DANIEL 12Other translations - previous - Daniel - BM Home - Full Page
|1||AC 1664, 8620, 10505; D. Lord 4; AR 256, 548, 704; TCR 652; AE 199, 222, 717; P. P.; Dict. P. 13|
|1, 2||AC 8018|
|3||AC 2531, 7988, 8313, 9192, 9263, 10331; HH 346, 518; AR 51; TCR 606; AE 72; Dict. P. 13|
|4||TCR 788; P. P.|
|4, 9, 11, 13||D. Lord 4|
|4, 9. 13||Dict. P. 13|
|6, 7||AE 951; Dict. P. 50|
|7||AC 7051; AR 562; AE 608, 610, 761|
|7, 11||Dict. P. 13|
|8, 9.||P. P.|
|9, 10||AR 948|
|11||AC 2838, 10042; AE 700|
|Chapter cited||HH 171; AR 500|
this final chapter of the Book of Daniel may be said to contain the end of prophecy; it tells of the end of the old and the beginning of the new — a state when there is a passing away of old things, and, in consequence, fear and uncertainty, and the coming in of a new dispensation when there is joy that the light has come.
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Ver. 1.)
The words, "And at that time," serve to show the immediate connection between this first verse and verse forty-five of the preceding chapter. The "king of the south" has triumphed over the "king of the north," and the glorious reign of peace has begun.
"Michael, the prince," as already explained, stands for a heavenly society, and those who are in the acknowledgement of the Lord in His Divine Humanity. Figuratively speaking, it is always "Michael, the prince" who stands up for the Lord's people, that is, the inward acknowledgement of the Divine Human in the Lord sustains and supports the man of the church in all times of trouble. Daniel himself was sustained by the presence of angels, as the Lord was in His temptation. And in every spiritual conflict through which the Church has passed, it is the power of the Divine Truth as it is manifested in humanity that saves the world. There is always a "time of trouble" at the end or consummation of a church, "men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." (luke 21:6.)
In regard to the spiritual fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel since the Lord's first coming, we have indicated in our explanation of previous chapters that this fulfillment has already begun. The last judgement spoken of in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, and in the symbolic language of the Apocalypse, has been effected in the world of spirits into which man enters after death. The first Christian Church was fully consummated at the time of that judgement. Before, during, and after that judgement, the Lord began to make His second advent through a revelation to men on earth of the spiritual meaning of the Word, and after the lapse of time a New Church began to be formed and established, in which the Lord alone was worshiped in His Divine Humanity. This new revelation, made through the instrumentality of a man, is received at this day by only a few. It cannot be proved to be true by any external evidence. The "signs" that are spoken of in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew — the darkening of the sun, the turning of the moon into blood, and the falling of the stars — are to be interpreted according to the language of correspondences and not naturally or literally. We do not expect to see the Lord coming in the natural clouds, but we know that He has already begun to manifest Himself in the spiritual meaning of His own Divine Word, the letter of which is as a cloud that veils the inner glory; and we know also that a time of desolation has come upon the church. The Word of the Lord is being more and more rejected by many, at the same time that a few are receiving the light of its heavenly meaning as unfolded in the doctrines of the New Church.
In the language of Daniel, "there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time." This is like the language of matt. xxiv:
For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be.
These passages refer, more particularly, to the time of the Last Judgement, which took place in the middle of the last century. But the effects of that judgement are still seen; the "old" is still passing away. The conflict of faith has not yet ended on earth, because the old ideas of religion and dogmas of faith still linger in the minds of many, while, on the other hand, the light is dawning upon the minds of others.
"And at that time," it is said, "your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." By the book here is meant man's book of life. In rev. 3:5, we read:
He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white clothing: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
To be written in the "Lamb's book of life" is to have the truths of heaven inscribed upon the heart. Man comes into a heavenly state of life when the truth inscribed upon the book of memory is confirmed by acts of repentance, and by heartfelt obedience to the Divine law, and is thus brought into life.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Ver. 2.)
