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BY ARNO C. GAEBELEIN, Editor Of “Our Hope,” New York City
“Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen; let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them, or declare us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know, that ye are gods” ( Isaiah 41:21-23). “I declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” ( Isaiah 46:10).
This is Jehovah’s challenge to the idol-gods of Babylon to predict future events. He alone can do that. The Lord can declare the end from the beginning, and make known things that are not yet done. The dumb idols of the heathen know nothing concerning the future. They cannot predict what is going to happen. And man himself is powerless to know future events and cannot find out things to come.
Jehovah, who has made this challenge and declaration, has also fully demonstrated His power to do so. He has done it in His holy Word, the Bible. Other nations possess books of a religious character, called “sacred books.” Not one of them contains any predictions concerning the future. If the authors of these writings had attempted to foretell the future, they would have thereby furnished the strongest evidence of their deceptions.
The Bible is the only book in the world which contains predictions. It is pre-eminently that, which no other book could be, and none other is, a book of prophecy. These predictions are declared to be the utterances of Jehovah; they show that the Bible is a supernatural book, the revelation of God.
PROPHECY NEGLECTED AND DENIED
In view of this fact it is deplorable that the professing Church of today almost completely ignores and neglects the study of prophecy, a neglect which has for one of its results the loss of one of the most powerful weapons against infidelity. The denial of the Bible as the inspired Word of God has become widespread.
If prophecy were intelligently studied such a denial could not flourish as it does, for the fulfilled predictions of the Bible give the clearest and most conclusive evidence that the Bible is the revelation of God. To this must be added the fact that the destructive Bible criticism, which goes by the name of “Higher Criticism,” denies the possibility of prophecy. The whole reasoning method of this school, which has become so popular throughout Christendom, may be reduced to the following: Prophecy is an impossibility; there is no such thing as foretelling future events. Therefore a book which contains predictions of things to come, which were later fulfilled, must have been written after the events which are predicted in the book. The methods followed by the critics, the attacks made by them upon the authenticity of the different books of the Bible, especially upon those which contain the most startling prophecies (Isaiah and Daniel), we cannot follow at this time. They deny everything which the Jewish Synagogue and the Christian Church always believed to be prophecy, a supernatural unfolding of future events.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
The prophecies of the Bible must be first of all divided into three classes. 1. Prophecies which have found already their fulfillment. 2. Prophecies which are now in process of fulfillment. Many predictions written several thousand years ago are now being accomplished before our eyes. We mention those which relate to the national and spiritual condition of the Jewish people and the predictions concerning the moral and religious condition of the present age. 3. Prophecies which are still unfulfilled. We have reference to those which predict the second, glorious and visible coming of our Lord, the re- gathering of Israel and their restoration to the land of promise, judgments which will fall upon the nations of the earth, the establishment of the Kingdom, the conversion of the world, universal peace and righteousness, the deliverance of groaning creation, and others.
These great prophecies of future things are often robbed of their literal and solemn meaning by a process of spiritualization. The visions of the prophets concerning Israel and Jerusalem, and the glories to come in a future age, are almost generally explained as having their fulfillment in the Church during the present age. However, our object is not to follow the unfulfilled prophecies, but prophecies fulfilled and in process of fulfillment.
FULFILLED PROPHECY A VAST THEME
Fulfilled prophecy is a vast theme of much importance. It is equally inspiring and interesting. Volumes could be written to show how hundreds of Divine predictions written in the Bible have passed into history. What God announced through His chosen instruments has come to pass. History is bearing witness to the fact that the events which transpired among nations were pre-written in the Bible, even as prophecy is nothing less than history written in advance. As much as space permits we shall call attention to the fulfilled prophecies relating to the person of Christ; to the Jewish people; and to a number of nations, whose history, whose rise and downfall, are divinely predicted in the Bible. Furthermore, we shall mention the great prophetic unfoldings as given in the Book of Daniel, and how many of these predictions have already found a most interesting fulfillment.
MESSIANIC PROPHECIES AND THEIR FULFILLMENT
The Old Testament contains a most wonderful chain of prophecies concerning the person, the life and work of our Lord. As He is the center of the whole revelation of God, the One upon whom all rests, we turn first of all to a few of the prophecies which speak of Him. This also is very necessary. The destructive criticism has gone so far as to state that there are no predictions at all concerning Christ in the Old Testament. Such a denial leads to and is linked with the denial of Christ Himself, especially the denial of His Deity and His work on the cross.
To follow the large number of prophecies concerning the coming of Christ into the world and the work He was to accomplish we cannot attempt in these pages. We point out briefly in a general way what must be familiar to most Christians who search the Scriptures. Christ is first announced in Genesis 3:15 to be the seed of the woman, and therefore a human being. In Genesis 9:26-27 the supremacy of Shem is predicted. The full revelation of Jehovah God is connected with Shem and in due time a son of Shem, Abraham, received the promise that the predicted seed was to come from him. ( Genesis 12:8). Messiah was to come from the seed of Abraham.
Then the fact was revealed that He was to come from Isaac and not from Ishmael, from Jacob and not from Esau. But Jacob had twelve sons. The Divine prediction pointed to Judah and later to the house of David of the tribe of Judah from which the Messiah should spring. When we come to the prophecies of Isaiah we learn that His mother is to be a virgin. ( Isaiah 7:14). But the son born of the virgin is Immanuel, God with us.
