DANIEL 8Other translations - previous - next - Daniel - BM Home - Full Page
|1..||C. L. 26|
|1-14 and following||AE 817|
|1 and following||D. Lord, 52; D. P. 134; AR 36, 945; TCR 157, 851|
|1 to end..||AC 411, 2832; Dict. P. 12|
|2....||D. Lord, 52; D. P. 134; AR 36, 945; TCR 157|
|2-14||D. F. 65, 66, 67; B. E. 83; TCR 537|
|3, 4, and following||AC 2830|
|3-5, 7-12, 21||AE 316|
|3-5, 7-12, 21, 25||AR 270|
|4, 5. 9||AC 3708|
|5-11, 25||AC 10132|
|5, 9, 10, 12||AC 4769|
|7, 10||AE 632|
|9.||A. C: 9815|
|9, 10||AC 1458, 1808, 2495, 4697|
|9-11||AC 5922; AE 72|
|10.||AC 9408; AE 535|
|10-14||AR 447; AE 573|
|10, 12||AR 541; AE 720|
|11, 12||P. P.|
|13||AC 2838, 9229; AE 700|
|13,14.||AC 7844, 10134, 10135; P.P.|
|13, 14, 26||AC 2405|
|14||AC 8211; C. L. J. 13; AE 612|
|14,26||AC 22, 2333; AR 151; TCR 764; AE 179; Coronis, 5|
|17||AC 9807; D. Lord, 28; AE 63|
|17, 19, 26||D. Lord. 4; Dict. P. 12|
|20 to end||AC 2547|
|21||AR 34; AE 50|
|21, 23||AR 720|
|23, 25||AR 586|
|26||C. L. J. 13; P. P.|
|Chapter cited||AC 10042, 10455; H- & H. 171; D. F. 61, 63; AE 716, 734; Diary, 2; App. 5|
in this chapter we are told of a vision which Daniel had. By the "vision" we understand the opening of his spiritual sight, and not a dream. It may have occurred to him in the daytime. In point of time it must have been two years later than the dream recorded in the previous chapter. We read:
In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, even to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. And I saw in the vision: now it was so, when I saw, that I was in Shusan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. (Ver. 1.)
Shusan is supposed to be the same as Susa, the "city of lilies." It was formerly the capital of the country called Elam, which was a province of Babylon under Belshazzar. The word translated "palace" is the Hebrew form of the Persian baru, which means a fortress, or fortified castle. Commentators have supposed that Daniel had this vision in Susa, whither he had gone on business of the king; but there seems little reason for this supposition. He may have been acquainted with that city and visited it on official business at different times, but in his own home in Babylon, the city of Susa, the fortress and the river could have been seen; that is, the images of them in his own memory could have been called forth, while the vision itself of the ram and the he-goat, which were representative forms, was seen in the spiritual world. It was like that of the beasts rising out of the sea. The object of this vision was to depict the state of the Church in the future, and not the destinies of the kingdoms of Medo-Persia and Grecia, as has been supposed. The fact that symbolic figures, such as winged beasts with one or two horns, are found on Persian gems and cylinders, furnishes no ground for giving an interpretation to this vision which makes it apply to earthly affairs. Its meaning is purely spiritual, as much so as the Apocalypse. As to the mention of these earthly kingdoms in the latter part of this chapter, and the comparison made between them and the ram and goat, we shall speak presently.
The wars or combats mentioned in the Word signify spiritual conflicts or combats between what is true and what is false, or between good and evil. Here, in this vision of the ram and the he-goat, we have a representation of the great conflict between true faith on the one hand and a false faith on the other. The former is represented by the ram, the latter by the he-goat.
The ram, the male of the sheep, corresponds, in this vision, to the principle of faith united with charity, springing from a state of innocence, and it represents the Church in this state; while the horns denote the power of truth derived from good. The Lord compared His faithful followers to sheep. "I know My sheep and am known of Mine." "My sheep hear My voice and follow Me."
Faith is the spiritual principle of the Church. It is formed by means of truths derived from the Word and a life in obedience to them. Any one who has observed the habits of sheep may see how beautifully they symbolize the trusting and confiding followers of the Lord. Obedience, docility, patience, and trusting confidence are their marked traits. The true followers of the Lord who really constitute His Church possess spiritual, qualities to which these natural traits correspond. We are led to believe from the history of the Church that the early Christians were of this character. The faith of the Church was pure so long as men believed in the Lord, loved Him, and obeyed Him. They forsook all and followed Him. The spiritual principle of faith, then, and those who have this principle in them, arc symbolized by the ram with two horns seen by Daniel in vision.
