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12. The End Times

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. 2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3And 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. 4But 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.

5Then 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. 6And 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? 7And 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. 8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10Many 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. 11And 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. 12Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

He says, This angel raised up his hands to heaven Those who consider this action as a symbol of power are mistaken, for without doubt the Prophet intended to manifest the usual method of swearing. They usually raised the right hand, according to the testimony of numerous passages of Scripture. I have raised my hand towards God. (Genesis 14:22.) Here the angel raises both his hands, wishing by this action to express the importance of the subject. Thus to raise both hands, as if doubling the oath, is stronger than raising the right hand after the ordinary manner. We must consider then the use of both hands as intended to confirm the oath, as the subject was one of great importance. It follows, for a time, times, and half a time I have stated my objection to the opinion of those who think one year, and two, and a half, to be here intended. I confess the passage ought to be understood of that pollution of the Temple which the Prophet has already treated. History clearly assures us that the Temple was not cleansed till the close of the third year, and seven or eight months afterwards. That explanation may suit its own passage, but with reference to the doctrine here delivered, its meaning is very simple, time means a long period, times, a longer period, and a half means the end or closing period. The sum of the whole is this’ many years must elapse before God fulfills what his Prophet had declared. Time therefore signifies a long period; times, double this period; as if he had said, While the sons of God are kept in suspense so long without obtaining an answer to their petitions, the time will be prolonged, nay, even doubled. We see then that a time does not mean precisely one year, nor do times signify two years, but an indefinite period. With respect to the half of a time, this is added for the comfort of the pious, to prevent their sinking under the delay, because God does not accomplish their desire. Thus they rest patiently until this “time” as well as “the times” pass away. Besides, the issue is set before them by the words half a time, to prevent them from despairing through excessive weariness. I admit the allusion to years, but the words are not to be understood literally but metaphorically, signifying, as I have already stated, an indefinite period.

He afterwards adds, And in the complement or consumption of the dispersion or contrition of the hand of God’s people, all these things shall be fulfilled: first, the time must pass away, next, the times must be added, then the half time must follow; all these things must arrive at their accomplishment, and when they are thoroughly completed, says he, then will come the contrition of the hand of the holy people The angel again proclaims how the Church of God should be oppressed by many calamities; and thus the whole of this verse contains an exhortation to endurance, to prevent the faithful from becoming utterly hopeless, and completely losing their spirits, in consequence of their suffering severe and multiplied cares, not for a few months merely, but for a lengthened duration. He uses this phrase, the wearing down of the hand of the holy people — if you please to read it so — metaphorically, meaning, the holy people should be deprived of strength, just as if their hands were completely worn down. Whatever agility men possess is usually shewn in the hands, and they were given to men by God for the special purpose of being extended to all parts of the body, and for executing the ordinary operations of mankind. This metaphor is now very suitable, as the people were so mutilated, as to be deprived of all strength and rigor. This is a slight sketch of the meaning of the clause.

If we read “dispersion” according to the common signification, it will suit very well, since the hand of the holy people should be dispersed; meaning, the Church should be a stranger in the world, and be dispersed throughout it. This was continually fulfilled from that day to the present. How sad is the dispersion of the Church in these days! God indeed defends it by His power, but this is beyond human expectation For how does the body of the Church now appear to us? how has it appeared throughout all ages? surely it has ever been torn in pieces and dispersed. Hence the angel’s prediction is not in vain, if we adopt the interpretation — the hand of the holy people should be dispersed — but yet the end should be prosperous, as he had previously announced, when treating of its resurrection and final salvation. It now follows:

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