In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.Daniel 7:1. In the first year of Belshazzar, &c. — The prophet, having related some remarkable passages concerning himself and his brethren in captivity, and having given proof of his supernatural illumination in interpreting other men’s dreams, proceeds to give an account of his own visions; and thereupon goes back to the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, which was seventeen years before the history contained in the last chapter. This vision concerns the same events with those referred to in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, chap. 2., with some enlargements and additions, and different images.
Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.Daniel 7:2-3. Behold, the four winds strove upon the great sea — This denotes those commotions in the world, and that troublesome state of affairs, out of which empires and kingdoms commonly take their rise. And four great beasts came up from the sea — Signifying the four great monarchies, or kingdoms, that should successively arise in the world, and have their origin from wars and commotions, which generally end in setting up the conqueror to be a great monarch over those whom he hath subdued: compare Revelation 13:1. The reason why these monarchies, which were represented to Nebuchadnezzar in the form of a great image, formed of gold and silver, brass and iron, are here exhibited by fierce and savage beasts, has been observed in the note on Daniel 2:31.
And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.Daniel 7:4. The first was like a lion — The Chaldean or Babylonian empire: compared to the head of gold, the chief of metals, in the image represented to Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, Daniel 2:32; Daniel 2:37-38, is here represented as a lion, the king of beasts. Instead of a lion, the Vulgate, Greek, and Arabic read, a lioness, signifying, says Jerome, the cruelty of that empire, lionesses, according to naturalists, being fiercer than lions. It is represented as having eagles’ wings, to denote the extent and rapidity of its conquests, that empire being advanced to its height within a few years, by the conduct and arms of one single person, namely, Nebuchadnezzar. I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked — Or, torn out, as מריתוmay be rendered: that is, it was checked in its progress by frequent defeats, and rendered unable to make further conquests. Its wings were beginning to be plucked at the time of the delivery of this prophecy; for at this lime the Medes and Persians were encroaching upon it. Belshazzar, the king now reigning, was the last of his race; and in the seventeenth year of his reign Babylon was taken, and the kingdom transferred to the Medes and Persians. And it was lifted up from the earth — Removed from its foundation, and lost its stability: or, as some render the clause, the wings thereof were plucked, wherewith it had been lifted up from the earth, that is, had been enabled to fly swiftly, in extending its conquests; and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it — When it was thus curtailed and humbled, it became more peaceable and humane, agreeably to the idea of the psalmist, Psalm 9:20, Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men. The minds of the people were humbled by their misfortunes, and by the calamities coming more and more upon the empire; and they who vaunted as if they had been gods, now felt themselves to be but men.
And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.Daniel 7:5. And behold another beast like a bear — This is the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, who, for their cruelty and greediness after blood, are compared to a bear, which is a most voracious and cruel animal. Bochart recounts several particulars wherein the Persians resembled bears; but the chief likeness consisted in what has been just mentioned, and this likeness was principally intended by the prophet, as may be inferred from the words of the text, Arise, devour much flesh. A bear, saith Aristotle, is an all-devouring animal; and so the Medo-Persians were great robbers and spoilers, according to Jeremiah 51:48; Jeremiah 51:56 : see Bishop Newton and the note on Isaiah 13:18. And it raised up itself on one side — Some think the allusion is to the eastern quarter of the world, from whence the Persians came; others, to the elevation of the Persians above the Medes and Babylonians, which three powers are conceived to be meant by the three ribs in the mouth of the bear: but Sir Isaac Newton and Bishop Chandler, with great propriety, explain them as signifying the kingdoms of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which were conquered by it, but were not properly parts and members of its body. They might be called ribs, as the conquest of them much strengthened the Persian empire; and they might be said to be between the teeth of the bear, as they were much grinded and oppressed by the Persians.
