ANY SELF-EXALTATION. Daniel was grieved in spirit, not

because of personal ill, nor from fear of the lions’ den, but because of the

obscurity of the vision; in other words, because of the uncertain fortune of

God’s kingdom. The symbol of the fourth beast seemed to betoken

disaster, suffering, yea, even destruction, for the people of God. That

under the violence of this unnatural monster the saints of the Most High

should be worn out with oppression, and that rude wickedness should

prevail; this distressed and overwhelmed the heart of Daniel. He lived for

one object. His life, from the early days of youth, had been directed

towards one end — viz, the reversal of Israel’s over-throw — the

restoration of the Hebrews to Canaan. If this end seemed nearer, he was

content; if this event was shrouded in doubt, he grieved. In his ease self

was repressed — kept down. He was consumed with pious zeal for others’

good — for God’s honor. Never once do we find him plotting for his own

elevation or for his own interests. He did not live for fame. Yet he had it.

He thought mainly of God, and God set his thought and care upon him. He

had so completely identified himself with God’s cause on earth, that all his

interest and happiness were indissolubly bound up with it. Herein God

observed his promise, “Them that honor me I will honor.”  (I Samuel 2:30)

To him heaven was open. He moved in the society of angels. And, when his

mind was enveloped with difficulty, he gladly sought counsel and instruction

from one of the heavenly host. A wise man will ever seek to increase his

wisdom. He welcomes light from every quarter.



DESTRUCTION. The nature of man has great possibilities both of

elevation and descent. He who will be a monarch, be the methods what

they may, shall be degraded to the level of a beast. These four human

sovereigns are represented by the Spirit of truth as four beasts. They were

so rapacious after rule, that, on the road, they did not hesitate to devour

much flesh. A thousand, or a myriad, human lives were, in their estimation,

nothing, so long as they could climb to a throne, and see their proud wills

obeyed. Yet they were only beasts in the guise of men. They had the tastes,

inclinations, ferocity, of brutes. The fourth in the contemptible series was

so wanton and lustful in his rage, that not one of the wild beasts on earth

could fitly represent him. He was a very prodigy of brutality. But empire so

gained could not continue. The seeds of decay were sown in it from the

beginning. “They that use the sword shall perish by the sword.” Their

success is but for a moment — a vapor, which barely appeareth, and then

for ever vanisheth. Who can point us today to an earthly throne, which has

been founded by military arms, and has endured? Vaulting ambition has

always overleaped itself. They that have determined to be rulers, be the

cost what it may, shall sink into infamy — into the pit of human scorn.

“The judgment shall sit.” A King of all other kings calmly rules, with

irresistible sceptre, in a higher sphere; and woe be to the puny tyrant that

dares resist His will! Jehovah hath “prepared His throne in the heavens;”

(Psalm 103:19) and this is a fundamental principle in His kingdom: “He

that exalteth himself shall be abased.” (Matthew 23:12)  They that bite and

devour shall be consumed one of another.



PERMANENT THRONE. They who sink self shall rise into the possession

of a better nature and of a loftier state. To live for others is heroic — godlike.

Real goodness thinks little about itself — is blind to its own virtues

and charms. It deems others’ merits superior to its own, others’ faults to

be less. Its eye is mainly fixed upon the true standard of excellence, and it

strains every nerve to reach that. So long as that is beyond, unattained, it

mourns and grieves. The mark of true saints, in their present state, is not

perfection, but consecration. They are God’s devoted ones — “the

sacramental host of His elect.” Their characteristic mark is loyalty —

growing holiness. They are devoid of personal ambition. If they have

crowns thrust upon them, they will place them at once at the service of

their Lord. To acquire wisdom, righteousness, love,this is their

ambitious aim, even to be worthy friends of the King of grace. In process

of time they become “more than conquerors”  (Romans 8:37) for they

acquire a conquest which is permanent and irreversible — a conquest which

serves as a vantage-ground for higher conquest yet. Whether the dominion,

which the saints of God obtain, is over evil principles, or over living

personalities, or over men, may remain an open question. It may very properly

be said to include all. It is a dominion over self, over sin, over death, over

Satan, yea, over their fellow-men. For, in the nature of things, in proportion

as any man has wisdom, purity, love, he rules with invisible sceptre over other

men. Yet, kings and priests though the saints are, they are willing vassals

under Christ. He is “Lord of all.”     



Excursus on the Four Monarchies of Daniel.


