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stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people, and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never since there was a nation, &c. and at that time thy people shall be delivered, &c. and many of them that sleep in the dust "shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame, and
everlasting contempt :" which being prudently weighed cannot be applicable to the last and general resurrection, or ultimate day of judgement; (as will be fully discussed presently ;) but they clearly comport with the beginning of the great restoration at the general call of the Jews. The apostle Paul applies it to the general call of the Jews: "If the casting away of them "be the reconciling of the world, what shall be the receiving of "them, but life from the dead ?r" So likewise St. John shews plainly, that the witnesses must first rise, and then is a great
earthquake, and then the tenth part of the city falls, &c.” which things can have no fellowship with the ultimate day of judgement; especially if we mark, that these things take place before the sounding of the seventh trumpet, at the end of which happens the ultimate judgement: and therefore these things belong to the great restoration at the ruin of Antichrist, and the call of the Jews, and the setting up of the glorious Church of Jews and Gentiles; for presently after the seventh trumpet sounds, and the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ,
Chapter ii, 31-45.
You have in this chapter the prophecy of the kingdom of Christ, given by God to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream of a great image of four metals; the head being of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs and feet of iron, but in the feet a mixture of clay. (vv. 31-33.) Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar, by the Spirit of prophetical revelation, that he, the said Nebuchadnezzar, is the head of gold, in that
the God of heaven had given him a kingdom, (viz. the AssyrioChaldean) and power and strength, and glory. (vv. 37, 38.) In verse 39 Daniel tells him, that after him shall arise an inferior kingdom, which he applies to the breast and arms of silver. This fitly resembles the empire that next followed, (viz. the Medo-Persian,) which taking the said golden head, when Darius took Babylon,s ADDED TO IT this breast of empire, with the two arms of Medes and Persians. And therefore this silver empire is called inferior, not in respect of power, authority, or territory, wherein it was evidently greater; but in manner of government relative to the Church, being far more harsh to the Jews than the former: for the Jews enjoyed golden days, in comparison, under Nebuchadnezzar's empire, although he was the first that took the kingdom from the Jews. And this circumstance, viz. that the history of the foreign state of the Jewish Church begins at Nebuchadnezzar, is the reason why he is called the head: for though the empire of Assyria and Chaldea existed long before him, yet the Scripture takes no notice of heathen kingdoms or of the world, further than as they concern the woe or weal of the Church. This Nebuchadnezzar therefore, beginning the desolation of the Church of the Jews, (as to their temple-worship and habitation in their own land,) is called the head of that monstrous image of monarchy.
In the same verse Daniel further tells him, that after that second empire of silver, shall arise a third of brass; which metal intimates, by the order of descent and degeneration, that this third empire shall be as much baser than the second of silver, (in the sense aforesaid,) as the silver was worse than the gold. And this was to signify the Grecian monarchy: Alexander the great being the belly, that possessed it in whole; and his two commanders who succeeded him are the two thighs or hips; for though four at first shared it, yet all soon fell into the hands of those two; whereof one had the northern moiety, and was therefore called "the king of the north;" the other the southern, and was called thereupon "the king of the south."t
In verses 40-43 Daniel adds, that the fourth kingdom shall be of iron and clay; thereby again signifying a baser state than
the former. And this must of necessity signify the Roman empire, which next followed the Grecian; in the days of which Christ comes: (v. 44:) " Imperante Augusto, natus est Christus ; imperante Tiberio, crucifixus," is known to every school boy. This empire is called iron, both because it was harder to break the former, and also more cruel to the Church; witness the Vespasian cruelty, foretold by Christ,u which came to pass about forty years after his ascension; and then the ten persecutions, for three hundred years. This empire though for a time united by the crossing or twisting of the legs, (if we may so say) afterwards divided into two; that is, into the eastern and western empire; and next it opportunely fell into subdivisions, till it answered exactly to these ten toes, and to St. John's beast with ten horns.
Thus you see how largely Daniel, by God's Spirit, shews us the succession of the four great monarchies of the earth, extending from before Daniel down to us, and spreading themselves over the face of the earth; and how the latter eat up the former, making itself stronger thereby. Now what should be the design of God in noticing so much matters of state, and worldly politics; and that in a prophecy to his spiritual Church whom he loveth, and whom he would have to slight the world? Surely a a very considerable one :-viz. to the end he might methodically, for their better capacity and understanding, prophesy to them of a fifth monarchy, greater and better than any of the former, which shall follow at the heels-yea tread upon the toes of the fourth, and that by a glorious conquest. This fifth monarchy is immediately under CHRIST, then the sole emperor thereof: and it must as assuredly succeed after and prevail over all the places, powers, and territories of the former, as they followed and foiled one another;-it must as really and sensibly be upon earth, as any of the preceding were;—and it must have whatever was good in all the four preceding, with an addition of divine grace and glory infused into it.*
u Matt. xxiv.