Clearly the prophetic Word in Isaiah states that the Messiah would be a child born and a Son given with the names, “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” ( Isaiah 9:6).
This promised Messiah, the Son of David, should appear (according to Isaiah 11:1) after the house of David had been stripped of its royal dignity and glory. And what more could we say of the prophecies which speak of His life, His poverty, the works He was to do, His rejection by His own people, the Jews. In that matchless chapter in Isaiah, the fiftythird, the rejection of Christ by His own nation is predicted. In another chapter a still more startling prophecy is recorded: “Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain.” This is Messiah’s lament on account of His rejection. Then follows the answer, which contains a most striking prophecy: “It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel: I also will give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the ends of the earth” ( Isaiah 49:5,6).
Here the revelation is given that He would not alone be rejected by His own nation, but that He would also bring salvation to the Gentiles. What human mind could have ever invented such a program! The promised Messiah of Israel, the longed-for One, is predicted to be rejected by His own people and thus becomes the Saviour of the despised Gentiles. His sufferings and His death are even more minutely predicted.
In the Book of Psalms the sufferings of Christ, the deep agony of His soul, the expressions of His sorrow and His grief, are pre-written by the Spirit of God. We mention only one Psalm, the twenty-second. His death by crucifixion is prophesied. Yet death by crucifixion was in David’s time an unknown mode of death. Cruel Rome invented that horrible form of death.
The cry of the forsaken One is predicted in the very words which came from the lips of our Saviour out of the darkness which enshrouded the cross. So are also predicted the words of mockery by those who looked on; the piercing of His hands and feet; the parting of the garments and the casting of the lots. In the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, the purpose of His death is so blessedly predicted. He was to die the substitute of sinners.
There we find also His burial and His resurrection predicted. All this was recorded 700 years before our Lord was born. In the Psalms we find the prophecy that the rejected One would occupy a place at the right hand of God ( <19B001> Psalm 110:1). He was to leave the earth. David’s Son and David’s Lord was to have a place in the highest glory, even at the right hand of God, to wait there till His enemies are made His footstool. It is indeed a wonderful chain of prophecies concerning Christ. We could give a very few of these predictions. How they all were long ago literally fulfilled in the coming, in the life, in the death, in the resurrection and ascension of our adorable Lord, all true believers know.
THE JEWISH PEOPLE
When Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, asked the court chaplain for an argument that the Bible is an inspired book, he answered, “Your Majesty, the Jews.” It was well said. To the Jews were committed the oracles of God. ( Romans 3:2). These oracles of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Law and the Prophets, are filled with a large number of predictions relating to their own history. Their unbelief, the rejection of the Messiah, the results of that rejection, their dispersion into the corners of the earth, so that they would be scattered among all the nations, the persecutions and sorrows they were to suffer, the curses which were to come upon them, their miraculous preservation as a nation, their future great tribulation and final restoration — all these and much more were over and over announced by their own prophets. All the different epochs of the remarkable history of Israel were predicted long before they were reached. Their sojourn in Egypt and servitude, as well as the duration of that period, was announced to Abraham. The Babylonian captivity of 70 years and the return of a remnant to occupy the land once more was announced by ú the pre-exile prophets, who also predicted a far greater and longer exile, their present world-wide dispersion and a return which up to 1914 has not yet come. Of the deepest interest and the greatest importance in connection with the predictions of the return from Babylon is the naming of the great Persian king through whom the return was to be achieved. This great prophecy is found in the Book of Isaiah: “That saith of Cyrus, He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built; and of the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith Jehovah to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut” ( Isaiah 44:28; 45:1).
This prediction was made about 200 years before Cyrus was born. A careful study of the part of Isaiah where these words are found will show that they are linked with the challenge of Jehovah and the declaration that He knows the end from the beginning; the passages we have already quoted. In naming an unborn king and showing what his work would be, Jehovah demonstrates that He knows the future. The great Jewish historian, Josephus, informs us that when Cyrus found his name in the Book of Isaiah, written about 200 years before, an earnest desire laid hold upon him to fulfill what was written. The beginning of the Book of Ezra gives the proclamation of Cyrus concerning the temple.
When the Prophet Isaiah received the message which contained the name of the Persian king, he wrote it down faithfully, though he did not know who Cyrus was. Two centuries later Cyrus appeared and then issued his proclamation which fulfilled Isaiah’s prediction. Higher criticism denies the genuineness of all this. In order to disprove this prophecy as well as others, they declare that Isaiah did not write the book which bears his name. For about 2500 years no one ever thought of even suggesting that Isaiah is not the author of the book. They have invented an unknown person, whom they call Deutero-Isaiah, i.e., a second Isaiah. They claim that he wrote chapters 40-66. With this they have not stopped. They speak now of a third Isaiah, a Trito-Isaiah, as they call him. With their supposed learning they claim to have discovered that some of the chapters of Isaiah were written in Babylon and others in Palestine. However, all the arguments, advanced by the critics for a composite authorship and against one Isaiah who lived and wrote his book at the time specified in the beginning of Isaiah, are disproven by the book itself. One only needs to study this book to find out the unity of the message. One person must be the author of the Book of Isaiah.
A REMARKABLE CHAPTER
When they read this chapter, the Rabbi reads in a subdued voice. And well may they read it softly and ponder over it, for here is pre-written the sad and sorrowful history of their wonderful nation. Here thousands of years ago the Spirit of God through Moses outlined the history of the scattered nation, all their suffering and tribulation, as it has been for well nigh two millenniums and as it is still. Here are arguments for the Divine, the supernatural origin of this book which no infidel has ever been able to answer; nor will there ever be found an answer.