Among the visions in Daniel, two are conspicuous as being all but

universally acknowledged to be parallel to each other — to be twofold

symbols of the same great truth. They have this peculiarity, that they are

parts of the Aramaic portion of Daniel, which is otherwise mainly

historical. The first of these visions is given to Nebuchadnezzar, and is

intensified to him by the fact that after he had forgotten it, or had bound

himself not to tell it, it is recalled to him by the grace of God, who had

given it in a new vision to Daniel. The king dreams of a colossal image,

with head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs

of iron, and feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Then suddenly a stone,

cut out of the mountains without hands, smites the image on the feet, and it

falls and becomes as the small dust of the threshing-floor, and is carried

away of the wind, while the stone becomes a great mountain and fills the

earth. (ch. 2:31-35).  This is interpreted of four successive monarchies,

the first of these being the Babylonian.  This is the beginning of the

Aramaic portion of Daniel.


The second vision is given to Daniel himself, and is related in this chapter

vs. 1-8, which forms the conclusion of the Aramaic portion of Daniel. This  sea,

presumably the Mediterranean. The first beast was like a lion, and had

wings like an eagle; its wings were plucked, and a man’s heart was given to

it. The second beast was like a bear, that raised itself up on one side, and

had in its jaws three ribs. The third beast was like a leopard which had four

wings. The fourth beast was great and terrible, unlike any of the former

beasts, breaking in pieces and trampling under foot. It had ten horns. In the

midst of its horns another, an eleventh horn, sprang up, and there were

rooted out before it three of the former horns. At this point the end of the

solemn drama is placed — God, the Ancient of Days, appears to judgment.

Then comes a Son of man in the heavens, and the dominion is given to Him.

Thus the judgment here described is not the final judgment. The fourth

beast is burnt up with fire; the other beasts have their dominion taken

away. The interpretation follows, which makes the four beasts four kings,

or four monarchies.  The fourth is to be diverse from all its predecessors,

and to make war against the people of God.


The number of the kingdoms, being four, points to an idenity,

as also the fact that both assert that the Messianic kingdom — the terminus

ad quem of all apocalypse — will be revealed after the setting up of the

fourth kingdom without any intercalated power. We shall, then, assume

these two visions to present the same scheme of universal history under

different aspects.


When we look at this double vision, the first thing that strikes us is the

unique breadth of view exhibited. If we may for the nonce accept the

traditional interpretation, we see the whole course of history, from the

days of Nimrod down to the present time, portrayed; nay, beyond the

present, on to the millennium and the last judgment.


We ought not scientifically to assume, without proof, that prophecy that

foretells is impossible.   The Jews believed in foretelling prophecy. “When a prophet

speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is

the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it

presumptuously.”   (Deuteronomy 18:22).  The early Christians believed in prophecy

that foretold;their whole argument against the Jews was the recital of what the

prophets had spoken. To deny that prophecy foretells is to assert that Christianity is

founded on a gigantic blunder. Closely connected with this is the belief that

the prophets did not necessarily comprehend the meaning of their own

words, as in I Peter. 1:11 we are told that they had to “search what, and

what manner of time the Spirit which was in them did signify.” This is

involved in the primitive idea of prophecy and inspiration, as may be seen

by the oracles. The priestess that gave the enigmatic answer at Delphi was

not supposed to know what was the meaning of her own words. The whole

critical assumption that the words of a prophet were absolutely

conditioned by his environment, is utterly unscientific, as all unproved

assumptions are. On the ground of that gratuitous assumption, critics have

no right to assert that no more can be in a prophecy than the prophet who

uttered it could have fully understood.


We would make another preliminary observation. Apocalypse was a mode

of composition of which we have many examples — one other besides

Daniel being canonical. To understand Daniel, then, we ought to apply the

canons of interpretation which may be deduced from other apocalypses,

especially from the Book of Revelation. One of these that is of special

importance is the way numbers are used as marks by which identities are

indicated. Thus in Revelation the dragon, the beast that came out of the

waters, and the scarlet beast on which the woman sat, are recognized to be

all symbols of one and the same antichristian power — Rome, by the fact

that always we have the seven heads and ten horns prominent. Towards

God it is diabolism, towards the saints it is a devouring beast, and to the

world at large the “harlot.” On the other hand, the beast that came out of

the earth, that had two horns, is different.


If we apply this principle to Daniel, we can maintain the identity of the two

visions — before us: first, because each had four members; next, we can

identify the fourth kingdom in each series by the facts that there are ten

toes to the feet of the image, and ten horns upon the fourth beast — the

prominence of the number ten proves the identity of the two. The second

empire in the image has duality as its ruling mark — there are the two

shoulders; and the bear raises itself up on one side, implying the other. This

twofoldness is intensified in the vision of the “ram” and “he-goat;” the ram

has two horns. The third monarchy has no number prominent in the image vision,

but has four wings as the third beast. When we pass to the next

vision, we find that, when the “he-goat” loses his notable horn, .four others

spring up. And in the eleventh chapter the empire of Alexander was divided

to the four winds of heaven.


