Daniel 12 COMMENTARY (Gill)

Daniel 12
Gill's Exposition
And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace,.... Or "pavilion" (c); the tents for his princes and generals that come with him; which shall be placed about his own, and where he will think himself safe and secure, and sure of victory. Symmachus renders the words, "the tents of his cavalry" (d); or the stables of his horses; which agrees well enough with the Turks, whole cavalry is usually very large, their armies chiefly consisting of horsemen; such he shall bring into the land of Judea, and place them as after mentioned, as if he had got the day, and had obtained a settlement. The word used has the signification of covering and clothing; hence some translate it, "the tents of his curtain" (e); tents covered with curtains or veils, such as the tents of kings, generals, and principal officers, were covered with, distinguished from others by the splendour and magnificence of them. It seems to be derived from the same root as the ephod, a curious garment wore by the high priest among the Jews; hence Saadiah interprets it here a covering figured and wrought very artificially; and it is by some rendered "the tents or tabernacles of his tunic or clothing" (f). And it is an ingenious conjecture of a learned man of our own country (g), that it may refer to an ancient custom of the Roman emperors, who used before a battle to have a scarlet coat spread over their tents, or hung up upon a spear, to give notice of it, as appears from Plutarch, Isidore, and others; and so this furious enemy of the church of God is here represented as setting up his bloody flag or ensign, and preparing for battle, threatening with utter desolation and destruction. And this will be

between the seas, in the glorious holy mountain; in the mountain or mountains of the land of Israel, upon which it is certain Gog or the Turk shall come, and there he shall fall, Ezekiel 39:2, particularly the mountains about Jerusalem, and more especially Mount Zion, or Moriah, as Jacchiades; on which the temple was built formerly, and was glorious and holy on that account, and for which reason the epithets may be retained; though it will now be glorious and holy, through a glorious and holy people, the Jews, become Christian, residing and worshipping in Jerusalem; whose situation is between two seas, the Mediterranean sea to the west, and the sea of Sodom, or the Syrian or Persian sea, to the east, called the hinder and the former seas in Zechariah 14:8. Some take the word "Apadno", translated "palace", for the proper name of a place, Theodoret takes it to be a place near Jerusalem; and Jerom says it was near Nicopolis, which was formerly called Emmaus; where the mountainous parts of Judea begin to rise, and lay between the Dead sea on the east, and the great sea on the west, where he supposes antichrist will pitch his tent: and Porphyry, as he relates, who interprets the whole of Antiochus, places it between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates; he says that Antiochus went on an expedition against Artaxis, king of Armenia, and, having slain many of his army, pitched his tent in the place Apadno, which is situated between two large rivers, Tigris and Euphrates; and that he afterwards went to the top of a mountain, in the province of Elymais, the further part of Persia to the east, with a design to rob the temple of Diana; but being discovered by the people was obliged to flee, and that he died with grief in Tabes, a town in Persia: and Father Calmet is of opinion that a place between those two rivers before mentioned is meant, and translates the words thus,

"he shall pitch his tents in Apadno of the two seas;''

or in Padan of two rivers, Mesopotamia, situated between the Euphrates and the Tigris, two large rivers, and justly compared with the sea, particularly for their inundations. Dr. Goodwin (h) expresses his fears that our British isles are here invaded, which so eminently stand between the seas, and which God has made the eminent seat of the church in these latter days; and his fears would seem to be too well grounded, were the Romish or western antichrist here designed; but the Turk, or the eastern antichrist, is manifestly spoken of, as appears by the context: and the reason why he is so much observed, and so many things said of him, is, because the Jews have, and will have, the greatest concern with him, their country being in his hands; and it is for their sakes chiefly that the whole of this prophecy is delivered out; however, both antichrists, the one and the other, shall come to utter destruction, as follows: "yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him"; he shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, he and his princes, his generals, and captains, and mighty men; the whole Ottoman empire shall be destroyed, signified by the drying up of the river Euphrates, which is in his dominions, Revelation 16:12, and of the vast multitudes that shall come with him, Persia, Ethiopia, Lybia, Gomer, and Togarmah, Ezekiel 38:5 and the numerous provinces he is master of; none shall be able to help him, or save him from ruin: of the destruction of the Turk, under the name of Gog, see Ezekiel 39:1.