Apart from such general predictions as are found in verses 64-66 and fulfilled in the dispersion of Israel, there are others which are more minute.
The Roman power, which was used to break the Jews, is clearly predicted by Moses, and that in a time when no such power existed. Read verses 49-50: “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth, a nation, whose language thou shalt not understand.”
The eagle was the standard of the Roman armies; the Jews understood many oriental languages, but were ignorant of Latin. “Which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young.” Rome killed the old people and the children. “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land” (verse 52).
Fulfilled in the siege and overthrow of Jerusalem by the Roman legions. “The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, shall eat her children, for lack of all things in the siege and straitness wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates” (54-57).
Fulfilled in the dreadful sieges of Jerusalem, perhaps the most terrible events in the history of blood and tears of this poor earth. Every verse, beginning with the fifteenth, to the end of this chapter has found its oft repeated fulfillment. It does not surprise us that the enemy hates this book, which bears such a testimony, and would have it classed with legends.
Of much interest is the last verse of this great prophetic chapter. “And Jehovah will bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I said unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again; and there ye shall sell yourselves unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.” When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, all who did not die in the awful calamity were sent to the mines of Egypt, where the slaves were constantly kept at work without being permitted to rest or sleep till they succumbed. The whip of Egypt fell once more upon them and they suffered the most terrible agonies. Others were sold as slaves.
THEIR DISPERSION AND PRESERVATION
God had separated the nation and given to them a land. And this peculiar people, living in one of the smallest countries of the earth, has been scattered throughout the world, has become a wanderer, without a home, without a land. Like Cain they wander from nation to nation. Though without a land they are still a nation. Other nations have passed away; the Jewish nation has been preserved. They are among all the nations and yet not reckoned among the nations. All this is written beforehand in the Bible. “And you will I scatter among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you: and your land shall be a desolation and your cities shall be a waste” ( Leviticus 26:33). “And Jehovah will scatter you among the people, and ye shall be left few in number among the nations, whither Jehovah shall lead you away” ( Deuteronomy 4:27). “And Jehovah will scatter you among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot; but Jehovah will give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of soul. And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have no assurance of thy life. In the morning thou shalt say, Would it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would it were morning! for the fear of thy heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes, which thou shalt see” ( Deuteronomy 28:64-67). “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am Jehovah their God” ( Leviticus 26:44).
In many other passages the Spirit of God predicts their miraculous preservation. “Massacred by thousands, yet springing up again from their undying stock, the Jews appear at all times and in all regions. Their perpetuity, their national immortality, is at once the most curious problem to the political inquirer; to the religious man a subject of profound and awful admiration.” (*Milman: “History of the Jews.”) Herder called the Jews “the enigma of history”. What human mind could have ever foreseen that this peculiar people, dwelling in a peculiar land, was to be scattered among all nations, suffer there as no other nation ever suffered, and yet be kept and thus marked out still as the covenant people of a God, whose gifts and callings are without repentance. Here indeed is an argument for the Word of God which no infidel can answer. Jehovah has predicted the history of His earthly people. “Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee” ( Jeremiah 30:11).
THE LAND AND THE CITY
Palestine, the God-given home of Israel, the land which once flowed with milk and honey, has become barren and desolate. Jerusalem, once a great city, the hallowed city of David, is trodden down by the Gentiles. All this is more than once predicted in the Word of Prophecy. “I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited.
And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons; and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbor, Wherefore has the Lord done thus unto this great city? Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods and served them” ( Jeremiah 22:7-9). “And the generation to come, your children that shall rise up after you, and the foreigner that shall come from a far land shall say, when they shall see the plagues of that land even all the nations shall say, Wherefore hath Jehovah done thus unto this land, what meaneth the heat of this great anger?” ( Deuteronomy 29:22-25).
Thus it has come to pass. Their land is being visited by Gentiles from all over the world who behold the desolations. Many other passages could be added to the above — passages which prophesied the very condition of the promised land and the city of Jerusalem which are found there now, and which have existed for nearly two thousand years.
Even the duration of all this is indicated in the prophetic Word. There is a striking passage in Hosea. “I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence and seek My face; in their affliction they will seek Me early.
Come, let us return unto the Lord; for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us; in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight” ( Hosea 5:15-6:2).
According to this prophecy Jehovah is to be in their midst and is to return to His place. It refers to the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ among His people. They rejected Him; He returned to His place. They are to acknowledge their offence.
Elsewhere in the Word predictions are found which speak of a future national repentance of Israel when the remnant of that nation will confess the blood-guiltiness which is upon them. According to this word in Hosea, they are going to have affliction, and when that great affliction comes they will seek His face, and confess their sins, and express their trust in Jehovah.
They acknowledge that for two days they were torn and smitten by the judgments of the Lord, afflicted, as predicted by their own prophets. A third day is coming when all will be changed. These days are prophetic days. Several ancient Jewish expositors mention the fact that these days stand each for a thousand years. The two days of affliction and dispersion would therefore stand for two thousand years, and they are almost expired.
Nor must we forget that our Lord Jesus Christ, too, predicted the great dispersion of the nation, the fall of Jerusalem, and that Gentiles were to rule over that city, till the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. ( Luke 21:10-24).