All power is in good which manifests itself in and by the truth; or it is in truth derived from good. (AC 10182.)
These are the two horns of the ram, one somewhat higher than the other. It is written:
I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward, so that no beast might stand before him; neither were there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will and magnified himself. (Ver. 4.)
There is no doubt that the power of a genuine faith in the Lord increased and overcame many evils, from the time of the Lord's coming until the end of the first three centuries of the Christian era. No other power could stand against it. It pushed its way in different directions. The Christian Church, while it retained a pure faith in the Lord, continued to grow and flourish, extending from Asia into parts of Europe and Africa. But it is well known that Christianity declined and lost its pure faith in the Lord.
The decline of the Church is always due to the loss of charity and the exaltation of faith above it. This is foreshadowed in what is said in the following verses:
And as I was considering, behold an he-goat came from the west over the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had the two horns, which I saw standing before the river, and ran upon him in the fury of his power. (Ver. 5, 6.)
As sheep and lambs are the symbols of charity and innocence and the faith which is derived from charity, goats are the symbols of what is opposite to this true faith; that is, faith alone which is always connected with pride and self-conceit. The he-goat thus represents the Church in its fallen condition, when its members are in the belief that salvation depends upon faith separate from charity and good works.
In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, the Lord describes under the form of a parable the nature of the judgement. The sheep are set on the right hand and the goats on the left. The former are called and chosen while the latter are cast out. The Lord says, by the prophet Ezekiel:
And as for you, O my flock, thus says the Lord God, Behold I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and he-goats. (Chap. xxxiv.)
Now it is wonderful how this doctrine of salvation by faith alone has prevailed in all parts of the Christian Church, and how those who have become confirmed in it have opposed all who have not accepted it. It has many forms and phases. Not merely has it presented itself in the form of the dogma of salvation by faith in the merits of Christ's sufferings, but wherever men have cherished the idea that knowledge without love or without the works of charity is of saving efficacy, it has become antagonistic to the idea of simple faith in the Lord and obedience to His precepts. The pride and haughtiness of those who claim to be the sole possessors of the power of God by virtue of their retaining a knowledge, however perverted, of the revealed Word of God, and who deny the existence of a church outside of their own establishment is one form of this falsity, symbolized by the he-goat. The spirit of this false faith is destructive of religion, and it manifests a determined hostility towards those who oppose it.
And I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with choler against him and smote the ram, and break his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and trampled upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. (Ver. 7.)
There is no power in man to overcome falsity when it becomes deep-rooted and powerful. The Reformers were unable to overcome the power of Rome, and the Roman Church was unable to remove the false doctrine of salvation by faith alone. This dogma was broken into pieces by the very zeal and fury of those who advocated it; and out of this monstrous error many others sprang up at the end of the Christian Church. We read:
And the he-goat magnified himself exceedingly: and when he was strong the great horn was broken; and instead of it came up four notable horns, towards the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the glorious land. And it waxed great even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and trampled upon them. (Ver. 8-10.)
The four horns which came up in the place of the great horn, which was first seen between the eyes of the he-goat, symbolize the numerous errors which have grown out of this original doctrine, as first taught by the Reformers, and afterwards mixed with evils which were made allowable. The tendency of all false teaching is to propagate new errors which divide and subdivide the Church. In connection with these four horns another one, a "little horn," is spoken of as growing out of them.
This "little horn" specially denotes the doctrine that man is justified when he believes in the vicarious atonement and substituted sacrifice. (See AE 632.) This doctrine of justification makes light of obedience, and even declares that man cannot keep the Commandments. How much it has grown, and what an influence it has had in creating division in the Christian Church and alienating men from each other, history abundantly shows. Faith alone always divides, especially when its advocates claim to be righteous or holy above others.
Its constant tendency is to destroy the influence of the Word itself and the truths which teach men to love the Lord and the neighbour. These truths of the Word are meant by the stars which the he-goat cast down to the ground and trampled upon. (For further explanation of the ram and he-goat, see Doctrine concerning Faith, 65-67.)
The "daily sacrifice" was "taken away" when men ceased to bring their religion into daily life and to make every act holy by devoting themselves to the service of the Lord and the neighbour. This profanation continued until it came to the full and a judgement was executed. This fullness of state is represented by "two thousand and three hundred days," or "evenings and mornings." No period of natural time could exactly express the duration on earth of this evil state of things in the church.
In the spiritual sense of the Word numbers have no natural application, but are used purely with reference to their spiritual signification. In this instance these numbers signify a fullness of state, when evil and falsity were united, and the sanctuary of religion was defiled, and the abomination of desolation stood in the holy place. (See matt. 24:15.)