(c) "praetorii sui", Vatablus. So Aquila in Drusius. (d) , Symm.; "papiliones equitatus sui", interpr. Hieronymo; "vel potius tentoria equilis sui, seu stabuli equorum suorum", Fuller. (e) "Tentoria aulaei sui", Schindler, Colossians 108. (f) "Tentoria tunicae suae", Fuller; "tentoria hujus amietus", Cocceius, Lex. Colossians 57. (g) Fuller. Miscell. Sacr. l. 5. c. 18. So Lydius, De Re Miliari, l. 4. c. 2. p. 155, 156. (h) Exposition of the Revelation, part 2. p. 166.


This chapter begins with an account of a time of exceeding great trouble to the people of God, who are comforted with the consideration of Michael the great Prince being on their side, and with a promise of deliverance, with the resurrection of the dead, and the glorious state of wise and good men upon that, Daniel 12:1, and Daniel is ordered to shut up and seal the book of the prophecy, until a time when it should be better understood, Daniel 12:4, next follows a question put by an angel to Christ, and his answer to it, with respect to the time of the fulfilment of those wonderful events, Daniel 12:5. Daniel, not understanding what he heard, asks what would be the end of those things, Daniel 12:8 in answer to which he is bid to be content with what he knew; no alteration would be among men; things would be neither better nor worse with them, Daniel 12:9, a time is fixed for the accomplishment of all, Daniel 12:11, and it is promised him that he should have rest after death, and rise again, and have his lot and share with the blessed, Daniel 12:13.

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
And at that time shall Michael stand up,.... The Archangel, who has all the angels of heaven under him, and at his command, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ; who is as God, as the name signifies, truly and really God, and equal in nature, power, and glory, to his divine Father: "he shall stand up"; which is not to be understood of his incarnation, or manifestation in the flesh, for this refers to times long after that; yet neither of his personal appearance in the clouds of heaven, and standing upon the earth in the latter day; but of his spiritual presence among his people, and protection of them, and continuance with them: this respects the spiritual reigns of Christ, the Lamb's standing upon Mount Zion, and the 144,000 with him, Revelation 14:1, and this will be at that time, when the eastern antichrist, the Turk, will be destroyed; for the words are closely connected with the last verse of the preceding chapter; and when also the western antichrist, the pope of Rome, will come to his end; for, as they rose, so they will fall, much about the same time; and then Christ will rise and stand up, as the glorious Head of the church, and as a triumphant Conqueror over all his enemies, and take to himself his great power, and reign, and that kingdom which of right belongs to him.

The great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people; the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the Prince of the kings of the earth; great in his person, and in his office; great in dignity, power, and authority; who always did, and ever will, stand on the side of the true Israel of God: he espoused their cause very early; he wrought out salvation for them in time; he intercedes for them now in heaven, and will appear to be their patron and defender against all their enemies in the latter day: here it seems to have special regard to the people of the Jews, Daniel's people; whom Christ shall appear unto, and for, in an eminent manner, to convert and save them, help and assist them, protect and defend them.

And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; that is, ever since the world was, from the beginning of it, from the creation of the world; not only from the time that the Jews became a people, which was at their coming out of Egypt, as some understand it, but from the beginning of time; and so our Lord interprets it, who seems to have this passage in view in Matthew 24:21, there have been many great and sore troubles in the world, great confusions in it, and convulsions of it, strange and amazing changes in it; very afflictive and distressing times have been to each of the kingdoms, nations, and cities, which have been entirely overthrown; but never was any like to this; which respects not the distresses of the Jews in the times of Antiochus, or at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans; nor does it seem to respect them at all, at least they will have no further share and concern in it, than as they will be in connection with other people, among whom they will be at this time; and it will be to them rather a time of deliverance and salvation than of distress; but it is that time of trial, and hour of temptation, that shall come upon all the world, Revelation 3:10 as it may concern the church and people of God, it is the last struggle of the beast, of antichrist, at the time of his downfall and ruin, when he will make his last effort; this will be the last persecution of the saints, which will be short and sharp; the slaying of the witnesses, which will affect the whole interest of Christ everywhere; and as this concerns others, it designs the pouring out of the vials of God's wrath upon all the antichristian states, and all those judgments and calamities which will come upon the nations of the world, signified by the harvest and vintage; see Revelation 14:14, &c.: and this time of trouble, for the nature, quality, and extent of it, will exceed any and all that ever were in the world.

