Daniel, the man greatly beloved of God, was several times given a view of the history of the world; but the last vision covered the whole period in detail, and Gabriel did not leave the prophet until he had revealed to him the consummation of all things. Daniel is a latter-day prophet, and while giving a history of the time intervening between his own day and the present time, it was upon the closing events that special emphasis was laid. Four times in his prophecies the expression, "time of the end," is repeated; "the latter days" is used twice, and "the end of the indignation" and "for many days" each appear once, and the closing words of Gabriel were, "Thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Thus nine times in the course of the book, attention is called to the fact that the prophecy pointed directly to the closing history of this earth.
When the last vision began, the prophet was beside the River Tigris. It was the third year of the sole reign of Cyrus, the Persian king. Beginning with the times in which he lived, Gabriel carried the prophet through the history of Persia; he spread out before his vision the conquests of Alexandria, and the division of his empire; he saw the workings of Greek literature and art, and watched this influence spread into Italy, there molding the fourth kingdom, and
finally blending with the truth in such a manner as to form the papacy. Daniel saw antichrist upheld by arms on the throne of Rome; he was carried through the Dark Ages; he watched, and lo, the darkness scattered before the truth as proclaimed by the Reformers. Like a sudden clearing after a storm, the clouds rolled back, and the Sun of Righteousness shone forth; but again the darkness gathered, and France, that nation of Europe which was a battlefield where Protestantism contended with the papacy, almost ceased to exist, so bitter was the struggle between the principles of truth and error.
The very existence of God was denied, and for a time eternal ruin hung like a pall over that country. God's wrath was stayed, but as a person stricken by some loathsome disease may live, yet ever bear in his body the effects of the illness, so France coming out of the struggle is still scarred with the awfulness of her sin. The prophetic guide carried the prophet on, and revealed the contest between modern nations; he saw the final struggle between the north and the south, and pointed to Constantinople as the seat of contention in the last days. Nations should turn their gaze toward the present occupants of that city and patiently await the removal of the Turk into the "glorious land." For "he shall come to his end and none shall help him."
The prophet had watched with intense interest the people upon whom had shone the light of heaven. From Babylon to the end of time a golden stream connected heaven and earth, as if the heavens were open and the dove of peace were descending. At times the stream narrowed to a mere hair-line of light, but it was never
wholly extinguished; then the prophet saw it broaden until it lightened the whole world.
That light followed the Jews for hundreds of years, but in the days preceding the Saviour's birth there were but a few souls that bound earth and heaven together. With the advent of Christ a flood of light filled the earth, but again the darkness almost covered the face of the sun. The streams of light were numerous as the Christians scattered throughout the earth, but gradually as the prophet followed these in vision, they grew dim and dimmer. In the days of Luther and the Reformers the stream widened, and again the light flashed like streaks of lightning, piercing the darkness. But days of clear shining were comparatively few.
The close of the prophetic period of 2300 days brought men to important changes in the heavenly sanctuary. Through all time Christ had pleaded for his people, and whether they were many or few, his love was always the same. Finally the great High Priest entered within the holy of holies. To Daniel the scene of the investigative judgment had been revealed. He had seen the Son approach the Ancient of Days; the books of heaven were opened and the records examined. Over and over again the nail-pierced hands had been raised before the great Judge, as the name of some repentant soul was read, and the Intercessor had cried, "Pardon, Father! My blood! My blood," and the scarred character, the marred record, was covered by the life of the Son of man. Daniel had seen this. He knew that God's people must pass in review before the Judge of worlds, but at the end of the last vision there is another scene presented.
While men are watching the movements of nations; while they cry, Peace and safety, and yet prepare for war, the angel of God is seen by Daniel to pass through the earth, and place a seal upon the foreheads of those to whom these heavenly rays extend. So long as the angel finds any of these faithful ones, Christ still intercedes, but at last the messenger wings his way toward heaven. Throughout the vast kingdom of Jehovah echoes the sound, "It is done," and Christ from the inner sanctuary rises and proclaims, "It is done." He lays aside his priestly garments, and prepares to set in order his kingdom.
His mediatorial work is over; the door from whence has streamed those rays of light and mercy is closed forever. Those who have been sealed must now stand wholly by faith, clinging to God alone during a "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation."
Daniel had watched men pass through trials. He had seen Israel tried, and men in all ages who were true to God tested on the point of faith, but in all previous instances the test had been lightened by a mediator. Now there is no intercessor, and man stands alone. Mercy is no longer sheltering him. It is another night in Gethsemane, another day of Calvary.
