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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Daniel 10





IN relation to the prediction in Dan , regarding the destruction by fire of the body of the Beast or fourth universal empire, that immediately preceding the kingdom of the Son of Man, and of the saints—his body being "given to the burning flame"—science has recently indicated another way in which this judgment might be inflicted on apostate Christendom and the Antichristian kingdoms. The following extract from the Spectator, in relation to a recent conclusion of astronomy, only met the writer's eye while the preceding work was in the press:—"We sometimes doubt whether the world's belief in science is quite as genuine as it seems. Here is Mr. Proctor, whose astronomical authority and ability nobody doubts, has told the world for some time back, we believe, that there is really a very considerable chance of a catastrophe only fifteen years hence, which may put an end to us and our earthly hopes and fears altogether; and, so far as we can see, the world has blandly treated Mr. Proctor's warning as it would have treated an interesting speculation on the future of electricity—that is, has regarded it with a certain mild, literary satisfaction, but has not made any change in its arrangements in consequence.… Yet, supposing Mr. Proctor's facts to be correctly stated—on which we should like to have the judgment of other astronomers—there does seem a remarkably good chance that in 1897 the sun will suddenly break out into the same kind of intensity of heat and light which caused the conflagration in the star of the Northern Crown in 1866, when for a day or two the heat and light emitted by it became suddenly many hundreds of times greater than they were before, after which the star relapsed into its former relative insignificance. Those few days of violence, however, must have been enough to destroy completely all vegetable and animal life in the planets circulating round that sun, if such planets were in existence; and Mr. Proctor shows no little reason to believe that the same catastrophe may very probably happen to us, doubtless from a precisely similar cause, if the astronomers who believe that the comet of 1880 was identical with the comet of 1843 and the comet of 1668 should be right,—which would imply that the same comet, with a rapidly diminishing period, is likely to return and fall into the sun, with all its meteoric appendages, in or about the year 1897. Mr. Proctor tells us that Professor Winnecke believes that the identity of the comets of 1843 and 1880 hardly admits of a doubt; while Mr. Marth thinks that both may be identical with the comet of 1668, its velocity having been reduced by its passing through the corona of the sun; so that on its next return, in a considerably reduced time, it may be altogether unable to pass out of the sphere of the sun's influence, and may precipitate itself, with all its meteoric train, into the mass of the sun. If this event occurs—as at some return or other Mr. Proctor believes to be nearly certain—(the next but one, we suppose, if not the next), there will certainly be an abrupt arrest of an enormous momentum as the long train of meteors enters the sun, which arrest would show itself in the shape of enormously increased heat,—the probable result whereof would be the burning up of all vegetable and animal life existing on the planets of the solar system. It is true that Mr. Proctor is not quite sure how the absorption of this comet and its train into the sun would really affect us. He is by no means certain that our sun would burst into flame, as the star in the Northern Crown did in 1866, but he evidently thinks it much more likely than not. And he does not seriously doubt that in the behaviour of the star in the Northern Crown, which so suddenly broke into flame in 1866, we have the example of a real sidereal catastrophe which from time to time either actually destroys, or would destroy, if they existed, such worlds as ours, if they happen to be the planets of a sun thus suddenly fed with a great accession of cosmic heat."

In connection with the same subject the writer has recently met with the following passage in Mr. Garrat's "Midnight Cry," written about twenty years ago:—"The fiery flood. So it is described in Peter's second epistle. The destruction of the ungodly will be by fire; and out of that fire will issue the new heavens and the new earth. The question is often asked, whether that event will happen at the commencement or the close of the millennium. Perhaps, in different degrees, at both. Isaiah says, speaking of a period prior to the thousand years, ‘By fire and by sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.' And he seems also to place the creation of new heavens and a new earth at the same period; while it is after the millennium, John says in Revelation, ‘I saw a new heaven and a new earth.' This and many other apparent difficulties of the same nature are easily explained. ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.' The whole millennium is, in God's eye, but a day—the great day of the Lord God Almighty. It is the ‘regeneration,'—the period of earth's new birth; and the events at its commencement and its close are sometimes looked upon as one. God will destroy His enemies with fire at the beginning of these thousand years. The conflagration at their close will be still more terrible. Both are looked upon as one event. And it is to both, regarded as one, that the words of Peter apply: ‘The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.' It will come as a thief in the night on the world. They will be alone, because the Church will have been translated. With what bitter remorse will men look on the fiery deluge as it comes sweeping along! They might have escaped, and they would not; and now escape is impossible."