And at that time thy people shall be delivered; the Jews, the people of Daniel; these shall be delivered not only from the then present outward troubles, not only from their present captivity and afflictions, but from their spiritual evils; from the bondage of sin, and the captivity of Satan; their disbelief of the Messiah; their confidence in their own righteousness, and attachment to the traditions of their fathers; they shall be turned from their transgressions, and return to the Lord their God, and David their King, and shall be truly converted, and spiritually and eternally saved, Romans 11:25.

Every one that shall be found written in the book; in the book of life, as Jacchiades; in the book of God's eternal purposes and decrees, concerning the salvation of his people by Christ; for it is according to these that God saves and calls men, whether Jews or Gentiles, 2 Timothy 1:9.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,.... Which is not to be understood in a figurative and metaphorical, sense, as by R. Jeshuah the Jew, Porphyry the Heathen, and by some Christian writers; neither of the deliverance of the Jews from the troubles of Antiochus, or their present captivity; nor of the spiritual resurrection of them, or others, from their state of infidelity to a profession of the Gospel, which in some is real, in others only hypocritical; but, in a literal sense, of the resurrection of the dead at the last day, which, with respect to the righteous, will take place upon the personal appearance of Christ at first, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, for, as death is oftentimes compared to "sleep", in which the senses are bound up, and the body is in a state of inactivity; see John 11:11, so the resurrection from the dead is expressed by awaking out of sleep, when the body shall rise fresh and vigorous, in full health and strength, as a man out of a comfortable sleep; see Psalm 17:15. The word "many" is used, either because, as all will not sleep, so all will not be awaked; there will be some that will be alive and awake at Christ's coming, 1 Corinthians 15:51, or, as it signifies, a multitude, Psalm 97:1 and so here the innumerable multitude of the dead, who are afterwards distributively considered; and indeed the word is sometimes used for "all"; see Romans 5:15,

some to everlasting life; to the enjoyment of everlasting life and happiness with Christ in the world to come; a phrase often used in the New Testament, though never before in the Old; expressive of that felicity and bliss which the saints enjoy in heaven after this life is over, first in the separate state of the soul, and then, at the resurrection, in soul and body, and of the everlasting continuance of it; they that shall enjoy this are those that are written in the Lamb's book of life, or are ordained unto eternal life; who are redeemed by the blood of Christ, regenerated by his Spirit and grace, justified by his righteousness, adopted into the family of God, are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; these are the dead in Christ, which rise first:

and some to shame and everlasting contempt; wicked men, who lived in a course of sin in this world, without any remorse or shame; but, when they shall rise from the dead, they will rise with all their sins upon them, and with a full conviction of them in their consciences; and will be ashamed of them, and to appear before God the Judge of all; and will be had in contempt by the Lord, by elect angels, and all good men; and this reproach shall never be wiped off; see Isaiah 66:24. Our Lord seems manifestly to have respect to this passage, when he speaks of men coming out of their graves at the last day, "some unto the resurrection of life, and others unto the resurrection of damnation", John 5:28 and upon these words it may well be thought the Apostle Paul grounded his faith of the resurrection of the dead, both just and unjust, Acts 24:15, and though the resurrection of both is spoken of here and elsewhere together, yet it will be at distinct periods of time; the resurrection of the just at the beginning of the thousand years, and that of the wicked at the end of them, Revelation 20:5, between which will be the intermediate state of the saints dwelling with Christ on earth; where they will be favoured with his presence, and the rewards of his grace, to which the following verse has respect.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament,.... That are wise, not in things natural and civil, but in things spiritual; who are wise unto salvation; that are wise to know themselves, their state and condition by nature; their impurity and impotence; the insufficiency of their own righteousness; the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the dangerous circumstances they are in; that are wise to know Christ, and him crucified; to believe in him, and trust in him for everlasting life and salvation: these at the resurrection shall shine, both in body and soul; their bodies shall be fashioned like to the glorious body of Christ; their souls shall be filled with perfect light and knowledge, and be completely holy, without any sin upon them; and this light and glory that will be upon both soul and body will be like the brightness of the heavens when the sun is risen; yea, it will be like the brightness and glory of the sun itself, as our Lord affirms; having, as it seems, respect to this passage, Matthew 13:43. Some render it, "they that instruct" (i); or make others wise, and so restrain it to ministers of the word; but the more general sense is best; and, besides, they are more particularly described in the next clause:

