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20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed [Baruch] be the name of Elahh for ever and ever [ l'olam va'ed]: for wisdom [chochmah] and might [gevurah] are His:
21 And He changeth the times and the seasons [zmanim]: He removeth kings [melachim], and setteth up [melachim]: He giveth wisdom [chochmah] unto the wise [chachamim], and knowledge [da'as] to them that know understanding [binah]:
The Lord hath truly said by the prophet, "I have a long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself " (Isaiah 42:14).
It is now about seventeen hundred and fifty years [in 1847] since he spake by his servant John to the seven congregations in Asia Minor; and so entirely has he refrained himself from further revelation of his will, that men have at length almost generally concluded, that he has ceased to take any interest in human affairs.
They speculate upon passing events, as though they thought that mankind were formed for no nobler destiny, than to fret out a brief and crushing existence in a precarious competition for food and raiment; and to labour with asinine endurance for the behoof of those, who, by violence, avarice, and fraud, have gained the ascendancy over them.
God is not in their thoughts when they treat of the affairs of men. They deal only with secondary causes, while the agency of the great First Cause is supposed to be confined to the saving of "immortal souls" from purgatory, or from burning in liquid brimstone underneath.
"Order " at any price, is with them the chief good. They ascribe glory and honour to Satan, though he has established a despotism over the nations which rivals the mythic dominion of Pluto. Every thing dear to truth, righteousness, and liberty, must be suppressed by armed mercenaries, provided only that bank, stock-exchange, and commercial speculations, and the "vested interests" of public plunderers in church and state, be protected, and preserved intact.
Such is the pandemonianism of the world. Sin in its most heartless and hateful deformity reigns the universal despot of the nations. It is enthroned, and decorated with crowns, tiaras, coronets, and mitres; and is gathering strength by fraud, hypocrisy, and murder, for a last and final effort to crush all future endeavors to cast it out unto the earth, and its angels with it.
A corrupt and vicious press is the ignoble and servile apologist of its treachery and blood. It flatters the grim assassins of the people, the soul of whose institutions is the ignorant stolidity and cruel superstition, of a dark and iron age. Its sympathies are with profligate kings, blasphemous priests, and savage generals; while no epithet is too vile, or opprobrious, for those who, having endured to the uttermost the debasing and ruinous oppression of their destroyers, seek to break their bonds, expel them from their thrones, and to diffuse truth and science among the people.
While a Christadelphian would take no part in the armed melee, he is convinced that nothing but violence in the beginning, in order to punish and crush the tyrants, can prepare the way for the amelioration of society. This is the order, as I shall show, which God has ordained as preliminary to the setting up of His kingdom. But the conductors of the press do not understand this. It is not more corrupt and vicious than it is blind to the scriptural philosophy of the things of which it treats. It cannot see afar off, and the objects which are near it cannot comprehend.
How applicable to its scribes is the exclamation of the Lord, "O Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but how is it ye cannot discern the signs of the times! " -- signs, which are announcing to the nations with a voice of thunder, that Yahweh has aroused himself in his holy habitation; that the time has at length come when He will be still and refrain himself no longer; but that He will make bare his holy arm, and "destroy them that destroy the earth " (Rev. 11:18), or oppress mankind.
But, though the Lord hath a long time held his peace, he hath not been unmindful of his people, nor heedless of human affairs. The great incidents of history which have given rise to successive kingdoms and dominions, from the overturning of the kingdom and throne of God and of David, his anointed, in Judea, by the Chaldeans, to the present time, are but events predetermined and arranged in the purpose of God, and revealed in the "sure word of prophecy."
Not a kingdom has been established, nor a king dethroned, but it has formed a move, which has contributed to the maturity of the present crisis which will ultimate in the introduction of the kingdom of God.
... It is He to whom all things are subjected; "for He ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men" (Dan. 4:17). This is the reason why men and women with so little wisdom, or rather possessed of so much positive folly and imbecility, are able to rule the nations without "setting on fire the course of nature." [See James 3:6].
When their wickedness and stupidity become obstacles to His purpose, He removes them out of the way, and introduces other actors upon the stage. In this way, He controls and regulates the world's affairs; but in every interference He shapes the course of events towards the consummation predetermined from the foundation of the world.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;
Hence, the kingdom of Babylon has been in continuous existence from his reign until now, for we are now living "in the latter days." It is true, that "the House of the kingdom" has not always been the Babylon, which was the beginning of Nimrod's dominion (Gen. x. 10); it has been sometimes at one place, sometimes at another, until at length Rome became "the House" of the Great City.