Again the words are uttered, not by one lone man, but by multitudes, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The sweat drops of blood roll from other foreheads; the crown of thorns can be pressed unheeded into many a brow; Calvary's nails can be driven without added pain. The burden of heart-searching is great among the faithful few, as they remember
254 that one unconfessed sin means death. The mother of Zebedee's children asked for her sons a place on the right and on the left of the King on his throne. The Saviour said that place belonged to him who should drink of the cup of which he himself must drink. That is the cup which is drained to the bitter dregs by the remnant people in the time of trouble, for they are the ones who shall occupy the position mentioned by the mother of James and John.
that one unconfessed sin means death. The mother of Zebedee's children asked for her sons a place on the right and on the left of the King on his throne. The Saviour said that place belonged to him who should drink of the cup of which he himself must drink. That is the cup which is drained to the bitter dregs by the remnant people in the time of trouble, for they are the ones who shall occupy the position mentioned by the mother of James and John.
The faithful, sealed followers are not the only ones who know that probation has ended, for upon the wicked the seventh plague is falling, and from it none escape. The time of trouble to the wicked will be terrible, for they drink to the dregs the cup of God's wrath. "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand," but the righteous do not feel the effects of the plague. The mountains shall shake and the islands flee away. Then it is that the grave yields up a part of its dead. At the resurrection of Christ a multitude from all ages came from their graves; they were seen in Jerusalem, and were presented by Jesus as a wave offering on his return to heaven.
So just before his second coming the earth gives up some of those who have slumbered in its bosom. Those who pierced Christ when he hung on the cross, those who mocked and derided him during his trial, will arise to see him as he comes triumphant with the host of heaven. Likewise those who under the last message have fallen asleep in Jesus, will come forth to welcome him for whom they looked and lived. These come forth to everlasting life, but the first class will be slain by the brightness of his coming.
The kingly garments are put on, and the Saviour prepares to gather his people. Throughout heaven the preparation goes on. Angels hurry to and fro, and the inhabitants of unfallen worlds watch with all eagerness. As the company forms to accompany the King, the law of God, the ten commandments, the foundation of his throne, is hung upon the sky in view of the startled multitudes of earth. "His righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen." Men who have scoffed and derided those who obeyed this law, now see it written in the heavens.
Again the most brilliant rainbow is painted on the threatening clouds which overhang the earth. Mercy and justice mingled in all God's dealings with men until they utterly turned from him. To the waiting company this is a renewal of the everlasting covenant made to the fathers that the inheritance should belong to the faithful. Over and over again that same symbol of the everlasting covenant has been hung in the sky, but men have not heard the voice of Jehovah as he spoke in the bow. "The heavens declare the glory of God," but while suns, planets, and systems have been studied by scientists, they have failed to see that in them all God has pictured the organization of his church, and the story of his love to man.
From the creation of the world the very order and arrangement of the stars have told the plan of redemption, but man, devoid of the spirit of truth, can not understand the alphabet of the celestial dome; and while the story has been repeated night after night, he has failed to see the law of God in the firmament.
Jehovah to-day points us to the stars that we may learn the lesson given to Abraham as he called him to his tent door, and traced the promise of the Saviour in the sky. The Star arose upon Israel, and wise men of the East, inspired by God, knew that it was the Christ star. Men, using God-given ability, have invented wonderful instruments for searching the heavens, and God has encouraged the effort in hopes that it would lead to an understanding of the divine story written there, but only the very few have seen or heard the spiritual lesson which was taught.
Daniel watched as Gabriel proceeded, and he saw the heavens depart as a scroll; he saw the sun burst forth in all its glory at midnight, a herald of the Sun of Righteousness. He heard the voice of the trumpeter as the sound rolled through all the earth; he saw the righteous dead come forth in answer to the call of the God of heaven. They came forth glorified; the power of the grave is broken; the earth has no hold upon them, and drawn heavenward, they rise to meet the Lord in the air. Multitudes from the days of Adam down to the end of time mingle with that little company who on earth were waiting and watching for his appearing. Together they pass toward the gates of heaven. The advance guard throw open the pearly gates, and again the angel choir chant the wonderful hallelujah which was sung when Christ returned with the little company on the day of his ascension.
From without come the words, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; that the King of glory may enter
257 through." From within rings forth the song: "Who is this King of glory?"
through." From within rings forth the song: "Who is this King of glory?"
The accompanying host reply:- "Jehovah, mighty and victorious; Jehovah, victorious in battle, Lift up your heads, O ye gates; And be ye lifted up, O everlasting doors; That the King of glory may enter through."
