Daniel 7:18
But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
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7:15-28 It is desirable to obtain the right and full sense of what we see and hear from God; and those that would know, must ask by faithful and fervent prayer. The angel told Daniel plainly. He especially desired to know respecting the little horn, which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Here is foretold the rage of papal Rome against true Christians. St. John, in his visions and prophecies, which point in the first place at Rome, has plain reference to these visions. Daniel had a joyful prospect of the prevalence of God's kingdom among men. This refers to the second coming of our blessed Lord, when the saints shall triumph in the complete fall of Satan's kingdom. The saints of the Most High shall possess the kingdom for ever. Far be it from us to infer from hence, that dominion is founded on grace. It promises that the gospel kingdom shall be set up; a kingdom of light, holiness, and love; a kingdom of grace, the privileges and comforts of which shall be the earnest and first-fruits of the kingdom of glory. But the full accomplishment will be in the everlasting happiness of the saints, the kingdom that cannot be moved. The gathering together the whole family of God will be a blessedness of Christ's coming.But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom - That is, they shall ultimately take possession of the rule over all the world, and shall control it from that time onward to the end. This is the grand thing which the vision is designed to disclose, and on this it was evidently the intention to fix the mind. Everything before was preparatory and subordinate to this, and to this all things tended. The phrase rendered the Most High - in the margin "high ones, i. e., things or places" - עליונין ‛eleyônı̂yn - is in the plural number, and means literally high ones; but there can be no doubt that it refers here to God, and is given to Him as the word אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym is (Genesis 1:1, et saepe), to denote majesty or honor - pluralis excellentice. The word rendered saints means the holy, and the reference is undoubtedly to the people of God on the earth, meaning here that they would take possession of the kingdom, or that they would rule. When true religion shall everywhere prevail, and when all offices shall be in the hands of good men - of men that fear God and that keep his commandments - instead of being in the hands of bad men, as they generally have been, then this prediction will be accomplished in respect to all that is fairly implied in it.

And possess the kingdom for ever, even forever and ever - This is a strong and emphatic declaration, affirming that this dominion will be perpetual. It will not pass away, like the other kingdoms, to be succeeded by another one. What is here affirmed, as above remarked, will be true if such a reign should continue on earth to the winding up of all things, and should then be succeeded by an eternal reign of holiness in the heavens. It is not necessary to interpret this as meaning that there would be literally an eternal kingdom on this earth, for it is everywhere taught in the Scriptures that the present order of things will come to a close. But it does seem necessary to understand this as teaching that there will be a state of prevalent righteousness on the earth hereafter, and that when that is introduced it will continue to the end of time.

18. the Most High—the emphatic title of God in this prophecy, who delegates His power first to Israel; then to the Gentiles (Da 2:37, 38) when Israel fails to realize the idea of the theocracy; lastly, to Messiah, who shall rule truly for God, taking it from the Gentile world powers, whose history is one of continual degeneracy culminating in the last of the kings, Antichrist. Here, in the interpretation, "the saints," but in the vision (Da 7:13, 14), "the Son of man," takes the kingdom; for Christ and His people are one in suffering, and one in glory. Tregelles translates, "most high places" (Eph 1:3; 2:6). Though oppressed by the beast and little horn, they belong not to the earth from which the four beasts arise, but to the most high places. Jesus Christ being their King, they shall reign with him, Revelation 1:6 20:4, and possess the kingdom for ever, Matthew 19:28 1 Corinthians 1:9 6:3 1 Peter 2:9 Revelation 5:10. This shall be for ever, because Christ’s kingdom is the last kingdom, never any shall succeed after that.