Various dynasties have become the inheritors of the kingdom of Babylon. After Nebuchadnezzar's, there was the silver dynasty, and the brazen dynasty, and the iron dynasty, and the clay dynasty -- five dynasties ruling over one and the same kingdom; called also, "THE KINGDOM OF MEN" (Dan. iv. 17).
This Babylonish kingdom in its latter-day manifestation, the Spirit styles apocalyptically, "that Great City Babylon;" and is the arena upon which will stand erect and complete in all its parts the entire Image, which, in these latter days, is to be smitten by THE STONE, or Angel of the Rainbow.
Now, a similar fate awaits the Roman House that in the days of Belshatzar befel the Chaldean House of this same kingdom of men. The Median father Darius, and his political son, but fleshly nephew, and Yahweh's Messiah and Shepherd -- Cyrus the Persian, besieged the Shinar House.
He dried up "the great river Euphrates" from the city; and marching their "sanctified ones" along its bed, captured the House of the Kingdom, and slew Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, with the sword (Isa. xiii. 3,17; xiv. 12; xliv. 28; xlv. l; Dan. v. 30). But in these things that were transacted against the original Babylon, there was a mystery.
31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
Think of how much this one revelation in Daniel 2 has meant to us in understanding and confidence and assurance. It is not for us to tremble in darkness, fearful of the future, which seems so ominous to the natural eye, as evil and ruthless men threaten the world with atomic destruction. We watch current events with keen interest, seeing the overall picture wonderfully developing, as world tensions and rivalry center more and more upon the Middle East.
Bro Growcott - Daniel, the man greatly beloved
42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
The ten tenths of the Great City are symbolized in Daniel by the Ten Toes of the metallic image seen by Nebuchadnezzar; and by the Ten Horns seen by Daniel and John in their visions of the Fourth-Beast system of powers, commonly styled the European Commonwealth, acknowledging the Papal Supremacy.
They are the Ten Kingdoms of the Great City, situated south and west of the Rhine and Danube. Until the late temporary development of the Kingdom of Italy, and as the result of the Treaty of Vienna A.D. 1815, modified by the revolution of 1832, they were Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Bavaria, Hungary, Lombardy, Naples, and Sardinia.
...Ten has been the predominant number of the papal kingdoms; and, therefore, though they may vary at times, as the vision does not follow them in all their history, they are symbolically indicated as the Ten. Of these, France is the most conspicuous in its relation to the witnesses. It is therefore styled kat 'exochen, "the Tenth of the City," which was overthrown as a Diademed Horn by the executioners of the national justice upon the king, nobles and clergy [the French revolution]-- the class-murderers of the saints.
43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
We stand in the days of the clay and iron feet -- the day when the Europe-ruling, ancient, iron Rome is a divided and weakened mass of independent sovereignties; and we are living late -- very late, in these days -- at the end of them, in fact, as we know from other visions and many contemporary facts, such as the complete disappearance of the coercive power of the Papacy.
We stand on the verge of the catastrophe represented by the destruction of the symbolic image. We live in the era of the Lord's appearing to destroy all the kingdoms of men, and set up that one universal dominion of which there will be no end.
...Our turn has come at last: here we find ourselves at the most interesting period of the entire vision; called in the grace of God to be hearers of the joyful sound, with a view to our being "doers of the word" and heirs of the glorious kingdom about to appear. In this position, it is of the first consequence that we seek to gauge our prospective relations.
When the moment arrives at which it will become clear that the great culmination of the vision has begun -- when it is announced that the Lord is actually in the earth, the anxiety that will press itself home with overwhelming force on every mind will be,
"What is my individual relation to the crisis?" "Am I favourably connected with the great matters about to be transacted?"
It will be evident by a moment's thought that mere intelligence in the signs of the times will not be of great value in the dreadful situation. The signs of the times are valuable only as indications of the approach of something. It is the something whose approach they indicate that is the standard of our position amid the closing scenes of the Gentile times. What is that something?
Brethren and sisters, it is a kingdom of heaven that is coming; a kingdom founded upon the principles of God in contrast with those now recognized among men; a kingdom not of this world. Who will be admitted to it? Only those who belong to it in the sense of partaking of its principles, and being prepared by the present individual operation of these principles for the political enforcement of them, which is to characterize the operation of the kingdom of God.
... Hence the great question of the hour, when the Lord has come, will be, "Have I acted in harmony with the principles on which the kingdom of heaven is to be set up?" The Lord will have no use for us, unless our wisdom be according to his standard.