NO GOVERNMENT, NO SACRIFICE, NO HOLY PLACE
PROPHECIES ABOUT OTHER NATIONS
Besides the many predictions concerning the people Israel, the prophets have much to say about the nations with whom Israel came in touch and whose history is bound up with the history of the chosen people of God.
Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, Ammon, Moab, Tyre, Sidon, Idumea, and others are mentioned in the Prophetic Word. Their ultimate fate was predicted by Jehovah long before their downfall and overthrow occurred.
The Prophet Ezekiel was entrusted with many of the solemn messages announcing the judgment of these nations. The reader will find these predictions in chapters 25-37. The predictions concerning Ammon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines are recorded in the twenty-fifth chapter. Tyrus and its fall is the subject of chapters 26 to 28:19. A prophecy about Sidon is found in the concluding verses of the twenty-eighth chapter. The prophecies concerning the judgment and degradation of Egypt are given at greater length in chapters 29 and 30. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum and Habakkuk, all contain prophecies concerning different nations foretelling what should happen to them. A mass of evidence can be produced to show that all these predictions came true.
Many of them seemed to fail, but after centuries had passed, their literal fulfillment, even to the minutest detail, had become history.
We must confine ourselves to a very few of these predictions and their fulfillment. The siege and capture of the powerful and extremely wealthy city of Tyrus by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, is predicted in Ezekiel 26:7-11. It came literally to pass. One of the proofs is to be found in a contract tablet in the British Museum dated at Tyrus in the fortieth year of the king. The overthrow predicted by Ezekiel had come to pass. The walls were broken down and the city was ruined. The noise of the song ceased and the sound of the harps was no more heard. But not all that Ezekiel predicted had been fulfilled by the Babylonian conqueror. The Divine prediction states, “They shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water” (verse 12).
Nebuchadnezzar had not done this. History acquaints us with the fact that the Tyrians, before the destruction of the city had come, had removed their treasures to an island about half a mile from the shore. About 250 years later Alexander came against the island city. The ruins of Tyre which Nebuchadnezzar had left standing were used by Alexander. He constructed out of them with great ingenuity and perseverance a dam from the mainland to the rock city in the sea. Thus literally it was fulfilled, “They shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.”
Of still greater interest are the prophecies which foretell the doom of Egypt. Ezekiel and Nahum mention the Egyptian city No. ( Ezekiel 30:14-16; Nahum 3:8). No is Thebes and was the ancient capital of Egypt.
The Egyptian name is No-Amon. It had a hundred gates, as we learn from Homer, and was a city of marvelous beauty. It was surrounded by walls twenty-four feet thick, and had a circumference of one mile and three quarters. The Lord announced through Ezekiel that this great city should be rent asunder and that its vast population should be cut off. Five hundred years later Ptolemy Laltyrus, the grandfather of Cleopatra, after besieging the city several years razed to the ground the previously ruined city. Every word given through Ezekiel had come true. One could fill many pages showing the literal fulfillment of Ezekiel’s great predictions relating to Egypt. The decline and degradation predicted has come true. The rivers and canals of Egypt have dried up. The land has become desolate. The immense fisheries which yielded such a great income to the rulers of Egypt are no longer in existence. Ezekiel 30:7 has found a literal fulfillment.
Egypt is a land of ruins and wasted cities. The instruments whom God used in accomplishing this were strangers ( Ezekiel 30:12) like Cambyses, Amroo, Ochus and others. “There shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt” ( Ezekiel 30:13). This too has been literally fulfilled. Ochus subdued rebellious Egypt 350 B.C., and since that time no native prince has ruled in Egypt. It is also written that Egypt should become the basest of the kingdoms, “Neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; for I will diminish them that they shall no more rule over the nations.” This degradation has fully come to pass. Who would ever have thought that this magnificent country with its vast resources, its wonderful commerce, its great prosperity, its luxuries, the land of marvelous structures, could ever experience such a downfall! Another significant fact is that in spite of the great humiliation and degradation through which Egypt has passed for so many centuries, it is not to experience a total extinction. In this respect her fate differs from that of other nations, “They shall be there a base kingdom” ( Ezekiel 29:14); this is the condition of Egypt today. And other prophets announce the same fact. One of the earliest prophets is Joel.
He prophesied between 860 and 850 B.C. He predicted at that early date, “Egypt shall be a desolation.” Isaiah also foretells the awful judgment of this great land of ancient culture. In the light of unfulfilled prophecy we discover the reason why God has not permitted the complete extinction of Egypt. Egypt is yet to be lifted out of the dust and is to receive a place of blessing only second to that of Israel ( Isaiah 19:22-25). This will be fulfilled when our Lord comes again.
And what more could we say of Idumea, Babylonia, Assyria and other lands. Moab and Ammon, the enemies of Israel, once flourishing nations, have passed away and the numerous judgment predictions have come true. (See Jeremiah 48-49). Edom is gone. “O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that boldest the height of the hill, though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith Jehovah” ( Jeremiah 49:16). “Thou shalt be desolate, O Mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it” ( Ezekiel 35:15).