This passage has been used as a proof of the resurrection of the natural body at the time of the Last Judgement, and of a belief in a resurrection having existed among the Babylonians or in the time of Daniel. The latter is probably true. It is stated by good authorities:
The belief of the Babylonians and Assyrians in the existence and immortality of the soul, in resurrection, in a future life, in heaven and hell is no longer disputed. The tablets found in Babylonia show this.
But this belief in a resurrection must have been very different from the true idea of the resurrection of man in a spiritual form at the time of the death of the material body which is now made known to us. Those old nations had natural ideas of spiritual realities. The latter had faded out, but the former remained. And these natural ideas served as types or images of the spiritual or heavenly. "To sleep in the dust of the earth" is a figurative expression to denote a low, natural, and sensual state of life, from which man is awakened by the voice of truth speaking to his inner consciousness, and not by the sound of a trumpet in the air.
Mankind is now awakening in part from this state of sleep. "Many," it is said, not all, "shall awake." This spiritual awakening is similar to that of a man who awakens from the sleep of death and comes into conscious life in the other world. Not all awake to righteousness, but some to "everlasting shame and contempt." And so in regard to verse three:
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.
Those who have been obedient to the truth and have acquired wisdom from the Lord come into heavenly societies after death, and shine as the "brightness of the firmament," and those who teach others and lead them to good, shine "as the stars forever and ever." The coming of the Lord on earth was made known by the shining of the Star in the East.
But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased. (Ver. 4.)
The words of prophecy, especially of this book and of the Book of Revelation called the Apocalypse, have been shut up or concealed from the understanding of men in the first Christian Church; that is, their true, spiritual meaning was not made known or revealed before the Lord's second coming, because the world was not prepared to receive it until the church was fully consummated, until the old things had somewhat passed away, and until a separation had been made between the wheat and the chaff and the sheep and the goats. And even now, after the lapse of more than a century from the time of the Last Judgement, there are many who are kept in states of ignorance as to the spiritual meaning of the Word and the future state of life, lest they should profane what is holy. But on the other hand many are seeking the light and are filled with an eager desire to acquire new truths about the Lord and salvation. This eager seeking after knowledge, this "panting" for the "brooks of water" is denoted by the words, "many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased." On the one hand there is obscurity and perplexity, a rejection of the old creeds and an unwillingness to believe that the Sacred Scriptures are a Divine revelation; while, on the other hand, there is a constant approach to the true idea of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and an opening of the human mind for the reception of the light of the spiritual meaning of the Word of the Lord. The Lord hides the truth and seals up the book only that it may, in due time, when there is a full preparation, be revealed to the innocent in heart, who are called "babes" in the Gospel.
Then I, Daniel, looked and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the brink of the river, and the other on that side of the brink of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was above the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him that lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times and a half: and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Ver. 5-7.)
Here we have a renewal of the vision mentioned in chapter ten. A certain man, clothed in linen, appears to Daniel by the bank, of the River Hiddekel. These things are said with reference to the consummation of the church. The one who inquires of the man clothed in linen, represents those who seek to know from the Lord the state of the church. There are two classes of men spoken of as existing in the church at its consummation. These are represented by the one standing on this side of the brink of the river, and by the other standing on that side of the brink of the river.