...The only men who will appear wise will be those who have made themselves fools and poor for Christ's sake, who have incurred reproach and poverty in the carrying out of the work he has given his servants to do in his absence, in the sounding abroad of his name, and the comforting of his brethren, and the succouring of his poor.
Bro Roberts - Nearer the crisis
45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass [bronze], the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great Elahh hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [chalom] is certain, and the interpretation [pesher] thereof sure.
The idea prominently sustained throughout the book of Daniel is, as we have seen, one dominion under divers administrations, styled the kingdom of men, or of Babylon, as opposed to the kingdom of Judah, which is Yahweh's. Both these kingdoms have their times, or periods, during which their reigns are unrivalled. The two kingdoms, however, being essentially hostile and destructive of one another, it so happens that when one reigns prosperously, the other must be in adversity, or extinct. This being the case, it is obvious that the prosperity of the two kingdoms must pertain to different and successive ages, and that the practising and prospering of the one is at the expense of the others.
Now this is a truth that is self-evident to all acquainted with the history of Judah and the Gentiles, or other nations. From the celebrated Passover in the eighteenth of Josiah's reign to the present time, has been a period of calamity for the Jews; and from the first of Nebuchadnezzar's, which was seventeen years after, to the same epoch, a period of ascendancy and Gentile treading-down for the Babylonian kingdom of men. During this long interval to 1868, of about 2498 years, the stump of the Babylonish Tree, "banded with iron and brass", has continued with its roots in the earth. But when its time shall have passed over it, "the stump of its roots" will be removed; and the times of the reign of the kingdom of God will begin. -
Exposition of Daniel
Think of how much this one revelation in Daniel 2 has meant to us in understanding and confidence and assurance. It is not for us to tremble in darkness, fearful of the future, which seems so ominous to the natural eye, as evil and ruthless men threaten the world... We watch current events with keen interest, seeing the overall picture wonderfully developing, as world tensions and rivalry center more and more upon the Middle East.
Bro Growcott - Daniel, The Man Greatly Beloved
48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
But the favour of man is precarious. *
Bro Growcott - Daniel, The Man Greatly Beloved
49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
For ages, Daniel has been a reality under Christ's recognition both of him and of the Scriptures of which he forms a part; and it has pleased God in recent times to make Babylon a reality also by the excavations of Layard and others on the banks of the Euphrates.
Babylon has been brought to London in a very tangible form. In the relics and remains deposited in the British Museum, we are enabled to see with our very eyes the historic reality of a city whose existence was questioned by the sceptics of the last century. By the inscribed burnt clay tablet archives of the public offices of Babylon, we become almost spectators of the life of the city. By Nebuchadnezzar's own name-stamped bricks, that monarch is brought as it were into our presence.
When Daniel was there, Babylon was in her glory. It is advantageous to get a glimpse of that glory, in order to learn rightly the lesson of Daniel's case. We get a glimpse of it in the description of Herodotus who visited it, whose description is confirmed by the accounts of the writers who were with Cyrus, and by those of others who afterwards accompanied Alexander the Great in his conquest of the city.
The few allusions to Babylon in the Scriptures are in harmony with the statements of these writers. Babylon was great architecturally as no city has ever been since. It covered an area of something like 400 square miles. It was surrounded by a wall about 300 feet high and 40 or 50 feet broad.
The wall was surmounted by towers and pierced by gates at regular distances. Its interior was laid out in streets of great breadth and regularity-the houses well-built but not close to one another - leaving ground enough between for a year's tillage. The Euphrates went through the city, and was lined with magnificent wharves on each side.
The population was immense, and comprised people from every country, for Babylon had been the conqueror of all kingdoms, and was the centre of all traffic and the headquarters of everything honourable and important in the earth. Behold the picture, then, of this wealthy, populous and powerful city; and consider Daniel - one old man in the midst of this busy mass of human life. How did God look upon one and upon the other? We know, for He has told us.
Of Babylon he saith,
"I am against thee, O Thou most proud . . . Thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge have perverted thee and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and there is none beside me. Therefore shall evil come upon thee . . . Desolation shall come upon thee suddenly . . . Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment and a hissing without inhabitant"
(Jer. 50:31; Isa. 47:10; Jer. 51:37).
To Daniel he said,
"O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee . . . thou shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Dan. 10:19; 12:13).
Here, then, Babylon with its busy thriving population was nothing in the divine estimation, while Daniel was "greatly beloved."
Here is a study for us which we may find to yield lessons of comfort in our own situation when human glory spreads and vaunts itself so much, and nothing is so contemned as the hope which God has given us concerning Israel.
Bro Roberts - Daniel at prayer