After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.Daniel 7:6. After this I beheld, and lo, another like a leopard — “This third kingdom is that of the Macedonians, or Grecians, who, under the command of Alexander the Great, overcame the Persians, and reigned next after them: and it is fitly compared to a leopard upon several accounts. The leopard is remarkable for swiftness, and Alexander and the Macedonians were amazingly swift and rapid in their conquests. The leopard is a spotted animal, and so was a proper emblem, according to Bochart, of the different manners of the nations which Alexander commanded; or, according to Grotius, of the various manners of Alexander himself, who was sometimes merciful, and sometimes cruel; sometimes temperate, and sometimes drunken; sometimes abstemious, and sometimes incontinent. The leopard, as Bochart observes, is of small stature, but of great courage, so as not to be afraid to engage with the lion and the larger beasts; and so Alexander, a little king, in comparison, of small stature too, and with a small army, dared to attack the king of kings, that is, Darius, whose kingdom was extended from the Ægean sea to the Indies. Which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl — The Babylonian empire was represented with two wings, but this is described with four. For, as Jerome says, nothing was swifter than the victories of Alexander, who ran through all the countries from Illyricum and the Adriatic sea to the Indian ocean and the river Ganges, not so much fighting as conquering; and in six years (he should have said in twelve) subjugated part of Europe and all Asia to himself. The beast had also four heads — To denote the four kingdoms into which this same third kingdom should be divided, as it was after the death of Alexander, among his four captains; Cassander reigning over Macedon and Greece, Lysimachus over Thrace and Bithynia, Ptolemy over Egypt, and Seleucus over Syria. And dominion was given to it — Which shows, as Jerome observes, that it was not owing to the fortitude of Alexander, but proceeded from the will of the Lord. And, indeed, unless he had been directed, preserved, and assisted by the mighty power of God, how could Alexander, with thirty thousand men, have overcome Darius with six hundred thousand, and in so short a time have brought all the countries, from Greece as far as to India, into subjection.” — Bishop Newton.
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.Daniel 7:7. Behold a fourth beast — This fourth kingdom can be no other than the Roman empire, which answers this emphatical description better than any of the former kingdoms. Dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly — And therefore compared to iron, Daniel 2:40. It devoured and brake in pieces — It spread its arms and its terrors to a much greater extent than any of the preceding powers, and entirely subdued all the remains of the former kingdoms, and all the nations that had been subject to them. It reduced Macedon into a Roman province about one hundred and sixty-eight years, the kingdom of Pergamus about one hundred and thirty-three years, Syria about sixty-five years, and Egypt about thirty years, before Christ. And besides the remains of the Macedonian empire, it subdued many other provinces and kingdoms; so that it might, by a very usual figure, be said to devour the whole earth, to tread it down and break it in pieces; and become, in a manner, what the Roman writers delighted to call it, “The empire of the whole world.” The words of Dionysius Halicarnassus are very apposite to this subject. “The city of Rome,” says he, “ruleth over all the earth as far as it is inhabited, and commands all the sea, not only that within the Pillars of Hercules, but also the ocean, as far as it is navigable; having first and alone, of all the celebrated kingdoms, made the east and west the bounds of its empire, and its dominion hath continued longer than that of any other city or kingdom.” And it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it — This is intimated by its having no name, being more cruel and horrid than any sort of beast whatever; and the Roman power was so multiform, that it could not be pointed out by any one species of resemblance. And it was different from all kingdoms in its republican form of government, its greatness, length of duration, and extent of dominion. But its chief distinction consisted in its having ten horns, which we find at Daniel 7:24 are ten kings or kingdoms: see also Revelation 17:12. And these answer to the ten toes of the image, Daniel 2:42. The empire continued in its greatness fill the reign of Theodosius the Great, and soon afterward the partition happened, and the broken form remained, for the ten kingdoms were to be no more united, till the Ancient of days should come.
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.Daniel 7:8. I considered the horns — Viewed and observed them exactly, otherwise he could not have observed the little horn, whose rise was scarce discernible at first; and behold there came up among them — Much about the same time, Revelation 17:12; another little horn — Distinct from the ten horns, and of a different constitution. Some have understood by this the Turkish empire, and consider Egypt, Asia, and Greece as being the three horns torn up or reduced thereby; but the more generally received and probable opinion refers it to antichrist, or the Papal hierarchy, which rose to the height here described from very small beginnings: see on Daniel 7:24. The eyes, like human eyes, indicate the perspicacity, foresight, and cunning of this power; and the mouth speaking great, or presumptuous things, is not unlike the man of sin, described by St. Paul, “whose coming should be after the working of Satan with all deceivableness of unrighteousness,” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 : see also Revelation 13:5-6.