The morning signifies the Lord, His coming, and the rise of a New Church. The evening signifies the last time of the church, when it is fully vastated. These are the subjects treated of in the spiritual sense of verses thirteen and fourteen.
From the fifteenth verse a new state of things is indicated:
And it came to pass when I, even I, Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
Here we see a similarity to the appearance of the Son of Man to John. The Lord is a Divine Man, and in all His manifestations to men, as recorded in the Word, He has appeared in a human form.
And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.
As the man first spoken of represents the Lord, Gabriel represents a heavenly society, and especially a heavenly society which is in the knowledge respecting the Lord's advent, and that He is the God of heaven and earth. (See ante pp. 19, 20.)
The judgement is represented by the cleansing of the sanctuary. Daniel, as he stands by the River Ulai, seeking to understand the vision, represents those who are capable of being taught and instructed by the Lord.
In reality the vision and its explanation are one; that is, they contain the same spiritual ideas. By the appearance of the "man" is meant the appearance of the Lord, to reveal the truths of heaven from the Word. The river is the stream of truth which is contained in the Word, and the man's voice is the Spirit of the Lord speaking from it and making known the state of the church.
Daniel was actually brought into communication with a heavenly society, and received something of its light or knowledge. The appearance of the angel of the Lord threw him at first into a state of fear, and he fell upon his face. Man in his natural state of life is unable to endure the appearance of angels. This is shown in other places in the Word. So Daniel not only fell upon his face, but fell into a deep sleep, which represents the state of the natural man. At the time of the Lord's Second Coming and the revelation of the spiritual meaning of the Word, the whole Christian world was in a state of mere naturalism. It required a new manifestation to awaken the world from this slumber.
Daniel, as a prophet, represents those to whom the Lord reveals Himself at His Second Coming, who having received the light become the means of communicating it to others. The angel touched Daniel and he stood upright.
Then follows what seems to be an explanation of the vision of the ram and the he-goat; but the explanation is clothed in figurative language equally with the vision. It is very plain that they require to be explained together, as the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its interpretation. We are not to understand that the whole of this wonderful vision has a limited application to earthly kingdoms which have long since passed away. A king represents some true or false principle, and a kingdom the government of that principle in the human mind. "The ram," it is said, "which you saw that had the two horns, they are the Kings of Media and Persia. And the rough he-goat is the King of Greece." This double analogy is used for the sake of bringing the spiritual meaning into a lower natural form of representation. The representative forms of the ram and the he-goat were appearances in the spiritual world; but the kingdoms of Media and Persia and of Greece were earthly kingdoms in which the spiritual principles represented by the ram and the he-goat were somewhat exhibited. But it is not to these kingdoms that the higher prophetic meaning refers. This was revealed for our "instruction in righteousness," to make known the state of the church, and not the facts of secular history. It would be very, difficult to show how the Medo-Persian and Grecian kingdoms fulfilled the words of this prophecy. In fact, it is impossible. And what shall we say of the four kingdoms that shall stand up out of the nations, and of that "king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences," which stands for the "little horn," which we have seen denotes the false doctrine of justification by faith alone, which is full of dark mysteries. It is written in verse 26:
And the vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true: but shut you up the vision; for it belongs to many days to come.
These words apply to the certainty of the fulfillment of the prophecy, and to the fact that its meaning would be concealed until the time of its fulfillment; that is, at the end of the church.
Lastly, it is said:
And I, Daniel, fainted, and was sick certain days; then I rose up, and did the king's business: and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it [or, there was none to make it understood].
This fainting and sickness represents a state of the Christian world when there was a fainting of the spirits of men and sickness of the soul on account of the evils and falsities existing in the world. The Lord Himself passed through such states when He was in the world, and many souls have fainted and become sick at heart when they have seen and felt the desolation of the sanctuary. Nothing but a life of active usefulness will restore men to spiritual health. At this day there are many in such states, and they do not understand the prophecies and promises of the Word. The Bible is to many a closed book. "None understood it." But after this evening state the morning will arise and the vision will be understood. The Lord reveals at His Second Coming the spiritual meaning of those things that are "spoken of by Daniel the prophet," both as to the consummation of the old dispensation and the rising or coming in of the new. We may be, like Daniel, astonished at the vision, but if we look to the Lord and seek light from Him, He will make known to us the heavenly mysteries.
DANIEL 8 Other translations - previous - next - Daniel - BM Home - Full Page
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. (Is. 40:5.)