While this is an affirmative principle, it is also a negative one. On the

ground of the identity of prominent numbers, we may assume the identity

of the thing symbolized, though symbolized by diverse symbols; on the

other hand, where prominent numbers are diverse, notwithstanding a

general resemblance, we can assume a diversity in the thing symbolized.

Thus the little horn of the eighth chapter is very like, superficially, to the

eleventh horn of the seventh chapter: but the difference of numerical

relations compells us to regard, them as symbols of different things. It was

the identity here assumed that led Delitzsch to abandon the traditional view

of the fourth monarchy, and give in his adhesion to the critical view. When,

however, we look at the numerical relations of the two, we find they are

wholly different. In the seventh chapter the eleventh horn does not belong

to any of the previous horns, and dispossesses three of them; on the other

hand, the little horn of the eighth chapter springs out from one of the four

horns — it is not an independent horn, but a sprout from one of the extant

horns. Further, there are no horns dispossessed or uprooted before it. These

prominent differences override the resemblance of the one having a mouth

speaking great things and making war with the saints, and the other being a

king that understood dark sentences, and made war against Messiah the

Prince. Notwithstanding this superficial resemblance, we are compelled to

maintain the real difference. Surely more than one tyrant made war against

the saints and persecuted them. At all events, this must be said — that the

numerical difference renders it illegitimate to draw any argument from the

purely superficial resemblance above referred to.


Having considered these preliminaries, let us look now at the various

interpretations that have been put forward of these visions. First, there is

the common, as it may be called, the traditional view, which, as we all

know, makes the first empire the Babylonian, the second the Medo-

Persian, the third the Greek, and the fourth the Roman. This view is

repudiated with one consent by all critics; to admit that the Roman was

intended would be to admit that prophecy foretold, and that, Scripture

notwithstanding, is tacitly assumed to be impossible. Mere negation is not

enough; it is necessary to replace the ancient view by some other that will

enable the interpreter to say that not the Roman, but the Greek, is the

fourth empire.


The problem before critical interpreters, then, is to show how there can be

four mornarchies beginning with Nebuchadnezzar and ending with the

Greek, or at all events the Seleucid Empire. We may neglect a scheme

referred to Ewald by Pusey, but which in his Commentary on Daniel Ewald

does not adopt, namely, that the Ninevite monarchy is the first, and the

Babylonian the second. This interpretation contradicts the words of Daniel

when he interprets the dream to Nebuchadnezzar. He says to

Nebuchadnezzar, “Thou art this head of gold”  (ch.2:38).  


We would note is that the symbol of this second empire implies duality

(Medes and Persians).  The two arms of the image show it clearly.  (ch. 2:32)

The second beast which lifted itself up on one side implied that same

duality (v. 5). When we turn to the eighth chapter, we find a ram with two

horns, the one of which that came up last outgrew the one that sprang up

earlier. There we find the same duality in unity as symbolized in the other

symbols. That one of the two elements should be the more powerful is

implied in the bear that raised itself up on one side.  No one can deny that the

Persian Empire presented a dual aspect to those outside. In Herodotus and

Thucydides  Μήδἰζειν  is to side with the Persians. Herodotus calls the

great Persian war  τα Πέρσὶκαὶ.


The proofs of the unity of the empire of the Medes and the Persians are

numerous in Daniel. When Daniel interpreted the inscription on the wall, he

had before him Upharsin, “and fragments;” he sees in this that the

Babylonian kingdom would be broken by the Persians — an interpretation

that involves a play on the words פְרַס, “to divide,” and פְרַס, “a Persian;”

there is nothing about Medes in the inscription. Yet Daniel says the

kingdom is given to the Medes and the Persians. Further, the prophecy

which declared that the Babylonian Empire would be overthrown by the

Persians is regarded as fulfilled when Darius the Mede receives the

kingdom. Again, when Darius publishes the decree that condemns Daniel

to the lions’ den, he is moved to establish the decree “according to the law

of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.” When Darius would

rescind the decree, he is met by this immutability of the laws of the Medes

and the Persians. If the empire was Median, why was the name Persian

appended thus? If it be objected that Medes is placed before Persians, Dr.