But the saints of the most High,.... Or, "of the most high Ones" (d), Father, Son, and Spirit, separated by God the Father in election, and in that sense his servants, or sanctified ones, Jde 1:1, and redeemed by the Son, and sanctified with his blood, or their sins atoned by it, and to whom he is made sanctification, and so his saints, Hebrews 13:12 and sanctified by the Spirit, who in conversion implants principles of grace and holiness in them, 1 Corinthians 6:11, or, "the saints of high" (e), places or things; who are born from above, and are called with a high and heavenly calling, towards which they are pressing, reckoning themselves strangers here below:

these shall take the kingdom; or "receive" (f) it, as a free gift from God; and not by force, and rapine, and violence, as the beasts did:

and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever; after the four monarchies are destroyed, a fifth kingdom shall be set up; and this will be given to, and put into the possession of, the saints; they shall have the rule and government in the world, even in the whole world, as well as reign with Christ spiritually; which manner of rule shall last long; and then after the first resurrection they shall reign with him a thousand years on earth, and afterwards in heaven to all eternity. There is another rendering and sense of the words given, "and they (the beasts) shall receive the kingdom of the saints of the most High" (g), &c.; and so Saadiah interprets them,

"and these kingdoms shall receive the kingdom of Israel, who are the saints of the most High, until the world to come, until the Messiah reigns;''

and this way go many others, who understand the words of those several monarchies possessing the land of Judea, and ruling over it; and of the continuance of it in the hands of Papists or Turks for a long, time, even until the glorious kingdom of Christ takes place; but this does not agree with the accentuation of the words, their form of construction, their connection, and strong manner of expression, "for ever and ever"; and especially if compared with Daniel 7:22.

(d) "sanctorum altissimorum", Pagninus, Montanus; "sanctorum excelsorum", Junius & Tremellius. (e) "Sancti exceisoram, sel locorum", Piscator. (f) "accipient", Munster, Piscator, Tigurine version. (g) "Suscipient regnum sanctorum", Pagninus, Montanus; "sortientur, vel obtienebunt regnum", Calvin; so Polanus, Sanctius.

But the saints of the {f} most High shall take the {g} kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

(f) That is, of the most high things, because God has chosen them out of this world, that they should look up to the heavens, upon which all their hope depends.

(g) Because Abraham was appointed heir of all the world, Ro 4:13, and in him all the faithful, therefore the kingdom of him is theirs by right, which these four beasts or tyrants would invade, and usurp until the world were restored by Christ. And this was to strengthen and encourage those that were in troubles, that their afflictions would eventually have an end.

18. The four kingdoms of the Gentiles will pass away; and be succeeded by the kingdom of the saints of the Most High, which will endure for ever. The saints of the Most High seem here, as also in Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:27, to take the place of the ‘one like unto a son of man’ in Daniel 7:13, and to receive the same never-ending dominion.

the saints] lit. the holy ones; so Daniel 7:21-22; Daniel 7:25; Daniel 7:27; Daniel 8:24 (cp. Daniel 12:7). Cf. Psalm 16:3; Psalm 34:9. (The word is entirely different from the one (ḥasid) rendered ‘saints’ everywhere else in the Psalms, as Psalm 30:4; Psalm 31:23; Psalm 37:28, &c., and in 1 Samuel 2:9 [A.V.]; 2 Chronicles 6:41, Proverbs 2:8.) The term, in this application, is an extension of the use of the word ‘holy’ to denote Israel in its ideal character (Exodus 19:6; Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7; Leviticus 20:26; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 14:21; Deuteronomy 33:3 and elsewhere).

the Most High] See on Daniel 3:26. The Hebraizing (and plural) form found here (עליונין) recurs Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:25 (second time), 27. The plural is probably the so-called ‘plural of majesty,’ which we have, for instance, in the Heb. of ‘holy’ in Joshua 24:19, and Proverbs 9:10.

shall receive (Daniel 5:31) the kingdom] They will not establish it by their own power (cf. Daniel 7:27 ‘shall be given, &c.).

and possess the kingdom for ever, &c.] Cf. Daniel 7:14 b.