Verses 1-21



3. The deep interest felt by those angelic beings in the welfare of good men and the prosperity of God's cause. Their interest in good men seen in the manner in which Daniel is addressed as a "man greatly beloved;" words "indicative of tender compassion and encouragement, as addressed to an aged saint in whom the infirmities of age, blended with a deep self-abasement, rendered such assurances of regard especially grateful and appropriate." The exhortation, "fear not," expressive of the same loving interest and tender consideration. The earnest endeavour to impart strength to the overpowered and fainting prophet (Dan ) reminds us of the same affectionate concern manifested on behalf of the Man of Sorrows Himself in His agony in the garden (Luk 22:43). The whole of the narrative before us in reference to the exertions of these angelic ministers on behalf of Israel indicative of their deep interest in the welfare of that people, and the prosperity of Jehovah's cause in the world.

4. The variety of their ministrations. Here, as elsewhere, we see them employed in conveying messages and delivering communications from God to His servants (Dan ). So in chap. Dan 9:21-22, we see them also engaged in counteracting the evil influences brought to bear on rulers and others by the adversaries of God's cause and people. From chap. Dan 11:1, we find that the same celestial personage who communicates with Daniel had exerted his influence in strengthening and encouraging Darius in favour of the Jews, when thwarted and opposed in their work of restoring Jerusalem by the Samaritans, who sought to prejudice the king against them and their work. Their ministrations as varied as the circumstances, necessities, and requirements of the servants of God and heirs of salvation for whose benefit they are employed in ministering.

5. Their union and mutual help among themselves. "Michael, one of the chief princes," says the principal speaker in the chapter, "came to help me" (Dan ). And again (Dan 10:21), "There is none that holdeth (marg., ‘strengthened himself,—puts forth strenuous efforts or vigorously co-operates) with me in these things but Michael your prince." The angels, though excelling in strength, yet of limited power. Even among those potent agents, co-operation and mutual aid are necessary and enjoyed. The same important principle experienced among the celestial as among terrestrial workers, Union is strength. "Two are better than one." An example for the Church on earth in their works of good-doing.

From the whole narrative we may learn—

2. Ample provision made for the welfare of the Church and for the success of the Redeemer's cause. An agency is provided in the wisdom and love of God, and committed into the hands of the Mediator, which, though invisible, is always in operation, and is fully adequate to meet all requirements and exigencies. Such provision made in the ministration of angelic beings, who, though necessarily limited both in their power and knowledge, yet "excel in strength" as well as wisdom; and, while yielding implicit obedience to the will of their Sovereign, are also deeply and lovingly interested in the happiness of His people and the prosperity of His cause. Their influence also, as spiritual beings, is capable of being exercised as well on the mind as on material objects. It is true that in their ministrations they are resisted by beings of a similar nature, though of an opposite character and disposition. How effectually, however, the ministry of angels is exercised on behalf of the Church, is shown by numerous examples both in the Old and New Testaments, one of which is found in this very book (chap. Dan ).

3. The duty of imitating the character and conduct of those angelic ministers. A petition taught by the Saviour, and constantly on the lips of the professing Church, is, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The book of Daniel, and especially the chapter before us, reveals how it is done there. We see these celestial beings not only promptly obedient to their Maker's will, but cordially interested in whatever that will is, and especially in the work of ministering for the heirs of salvation about whom they are employed. Their obedience not only prompt but loving and hearty. What is done in obedience to the divine will is done "heartily as to the Lord." Whatever the service on which they are sent, it is faithfully, zealously, and lovingly executed. Though thwarted and opposed for days and weeks together by hostile influences and wayward dispositions, they persevere in their mission till it is accomplished. It is our privilege to be engaged with them in serving the same Master, and in promoting the same objects. Like them we shall meet with opposition both from visible and invisible adversaries. Like them it is for us, through promised and provided grace, to persevere till our efforts are crowned with success, or we called away by the Master to another field of service.

4. The reverential spirit with which we ought to receive the communications of God's word. Daniel relates that when the angel brought to him the divine communication with which he was charged, "when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling;" and again, "when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and became dumb" (Dan ; Dan 10:15). One of the marks of the truly godly given by God Himself as that with which He is well pleased, is, that they "tremble at His word" (Isa 66:2). So Ezra speaks of the godly in his day (Ezr 9:4; Ezr 10:3). Striking contrast to the thoughtless indifference with which the divine oracles are too often read and heard. The deep humility, self-abasement, and godly fear that Daniel exhibited in relation to the divine communications which he received, a part of his general character, and that which doubtless prepared him for receiving those revelations by which he was so greatly honoured. "Them that honour Me, I will honour."


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Daniel 10:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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