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.Daniel 7:9-10. I beheld till the thrones were cast down — Till all these earthly kingdoms were brought to an end, and all enemies and opposite powers were destroyed. But the word רמיו, here used, maybe rendered, were pitched, or placed, namely, for the reception of God, and his assessors in judgment, the saints and angels. Thus the LXX., εως οτου οι θρονοι ετεθησαν, till the thrones were placed, or set, or fixed; and so the Vulgate. And the verb in the text is used in the same sense in the Chaldee paraphrase on Jeremiah 1:15; where our translation reads, They shall set every one his throne, &c. The following words justify this translation; And the Ancient of days did sit — That is, the eternal Judge of the world, who has been from everlasting, who is at present, and who shall always be: and whom the prophet thus describes, to adapt himself to human apprehensions, and to make the following part of his description more intelligible; but no similitude is pointed out, nor ought we from hence to attempt to represent the invisible God by any figure. The metaphors here used, says Bishop Newton, “are borrowed from the solemnities of earthly judicatories, and particularly of the great sanhedrim of the Jews, where the father of the consistory sat, with his assessors seated on each side of him, in the form of a semicircle, with the people standing before him: and from this description again was borrowed the description of the day of judgment in the New Testament.” Whose garment was white as snow — Signifying the unspotted righteousness of his proceedings. He is elsewhere described as covering himself with light as with a garment, Psalm 104:2 : see also 1 John 1:5. Kings and princes used anciently to wear white garments, as an emblem of perfect justice. And the hair of his head like the pure wool — To denote the eternity and maturity of his counsels, and that his decisions are all perfectly right and true, without the least mixture of any partial affections. His throne was like the fiery flame — Denoting his awful majesty, and the severity of his judgments on the ungodly; and his wheels of burning fire — Emblematical of the revolutions and dispensations of his providence, Ezekiel 1:15, being dreadfully severe and destructive to the wicked. The reader will observe, God’s throne is here described in the nature of a triumphal chariot, supported by angels as so many fiery wheels. Grotius remarks, that the ancient thrones and sellæ curules had wheels. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him — Signifying his justice and wrath in giving forth and executing sentence against the ungodly. Thousand thousands ministered unto him — His retinue was an innumerable company of angels; and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him — To receive their sentence from his lips. The judgment was set — That is, the court, namely, God the supreme judge, and the saints as his assessors, made their public appearance. And the books were opened — That is, “those evidences which contained the laws and will of God, whether natural or revealed; those in which the actions of men, with all their circumstances of aggravation or extenuation were recorded; those from which the clearest and completest conviction might be adduced, in order to render the judgment such as that all should be obliged to acknowledge it to be the result of the most perfect truth and consummate justice: see Revelation 20:12.” — Wintle.
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.Daniel 7:11-12. I beheld then — Chaldee, חזה הוית, I was attentive, spectabam attentus, I beheld attentively, as Grotius renders it; because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake — See on Daniel 7:25. I was desirous of knowing, and looked carefully to see what would be the end of this matter, more particularly on account of the arrogant and boasting words which the horn spake. I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed — This signified, that no other earthly kingdom should succeed to this, but that when an entire end should be put to it, and the ten kingdoms included in it, then the kingdom of Christ should succeed, as is more fully set forth toward the end of this chapter. We may observe, that it is not only said of this fourth beast, that he was slain, but that his body was destroyed and given to the burning flame; that is, made entirely extinct, as every thing is that is burned in the fire; whereas it is said, concerning the rest of the beasts, that though they had their dominion taken away, their lives were prolonged for a season and time. Their bodies were not destroyed, as that of the fourth beast, but they were suffered to continue still in being; that is, other kingdoms of the same nature, though different in some particulars, succeeded to them. The destruction of the beast, it must be observed, will be the destruction of the horn also, and consequently the horn is a part of the fourth beast, or of the Roman empire.
