DANIEL 11Other translations - previous - next - Daniel - BM Home - Full Page
|1 and following||AR 20|
|1 to end||AC 3708; AR 720; AE 31|
|2||AR 34; AE 50|
|8, 33||AE 811|
|13, 15, 20||AR 447|
|13, 25||AE 573|
|13, 25, 26||AC 3448|
|16, 41||AC 9815|
|16, 41, 45||AC 5222|
|24, 37. 38||AC 6075|
|27, 28||P. P.|
|27, 35, 45||Dict. P. 13|
|31||AC 2838, 10042; AE 700, 1045|
|35||D. Lord 4|
|36||AC 4402, 7268|
|38,39||AE 717; P. P.|
|40||AC 6385; AR 437; AE 355, 514|
|40, 41||AC 2468, 3322; P. P.|
|42, 43||AE 654; P. P.|
|43||AC 117, 1164, 1166, 1462; AR 503; AE 654|
|44, 45.||P. P.|
|Chapter cited||AC 1664, 2015, 2547, 9642, 10455; HH 171; AR 500; AE 734|
the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth chapters of this book are closely connected in their spiritual sense. In fact, verses eighteen to twenty of chapter ten, seem properly to belong to the beginning of chapter eleven. The man-angel who appeared to Daniel continues to instruct him concerning the state of the Church, and to strengthen him.
Many attempts have been made by biblical scholars to explain this chapter. They have interpreted it as if it contained direct reference to the fierce struggle for supremacy between Syria and Egypt and their respective rulers, and the subsequent triumph of the Roman power over both. Antiochus Epiphanes is supposed to be meant by the fierce "King of the North," and the king of Egypt by the "King of the South." How utterly inadequate such a method of interpretation is when applied to other portions of this book, we have already endeavored to show.
If it seem to us that history and prophecy and even heavenly imagery are strangely blended in this book called Daniel, we must remember that the natural world and the spiritual world are closely related — the former exists from the latter and corresponds to it. Natural persons and things are simply used in the Word to represent and signify spiritual ideas and principles and their operation in the human mind. The church on earth is connected with the spiritual world and derives its quality from the state of that world. There is, therefore, a double representation. The scenes and objects shown to Daniel in vision were actual representations in the spiritual world, while the names of the kings and kingdoms, although derived from earthly countries, are simply used to represent the dominion of true or false principles. How they acquired their representative meanings is not always clear, but we may be sure that such representation is definite, and forms the true basis of the spiritual meaning of many portions of the Word. Such a method of interpretation may seem fanciful to some, but in reality it is that method only by which the whole Word and especially its prophecies can be seen to be Divinely inspired and full of instruction in heavenly things. "The sum of Your Word is the truth and every one of Your righteous judgements endures forever." (Ps. 119:160.)
From verse one to four of this chapter the old dispensation, that is the Jewish Church which preceded the Christian, is again alluded to and its final destruction is predicted. We have already read of the end of the Jewish Dispensation, but prophecy is repeated in the Word. In the Word all the changing states of the churches are represented from beginning to end. The Jewish Church remained after the Christian Church began, that is, its dark shadow overhung like a cloud the spiritual horizon; just as at this clay, the influence of the old dogmas still lingers in the Christian world and prevents a rapid spread of the light of the New Church. The Lord said: "This generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled." The old Jewish spirit of mere obedience to the letter of the law and the idea of human authority in the Church, remains until the new generation begins, the generation of a new spirit and a new life.
The kings of Persia represent, as before, the dominion of false principles in the mind, while Grecia denotes those who are in Gentile states and have some remaining good in them. The fourth king is said to be richer than all — which denotes an increase of false ideas which finally become united with evil, then a "mighty king shall stand up." But "his kingdom shall be broken" and "divided towards the four winds of heaven." (Verses 2-4.) As the influence of Christianity prevailed the old dominion passed away, and the Jewish Church ceased to be a ruling power in the world. Thus it may be seen that although the Jewish Church came to an end as a Divine institution when the Christian Church began and the Lord executed His judgement upon the former church, yet its influence in the world lasted for some time afterwards. Even now, at the Lord's Second Coming, the Jewish spirit still lingers in the human mind, although the Jewish Church itself, has long ago ceased to fulfill the purpose of its original institution.
Now, however, a new state of things is spoken of. "And the king of the south shall be strong and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion." (Verse 5.) By the "king of the south" is meant the rule or government of genuine faith in the Lord, springing from charity or love, which begins to prevail when a new church arises. As to the signification of the four quarters, north, south, east, and west, see "Heaven and Hell" 141-153, and "Divine Love and Wisdom" 119-128.
There are two principles of the Church that ought to be united, namely, faith and charity. All the divisions and troubles that have existed in the world, in Church or State, have had their origin in a separation of faith from charity, or by placing faith before charity. Faith separate from charity has already been treated of in this book under the figure of the he-goat. (Chap. viii.) Gradually the Christian Church departed from a true and living faith in the Lord which was united with charity, and degenerated into a church of creeds and forms. The "king of the north" represents the principle of faith when it begins to be regarded as the essential principle of the Church. For some time, however, there was no antagonism created between these two principles. Faith was still in some degree united with charity. It is written:
And at the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the strength of her arm; neither shall he stand nor his arm; but she shall be given up and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in those times. (Ver. 6.)