The river denotes the stream of Divine Truth which proceeds from the Lord, and thus the Word itself. The man clothed in linen is seen standing upon the waters. Those who approach the Word with the desire of knowing the truth that they may bring it into life receive the light, while those who seek it solely for the sake of themselves, that they may have honor or gain, dwell only on the natural side of truth and do not understand the spiritual meaning of the signs and wonders that are spoken of in the Word concerning the church and its consummation. The spiritual meaning of this book of Daniel, with its wonderful visions, would have remained sealed up unless the Lord had revealed it. The same may be said of the Apocalypse from beginning; to end. The Word itself contains the evidence of the truth of all prophecy. What is said to be confirmed by an oath by the man clothed in linen, is spoken of those things which are contained in the Word concerning the Consummation of the Age, or the end of the church, the Last Judgement, and the Second Coming of the Lord. These events are actually revealed in the Word, but their spiritual fulfillment could not be known until the spiritual meaning of the Word was unfolded by the Lord. This was made known to Daniel, for we read:
And I heard but I understood not; then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the issue of these things. And He said, Go your way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end. (Ver. 8, 9.)
In regard to the expression "time, times, and a half," they simply denote a fullness of state, or a full consummation which must come before the Lord will make His second advent. In the book of Revelation, the woman, who symbolizes the church, is said to "fly into the wilderness where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time from the face of the serpent." Here the spiritual meaning is the same as that in Daniel.
In explanation of this passage in rev. 12:14, we read:
It is of the Lord's Divine Providence that the church should at first be among a few, and should increase gradually among many, because the falsities of the former church must first be removed, as truths cannot before be received; for the truths which are received and implanted before falsities are removed, do not remain and are also dissipated by the dragonists. The case was the same with the Christian Church, that it increased gradually from a few to many. (AR 547.)
Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none ofthe wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Ver. 10.)
We may compare this with rev. 22:11:
He that is unjust let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous let him be righteous still: and he that is holy let him be holy still.
At the time of the Last Judgement, and in the judgement which awaits every one after death, those who are in evils and have confirmed themselves in them remain in them. It is not the Lord's pleasure that this should be so, that is, that the wicked should remain in evil after death, but it cannot be otherwise, since the Lord cannot change evil into good nor destroy the freedom of the human will.
And from the time that the continual burnt offering shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate set up, shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waits and comes to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go you your way till the end be, for you shall rest, and stand in your lot at the end of the days. (Ver. 11-13.)
We have before shown in explaining these prophetic sayings that the numbers of days, weeks, or years have no reference to natural time but to states of the church. The "daily burnt offering" refers to the representative worship of the Jewish Church which was abolished when the Lord came into the world. Then a new state arose. But the "abomination of desolation" refers to the end or consummation of the first Christian Church.
The time from the Lord's first coming to the Last Judgement embraced the whole period of the duration of the first Christian Church. So long as any remains of good were left in that church men were saved and entered heaven, but for the most part those who entered the heavenly societies from the Christian world during that period, especially the latter part of it, were infants, who had not, of course, profaned any truth or adulterated any good. From these the "new heaven" could be formed. As there were many who waited for the "consolation of Israel" at the time of the Lord's first coming, so there were some at the end of the first Christian Church who waited for their Lord. These receive the glad tidings of His Second Coming. They are called "blessed," because they cherish a firm belief that the Lord will come, although they know not the day of His coming. But when the spiritual meaning of the Word is revealed to them they rejoice in the light. The final injunction to Daniel is the Lord's injunction to all His faithful followers; for Daniel in this verse represents those who wait patiently and believe in the Lord.
"Go your way till the end be," means that every one must walk in the light and live according to it until the judgement comes. Every one finds his place after death either with the evil or the good, according to his life in the world. The Psalmist declares:
The rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hand to iniquity, (Ps 125:3.)
This doctrine of the New Jerusalem, that man should live according to the Lord's commandments, faithfully doing his part in the great drama of life, is written throughout the whole Word in history and prophecy. Peace and blessedness come not from merely thinking or believing, but from loving and doing.
The crowning glory of the New Church, signified by the New Jerusalem, will be a perfected humanity, developed in order from the lowest degrees of life to the highest — man created and recreated, renewed, regenerated, and disenthralled, an image and likeness of the Glorified One who appeared to Prophets and Apostles and Who has called His people out of the bondage of Egypt and the captivity of Babylon into the light and freedom of the Holy City.