Pusey rightly remarks that this is in all likelihood due to the court

politeness of those about a Median satrap, or king. Boys in Scotland often

play at a game which they invariably call “Scotch and English,” never

“English and Scotch,” yet the disparity in population, extent, and influence

is greater between England and Scotland than that between Persia and

Media. If one had no end to serve by denying it, it would seem impossible

to deny that the Persian Empire was regarded as a dual empire by the

author of the Book of Daniel; and that, in his view, in this empire the Mede

had almost an equal place with the Persian; that, in short, in the Persian

Empire the Medes occupied much the same position as the Scotch do in

the English.


The third empire is the Greek. It has four as its numerical note. The

leopard has four wings. The goat that symbolizes Greece in the eighth

chapter has four horns. These wings are the symbol of rapidity of

movement. As a matter of history, the conquests of Alexander were made

with extreme rapidity. He ascended the throne of Macedonia, a youth of

twenty, in B.C. 336. In two years he had subdued the whole Balkan

peninsula. In B.C. 334 he crossed the Hellespont, and in ten years he had

conquered Asia to the Oxus and the Indus, and Egypt to the cataracts of

the Nile. Cyrus, after a reign of more than twice the length, had not made

nearly as extensive conquests. On the ground of the suitability of the

symbol to the facts of the Greek conquest, we would say that the third

empire is that of Alexander and his successors. The symbol in the image-vision

is not so clear, but the metal, bronze, was one that was much used

by the Greeks for armour, and, moreover, was eminently suitable for

artistic purposes; hence it was a suitable symbol for the Greek power.


On this traditional theory the fourth empire is the Roman.

We have spoken of the New Testament Apocalypse. There are three

beasts introduced with ten horns; two of these are certainly Rome, and the

fourth beast in Daniel has ten horns. Evidently, then, the Apostle John had

no doubt as to the reference of Daniel’s beast with ten horns The

Apocalypse of Baruch was probably written in B.C. 60. and there the

Roman power is expressly designated as the fourth kingdom. Here is direct

evidence, coming down to little more than a century after the critical date

of Daniel, that in Jewish opinion the fourth empire in Daniel was the



We admit there are difficulties in interpreting the features of this fourth

monarchy. In approaching this part of our subject, we would lay it down as

a principle that, in interpreting apocalyptic writings, we are to be guided by

notes of interpretation to be found in them. One of these notes of

interpretation we find in Revelation 17:9, “The seven heads are seven

mountains, and  they are seven kings.” Here we find the numerical note

which points out the city of Rome. The number seven has two meanings:

mountains,” the seven hills of Rome; and “seven kings,” presumably the

seven rulers of Rome, Nero being the seventh and Pompey the first. There

may be a reference to the seven kings of Rome. Whatever the

interpretation here, at all events this much is clear — the symbols carry

double.  With this principle, let us approach this symbol of the ten horns. The

magistracies of Rome were, roughly speaking, ten — two consuls,

originally two praetors, two censors, and four tribunes. The imperial power

was utterly unknown to the Roman constitution; but it, coming up after the

others, absorbed the power of three of these magistracies — the

tribunitian, the praetorian, and censorial. Certainly the imperial dignity had

a mouth speaking great things. Not only was the emperor regularly deified

on his decease, but even during ‘his life he was saluted as a present deity.

Temples were erected to Augustus during his lifetime, and Caius Caligula

could hardly be restrained from compelling the Jews to worship his statue.

But these horns may not only be co-ordinate and contemporary, but also

successive. From the standpoint of Judaism, what was the greatest injury

inflicted on the holy people by Rome? Was it not indubitably the capture of

Jerusalem by Titus under the auspices of his father Vespasian? Now, if we

include in the rank of rulers Pompey, who certainly had burned in his

personality upon the Jews by his profanation of the temple, and certainly

bulked more largely in the eye of every one, Romans or foreigners, than

any preceding Roman, as we may see by reading Cicero, ‘ Pro Lege

Manilia,’ then Vespasian was the eleventh ruler, and before him three

emperors, Galba, Vitellius, Otho, had been removed.


The interpretation is not yet exhausted. It has been recognized that the two

legs represent the twofold division of the empire into eastern and western

Although this was only made actual by Diocletian, the division existed in

reality from the first between the subjects speaking Latin and those

speaking Greek. Taking this as our starting-point, there could easily be

enumerated ten powers, Eastern and Western, that may form the ten toes

of the image. The number ten is not to be taken with arithmetical

exactness. The imperial power of Russia may be symbolized as that which,

arising beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire and of the kingdoms

formed from it, seems likely to overstep her present limits, and, it may well

be, shall swallow up three other powers. This latter interpretation we

merely throw out as suggestive.