Here the "daughter of the king of the south" denotes the affection of truth remaining in the Church which seeks to be united with faith in the Lord. This affection, however, is now spoken of as degenerated; that is, it denotes the affection of truth which seeks to be joined to the idea that salvation is effected by a belief in the Lord without the works of charity. "At the end of years" refers to that state of the Christian Church when charity fell away or degenerated and the members of the Church fell into the idea of faith alone and embraced it in preference to the original doctrine taught by the Lord that charity is the essential principle. Although there were a few who still clung to this primitive doctrine of Christianity, yet they had little power and were obliged to give up or yield to the hard teaching that faith alone is saving.
From verse seven to twelve, we are instructed as to the uprising again of those who, in subsequent generations, still tried to resist and overcome the falsity of salvation by faith alone. Charity was never in fact finally extinguished; John tarried until the Lord came. All along in different parts of the Christian world, as history shows, there was a remaining love of good, which could not yield to the prevalent idea that man had no other duty than to profess a belief in Christ as an intercessor with the Father and to observe the external rites of the Church. But there were many forms of solifidianism which became so hard and strong as to resist all the gentle teachings of the Saviour of men. These two ideas could not exist together; they were antagonistic to each other and they not only produced a strife of tongues, but physical warfare and bloodshed. It was in vain that the faithful gathered their army, or that they brought the truths of the Word to overcome the false teachings of man. Reading again in the prophecy (verse 13) we learn that the "king of the north shall return and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and he shall come on at the end of the times even of years with a great army and with much substance." From this verse to the sixteenth we have a description of how the doctrine of faith alone as saving, prevails over its opposite and brings all into submission to it. In the seventeenth verse we read:
And he shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; and he shall do his pleasure and he shall give him the daughter of women to corrupt her; but she shall not stand, neither be for him.
From this verse to the twenty-third inclusive, the prophecy treats of the changes which took place in the dogmatic theology of Protestant Christendom. The idea was introduced into the Church's teaching that charity was indeed an important principle, but that it was derived from faith — it was not the first born. Thus the true order of spiritual development was reversed — the form was put before the essence. Faith does not produce charity. It precedes it in point of time; but only when it is united with charity are there any good fruits — thus we see how the "daughter of women" is corrupted, according to the prophecy of this book.
We are taught that those passages of the Word by which it may be confirmed that charity is the essential principle were wrongly explained, and thus the faith which is derived from charity was destroyed, and a deceitful appearance of a heavenly union took the place of the true marriage of faith and love. (Verses 24-28; see Summary Exposition.) These continual combats between true and false ideas in the mind are little thought of at this day, but ecclesiastical history confirms these explanations of the Word of prophecy. And we further see that this apparent union between charity and faith could not last; faith alone still prevailed; the "king of the north returned to the land with great substance," and every vestige of the primitive idea was destroyed. (Verses 29—31.)
There were however a few, even after this false dogma triumphed, who still opposed the teaching of the existing church and would have revived the true doctrine, but they were overpowered by numbers and wealth. (Verses 32—35.) These verses seem to refer particularly to those who still read the Word and understood its meaning, and who secretly maintained private worship and kept copies of the Word hidden from their oppressors. But at length "faith alone prevailed, a religion which destroys all fear of God and the whole Church." (Verses 36, 37.) It is very clear that this ruling dogma, which was so strongly contended for in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of the Christian era, hardened men's hearts to such a degree that they began to regard their own power in maintaining and enforcing it as something greater than the doctrine itself, or than any doctrine; so they worshiped themselves and honored themselves instead of honoring and worshiping the Lord. This is the "strange god" that is spoken of in verses 38, 39.
Thus it was that genuine faith in the Lord derived from a love for heavenly things was wholly subjugated at the end of the Church. (Verses 40, 41.) But there were some who escaped this destructive influence. Those who were in simple good and had little care about doctrines or knowledge concerning them, but who observed the external forms of worship, are signified by "Edom and Moab and the chief of the children of Ammon." These escaped from the hand of the king of the north. (See AC 3322.) There was no part of the Church nor any degree of the human mind that was not affected by this blighting influence. Even those who would know the laws of natural science and investigate the mysteries of nature became mere reasoners and lost the power of rational thinking on spiritual subjects or natural phenomena. (Verses 42, 43.) This was a state of bondage to the Church which must be broken. The concluding verses are:
But tidings out of the East and out of the North shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the sea and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
In the last state of the Church its false devotees foresee the coming judgement and endeavor to establish their doctrines in the minds of those who can see nothing beyond the sensual appearances of truth in the natural world. The last judgement was executed in the world of spirits, and it was in that world that the Solifidians built up imaginary heavens in high places,which were a "holy mountain" to them, but on either side were the false imaginations and conceits derived from merely sensual thought. These are denoted by the seas in verse 45.
These habitations in the world of spirits of those who were in faith alone, were cast down and scattered at the last judgement, which is described by Swedenborg. (See the work entitled Continuation of the Last Judgement, sect. 14-31.) Thus the prophecy was fulfilled: "He shall come to his end, and none shall help him."
DANIEL 11 Other translations - previous - next - Daniel - BM Home - Full Page