After the prediction of the troubles of the Jews under the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes (which prefigured the troubles of Christ’s Church under any and all anti-Christian powers), we find very comfortable and precious words which were prescribed as cordials for the support of God’s people in those times of trouble. It was usual with the prophets, when they foretold the grievances of the saints, to furnish them at the same time with proper antidotes – a remedy for every malady. And no relief is of such general application, and so easily accommodated to every case, as those which are fetched from Jesus and the future resurrection. It is upon these subjects that the comforts here are based.
Christ shall appear as His Church’s Protector; for He is the great Prince of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5), and the angels are under His command – waiting to obey His bidding, and to serve and minister to His saints. And if Christ stands up on His people’s behalf, who dares to stand up against Him? He works out our eternal salvation. He, the Son of God, became incarnate; and he destroyed the works of the devil. He was made sin and a curse for His people, and He stood in their place as a sacrifice. He stands before the Father’s throne and intercedes for them, and He stands as their true Best Friend. And after the destruction of the Antichrist – of whom Antiochus Epiphanes was only a foreshadowing – Christ shall stand upon the earth on the Last Day, to appear for the complete redemption of all His children.
When Christ returns, He will recompense tribulation to those who have troubled His people (verse 1). It shall be a time of great trouble for all the implacable enemies of God’s Kingdom among men, the likes of which no nation shall have ever seen. But on this same day, the Lord will work salvation for His redeemed sons and daughters. When He returns, He will save His spiritual Israel from sin and hell, and complete the salvation of all those whose names are in the Book of Life.
There shall be a distinguishing resurrection of those who sleep in the dust (verse 2). When God works deliverance for His people from persecution – as in the Jews’ release from Babylonian exile, or in their deliverance from the tyranny of Antiochus – it is a foreshadowing of this resurrection. Many of those who have long slept in the dust of obscurity and calamity shall awake on that Great Last Day, to receive everlasting life and honor and comfort; but for others, it will be a resurrection to shame and contempt. There shall be a glorious reward conferred on those who, in the day of trouble and distress, were wise themselves and also instructed many others. The more good that any persons do in this world, especially for the souls of their fellow human beings – the greater will be their glory and reward in the heavenly world. Those who turn people’s souls to righteousness, and turn sinners from the errors of their ways, and help save their souls from death (James 5:20) – they shall share in the glory of those whom they have helped to heaven, which will be a great addition to their own glory. Christ is the Sun; and His people and ministers shine like stars, with light that is derived from Him, and which shall never be eclipsed.
Daniel had been made to foresee the amazing revolutions of states and kingdoms, as far as the people of God were concerned in them; and in them, he foresaw troublous times for the Church. And this prospect filled him with concern, and prompted him to ask, “When shall the end be?” The answer took the form of a more general account of the continuance of these troubles “for a time, times, and a half” (verse 7) – that is, a year, two years, and half a year (chapter 7:25). We meet with this same time period in the Book of Revelation, where it is sometimes spoken of under the representation of 42 months, or 1,260 days. Either of these numbers stands symbolically for the same time period – namely, the time from the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus, all the way to His Second Coming. In other words, it is the time period in which we ourselves are now living – in which the Gospel is being proclaimed by the Church of Jesus!
However, in an immediate application to the Jews before the time of Jesus Christ, these 3½ years represent the time that Antiochus Epiphanes held sway over the Jews, before he was thrown out of the country by the Maccabees. But there is something that was more particularly added, concerning the time of the continuance of those troubles (verses 11-12). The Jews were to reckon the beginning of their troubles from the time when they were deprived of the benefit of public ordinances – that is, when Antiochus took away the daily sacrifice. Numbering from that time, their trials would last 1,290 days – until the daily sacrifice was restored, and the idolatrous abomination of desolation was removed from the Temple. Then again, mention is made (verse 12) of 1,335 days, which was to be the length of time until the completing of their deliverance – or, at least, a further advance toward it.
From these things, we learn that there is a fixed time for the termination of the Church’s troubles, and for the bringing about of her deliverance; and this time will be punctually observed. But this time must be waited for, with faith and patience. Nevertheless, when it comes, it will abundantly recompense us for our long expectations of it. Blessed is the person (verse 12) who – having waited long – comes to the blessing at last!
Lord Jesus, we thank You that although things often move as if they would end in the utter ruin of Your Kingdom, yet You still protect Your people! Amen.
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