and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever; or, "that justify many" (k); that teach the doctrine of a sinner's free justification by the righteousness of Christ; that lead and direct souls sensible of sin, and of the weakness of their own righteousness, to the righteousness of Christ, as being that only which justifies before God; otherwise it is God alone that justifies men, by imputing the righteousness of his Son unto them: but these show men the way of justification, or that which God takes to justify sinners; and this being the principal doctrine of the GospeL, they are denominated from it; and no man deserves the name of a Gospel minister that does not preach it, though this is not all that they preach; they preach all other doctrines of the Gospel in connection with it, and also instruct men thus justified to live soberly, righteously, and godly: now, as these are stars in the church of Christ below, who receive their light from Christ the sun of righteousness, and communicate it to his people; so they will continue stars in the Millennium state, and appear exceeding glorious, having the glory of God and Christ upon them, and not only then, but to all eternity. These words are applied to the days of the Messiah by the Jews (l).

(i) "erudiunt", Munster; "erudientes", Junius & Tremellius; "qui alios instituerint", Grotius. (k) "justificantes", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius; "qui justificaverint", Calvin, Piscator. (l) Shemot Rabba sect. 15. fol. 102. 4.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words,.... Of the book, in which he had wrote the visions and prophecies delivered to him: this he is bid to "shut up", to keep it from the common and profane people, who would only burlesque it; and to keep it to himself, as a peculiar treasure committed to his care; and though it was not kept from the saints and people of God, from their reading it, yet he was not to interpret and explain it to them; it was to remain a secret until the time of its accomplishment was come, or, however, near at hand; so that this denotes the obscurity of the prophecy, and the great difficulty of understanding it; it being like a book that is shut and sealed, as follows, see Revelation 5:1,

and seal the book, even to the time of the end; till the time comes appointed for the fulfilment of it, which shows that it reached to times at a great distance; that till these times were come, or near, it would be as a sealed book, and yet the accomplishment of it would be sure and certain, as what is sealed is:

many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased; that is, towards the end of the time appointed, many persons will be stirred up to inquire into these things delivered in this book, and will spare no pains or cost to get knowledge of them; will read and study the Scriptures, and meditate on them; compare one passage with another; spiritual things with spiritual, in order to obtain the mind of Christ; will peruse carefully the writings of such who have gone before them, who have attempted anything of this kind; and will go far and near to converse with persons that have any understanding of such things: and by such means, with the blessing of God upon them, the knowledge of this book of prophecy will be increased; and things will appear plainer the nearer the accomplishment of them is; and especially when accomplished, when prophecy and facts can be compared together: and not only this kind of knowledge, but knowledge of all spiritual things, of all evangelic truths and doctrines, will be abundantly enlarged at this time; and the earth will be filled and covered with it, as the sea with its waters; see Isaiah 11:9.

Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.
Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two,.... Other two angels, besides the man clothed with linen, Daniel 12:6 or rather besides the angel who had given Daniel the long account of things that were to come to pass, in the preceding chapter, and the beginning of this; whom Daniel, being attentive to that account, had not observed before; but now, that being finished, he looks about him, and takes notice of those other two who were standing, being ministering spirits to Christ, and ready to execute his orders:

the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river; Hiddekel or Tigris, as appears from Daniel 10:4. The reason of this position was chiefly on account of Christ, the man clothed with linen, who stood upon or above the water of the river, in the midst of it; and to show that they were waiting upon him, and ready to go every way he should send them to do his will; and also on account of Daniel, that he might hear what was said, whether to Christ, or to one another; since, being at such a distance, their voice must be loud; and indeed the design of all that follows to the end of the chapter is to inform him, and by him the church and people of God in all future ages, of the time and end of all these things before delivered in the prophecy.

And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?
And one said to the man clothed with linen,.... One of the angels on one side of the bank of the river spoke to Christ, who appeared in a human form, as a presage of his future incarnation; and as clothed in linen, expressive of his priestly office, and of his purity and holiness, which qualified him for it; See Gill on Daniel 10:6. Which of the angels it was that spake is not said, or on which side of the river he stood; very probably each of them spake in their turn, and joined: in the same request to Christ:

which was upon the waters of the river: or above (m) them; denoting his power and dominion over men, kingdoms, and nations, sometimes signified by waters, and even over those the most tumultuous and raging:

how long shall it be to the end of these wonders, these wonderful things before predicted, concerning the state and condition of the people of God, their troubles and afflictions, the fall and ruin of antichrist, and the glorious things that shall follow upon that: angels, as they are inquisitive creatures, and pry into the mysteries of grace, so into those of Providence; especially such as concern the church of God, for whom they have a great regard; of the secrets of which they have no knowledge until revealed unto them; though this question seems to be put not so much for their own sakes as for the sake of Daniel, who was present, but had not that courage and presence of mind as they had; nor could use that freedom with Christ as they did, at least at first, till encouraged by their example.

