|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 41||Part 1|
Daniel 7:13, "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 Christian expositors of Scripture ascribe the object of this prophecy to the advent of their Messiah, who, according to their view of this prophecy, was to be a superhuman being; otherwise how could he come with the clouds of heaven?
Refutation. – The prophet speaks here of a dream, in which things are meant to be represented in their literal sense. If the dream exhibits preternatural visions, the interpretation does not require a preternatural fulfillment. Daniel mentioned in the same chapter the destruction of the four kingdoms, and predicted that an enduring dominion will be granted to no other than the people holy to the Most High God. See ibid. verse 18, "And the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the dominion, and possess the kingdom for ever and ever, even for ever and ever." Again, verses 26, 27, "And the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and the 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 kingdoms shall serve and obey him."
The clouds of heaven mentioned in the quotation at the head of this chapter, bring to mind the heavenly rule, which ordains changes on high, in the region which lies beyond the reach and influence of man. He that raises clouds, and makes them descend again to fructify the soil, must be acknowledged as the same supreme agent, and disposer of the fate of man. The idea is familiar to other prophets also. See for example Jeremiah 14:22, "Are there among the vanities of the heathen any that send down rain, and do the heavens yield them abundant showers?" "Is it not thou who art our God, and surely we will hope in thee; for thou doest all these things." The fleet clouds are often used as symbols of the swiftness with which God carries out His decrees. See Isaiah 19:1, "Behold, the Lord riding on a light cloud, and He is come to Egypt." Jeremiah 4:13, "Behold, like unto a cloud he rises up; like a whirlwind are His chariots." Isaiah 60:8, "Who are those that are flying like a cloud, and like doves to their windows?"
The superhuman powers developed in the divine dispensations are pointed out by Daniel 2:34, "Thou sawest that a stone was cut out, but not by any hands, which smote the image on his feet." In a like manner he mentions in the same chapter the aid that will be afforded by God (verse 44), "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people," etc. Thus the last kingdom on earth will be exalted beyond the others, by enjoying the special protection of heaven, and divine help shall descend upon the empire of the chosen ones, "as rain descends upon the earth blessed by the Lord."
Christians argue that the government spoken of by Daniel must belong to a Divine Being, because e read, "His dominion shall be an everlasting dominion." But we take those words in the sense that the kingdom shall be a perpetual and an inalienable inheritance, descending from father to son without interruption. Hence Daniel says, "And his kingdom shall not pass away." And again in chapter 7:27, "And all rulers shall serve and obey Him." The last-mentioned prediction is most decidedly not realized in the person of Jesus, for the Jews, the Mahommedans, and many other nations are not subject to the dominion of Jesus.
Christians may perhaps plead and say that the expression "all rulers," refers to a great number merely, and is applied here as in Genesis 24:10, "And he had in his hand all the goods of his master." But the connecting words must ever be our guide in cases of doubtful interpretation. Hence the word all, here and in any other similar case, cannot be taken in a limited sense; for the prophet Daniel says, (7:27) "And the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom which is under all the heavens shall be given to him." More-over, he expressly states in chapter 2:44, "I shall break in pieces and consume all those kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." The same prediction we find in Isaiah 60:12, "For the nation and the kingdom which shall not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly destroyed." The above-mentioned quotation, page 196 ante, "And the saints of the Most High shall obtain the kingdom," has sole reference to the children of Israel. A few citations from Scripture will show that the title saints, or holy ones, is frequently given to Israel. Exodus 22:30 (verse 31 in the English bible), "And ye shall be unto me a holy people." Deuteronomy 7:6, "For thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God, the Lord thy God has chosen thee to be unto Him a nation distinct from all the nations on the face of the earth." Isaiah 62:12, "The holy people, the redeemed ones of the Lord." Daniel 7:21-22, "And I beheld the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them, 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." And again, verse 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." Ibid. 8:24, "And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power shall he be mighty, and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and act, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people." And ibid. 12:7, "It shall be for a time, times, and a half, and when he shall have accomplished the scattering the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished."
As Israel is called in Scripture the holy people of the Lord, so on the other hand is the Almighty represented as the Holy One of Israel. See Isaiah 12:6, "For great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." Ibid. 37:23, "And thou hast lifted up thine eyes against the Holy One of Israel." Ibid. 41:14, "I have helped thee, saith the Lord, and the redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." Jeremiah 50:29, "For he rebelled against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel."
The appellation, in Daniel, Most High, which the Christians have endeavored to appropriate to Jesus, is attributable to Israel, as will be seen on examining other parts of the Scriptures. See Deuteronomy 26:19, "And to make thee most high above all the nations which He hath made for His praise, for His name, and for His glory; and that thou mayest be a holy people unto the Lord thy God as He hath spoken." Ibid. 28:1, "And the Lord will make thee most high above all people of the earth."
From all these passages, it is evident that Israel could not yield to any other nation the title given to it in holy writ, and it must be acknowledged that the saints of the Most High God can only be of that people which is declared to be most high among the nations of the earth.
The prophecies, showing that the wicked Gentiles shall perish, and that the righteous shall unite with Israel, are sufficient evidences to prove, that also the present prophecy relates solely to the chosen people, for surely no expounder could reason away the lucid and simple announcement made by Isaiah 4:3, "And all that shall be left in Zion, and that remain in Jerusalem, shall be called holy." And again in 60:21, "And thy people, altogether righteous, shall inherit thy land for ever."
Thus we see that Daniel had no other object in view than to represent in his prophecy the final glory of Israel.