As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
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.Daniel 7:13. I saw in the night visions, &c. — Here is described by what means these changes were to be brought about; behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven — One in the shape and likeness of a man, but clothed with such ensigns of majesty and honour, (signified here by the clouds of heaven,) as showed him to be an extraordinary person, (compare Revelation 1:13; Revelation 14:14,) indeed no less than the Messiah, as the following description of him declares. As the two foregoing verses declare why the fourth beast was destroyed, this part of the vision shows by whom it was done; setting Christ forth in his judicial capacity, and describing him by that title, which, in allusion to this place, he often gave himself, namely, the Son of man. He particularly alludes to this text, Matthew 26:64, where he speaks of his coming in the clouds of heaven; by which expression he acknowledged himself to be the true Messiah here described, and gave a direct answer to the question there proposed to him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the blessed? Compare Mark 14:61-62; Revelation 1:7. Whereupon they condemned him as guilty of blasphemy. A learned prelate, in his Defence of Christianity from the ancient Prophecies, p. 131, observes, that ענני, anani, the clouds, was a known name of the Messiah among the Jewish writers, which shows that they understood this text as spoken of him.
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.Daniel 7:14. There was given him dominion, &c. — “All these kingdoms shall in their turns be destroyed, but the kingdom of the Messiah shall stand for ever. It was in allusion to this prophecy that the angel said of Jesus, before he was conceived in the womb, Luke 1:33, He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. After what manner these great changes will be effected, we cannot pretend to say, as God hath not been pleased to reveal it. We see the remains of the ten horns which arose out of the Roman empire. We see the little horn still subsisting, though not in full strength and vigour, but as we hope upon the decline, and tending toward a dissolution. And having seen so many of these particulars accomplished, we can have no reason to doubt that the rest also will be fulfilled in due season; though we cannot frame any conception how Christ will be manifested in glory; how the little horn, with the body of the fourth beast, will be given to the burning flame; or how the saints will take the kingdom, and possess it for ever and ever. It is the nature of such prophecies, not to be perfectly understood till they are fulfilled. The best comment upon them will be their completion.” — Bishop Newton.
I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.Daniel 7:15-18. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit — Upon account of the extraordinary changes which seemed to be signified by the vision, the particulars of which troubled me, though I had not a perfect apprehension of their meaning. I came near unto one of them that stood by — Namely, to one of the angels who were attending as ministering spirits. And asked him the truth, &c. — Desired him to give me a clear understanding of all this. So he told me, &c. — Explained to me the true and plain meaning of these things. These great beasts are four kings — Four kingdoms, or monarchies. So the word king is used Isaiah 23:15. Which shall arise out of the earth — Which shall raise themselves merely upon carnal, worldly grounds and considerations, and that by wars and troubles, and which shall think of and concern themselves with only earthly things; whereas the kingdom of Christ is described, in the next verse, as a heavenly, spiritual kingdom, fitting men for heaven. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom — When the earthly kingdom shall be destroyed, the heavenly, or spiritual kingdom of the saints shall commence; they shall enter upon it on earth, but shall retain it in heaven for ever. The Chaldee word עליונין, rendered Most High, is literally high ones, as it is translated in the margin: and these saints are indeed high ones, being children and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. Sometimes, however, the one true God is spoken of in the plural number by way of eminence, as Joshua 24:19, where it is in the Hebrew, He is the holy Gods. The expression may therefore mean as we have it rendered.