(m) "super aquas", Pagninus; "desuper aquas", Montanus; "supra aquas", Calvin, Cocceius, Michaelis.

And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river,.... Christ, as he appeared in a human form, and as the High Priest our profession, and as the Mediator that has power over all flesh; so he pronounced articulate sounds with a human voice, and so loud, clear, and distinct, that Daniel could hear every word he said, and for whose sake it was said:

when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven; the lifting up of the right hand is a gesture used in swearing, and the lifting up of both hands is either for the greater solemnity of the action, or with respect to the two angels that stood one on one side of him, and the other on the other, that both might be eyewitnesses of this solemn affair; though lifting up both hands is often a prayer gesture, and there may be a mixture of both in this action, of both praying and swearing; Christ, as the High Priest, intercedes for his church and people, that their faith fail not till the end of their troubles comes:

and sware by him that liveth for ever; by the living God, the immortal One, who only hath immortality. Maimonides (n) interprets it, "by the Life of the world"; that is, by God, who is the Life of the world, that gives life and being to all creatures; all live, and move, and have their being in him, and so is greater than all, and by whom an oath is only to be taken. Christ, as man, swears by his divine Father, who, as such, was greater than he; though, if we understand it of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, the one, only, true, and living God, there is no impropriety in Christ's swearing by himself the living God, which is a character he sometimes bears; see Hebrews 3:12, what he here swears to is,

that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; that it would be so long to the end of these wonderful things; or that the troubles of the church would last so long, and, at the end of that date here fixed, a glorious scene would open, and amazing things appear, to the great joy and comfort of the saints. "Time" signifies a prophetic year, or 360 years; and "times" two prophetic years, or 720 years; and half a time half a prophetic year, or 180 years, in all 1260 years; which is the exact date and duration of the reign of antichrist, of the church's being in the wilderness, and of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, and of the treading under foot the holy city, expressed both by 1260 days, and by forty two months, which are the same; see Revelation 11:2,

and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people: that is, either, "when he (God) shall have finished the scattering the power of the holy people", the Jews; when the dispersion of them, who were formerly a holy people to the Lord, and shall be so again, will be over; and they shall be gathered out of all nations where they have been dispersed, and, being converted, shall return to their own land: or, "when he" (antichrist) "shall have done scattering", the church and people of God in general; when his wars with the saints, and victories over them, will be ended; and particularly when the slaying of the witnesses will be over, at which time there will be a great scattering of the saints; they will be as sheep without a shepherd, their pastors being smitten, slain, or removed into corners; all which things will be fulfilled about the end of the date before mentioned:

and then all these things shall be finished; or, as the same glorious Person explains it, "time will be no longer, and the mystery of God will be finished", Revelation 10:6, the time of antichrist's reign, and of the troubles of the church, and the witnesses' prophesying in sackcloth, will be protracted no longer than the time, and times, and half a time, or the 1260 days, or forty months, that is, 1260 years; then all the afflictions of the church will be at an end, and glorious times will succeed, as before spoken of; the spiritual reign of Christ, the first resurrection, and the Millennium, in their order.

(n) Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 72. p. 146. So R. Joseph Albo, Sepher Ikkarim, l. 1. c. 69. "per vitam aeternitatis", so some in Gejerus.

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
And I heard, but understood not,.... Daniel heard what Christ said, in answer to the angel, but he did not understand the meaning of it, which he ingenuously confesses; he did not understand what was meant by "time", and "times", and "half a time"; what kind of time this was, and when and how it would end, and which he was very desirous of knowing:

then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? he applied not to the angel that put the above question, but to the man clothed with linen; to Christ, whom he perceived to be a divine Person, a Person of dominion, power, and authority, superior to angels, and his Lord and God; and who only could resolve the question he puts, which is somewhat different from that of the angel's, Daniel 12:6, that respects the length of time, to the accomplishment of these things; this the quality at the end of them, what kind of end they should have; or what the signs, symptoms, and evidences of the end of them, by which the true end of them might be known. Mr. Mede renders it, "what are these latter times?" perhaps it might be rendered better, "what is the last of these things?" (o) what is the last thing that will be done, that so it may be known when all is over?

(o) "quid erit novissimum horum?" Munster; "postremum horum?" Calvin.

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
And he said, go thy way, Daniel,.... About thy business; attend to civil affairs, the affairs in which he was concerned in the king's court, and ask no more questions concerning this matter; but be content with the prophecies that have been delivered to thee, and with what knowledge thou hast of them: or he is bid to go and write in a book the several visions he had seen, and the predictions related to him; that he might read them, and meditate on them at his leisure, and transmit them to future posterity, for their use: or go the way of all flesh, prepare for death and eternity; for in the present state he was not to expect a full revelation of these things; but should rest satisfied with what he knew, and assure himself with the full performance of them, and that he should have his share of the blessed times in the Millennium, and of the ultimate glory, as in Daniel 12:13.

For the words are closed up, and sealed till the time of the end; that is, till the time comes, or draws near, that they shall be accomplished; till then they would not be clearly understood, but remain in a great measure dark and obscure, though sure and certain: it is suggested they would not always remain so; time is the best interpreter of prophecy, and, the nearer the time of the accomplishment of it is, the clearer it appears, things leading the way to it being gradually fulfilled; but clearest of all when it is accomplished; then it is no more shut and sealed, but open and manifest; See Gill on Daniel 12:4.

Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
Many shall be purged, and made white, and tried,.... Though Christ does not give, in plain, clear, and explicit terms, an answer to the above question, when, and how, and what would be the end of the church's troubles and afflictions; yet he here points out the use of them, which for the present should be chiefly attended to; and, when duly considered, would be a means of causing the saints to endure them with more patience and cheerfulness: many should be hereby made more pure and holy, and more free from their spots, their chaff, and their dross; their corruptions, and the power of them, weakened; their graces tried, and become more bright and shining; and they themselves a greater ornament to the religion they profess: hereby they should be "purified", or cleansed from the chaff of their sins; or be separated, as the chaff is by the fan, from hypocrites and ungodly men, who would not be able to endure persecution for the sake of the Gospel: and "be made white"; as cloth is by the fuller; freed both from their own spots in their garments, being led to the blood of Christ to wash their garments, and make them white therein; which afflictions may be the means of guiding them to, under the direction of the blessed Spirit; and from such persons who were spots in their feasts of love: and "be tried", as gold and silver in the furnace, and so be rid of their own dross, and of the wicked of the earth, who are like unto it; see the note on Daniel 11:35.

But the wicked shall do wickedly; go on in a course of sin, and be never the better for the afflictive dispensations of Providence; these either mean formal professors, that turn apostates from the faith, and become openly wicked livers; or the profane world in common; and particularly furious persecutors of the saints: such as each of these there will be till the end of things come; see Revelation 22:11,

and none of the wicked shall understand; neither the doctrines of the Gospel spiritually and experimentally; nor the providences of God, and what he is doing in the world; and particularly not the prophecy of this book, and especially what has been just delivered:

but the wise shall understand; more or less of each of these things, such as are wise unto salvation; that search the Scriptures, seek to God by prayer, and are much in meditation, and make use of every help for the understanding of divine things, and even of these prophecies; and especially towards the close of time, as the accomplishment of them draws near.

And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away,.... This is in part an answer to the above questions, as they relate to the end of things: some dates are given, by which it might in general be known when and how these things would end: and these dates begin with the removal of the daily sacrifice; that is, the doctrine of atonement and satisfaction for sin by the sacrifice of Christ, the antitype of the daily sacrifice under the law; this was taken away by antichrist, when he got to his height; when he established the doctrine of works, and opposed the merits of men to the merits of Christ, and his own pardons, indulgences, penances, &c. to the satisfaction of Christ:

and the abomination that maketh desolate; image worship; the abomination of the Mass, and other acts of idolatry and superstition:

there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days; from the beginning of the reign of antichrist to the end of it are one thousand two hundred and sixty days or years, or forty two months, which is the same, according to Revelation 13:5, here thirty days or years are added, which begin where the other end, and is the time allotted for the conversion of the Jews, and other things, making way for the kingdom of Christ; and which the reign of antichrist was an hinderance of, but should now immediately take place.

Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the one thousand three hundred five and thirty days. Which is an addition of forty five days or years more, beginning at the end of one thousand two hundred and ninety, and make up this sum; during which time the vials will be poured out upon all the antichristian states, and the Turkish empire be destroyed, and all the enemies of Christ and his church removed, and clear way made for the setting up of his kingdom in the world in a more visible and glorious manner; and therefore happy is the man that will be found waiting for these times, and live to enjoy them. There are various ways taken in the computation and application of these one thousand three hundred and thirty five days by Jews and Christians. Lipman (p) the Jew makes them to be the same with "time", and "times", and "half a time", Daniel 12:7, "time" he supposes, designs the space of four hundred and eighty years, from the Israelites going out of Egypt to the building of the first temple; times the space of four hundred and ten years which is as long as that temple stood; and "half a time" half of these two spaces, that is, four hundred and forty five years; all which make up one thousand three hundred and thirty five; but strange it is that time should signify a larger space than "times". Much more ingenious is the computation of Jacchiades on the text, who makes the account to describe the space of time from the days of Daniel to the end of the world. He supposes there were three thousand three hundred and ninety one years, from the beginning of the world to Daniel; he then takes and joins the one thousand two hundred and ninety days in the preceding verse, which he understands of years with the one thousand three hundred and thirty five days or years in this, which make together two thousand six hundred and twenty five; and, added to the above, the whole is six thousand and sixteen years; which agrees with the opinion of Elias, in the Talmud (q), that the world shall stand six thousand years. Many Christian interpreters (r) apply it to the times of Antiochus; and reckon them thus, understanding them of days; and not years; from the time of his taking away the daily sacrifice, to the restoration of it by Judas Maccabaeus, were three years and a half and some days, in all one thousand two hundred and ninety, as in the preceding verse; during which time the temple was profaned by idolatrous worship, the altar demolished, and the daily sacrifice ceased, and was a time of great distress with the Jews; and which, though greatly alleviated by the success of Judas, yet their calamities were not over until the death of Antiochus, which happened forty five days after; and these, added to the above number, make one thousand three hundred and thirty five days; at the close of which it was happy times with them, being delivered from so cruel and powerful an enemy; and therefore blessed were they that waited and came to this time. This passage Mr. Brightman applies to the Turkish empire; and thinks that time, and times, and half a time; Daniel 12:7, measure the space of the power of that empire; "time" signifying one hundred years; "times" two hundred years; "half a time", fifty years; in all three hundred and fifty years; which added to one thousand three hundred, when that empire began, the date ends in one thousand six hundred and fifty, when he supposes, it would begin to decline; to which, if you add forty five days or years, as here, it will bring it down to one thousand six hundred and ninety five, when he thought it would be utterly extinct; but time has shown this to be a mistake. Mr. Mede (s) thinks these numbers are to be reckoned from the profanation of the temple by Antiochus; and that the first number, one thousand two hundred and ninety, ended in the year of Christ one thousand one hundred and twenty three, when antichrist was come to his height, and was discerned by many to be the person that was prophesied of as such; and the latter number, one thousand three hundred and thirty five ended in the year of Christ one thousand one hundred and sixty eight, when the Waldenses, Albigenses, and others separated from the church of Rome as antichristian, upon which violent persecutions were raised upon them: but then not happy, but miserable times, followed on these; unless this blessedness spoken of is to be applied to the martyrs that died for the sake of Christ, as in Revelation 14:13. Another learned man (t) was of opinion that these numbers are to be counted from the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus Vespasian, A.D. 71, from whence the first number fell on the year 1361, at which time the school at Prague was founded by Charles king of Bohemia, and the errors and tyranny of antichrist began to be openly opposed by the same; and the second number ended in the year 1406, when the light of the Gospel broke out more clearly; so that the angel here pronounces those blessed who overlived these first seeds of the Gospel being brought to light; but something of great importance and cause of more joy, is here intended. Wherefore, upon the whole, it seems best to interpret these numbers as at first, of the date of the reign of antichrist, and as showing the full and certain end of it; when there will be blessed times, halcyon days indeed!

(p) Nizzachon, No. 332. (q) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 1.((r) Broughton in loc. L'Empereur, Not. in Jacchiad. in loc. Huls. Theolog. Jud. par. 1. p. 77, 78. (s) Works, B. 3. p. 720. (t) Henr. Wolphius lib. de tempore apud Brightman in loc.

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