Daniel 7:18In Daniel 7:17-27 the angel gives the wished-for explanation. In Daniel 7:17 and Daniel 7:18 he gives first a general interpretation of the vision. The words, these great beasts, of which there were four, form an absolute nominal clause: "as for the beasts;" as concerning their meaning, it is this: "they represent four kings." The kings are named as founders and representatives of world-kingdoms. Four kingdoms are meant, as Daniel 7:23 shows, where the fourth beast is explained as מלכוּ, "dominion," "kingdom." Compare also Daniel 8:20 and Daniel 8:21, where in like manner kings are named and kingdoms are meant. From the future יקוּמוּן (shall arise) Hitzig concludes that the first kingdom was yet future, and therefore, that since Daniel had the vision under Belshazzar, the first king could only be Belshazzar, but could not represent the Chaldean monarchy. But if from the words shall arise it follows that the vision is only of kings who arise in the future, then, since Daniel saw the vision in the first year of Belshazzar, it cannot of course be Belshazzar who is represented by the first beast; and if Belshazzar was, as Hitzig thinks, the last king of Chaldea, than the entire Chaldean monarchy is excluded from the number of the four great beasts. Kranichfeld therefore understands this word as modal, and interprets it should arise. This was the divine decree by which also the duration of their kingdoms was determined (Daniel 7:12, Daniel 7:25). But the modal interpretation does not agree with Daniel 7:16, according to which the angel wishes to make known the meaning of the matter to Daniel, not to show what was determined in the divine counsel, but what God had revealed to him by the beasts rising up out of the sea. The future, shall arise, is rather (Ros., v. Leng., Maur., Klief., etc.) for the purpose of declaring that the vision represents the development of the world-power as a whole, as it would unfold itself in four successive phases; whereupon the angel so summarily interprets the vision to the prophet, that, dating from the time of their origin, he points out the first world-kingdom as arising along with the rest, notwithstanding that it had already come into existence, and only its last stages were then future. The thought of this summary interpretation is manifestly nothing else than this: "Four kingdoms shall arise on the earth, and shall again disappear; but the saints of God shall receive the kingdom which shall have an everlasting duration." יקבּלוּן, receive; not found and establish by their own might, but receive through the Son of man, to whom God (Daniel 7:14) has given it. עליונין (cf. Daniel 7:22, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 7:27) is the name of God, the Most High, analogous to the plur. forms אלהים, קדשׁים. "The saints of the Most High," or briefly "the saints" (Daniel 7:21, Daniel 7:22), are neither the Jews, who are accustomed to call themselves "saints," in contrast with the heathen (v. Leng., Maur., Hitzig, etc.), nor the converted Israel of the millennium (Hofmann and other chiliasts), but, as we argue from Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6, the true members of the covenant nation, the New Testament Israel of God, i.e., the congregation of the New Covenant, consisting of Israel and the faithful of all nations; for the kingdom which God gives to the Son of man will, according to Daniel 7:14, comprehend those that are redeemed from among all the nations of the earth. The idea of the everlasting duration of their kingdom is, by the words עלמיּא עלם (for ever and ever), raised to the superlative degree.

The angel does not here give further explanations regarding the first three kingdoms. Since the second chapter treats of them, and the eighth also gives further description of the second and third, it is enough here to state that the first three beasts represent those kingdoms that are mentioned in Daniel 2. The form of the fourth beast, however, comprehends much more regarding the fourth world-kingdom that the dream-image of Nebuchadnezzar did. Therefore Daniel asks the angel further for certain information (certainty) regarding the dreadful form of this beast, and consequently the principal outlines of the representation before given of it are repeated by him in Daniel 7:19-21, and are completed by certain circumstances there omitted. Thus Daniel 7:19 presents the addition, that the beast had, along with iron teeth, also claws of brass, with which it stamped to pieces what it could not devour; and Daniel 7:20, that the little horn became greater than its fellows, made war against the people of God and overcame them, till the judgment brought its dominion to an end. צבית ליצּבא, I wished or sure knowledge, i.e., to experience certainty regarding it.

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