Babylonia and Assyria, once the granaries of Asia, the garden spots of that continent, enjoying a great civilization, are now in desolation and mostly unproductive deserts. The predictions of Isaiah and Jeremiah have been fulfilled. The judgments predicted to come upon Babylon were also fulfilled long ago. “How utterly improbable it must have sounded to the contemporaries of Isaiah and Jeremiah, that the great Babylon, this oldest metropolis Of the world, founded by Nimrod, planned to be a city on the Euphrates much larger than Paris of today, surrounded by walls four hundred feet high, on the top of which four chariots, each drawn by four horses, could be driven side by side; in the center a large, magnificent park an hour’s walk in circumference, watered by machinery; in it the king’s twelve palaces, surrounding the great temple of the sun-god with its six hundred-foot tower and its gigantic golden statue — should be converted into a heap of ruins in the midst of a desert! Who today would have any faith in a similar prophecy against Berlin or London or Paris or New York?” (Prof. Bettex).
THE BOOK OF DANIEL
The Book of Daniel, however, supplies the most startling evidences of fulfilled prophecy. No other book has been so much attacked as this great book. For about two thousand years wicked men, heathen philosophers, and infidels have tried to break down its authority. It has proven to be the anvil upon which the critics’ hammers have been broken to pieces. The Book of Daniel has survived all attacks. It has been denied that Daniel wrote the book during the Babylonian captivity. The critics claim that it was written during the time of the Maccabees. Kuenen, Wellhausen, Canon Farrar, Driver and others but repeat the statements of the assailant of Christianity of the third century, the heathen Porphyry, who contended that the Book of Daniel was a forgery. Such is the company in which the higher critics are found. The Book of Daniel has been completely vindicated. The prophet wrote the book and its magnificent prophecies in Babylon. All doubt as to that has been forever removed, and men who still repeat the infidel oppositions against the book, oppositions of a past generation, must be branded as ignorant, or considered the willful enemies of the Bible.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S GREAT DREAM
The great dream of Nebuchadnezzar is recorded in the second chapter of the Book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar who had been constituted by Jehovah a great monarch over the earth ( Jeremiah 27:5-9) desired to know the future. All his astrologers and soothsayers, his magicians and mediums, could not do that. Their predictions left him still in doubt ( Daniel 2:29).
The great man-image the king beheld is the symbol of the great world empires Which were to follow the Babylonian empire. The image had a head of gold; the chest and arms were of silver; the trunk and the thighs were of brass; the two legs of iron, and the two feet were composed of iron mixed with clay. The Lord made known through the prophet the meaning of this dream.
Nebuchadnezzar and the empire over which he ruled is symbolized by the golden head. An inferior kingdom was to come after the Babylonian Empire; its symbol is silver. This kingdom was to be followed by a third kingdom of brass to bear rule over all the earth. The fourth kingdom was to be strong as iron and was to subdue all things. Exactly three great world powers came after the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian, the Graeco- Macedonian and the Roman. Interesting it is to learn, from the different metals of which the image was composed, the process of deterioration which was to characterize the successive monarchies. The fourth empire, the Roman world power, is seen in its historic division, indicated by the two legs. The empire consisted of two parts, the East and West Roman sections. Then the division of the Empire into kingdoms in which iron (monarchical form of government) and the clay (the rule of the people) should be present is also predicted. How all this has come to pass is too well known to need any further demonstration. These empires have come and gone and the territory of the old Roman Empire presents today the very condition as predicted in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Monarchies and republics are in existence upon that territory. The final division into ten kingdoms has not yet been accomplished. The unfulfilled portion of this dream we do not follow here. The reader may find this explained in the author’s exposition of Daniel.
DANIEL’S GREAT VISION OF THE WORLD POWERS
In the seventh chapter Daniel relates his first great vision. The four beasts he saw rising out of the sea, the type of nations, are symbolical of the same world powers. The lion with eagle’s wings is Babylonia. Jeremiah also pictured Nebuchadnezzar as a lion. “The lion has come up from his thicket and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way” ( Jeremiah 4:7).
Ezekiel speaks of him as a great eagle. ( Ezekiel 17:3). The Medo- Persian Empire is seen as a bear raised up on one side and having three ribs in its mouth. The one side appeared stronger because this second world empire had Persia for its stronger element. The three ribs the bear holds as prey predict the conquests of that empire. Medo-Persia conquered exactly three great provinces, Susiana, Lydia and Asia Minor. The leopard with four wings and four heads is the picture of the Graeco-Macedonian Empire. The four wings denote its swiftness and rapid advance so abundantly fulfilled in the conquests of Alexander the Great. The four heads of the leopard predict the partition of this empire into the kingdoms of Syria, Egypt, Macedonia and Asia Minor. The fourth beast, the great nondescript, with its ten horns, and the little horn, still to come, is the Roman Empire. These are wonderful things. Be it remembered that the prophet received the vision when the Babylonian Empire still existed. Here also the character of these empires typified by ferocious beasts is revealed.
The great nations of Christendom which occupy the ground of the Roman Empire testify unconsciously to the truth of this great prophecy. The emblems of these nations are not doves, little lambs or other harmless creatures. They have chosen the lion, the bear, the unicorn, the eagle and the double-headed eagle.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT PREDICTED
In the eighth chapter a new prophecy is revealed through Daniel. Once more the Medo-Persian Empire is seen, this time under the figure of a ram with two horns, one higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
It foretells the composition of that empire. It was composed of the Medes and the Persians; the Persians came in last and were the strongest. It conquered in three directions. This corresponds to the bear with the three ribs in the previous chapter.
The he-goat which Daniel sees coming from the west with a great rush is the type of the leopard empire, the Graeco-Macedonian. The same swiftness as revealed in the leopard with four wings is seen here again. The notable horn upon the he-goat, symbolizing the Macedonian Empire, is Alexander the Great. Josephus tells us that Alexander was greatly moved when the Jewish high priest Jaddua acquainted him with the meaning of this prophecy written over two hundred years before. And how was it fulfilled, what is predicted in Daniel 8:5-8? 334 B.C. the notable horn, Alexander, in goat-like fashion, leaped across the Hellespont and fought successful battles, then pushed on to the banks of the Indus and the Nile and from there to Shushan. The great battles of the Granicus (334 B.C.), Issus (333 B.C.), and Arbella (331 B.C.) were fought, and with irresistible force he stamped the power of Persia and its king, Darius Codomannus, to the ground. He conquered rapidly Syria, Phoenicia, Cyprus, Pyre, Gaza, Egypt, Babylonia, Persia. In 329 he conquered Bactria, crossed the Oxus and Jaxaitis and defeated the Scythians. And thus he stamped upon the ram after having broken its horns. But when the he-goat had waxed very great, the great horn was broken. This predicted the early and sudden death of Alexander the Great. He died after a reign of 12 years and eight months, after a career of drunkenness and debauchery in 323 B.C. He died when he was but 32 years old. Then four notable ones sprang up in the place of the broken horn. This too has been fulfilled, for the empire of Alexander was divided into four parts. Four of the great generals of Alexander made the division, namely, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus and Ptolemy. The four great divisions were Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, and Asia Minor.
In verses 19 to 24 of the eighth chapter of Daniel the coming of a wicked leader, to spring out of one of the divisions of the Macedonian Empire and the vile work he was to do, is predicted. He was to work great havoc in the pleasant land, that is, Israel’s land.
History does not leave us in doubt about the identity of this wicked king.
He is the eighth king of the Seleucid dynasty, who took the Syrian throne and is known by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes, and bore also the name of Epimanes, i.e., “the Madman.” He was the tyrant and oppressor of the Jews. His wicked deeds of oppression, blasphemy and sacrilege are fully described in the Book of the Maccabees. Long before he ever appeared Daniel saw him and his wicked work in his vision.
And all this has been fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes. When he had conquered Jerusalem he sacrificed a sow upon the altar of burnt offerings and sprinkled its broth over the entire building. He corrupted the youths of Jerusalem by introducing lewd practices; the feast of tabernacles he changed into the feast of Bacchus. He auctioned off the high-priest-hood.
All kinds of infamies were perpetrated by him and the most awful obscenity permitted and encouraged. All true worship was forbidden, and idol worship introduced, especially that of Jupiter Olympus. The whole city and land was devastated and some 100,000 pious Jews were massacred. Such has been the remarkable fulfillment of this prophecy.
Even the duration of this time of trouble was revealed; and 2,300 days are mentioned. These 2,300 days cover about the period of time during which Antiochus Epiphanes did his wicked deeds. The chronology of these 2,300 days is interesting. Judas Maccabaeus cleansed (lit. justified) the sanctuary from the abomination about December 25, 165 B.C. Antiochus died a miserable death two years later. Going back 2,300 days from the time Judas the Maccabean cleansed the defiled temple, brings us to 171 B.C. when we find the record of Antiochus’ interference with the Jews.
Menelaus had bribed Antiochus to make him high priest, robbed the temple and instituted the murder of the high priest Onias III. The most wicked deeds in the defilement of the temple were perpetrated by the leading general of Antiochus, Apollonius, in the year 168 B.C. We believe these 2,300 days are therefore literal days and have found their literal fulfillment in the dreadful days of this wicked king from the North. There is no other meaning attached to these days and the foolish speculations that these days are years, etc., lack Scriptural foundation altogether.
THE GREATEST OF ALL
The greatest prophecy in the Book of Daniel is contained in the ninth chapter, the prophecy concerning the 70 weeks, transmitted from heaven through Gabriel. ( Daniel 9:24-27). To many readers of the Book of Daniel it is not quite clear what the expression “seventy weeks” means, and when it is stated that each week represents a period of seven years, many Christians do not know why such is the case. A brief word of explanation may therefore be in order. The literal translation of the term “seventy weeks” is “seventy sevens.” Now this word “sevens” translated “weeks” may mean “days” and it may mean “years.” What then is meant here, seventy times seven days or seventy times seven years? It is evident that the “sevens” mean year weeks, seven years to each prophetic week. Daniel was occupied in reading the books and in prayer with the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity. And now Gabriel is going to reveal to him something which will take place in “seventy sevens,” which means seventy times seven years. The proof that such is the case is furnished by the fulfillment of the prophecy itself.
First we notice in the prophecy that these 70 year-weeks are divided in three parts. Seven times seven (49 years) are to go by till the commanded rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem should be accomplished. In the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem.
It was in the year 445 B.C., exactly 49 years after the wall of Jerusalem and the city had been rebuilt. Then 62 weeks are given as the time when Messiah should be cut off and have nothing. This gives us 434 years (62 times 7). Here is a prediction concerning the death of Christ. Has it been fulfilled? Chronology shows that exactly 483 years after Artaxerxes gave the command to restore Jerusalem (445 B. C.), 434 years after the city had been restored, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ took place.
To be more exact, on the day on which our Lord Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem for the last time, the number of years announced by Gabriel expired and the Lord was crucified that week. The proof of it is perfect.
But there is more to be said. As a result of the cutting off of Messiah something else is prophesied. “And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” The prince that is to come (and is yet to come) is the little horn of Daniel 7. He arises out of the Roman Empire. The people of the prince that shall come are therefore the Roman people. They have fulfilled this prophecy by destroying the temple and the city.
THE WARS OF THE PTOLEMIES AND SELEUCIDAE
The greater part of the eleventh chapter in Daniel has been historically fulfilled. It is an interesting study. So accurate are the predictions that the enemies of the Bible have tried their very best to show that Daniel did not write these prophecies several hundred years before they occurred. But they have failed in their miserable attempts. We place the startling evidence before our readers.
PROPHECY GIVEN B.C. 534 FULFILLMENT PROPHECY GIVEN B.C. 534 FULFILLMENT
"And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia." (Verse 2.)
See Ezra 4. 5-24. The three kings were:
Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes and Darius, known in history as Cambyses, Pseudo Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspis (not Darius the Mede). The fourth one was Xerxes, who, as history tells us, was immensely rich. The invasion of Greece took place in 480 B.C. "And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will." (Verse 3.)
The successors of Xerxes are not mentioned. The mighty king in this verse is the notable horn seen by Daniel on the hegoat in chapter 8, Alexander the Great, B.C. "And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up even for others besides those." (Verse 4.)
B.C. 323. Alexander died young. The notable horn was broken: His kingdom was divided into four parts (four winds) after the battle of Ipsus 301 B.C. His posterity did not receive the kingdom, but his four generals, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Seleucus Nicator and Cassander. Not one of these divisions reached to the glory of Alexander's dominion. "And the king of the South shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion." (Verse 5.)
Asia and Greece are not followed but Syria and Egypt become prominent, because the King of the North from Syria, and the King of the South, Egypt, were to come in touch with the Jews. The holy land became involved with both. The King of the South was Ptolemy emy Lagus. One of his princes was Seleucus Nicator. He established a great dominion, which extended to the Indus. "And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the South shall come to the King of the North to make an agreement; but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he Here is another gap. This verse takes us to 250 B.C. The two who make an alliance are the Kings of the North (Syrian division of the Grecian Empire) and of the South (Egypt). This alliance was effected by the marriage of the daughter of the King of the South, the Egyptian Princess Berenice. daughter of Ptolemy II, to Antiochus Theos, the King of the North. The agreement was that Antiochus had to divorce his wife and that strengthened her in these times." (Verse 6.) make any child of Berenice his heir in the kingdom. The agreement ended in calamity. When Ptolemy died Antiochus Theos in 247 called back his former wife.
Berenice and her young son were poisoned and the first wife's son, Callinicus, was put on the throne as Seleucus II. "But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the King of the North, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail." (Verse 7.)
He conquered Syria. He dealt against Seleucus II, King of the North, and slew the wife of Antiochus Theos, who had Berenice poisoned. He seized the fortress, the port of Antioch. "And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the King of the North." (Verse 8.)
Ptolemy Euergetes did exactly as predicted.
He returned with 4,000 talents of gold and 40,000 talents of silver and 2,500 idols and idolatrous vessels. Many of these Cambyses had taken to Persia. "So the King of the South shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land." (Verse 9.)
In 240 B.C. Seleucus Callinicus the King of the North invaded Egypt. He had to return defeated. His fleet perished in a storm. (Literal translation): "and the same [King of the North] shall come into the realm of the King of the South, but shall return into his own land."
The sons of Seleucus Callinicus were Seleucus III and Antiochus the Great.
Seleueus (Ceraunos) III began war against Egyptian Provinces in Asia Minor. He was unsuccessful. The other son Antioch invaded Egypt and passed through because Ptolemy Philopater did not oppose him. In 218 B.C. Antiochus continued his warfare and took the fortress Gaza. "But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces; and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress." (Verse 10.)
In 217 B.C. Ptolemy aroused himself and fought Antiochus the Great with an immense army. He defeated Antiochus. The multitude was given into the hands of Ptolemy Philopater. "And the King of the South shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the King of the North:
The people of Egypt rose up and the weakling Ptolemy became courageous. His victory is again referred to. It was won at Raphia. He might have pressed his victory. and he shall set forth a great multitude but the multitude shall be given into his hand." (Verse 11.)
But he did not make use of it but gave himself up to a licentious life. Thus "he was not strengthened by it." "And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up, and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it." (Verse 12.) (Literal: "And the multitude shall rise up and his courage increase.") About 14 years later, 203 B.C., Antiochus assembled a great army, greater than the army which was defeated at Raphia, and turned against Egypt. Ptolemy Philopater had died and left an infant son Ptolemy Epiphanes. "For the King of the North shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches." (Verse 13.)
Antiochus had for his ally Philip, King of Macedon. Also in Egypt many rebels stood up. And then there were, as we read in Josephus, wicked Jews, who helped Antiochus. These "robbers of thy people" established the vision. They helped along the very things which had been predicted, as to trials for them. "And in those times there shall many stand up against the King of the South: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall." (Verse 14.)
All this was fulfilled in the severe struggles, which followed. "So the King of the North shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the South shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand." (Verse 15.)
The invasion of the glorious land by Antiochus followed. He subjected the whole land unto himself. He also was well disposed towards the Jews because they sided with Antiochus the Great against Ptolemy Epiphanes. "But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed." (Verse 16.)
This brings us to the years 198-195 B.C.
Antiochus aimed to get full possession of Egypt. An agreement was made. In this treaty between Antiochus and Ptolemy Epiphanes, Cleopatra, daughter of Antiochus was espoused to Ptolemy. Why is Cleopatra called "daughter of women?"
Because she was very young and was under the care of her mother and grandmother.
The treaty failed. "He shall also set his face to enter A few years later Antiochus conquered isles with the strength of his whole kingdom, and an agreement shall be made with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him." (Verse 17.) on the coast of Asia Minor. "After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince [literally:
The captain predicted is Scipio Asiaticus.
Antiochus had reproached the Romans by his acts and he was defeated. This defeat took place at Magnesia 190 B.C. "Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found." (Verse 19.)
Antiochus returns to his own land. He came to a miserable end trying to plunder the temple of Belus in Elymais, "Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle." (Verse 20.)
This is Seleucus Philopater B.C. 187-176.
He was known as a raiser of taxes. He had an evil reputation with the Jews because he was such an exactor among them. His taxcollector Heliodorus poisoned him and so he was slain "neither in anger, nor in battle." "And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries." (Verse 21.)
This vile person is none other than Antiochus Epiphanes. He had no claim on royal dignities, being only a younger son of Antiochus the Great. He seized royal honors by trickery and with flatteries. He is the little horn of chapter 8. "And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince cf the covenant." (Verse 22.)
He was successful in defeating his enemies.
The prince of the covenant may mean his nephew Ptolemy Philometor. He also vanquished Philometor's generals. "And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people." (Verse 23.)
He reigned friendship to young Ptolemy but worked deceitfully. To allay suspicion he came against Egypt with a small force but took Egypt as far as Memphis. "He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his father's father; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds, even for a time." (Verse 24.)
He took possession of the fertile places in Egypt under the pretense of peace. He took Pelusium and laid seige to the fortified places Naucratis and Alexandria. "And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the King of the South with a great army; and the King of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him." (Verse 25.)
This King of the South is Ptolemy Physcon, who was made king after Philometor had fallen into the hands of Antiochus. He had a great army but did not succeed, because treason had broken out in his own camp. "Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain." (Verse 26.)
Additional actions of Antiochus and warfare, in which he was successful, followed. "And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed." (Verse 27.)
The two kings are Antiochus Epiphanes and his associate Philometor. They made an alliance against Ptolemy Euergetes II, also called Physcon. But they spoke lies against each other and did not succeed in their plans. "Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land." (Verse 28.)
In the first and second book of the Maccabees we read of his atrocities. Then he retired to Antioch. "At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the South; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter." (Verse 29.)
When within a few miles of Alexandria he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant." (Verse 30.) heard that ships had arrived. He went to salute them. They delivered to him the letters of the senate, in which he was commanded, on pain of the displeasure of the Roman people, to put an end to the war against his nephews. Antiochus said, "he would go and consult his friends;" on which Popilius, one of the legates, took his staff, and instantly drew a circle round Antiochus on the sand, where he stood; and commanded him not to pass that circle, till he had given a definite answer. As a grieved and defeated man he returned and then he fell upon Judea once more to commit additional wickedness. Apostate Jews sided with him. "And arms shall stand on his part and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." (Verse 31.)
This brings us to the climax of the horrors under Antiochus Epiphanes. The previous record of it is contained in chapter 8. He sent Apollonius with over 20,000 men to destroy Jerusalem. Multitudes were slain, and women and children led away as captives. He issued a command that all people must conform to the idolatry of Greece. A wicked Grecian was sent to enforce the word of Antiochus. All sacrifices ceased and the God-given ceremonials of Judaism came to an end.
The temple was polluted by the sacrifices of swine's flesh. The temple was dedicated to Jupiter Olympius. Thus the prediction was fulfilled. "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits, "And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. "Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries." (Verses 32- 34.)
These verses describe the condition among the Jewish people. There were two classes.
Those who did wickedly against the covenant, the apostate, and those who knew God, a faithful remnant. The apostates sided with the enemy, and the people who knew God were strong. This has reference to the noble Maccabees. There was also suffering and persecution.
MANY MORE FULFILLED PROPHECIES
Many other fulfilled prophecies might be quoted. In the last chapter of Daniel an interesting prediction is made concerning the time of the end. “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Sir Isaac Newton, the discoverer of the law of gravitation, wrote on Daniel and expressed his belief that some day people would travel at the rate of fifty miles an hour. The French infidel Voltaire many years later laughed at Newton’s statement and held it up to ridicule. The time of the end is here and the prophecy of Daniel 12:4 has come true.
In the New Testament are also written prophecies which are now in process of fulfillment. 1 Timothy 4:1,2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 4:1-3; Peter 2; Jude’s Epistle, and other Scriptures predict the present day apostasy.
As stated before, there are many unfulfilled prophecies in the Bible. The literal fulfillment of prophecies in the past vouches for the literal fulfillment of every prophecy in the Word of God. Some of them were uttered several thousand years ago. The world still waits for their fulfillment. May we remember that God does not need to be in a hurry. He knows indeed the end from the beginning. He takes His time in accomplishing His eternal purposes. And may we, His people, who know and love His Word, not neglect prophecy, for the Prophetic Word is the lamp which shineth in a dark place.