"And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand." In a hollow square about the throne are clustered those who were living when the Son of man came in power. As they see the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world, a song of triumph bursts from their lips. Heaven's arches ring, and wonder of wonders, they whose experiences have seemed so varied, they who have been separated, crushed, degraded, upon whom sin had once placed its terrible hand, find that their voices blend in perfect harmony, and the song they sing is one of such pathos, such depths of joy and gratitude that none others can join with them. Praise rings throughout heaven. Christ's image and his character are perfectly reflected by this company. From the deepest depths of sin to the pinnacle of heaven, each as a stone in the Master's crown, reflects his character, at some certain angle, and the one hundred and forty-four thousand together complete the circle of perfection.
In addition to this company, who act henceforth as the bodyguard of the King, taking the place which had been vacant since the fall of Satan and his angels, was seen another company
composed of those who were martyrs, and those who have been snatched from the pit of ruin. And again there is seen an innumerable company which no man can number, representing every nation, tribe, and tongue.
The number which would have peopled the earth had no sin ever entered, is gathered about the Father and the Son. Christ looks upon them, and in spite of the remembrance of the fall, and the pain and sorrow which the plan of salvation cost, when he sees the travail of his soul, he is satisfied. In the midst of his redeemed church the Saviour breaks forth into singing. The thought of sin and sorrow is blotted out. From the nail-prints in his hands stream beams of light which is "the hiding of his power." Heaven bows in adoration, for the victory is gained.
Then it is that Daniel sees the language of the heavens interpreted. The universe is composed of suns, many of them mightier than our own, and each sun is the center of a planetary system, and each planet is accompanied by its satellites, a vast circle within a circle, moving in perfect order, performing its revolution in its allotted time, making, to the ear of Jehovah, the music of the spheres. The immensity of space is filled with universes, and all revolve about the throne of God; all are held in their orbits by rays of power from his throne of life; each shines with a light reflected from Him who is the fountain of life; each is guided in its path by the eye of him who sits on the throne.
This is the type of God's order for his church upon earth. The perfect order of the heavenly bodies is a pattern for family and church organization.
Each little company should shine as a star. God looks with pleasure upon the clusters of worshipers as they move in perfect order, each bending to the influence of the higher powers. As it is the power of God in the sun which holds the earth in its course, so his power, working through the highest organization on earth, controls those of smaller power. In the family, children should obey parents, and parents should obey God, even as the earth follows the sun, and the sun circles about its center-God's throne.
The perfection of this system will characterize the last church, which will have developed the character which was looked for in ancient Israel. God's people are a peculiar people, and their peculiarities will live in the virtues of Christ, which they reflect; this fits them to become a royal priesthood. To Daniel the angel said, "They that be teachers [margin] shall shine as the brightness of the firmament." And so the prophet had the privilege of seeing a nation or company of teachers among the saved, who carried forward the work which his own race might have done. As Christ was a teacher, who spoke with authority which none could resist, so the remnant church will be teachers by virtue of the Christ life within them.
It was a beautiful picture, that last scene which fell upon the eyes of Daniel. So many times disappointment had been the outcome when the beginning looked so promising, but in the end it is a glorious triumph. Those who are taken from the depths of sin will shine as the stars in the firmament.
"But thou, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end." At
that time "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
The portion of time known as "the time of the end" is as distinctly marked as any other prophetic period. At its beginning the hand of oppression was removed from the law of God, which had been changed, and which, in the language of Revelation, had prophesied clothed in sackcloth. At the same time the persecution of the saints had ended. Civil and religious liberty were standing full-fledged before the world, and Gabriel, seeing the freedom granted to man, explained the effects by saying, "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
Men living to-day see the fulfillment of the angel's words. Thousands of miles of railroad thread the globe, making it possible for messengers of truth to pass speedily from place to place. The ocean, once an almost impassable barrier between continents, is now crossed in a few days. The printing press daily sends forth thousands of tons of matter, so that the everlasting gospel can be scattered like autumn leaves to every nation on the face of the earth. The multitude of inventions also astonishes the world. Every day witnesses the birth of some new convenience. "Men have sought out many inventions," and still the work goes on. God allows it, that his truth may be spread with rapidity, for before his coming every nation, kindred, tongue, and people must hear the warning message.
The increased knowledge of the present generation is marvelous and beyond description. There is no realm of science left unexplored.
This is, that man may be led to see the wonders of creation, and so desire to know more of the Creator. As the closing of the Bible in the beginning of the twelve hundred and sixty years brought darkness, intellectual and moral, so the opening of God's Word has led to intellectual as well as moral advancement. From city to city messages fly on swifter wings than carrier pigeons, while through the mysterious depths of old ocean the words of man pass, unheeded by the myriads that people the ocean caverns.