I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;Daniel 7:19-22. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast — Namely, what was intended to be signified by it. And of the ten horns that were in his head — Of what they were emblems; and of the other which came up, &c. — See Daniel 7:8; whose look was more stout than his fellows — Or more great and magnificent; or, who was more arrogant, and claimed a superiority over the rest: for though this horn, or power, was small at first, it at length exceeded all other powers in pomp and pre-eminence, exalting itself not only above all temporal authorities, but above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. I beheld — Chaldee, I was seeing, or considering attentively; and the same horn made war with the saints — By the saints here is to be understood the servants of Christ. So antichrist is described as making war with the saints, and overcoming them for a time: see the margin. Until the Ancient of days came — To vindicate their cause, to crush the idolaters, and to extirpate the dominion of antichrist: or until the final judgment, when the saints shall sit as assessors with Christ, shall be seated on thrones, and reign as kings and priests with God and Christ, and possess the kingdom for ever. And judgment was given to the saints, &c. — Power to judge and rule over their enemies. And the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom —
See on Daniel 7:14.
And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
I beheld, and 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.
Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.Daniel 7:23-24. The fourth beast shall be diverse from all kingdoms — As being managed under different forms of government; having a form of commonwealth at the beginning of its greatness, and afterward governed by kings and emperors; and in process of time being divided into ten kingdoms, or principalities; and all of them under the direction of one spiritual head. And the ten horns are ten kings — Or, kingdoms. A horn is an emblem of strength, so it comes to signify power and authority; and from thence it is applied to denote sovereignty, or dominion. The ten horns, or kingdoms, were to arise out of the dissolution of the Roman empire, which came to pass accordingly. There are various enumerations of these ten kingdoms in the division of the Roman empire, none of which are reckoned to commence earlier than the latter end of the fourth, or the beginning of the fifth century. Bishop Newton, in his fourteenth Dissertation, has given several lists, by Machiavel, by Mr. Mede, by Bishop Lloyd, and by Sir Isaac Newton; and at last has added one which he has selected from the others, and which he has placed in the eighth century. His words are, “The principal states and governments then were, 1. The senate of Rome, who revolted from the Greek emperors, and claimed and exerted the privilege of choosing a new western emperor; 2. The Greeks in Ravenna; 3. The Lombards in Lombardy; 4. The Huns in Hungary; 5. The Alemannes in Germany; 6. The Franks in France; 7. The Burgundians in Burgundy; 8. The Goths in Spain; 9. The Britons; 10. The Saxons in Britain. Not that there were constantly ten kingdoms, they were sometimes more and sometimes fewer; but, as Sir Isaac Newton says, ‘whatever was their number afterward, they are still called the ten kingdoms, from their first number.’“
And another shall arise after them — Greek, οπισω αυτων, behind them, as the words may be rendered; that is, either unperceived by them, or whose height, or dominion, should not acquire its summit till long after their establishment. This is generally agreed, by all Protestant interpreters, to be the kingdom of the pope, which was certainly of a very different nature from any of the former, being first ecclesiastical, or spiritual, and afterward claiming a temporal or civil jurisdiction. The LXX. add, that it should be distinguished from the former, κακοις, in evils, or malignancies. And the kings, or kingdoms, which it should pluck up by the roots, or humble, as ταπεινωσει, the word used by the LXX., signifies, (which is also the reading of the Vulgate,) are pointed out by the same prelate to be the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the state of Rome. These states were reduced in the eighth century; and the epistles and bulls issued by the pope are, after that time, dated from the years of the commencement of the pope’s temporal jurisdiction, or advancement to the papal chair; and the pope, by wearing his triple crown, hath in a manner pointed himself out for the person here intended: see Bishop Newton and Mr. Wintle.
And what still more fully characterizes this power, and proves it to be intended of the Papacy, is, that it is said, in Daniel 7:8, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man; which denotes cunning and foresight, exercised in looking out and watching all opportunities of promoting one’s interest. “And the policy of the Roman hierarchy hath almost passed into a proverb. The pope is properly called an overlooker, or overseer: an επισκοπος, or bishop, in the literal sense of the word. In Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:20, it is said, He had a mouth, speaking great things: and who hath been more noisy and blustering than the pope, especially in former ages; boasting of his supremacy, thundering out his bulls and anathemas, excommunicating princes, and absolving subjects from their allegiance? His look was more stout than his fellows, Daniel 7:20. And the pope assumes a superiority, not only over his fellow-bishops, but even over crowned heads: and requires his foot to be kissed, and greater honours to be paid to him than to kings and emperors themselves.”
