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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Daniel 12

 

 

Verses 1-13

Daniel 12:1. At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince. In the time of Antiochus, Michael the archangel did nothing for the Jews, but leave them in Roman bondage. Therefore under this name we must look for a higher prince than any created angel; even for Messiah the Prince of peace, who is as God, or one with God in the church. His title, as prince and potentate, is expressive of his sovereignty. He comes and stands up for the Israel of God, as captain of “Jehovah’s hosts.” Joshua 5:14-15. Of the enemies of the church it is said, these shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings. Revelation 17:14.—That Christ is this victorious captain is farther apparent from his riding on a white horse, making war and conquering in righteousness. The angels, as in Daniel 12:6, asked the priest and prince, arrayed in splendid white garments, to disclose the future times; the Father having said, Let all the angels of God worship him.

And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation. What could be more cruel than ancient wars? The prophet therefore speaks of the times of the last wars of antichrist against the true church, when Gog and all his multitude shall perish in the war of the Lamb. Ezekiel 39. But in those days the saints who have the mark or the name of God on their foreheads, which is the same as having them written in the book of life, shall survive the final days of visitation on the last and worst enemies of the church.

Daniel 12:2. Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. After the toils and sufferings of life, death is like a sleep in the tomb, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. St. John has mentioned the first resurrection of martyrs, but whether he had this text in his eye is not certain. The ancient rabbins admit that the words refer to the resurrection at the last day, when many, that is the whole Adamic family, shall rise to glory or to shame.

Daniel 12:3. They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever. Our Saviour, it is probable, had this text in view when he said, “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” It would seem also that St. Paul had the same idea, when he compared the lustre of the bodies of the saints to the stars of various magnitude. 1 Corinthians 15:41-42.

Daniel 12:4. Shut up the words, and seal the book, to the time of the end, or the time appointed. Men must not be called off too far in the ministry from the affairs of their salvation. I once knew a minister who preached about the beast and the false prophet till he had but seven hearers. This charge of the angel proves that the passage regards not the time of Antiochus, but the final affairs of the church, when missionaries shall carry the scriptures to every nation, and preach in every tongue. The sealed book indicates what our Saviour said: “The times and the seasons the Father hath put in his own power.”

Daniel 12:5-6. Behold, there stood other two angels, it would seem, attentively studying the providential dealings of God with his people. They were stationed on each side of the river, like the tree of life. They asked the man, the prince and priest, as in Daniel 10:5, who knows the Father as the Father knows the Son, and who in his times, ιδιοις, his own times, shall declare his character as the only Potentate. And he lifted up his hand, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, that the vision should extend to a time, to times, and half a time, or forty and two months, the period allotted to the duration of the antichristian power. This shows that the man who was thus arrayed, is he to whom all things are delivered of the Father, and from whom no secret can be hid.

Daniel 12:8. I heard, but I understood not. The explanation given in Daniel 12:11-12, fixes the end of the oppression, but not the year of its commencement. Some reckon from the sixth age when the emperor Phocas declared the pope universal bishop; others from the year 612, when the Mahommedan power was established. Our grandchildren may live to see the glorious day that is approaching.

Daniel 12:9. Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end, the final consummation of all things. True, they are sealed, but the hope is known. Our fathers’ wills may be sealed, but the estate and chattels belong to the children. We know that the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord: and though we are ignorant of the times and the manner in which righteousness and salvation shall open on the church, yet we even now see the signs of the times. Many are running to and fro in the earth, that knowledge may encrease, and the gentiles gladly receive their word. We have the promise, “I the Lord will hasten it in his time.”

Daniel 12:10. Many shall be purified and made white. Of the judaical persecutions St. Peter says, The trial of your faith is much more precious than that of gold which perisheth. At the papal burnings during the period of the reformation, all the seas of Europe could not quench the fires. It shall be the same, when Gog with his countless hosts shall try again, and try to his final destruction, to exterminate and destroy the heavenly Jerusalem.

None of the wicked shall understand. The intellectual light that is in them is darkness and enmity, and how great is that darkness! It is the inner man of the heart only that tastes the good word, that sees the light, and is revived and quickened with the life of God. No man can learn the way to heaven, unless he walks in that way.

