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DANIEL viii. 13, 14.
“Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that
certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot ? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand three hundred days : then shall the sanctuary be cleansed ;” or justified, as it might have been translated.
The hearer will, at the first view of our text, perceive that there is something very important communicated in the question and answer given; or why are saints commissioned (as we may reasonably suppose) from the courts of heaven, to ask and answer the question contained in the text, in presence of the prophet? And that it concerned Daniel, and us for whom the prophet wrote his prophecy, to understand, is evident from the answer being given to Daniel 6 and he said unto me". instead of being given to the “ saint,” who made the inquiry. Then we are not treading on forbidden ground, my dear hearer, to search to understand the meaning and truth of our subject.
I shall then treat our subject in the following manner:
I. Explain some of the figures and expressions used in the text.
II. Show what the daily sacrifice vision” is, and,
III. The time or length of the vision “ unto two thousand three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
I. I am to explain some of the figures used in the text; and,
1st, the daily sacrifice.” This may be understood, by some, to mean the Jewish rites and ceremonies; and by others, the Pagan rites and sacrifices. As both Jews and Pagans had their rites and sacrifices both morning and evening, and their altars were kept smoking with their victims of beasts, and their holy fire was preserved in their national altars and temples devoted to their several deities or gods, we might be at a loss to know which of these to apply this figurative expression to, did not our text and context explain the meaning. It is very evident, when we carefully examine our text, that it is to be understood as referring to Pagan and Papal rites, for it stands coupled with “the abomination of desolation," and performs the same acts, such as are ascribed to the Papal abomination, “to give both the sanctuary and host to be trodden under foot." See, also, Rev. xi. 2, 66 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” This last text only has reference to the Papal beast, which was the image of the Pagan; but the text in consideration has reference to both Pagan and Papal. That is, How long shall the Pagan transgression and the Papal transgression tread under foot the sanctuary and host? This must be the true and literal meaning of our text; it could not mean the anti-Christian abomination alone, for they never desolated the Jewish church; neither could it mean Antiochus, the Syrian king; for he and his kingdom were made desolate and destroyed before Christ, and it is evident that Christ had an allusion to this very power, when he told his disciples, Matt. xxiv. 15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place.” I believe all commentators agree that Christ meant the Roman powerif so, then Daniel has the same meaning; for this is the very passage to which Christ alluded. Then the “ daily sacrifice” means Pagan rites and sacrifices, and the transgression of desolation, the Papal; and both together shall tread under foot the “sanctuary and host,” which brings me to show what may be understood by " sanc
tuary and host.” By sanctuary, we must understand the temple at Jerusalem, and those who worship therein, which was trodden under foot by the Pagan kingdoms of the world, since the days of Daniel, the writer of our text; then by the Chaldeans; afterwards by the Medes and Persians ; next by the Grecians; and lastly by the Romans, who destroyed the city and sanctuary, levelled the temple with the ground, and caused the plough to pass over the place. The people of the Jews, too, were led into captivity and persecuted by all these kingdoms successively, and finally by the Romans were taken away and destroyed as a nation. And as the prophet Isaiah, lxiii. 18, says, “The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden
down thy sanctuary.” Jeremiah, also, in Lam. i. 10, “The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things ; for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.” The word host is applied to the people who worship in the outer court, and fitly represents the Christian church, who are said to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth, having no continuing places, but looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. Jeremiah, speaking of the gospel church, says, iii. 19, “ But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the host of nations ?” evidently meaning the church from the Gentiles. “Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed or justified,” means the true sanctuary which God has built of lively stones to his own acceptance, through Christ, of which the temple at Jerusalem was but a type, the shadows having long since fled away, and that temple and people now destroyed, and all included in unbelief. So whosoever looks for the worldly sanctuary to be built again, will find themselves as much mistaken as the unbelieving Jews were, when they looked for a temporal prince in the Messiah. For there is not a word in the prophets or apostles, after Zerubbabel built the second temple, that a third one would ever be built; except the one which cometh down from heaven, which is a spiritual one, and which is the
mother of us all, (Jew and Gentile,) and which is free and when that New Jerusalem is perfected, then shall we be cleansed and justified; for Paul says to the Phillippians, iii. 20, 21, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself;" that is, “they that are his at his coming.” We see by these texts — and many more might be quoted - that the spiritual sanctuary will not be cleansed until Christ's second coming; and then all Israel shall be raised, judged, and justified in his sight.
11. We shall now try to understand what is meant by the - vision," in the text.
The vision, spoken of in the text, alludes to three separate times in which God revealed unto Daniel all that may be considered a prophecy in the book of Daniel, which vision was explained to Daniel by a heavenly messenger, called Gabriel, at three separate times, the last of which closes the book of Daniel; which last instruction will be the subject of a future lecture.
Daniel's first vision was the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had, and which troubled him; but when he awoke, the dream was gone from him. He then called for the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men of Chaldea, to show him his dream, and the interpretation thereof; but they could not. The king, being angry, commanded that all the wise men of Babylon should be destroyed. Then Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, went forth to execute the king's decree; and among the rest he sought for Daniel and his three friends, young captive Jews, to execute the purpose of king Nebuchadnezzar upon them also. Daniel then, for the first time, being made acquainted with the decree, went in unto the king, and desired time, and promised that he would make known the dream, and the interpretation thereof. Time being granted, he and his three Hebrew friends held a prayer-meeting, (not a cold and formal one, as we may reasonably suppose,) for their
lives and the lives of their fellow-creatures were in danger. They cried for mercies from the God of heaven. God heard and answered their prayers, and revealed to Daniel the dream and interpretation. After rendering suitable thanksgiving, Daniel went in unto the king and told the dream and visions of the king. “ As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter; and he that revealcth secrets maketh known to thee what should come to pass; but as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. Thou, O king, sawest, and behold, a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth,” Daniel ii. 29–35.
This was the dream, and the interpretation was clear as given by Daniel; and the history of the world proves it to be true, a large share having already been fulfilled. All that remains to be accomplished is for the stone to emite the image upon his feet, and to become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth. 66 The head of gold” represented the Chaldean kingdom; “the breast and arms of silver” represented the Medes and Persians ; “ the belly and thighs of brass, which were to bear rule over all the earth,” the Grecian. Alexander, a Grecian king, conquered the world; the legs of iron, and the feet part of iron and part of clay," fitly represent the Roman kingdom, which still exists, although in a broken state,