The critical school have some difficulty in making out their ten rulers, who

are symbolized by the ten horns. Porphyry drew on the Egyptian Ptolemies

to fill out the deficiencies of the Seleucids. That is evidently an illicit

process. The more general scheme now is to start with Alexander the

Great, then take the successive Seleucids; as they are not enough, Heliodorus,

who never was king, is inserted. If, however, the fourth beast is the

Greek power, and Alexander is to be taken as the first monarch, then all his

successors, Lagids, Antegonids, and Attalids, as well as Seleucids, have to

be reckoned — a number to be counted by scores rather than tens. Were it

not for the necessity they are under to make the fourth monarchy the

Greek, this attempt would have been acknowledged to be a failure.

Before we leave this, we must consider this point — the growing

degradation of the powers that succeed the Babylonian. In what sense

could Babylon be the head of gold, while Persia was silver, Greece bronze,

and Rome iron? It is evident that this inferiority is not one of extent of

territory; for the successive monarchies were each more extensive

geographically than its predecessor. In what, then, consists the inferiority?

The only suggestion that seems to me at all to meet the case, is one made

by Dr. Bonnar of East Kilbride, in his ingenious book, ‘The Great

Interregnum.’ In looking at this question, we must begin by divesting

ourselves of all our preconceived notions of representative government and

freedom of the people, in fact, all our Western ideas, and look at monarchy

with the eyes of an Oriental. To an Oriental that monarchy is highest that is

likest Divine sovereignty. Only the most absolute monarch can at all, in

idea, represent Divine sovereignty. The Babylonian government had this

absoluteness — the king’s will was law, without cheek or limitation. This,

as the likest to the Divine government, was the head of gold. The Persian

monarch had the seven nobles — so to say, peers of the crown — that

limited his authority. The hereditary satraps formed a further limitation.

This was silver, not gold. This monarchy had still much of the Divine

absoluteness in it, but not so much as the Babylonian, The Greek Empire

still retained many of the features of Oriental absoluteness, as many of the

features of Oriental magnificence, but they limited their own authority by

the introduction of autonomous cities all over their dominions. Along with

the Greek city life there was a certain independence and freedom assigned

to the individual, that limited the action of the monarch. He was no longer

removed from all men by an immense distance; with all his absoluteness, he

was a Greek among Greeks. Still, the idea of the monarchy was kept up.

There is thus a further degradation — the age of bronze is reached; the age

of gold is past, and even that of silver. With Rome, the empire that was

diverse from all others, the monarchical idea disappeared. The emperor

was simply Imperator of a republic. He might be deified in his lifetime,

might wield absolute power in actuality, but in idea he was but the servant

of the Roman Republic. The bronze had given place to iron. If we carry our

eyes down the ages to the kingdoms that have succeeded the Roman

Empire, monarchy has ceased to have much power at all. The iron now is

mingled with the miry clay. The progress of constitutional history all over

the world has been the lessening of government authority, and setting the

individual free. (Then why is the greatest example the world has ever known,

The United States of America, drifting the other way, back into governmental


APPEARANCE OF THE ANTI-CHRIST?  - CY – 2014)  The stone cut out

of the mountain, so far as material goes, is at a still lower level in regard to value

than the iron mingled with the miry clay. Individualism becomes absolute in

Christianity when the believer, in exercise of his absolute personal right over

himself, SURRENDERS HIMSELF ABSOLUTELY into the hands of



The Messianic kingdom, foreseen by the prophet, and foretold in the stone

in the vision of the image, and in the Son of man in that of the four beasts,

looks forward to a time beyond the present, when all civil governments will

have ceased, when the Church shall be manifest as the true state, when

Christ, the Anointed of the Lord, ALONE SHALL REIGN! This prophecy is

not fulfilled in Christ’s coming in weakness as the Babe at Bethlehem, nor in

his life of sorrow and death, of shame and suffering. No; it is in His coming

the second time, without sin, unto salvation  (Hebrews 9:28).  It is failure to realize

this that leads Bishop Westcott to maintain the fourth monarchy to be the Greek.

He somehow thinks that the fourth kingdom must have passed away before the

Messiah comes. But in the image-vision the stone was cut out of the mountain

before the image had disappeared. When a person approaches this subject

with a set of presuppositions, he is all the less likely to reach a true

conclusion. Looked at in the way it presents itself to us, this SUBLIME

SCHEME of universal history terminates only when the kingdoms of this

world are become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ; when the

promise made to the Son by the Father, that He should have the heathen for

His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, SHALL

BE FULFILLED!   Only some such time of universal peace can adequately

CONCLUDE HISTORY and FULFIL PROPHECY!.  (See Revelation 11:15;

Psalm 2:8)



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