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
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.Daniel 7:25. He shall speak great words against the Most High — Symmachus reads, He shall speak great words, as the Most High; “setting himself above all laws, divine and human: arrogating to himself godlike attributes, and titles of holiness and infallibility; exacting obedience to his ordinances and decrees, in preference to, and in open violation of, reason and Scripture; insulting men and blaspheming God. In Gratian’s Decretals, the pope has the title of God given to him. And shall wear out the saints — By wars, and massacres, and inquisitions, persecuting and destroying the faithful servants of Jesus, and the true worshippers of God; who protest against his innovations, and refuse to comply with the idolatry practised in the Church of Rome. He shall think to change times and laws — Appointing fasts and feasts, canonizing saints, granting pardons and indulgences for sins, instituting new modes of worship, imposing new articles of faith, enjoining new rules of practice, and reversing at pleasure the laws of God and man.” — Bishop Newton.
And they shall be given, &c. — “A time, all agree, signifies a year; and a time, and times, and the dividing of time, or half a time, are three years and a half; and the ancient Jewish year, consisting of twelve months, and each month of thirty days, a time, and times, and half a time, or three years and a half, are reckoned in the Revelation 11:2-3; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 12:14, as equivalent to forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days; and a day, in the style of the prophets, is a year; (see Ezekiel 4:4;) and it is confessed that the seventy weeks, in Daniel 9. are weeks of years, and consequently twelve hundred and sixty days are twelve hundred and sixty years. So long antichrist, or the little horn, will continue: but from what point of time the commencement of these twelve hundred and sixty years is to be dated, is not easy to determine. It should seem that they are to be computed from the full establishment of the power of the pope, and no less is implied in the expression, given into his hand. Now the power of the pope, as a horn, or temporal prince, it hath been shown, was established in the eighth century; and twelve hundred and sixty years from that time, will lead us down to about the year of Christ 2000, or the year of the world 6000: and there is an old tradition, both among Jews and Christians, that at the end of 6000 years the Messiah shall come, and the world shall be renewed; the reign of the wicked one shall cease, and the reign of the saints upon earth shall begin. But, as Irenæus says in a like case, it is surer and safer to wait for the completion of the prophecy than to conjecture and divine about it. When the end shall come, then we shall know better whence to date the beginning.” — Bishop Newton.
But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.Daniel 7:26-27. But the judgment shall sit, &c. — God, in the course of his providence, will sit (speaking after the manner of men) in judgment on this usurping, tyrannical, and persecuting power, which shall be judged, condemned, degraded, consumed, and destroyed, and his authority never more revived, to the end of the world: see note on Daniel 7:10-11. And the kingdom and dominion, &c., shall be given to the saints of the Most High — True religion shall universally prevail under the countenance and protection of Christian princes; and the kingdom of Christ shall be erected in power and glory in all parts of the earth. In other words, The stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall become itself a mountain, and fill the whole earth: see note on Daniel 2:44-45, and on Daniel 7:14 of this chapter. If the reader will be at the pains to compare this vision of Daniel, concerning the four great wild beasts, and the exposition of it by the angel, with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image, as explained by Daniel, he will be struck with their perfect agreement with each other, and find the one illustrative of the other.
And the kingdom and 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 dominions shall serve and obey him.
Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.Daniel 7:28. Hitherto is the end of the matter — Here the angel that spoke to me concerning these matters finished his discourse. As for me, my cogitations much troubled me — The extraordinary circumstances of the vision made a great impression upon my mind; and it was matter of great trouble to me, to foresee the profanation of God’s laws and worship, and the persecutions and calamities which should come upon his church and people. And my countenance changed in me — The impression which this vision made upon me, weakened my spirits, and altered my complexion, as if I had had a fit of sickness. But I kept the matter in my heart — I laid the matter up in my memory and heart, and meditated frequently upon it, and by that means was enabled to give an exact account of the vision, and its interpretation, in writing, for the use and benefit of others as well as myself; and that after ages might have this great proof of the Almighty’s governing all the affairs of the world, and of his foreknowledge of future events.