Daniel 12:11. From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up. Antiochus suppressed the sacrifice, and set up the statue of Jupiter Olympius on the walls of the temple for the space of three years and a half. Next, Titus, by destroying the temple, caused its worship and sacrifices to cease. The Romans with their eagles, justified our Saviour’s application of Daniel’s words to those times of desolation. The prophecy also applies emphatically to the times of abomination and tyranny in the christian church. Thus the christian fathers, according to all the light which the church then had, have applied the prophecy. Irenæus, Jerome, Hippolytus, Primasius, Theodoret, and others, have regarded the Antichrist as some dreadful tyrant, who should rise up with vengeance on the sanctuary.

But the more enlightened doctors of later times have regarded this abomination as Mahommedanism in the east and Popery in the west. The best writers on this subject are Matthew Sutcliffe, dean of Exeter, in five distinct treatises, 1602-1606; Joseph Mede of Cambridge, and Henry More. To whom may be added, a cloud of divines on the continent. Their profound learning and justness of argument command the reader’s assent. The false prophet removed the candlestick in the east, shed rivers of blood, and converted a world of men at the point of the sword. In the west, the papacy has intoxicated all kings with the golden cup full of abominations, Revelation 17.; by giving omnipresence to the souls of dead men, and causing them to be invoked in all public worship; by reigning miracles and lying wonders at the tombs of martyrs for the love of filthy lucre, because those tombs brought armies of pilgrims to worship there, with gifts and offerings to the saints. Above all, Rome has authorised a sinful mortal man to create his God in the sacrament of the altar; yea, Rome has burnt and destroyed myriads for disbelieving it. As satire with the prophets, and with the poets, has been the most effectual artillery against idols, so on this head an ingenious countryman of ours, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, satirized the doctrine of transubstantiation.

Priests make Christ’s body and blod

You must not doute it,

They eat him, drink him, box him,

Bear him aboute;

One is too little, bread and wine

Hold him severally, so we dine,

I with my Christ, thou with thine.

Are priest’s mouths the virgin’s womb?

Is bread their seede?

Are their words the Holy Ghost?

Is this your creed?

Oh presumptuous undertaker,

Never cake could make the baker,

Yet the priest can make his Maker?

What’s become of all those Christs

That priests have made?

Do those hoasts of hosts abide,

Or do they fade?

One Christ bides, the rest do fly;

One Christ lives, the rest do dye;

One Christ’s trewe, the rest a ly.

Daniel 12:12. Blessed is he that waiteth, that shall live to see the thousand three hundred and thirty five days. Ezekiel has named the outward court as trodden down of the gentiles; and so is our public worship open to all. But after the seventy five days or years beyond the twelve hundred and sixty assigned for the fall of antichrist, the sanctuary shall be cleansed, and the glory of the Lord shall dwell in the church in a manner it never did before. Isaiah 60. Ezekiel 43. Zechariah 14. Revelation 5, 21, 22. Luther drove idols from the northern churches, and atheism has satirized them in the south; but we want “the residue of the Spirit” to be poured out from on high, and floods on the dry ground of gentile lands.

Daniel 12:13. But go thou thy way till the end, or consummation shall be, for thou shalt rest, and rise among the first of the dead, to see all the glory which the uplifted curtain has sufficiently disclosed. This is a clear promise of future life. A late minister, in his discourses to the aged, improves it in the following manner. “The rest of Daniel, and of good men, is with God. The rest of a rational and sanctified soul cannot be a mere freedom from pain and sorrow: it wants something suited to its nature, that will satisfy and fill its desires; and this it finds only in God.—The rest of the soul does not imply its sleep, or being in an insensible state. It never sleeps while in the body, and it would be strange if it should sleep when out of it. No; when absent from the body, it is present with the Lord. It departs to be with Christ, and lives with him for ever.

Observe, my brethren, death is not the end of your being. The body rests and moulders in the grave, but the spirit returns to God who gave it. If your lot be happy, it will always be so. If it be bad, it will never change for the better. Pray earnestly that God would by his Spirit speak to your hearts those good and comfortable words, which he spoke to Daniel; that he would witness with your spirits, that this is your lot, and give you some delightful foretastes of the inheritance.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Daniel 12:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/daniel-12.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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