* I have very learned and pious men to accompany me thus far in this interpretation of Daniel; viz. Mr. Huet, on Daniel; Mr. Parker, in his Visions and Prophecies of Daniel expounded; and Mr. Archer, in his Personal Reign of Christ. As some contend that the fifth empire is to be only a spiritual king
Note how aptly this monarchy of Christ (that is, Christ the monarch, and the saints his monarchy) is compared to " a stone cut out of the mountain," &c. We know that Christ is often called, or typified by a rock or stone; and that the Church is compared to a house built on a rock.w Now some stone (as the adamant that cannot be filed) is harder than iron and a huge stone of any sort, falling from a mountain, will break the iron that is under it, much more the iron that is mixed with clay. So Christ and his Church shall make up a monarchy that shall be too hard and weighty for the fourth or Roman empire to bear, although it brake the rest as Christ himself said—“ Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner?' Whosoever shall fall "on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, "it will grind him to powder."x And Zechariah has it: "In that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples: all that burthen themselves with it shall be cut in pieces,
dom, note Mr. Huet's argument in reply. "Had this kingdom been merely
spiritual, it needed not to have staid for the overthrow of the image before it "filled the earth; seeing Christ's spiritual kingdom doth not overthrow, but "rather set up civil government; and the Gospel hath flourished where the "Church hath been under tyranny. It is such a kingdom also as doth break "in pieces all the former metals, by smiting the feet, and then demolishing the "image whereas the spiritual kingdom of Christ doth rather invest, than dis"robe earthly kings and emperors, commanding obedience to them whether "good or bad, as the Scriptures abundantly testify. This smiting of the "feet' is left out as a cypher by them that interpret it spiritually of the preach"ing of the word. Consider further, if this were meant of the preaching of the
Gospel, discovering the vanity of earthly things, why should it not strike at "the more glorious metals, as the gold, silver, &c.? Is there any reason, why "Christ should declaim against the base things of the world, and pass by the "eminent states?" Mr. Archer says on the same subject: "Its duration
(meaning of the fifth monarchy) that it shall last for ever, shews that it is "meant of Christ's kingdom. The Babylonian was left to the Medes and "Persians, and this to the Grecians, and the Grecian to the Romans; but this "shall be left to none, but shall be for ever, (Dan. ii, 44,) that is, to the world's "end. But the kingdom at the world's end, shall be Christ's; for at the last "end of all he gives it up to the Father. (1 Cor. xv, 24.) Therefore from the "time the image is destroyed until the end, Christ hath the kingdom. Christ's spiritual kingdom, and his providential ruling were before this time: therefore "that which is TO BEGIN, when these monarchies END, must be Christ's
monarchy; wherefore from this prophecy we learn, that Christ shall have a "monarchical state on earth, and a visible kingdom, (as other monarchs had,) "which shall swallow up or cause to vanish all other monarchies, as the latter "monarchies did the former."
v Matt. xvi, 18; 1 Cor. x, 4, compared with Numbers xx, 8. w Matt. vii, 24, & xvi, 18; compared with Zech. iii, 7; "for the seven eyes on one stone (saith Junius) is the Church built on Christ." x Matt. xxi, 42-44.
"though all the people of the earth be gathered together "against it."y
It is said, that the stone was "cut out of the mountain without hands;" but withall that it "smote" as a stone against the image; and as a stone "it brake" the matter of the iron and clay : whence I cannot but conclude, that though Christ, the monarch, was conceived without man by the Holy Ghost, &c. and his Church both of Jews and Gentiles is effectually called and regenerated by the same Holy Spirit without human help; yet Christ and his Church shall by a visible hand of power dash in pieces the fourth monarchy,—viz. the Roman pope, and his armies, territories, and powers; and the Turk and his, which sprang out of the Roman.z
The meaning of the continuance of this monarchy of Christ for ever doth not signify that it should never have any end, as if Christ should never lay down his power of government; for the contrary is expressed in 1 Cor. xv, 24, 28: but the meaning is this; first, it shall never be destroyed; that is, shall not end with a devastation and desolation, as the former monarchies did;secondly, it shall not be "left to other people ;"b that is, other people shall never succeed the saints to possess it, as another people successively succeeded and possessed the other monarchies;—thirdly, that the end of this monarchy of Christ (so far as it may have an end) is only formally, of the power or mode of government by Christ, who resigns his power to God himself:c not materially, for the saints shall continue for ever, eternally happy, under the wing of the beatifical vision of God himself.
Note finally, that this visible kingdom of Christ is to follow the rest in an immediate order and succession of natural time, and in the same physical place, viz. the earth. For if this monarchy of Christ succeeded only in eternity, in the empyrean highest heaven, it can be no more said to succeed the said four monarchies, (as Daniel would by all means have it,) than it succeeded any other empire or kingdom on earth; especially those that were contemporary with those four monarchies, yet not subject to them, as some were all the time their duration.
y Zech, xii. 3.
z Dan. xii; Rev. xvi & xix.
c 1 Cor. xv, 24, 28.
a v. 44. b Ibid.