While man looks on in amazement, angels watch with intense interest to see if man will co-operate with them in using these vast facilities to forward the gospel in the earth.
God, from the beginning of earth's history, has offered life to that nation which would make his Word the basis of its education. The Jews were lost as a nation because of the failure to train their children according to its sacred truths; and when the Christian church inherited the promise made to the Israelites, it was upon the same condition that they should teach their children all the statutes of Jehovah.
The time of the end is the period during which the remnant people will be developed. One great means for their education will be a return to true principles of education.
As Christian education and healthful living are revealed in the first glimpse given of the prophet Daniel and his work, so, as he is about to close his earthly career, as he views the last days of earth's history, he is pointed by Christ's special messenger to a people who are true to those same foundation principles. The people who pass safely through the time of trouble,
which closes this last prophetic period, will be fortified physically by strict obedience through faith to all the laws of the physical man. And mentally they will be made strong by an education of faith which separates every family from the culture of Egypt, Babylon, and Greece, and instead turns the hearts of parents to their children, binding them all together in the love of Christ.
The time of the end, the period in which we now live, is a time when knowledge shall increase, and as the worldly wise trust more and more to their own wisdom, the faithful followers of God will separate entirely from worldly education. Now is the time for the truly wise to shine as stars whose light is made more apparent as the darkness of iniquity deepens. It is evident that Daniel's whole attention had been centered on the events which Gabriel, God's historian, had related, and when the final triumph of truth was given, it was shown that Christ himself was near the prophet, and that angels of heaven were also listening to the record of events.
So closely bound to earth are these heavenly beings, and so strong are the ties that unite their hearts and interests to man, that when Gabriel ceased speaking, one angel called to Christ, who was again seen on the waters of the stream of time: "How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" That was the angel's question, and Christ himself made answer. Holding up his right hand and his left unto heaven, he "sware by Him that liveth forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half."
Angels have waited six thousand years for the completion of the plan; they have watched generation
after generation for the final number to be made up, and have seen one century after another roll round, and still the inhabitants of earth loitered. What wonder is it that when the end is made known, they call out, "How long shall it be till the end?"
Daniel had heard this same period mentioned by Gabriel, and now it was repeated by Christ, but he says, "I heard, but I understood not." The prophet's heart was heavy as he followed the history of nations to the end of time; and fearing he should still be left in doubt as to the time for the fulfillment of all he had seen, like Jacob who in his night of wrestling clung to the angel, he pleaded, "O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?" No request yet made by this man of God had been passed by without an answer. Neither was he now left in ignorance of the time. Gabriel answered the earnest inquiry in tender tones. Said he: "Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end;" and then it was seen that "till the time of the end" meant the same as "a time, times, and a half," at the end of which period the great persecution should cease.
This prophetic period of twelve hundred and sixty years began in 538; the law of God was changed, and the Sabbath of the decalogue was trampled under foot of men. Both the law of God and the saints of God were bound for "a time, times, and a half" by the power which exalteth itself above Jehovah, as described in Dan. 7:25. The persecution tended only to scatter the power of the holy people; and at the time of the end both the law of God and the people were restored. The "time, times, and a
half" ended in 1798. Since that time the Word of God has been freely circulated among the people. The prophecies have been studied, the judgment message of Revelation 14 has been proclaimed, and in 1844, at the close of the twenty-three hundred days, light shone from the sanctuary above, revealing the true Sabbath of the Lord.
As knowledge has increased, the wonderful truths for the time of the end have spread from country to country, preparing the way for the coming of the Son of man.
That the two prophetic periods which had so puzzled the mind of the prophet might be more perfectly understood, Gabriel said, "From the time that the daily is taken away," that is, from 508 a. d., "there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days" until the time of the end, 1798. And again, "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." There is then a blessing pronounced upon those who are living in 1843 (508 + 1335 = 1843), for the seal has been removed from the prophecies, and they are understood. True it is that "many shall be purified and made white and tried," and that some will not understand, but that does not disprove the prophecies, for "the wise shall understand." In the time when all may understand some will insist that the book of Daniel is still a sealed book. The words of Christ and Gabriel witness against all such. "Whoso readeth, let him understand." "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
Daniel's work was over. The story of the world was written. His prophecy would stand
until the end. He slept with his fathers, after more than seventy years of faithful service in the courts of Babylon and Shushan. Men could find no fault with him except concerning the law of his
God, and Jehovah called him a "man greatly beloved."
In the last days he stands in his lot as a prophet, and the things revealed to him, together with the Revelation given to John on Patmos, and the warnings sent of God through the spirit of prophecy in the remnant church, will guide the faithful company of believers through the time of trouble, and prepare them for the appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven.