on Daniel 7 :28
The end of the matter - So said the expounding angel; and he said so because the purpose of God had determined it. In considering these things, and looking at the evils that shall come upon the world before those auspicious times can take place, I may say with Daniel, My cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I keep the matter of my conjectures and consequent feelings in my own heart.
on Daniel 7 :28
Hitherto is the end of the matter - That is, the end of what I saw and heard. This is the sum of what was disclosed to the prophet, but he still says that he meditated on it with profound interest, and that he had much solicitude in regard to these great events. The words rendered hitherto, mean, so far, or thus far. The phrase "end of the matter," means "the close of the saying a thing;" that is, this was all the revelation which was made to him, and he was left to his own meditations respecting it.
As for me Daniel - So far as I was concerned; or so far as this had any effect on me. It was not unnatural, at the close of this remarkable vision, to state the effect that it had on himself.
My cogitations much troubled me - My thoughts in regard to it. It was a subject which he could not avoid reflecting on, and which could not but produce deep solicitude in regard to the events which were to occur. Who could look into the future without anxious and agitating thought? These events were such as to engage the profoundest attention; such as to fix the mind in solemn thought. Compare the notes at Revelation 5:4.
And my countenance changed in me - The effect of these revelations depicted themselves on my countenance. The prophet does not say in what way - whether by making him pale, or careworn, or anxious, but merely that it produced a change in his appearance. The Chaldee is "brightness" - זיו zı̂yv - and the meaning would seem to be, that his bright and cheerful countenance was changed; that is, that his bright looks were changed; either by becoming pale (Gesenius, Lengerke), or by becoming serious and thoughtful.
But I kept the matter in my heart - I communicated to no one the cause of my deep and anxious thoughts. He hid the whole subject in his own mind, until he thought proper to make this record of what he had seen and heard. Perhaps there was no one to whom he could communicate the matter who would credit it; perhaps there was no one at court who would sympathize with him; perhaps he thought that it might savor of vanity if it were known; perhaps he felt that as no one could throw any new light on the subject, there would be no use in making it a subject of conversation; perhaps he felt so overpowered that he could not readily converse on it.
We are prepared now, having gone through with an exposition of this chapter, as to the meaning of the symbols, the words, and the phrases, to endeavor to ascertain what events are referred to in this remarkable prophecy, and to ask what events it was designed should be pourtrayed. And in reference to this there are but two opinions, or two classes of interpretations, that require notice: what refers it primarily and exclusively to Antiochus Epiphanes, and what refers it to the rise and character of the Papal power; what regards the fourth beast as referring to the empire of Alexander, and the little horn to Antiochus, and what regards the fourth beast as referring to the Roman empire, and the little horn to the Papal dominion. In inquiring which of these is the true interpretation, it will be proper, first, to consider whether it is applicable to Antiochus Epiphanes; secondly, whether it in fact finds a fulfillment in the Roman empire and the Papacy; and, thirdly, if such is the proper application, what are we to look for in the future in what remains unfulfilled in regard to the prophecy.
I. The question whether it is applicable to the case of Antiochus Epiphanes. A large class of interpreters, of the most respectable character, among whom are Lengerke, Maurer, Prof. Stuart (Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy, p. 86, following; also Com. on Daniel, pp. 205-211), Eichhorn, Bertholdt, Bleek, and many others, suppose that the allusion to Antiochus is clear, and that the primary, if not the exclusive, reference to the prophecy is to him. Professor Stuart (Hints, p. 86) says, "The passage in Daniel 7:25 is so clear as to leave no reasonable room for doubt." "In Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:24, the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes is described; for the fourth beast is, beyond all reasonable doubt, the divided Grecian dominion which succeeded the reign of Alexander the Great. From this dynasty springs Antiochus, Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, who is most graphically described in Daniel 7:25 'as one who shall speak great words against the most High,' etc."
The facts in regard to Antiochus, so far as they are necessary to be known in the inquiry, are briefly these: Antiochus Epiphanes (the Illustrios, a name taken on himself, Prideaux, iii. 213), was the son of Antiochus the Great, but succeeded his brother, Seleucus Philopator, who died 176 b.c. Antiochus reigned over Syria, the capital of which was Antioch, on the Oronres, from 176 b.c. to 164 b.c. His character, as that of a cruel tyrant, and a most bloodthirsty and bitter enemy of the Jews, is fully detailed in the first and second book of Maccabees. Compare also Prideaux, Con. vol. iii.-213-234. The facts in the case of Antiochus, so far as they are supposed to bear on the application of the prophecy before us, are thus stated by Prof. Stuart (Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy, pp. 89, 90): "In the year 168 before Christ, in the month of May, Antiochus Epiphanes was on his way to attack Egypt, and he detached Apollonius, one of his military confidants, with 22,000 soldiers, in order to subdue and plunder Jerusalem. The mission was executed with entire success. A horrible slaughter was made of the men at Jerusalem, and a large portion of the women and children, being made captives, were sold and treated as slaves. The services of the temple were interrupted, and its joyful feasts were turned into mourning, 1 Macc. 1:37-39. Soon after this the Jews in general were compelled to eat swine's flesh, and to sacrifice to idols. In December of that same year, the temple was profaned by introducing the statue of Jupiter Olympius; and on the 25th of that month sacrifices were offered to that idol on the altar of Jehovah. Just three years after this last event, namely, December 25, 165 b.c., the temple was expurgated by Judas Maccabeus, and the worship of Jehovah restored.
Thus, three years and a half, or almost exactly this period, passed away, while Antiochus had complete possession and control of everything in and around Jerusalem and the temple. It may be noted, also, that just three years passed, from the time when the profanation of the temple was carried to its greatest height - namely, by sacrificing to the statue of Jupiter Olympius on the altar of Jehovah, down to the time when Judas renewed the regular worship. I mention this last circumstance in order to account for the three years of Antiochus' profanations, which are named as the period of them in Joseptus, Ant. xii. 7, Section 6. This period tallies exactly with the time during which the profanation as consummated was carried on, if we reckon down to the period when the temple worship was restored by Judas Maceabeus. But in Prooem. ad Bell. Jud. Section 7, and Bell. Jude 1. 1, Section 1, Josephus reckons three years and a half as the period during which Antiochus ravaged Jerusalem and Judea."
In regard to this statement, while the general facts are correct, there are some additional statements which should be made, to determine as to its real bearing on the case. The act of detaching Apollonius to attack Jerusalem was not, as is stated in this extract, when Antiochus was on his way to Egypt, but was on his return from Egypt, and was just two years after Jerusalem had been taken by Antiochus. - Prideaux, iii. 239. The occasion of his detaching Apollonius, was that Antiochus was enraged because he had been defeated in Egypt by the Romans, and resolved to vent all his wrath upon the Jews, who at that time had given him no particular offence. When, two years before, Antiochus had himself taken Jerusalem, he killed forty thousand persons; he took as many captives, and sold them for slaves; he forced himself into the temple, and entered the most holy place; he caused a great sow to be offered on the altar of burnt-offering, to show his contempt for the temple and the Jewish religion; he sprinkled the broth over every part of the temple for the purpose of polluting it; he plundered the temple of the altar of incense, the showbread table, and the golden candlestick, and then returned to Antioch, having appointed Philip, a Phrygian, a man of a cruel and barbarous temper, to be governor of the Jews. - Prideaux, iii.231.
When Apollonius again attacked the city, two years afterward, he waited quietly until the Sabbath, and then made his assault. He filled the city with blood, set it on fire, demolished the houses, pulled down the walls, built a strong fortress over against the temple, from which the garrison could fall on all who should attempt to go to worship. From this time, "the temple became deserted, and the daily sacrifices were omitted," until the service was restored by Judas Maccabeus, three years and a half after. The time during which this continued was, in fact, just three years and a half, until Judas MaccaUcus succeeded in expelling the pagan from the temple and from Jerusalem, when the temple was purified, and was solemnly reconsecrated to the worship of God. See Prideaux, Con. iii. 240, 241, and the authorities there cited.
Now, in reference to this interpretation, supposing that the prophecy relates to Antiochus, it must be admitted that there are coincidences which are remarkable, and it is on the ground of these coincidences that the prophecy has been applied to him. These circumstances are such as the following:
(a) The general character of the authority that would exist as denoted by the "little horn," as that of severity and cruelty. None could be better fitted to represent that than the character of Antiochus Epiptianes. Compare Prideaux, Con. iii. 213, 214.
on Daniel 7 :28