22.—The Time of the End
The revelator having pointed out to Daniel the characteristic marks, by which the Little-Horn-of-the-Goat-Power might be known, directs his attention to what should happen to it “at the time of the end”, which is the “time appointed” for the denouement or issue to which the whole prophecy of Daniel points. Habakkuk had a vision of the catastrophe; and in noting it down said, “at the end it shall speak, and not lie”: and because the truth of the matter would not be discovered till then, Daniel was told to “Shut up the words and seal the book to the time of the end, … for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end”.
The time of the end, then, is the period of the opening and unsealing of the words of the book; so that it may speak intelligibly to “the wise”. The opening and unsealing is effected by the events of the time being an unmistakable fulfilment of what is written: so that every one of “the wise” cannot fail to understand.
The time of the end has its beginning, and ending; and period is intermediate between the beginning and the ending. Its approach marked by an event connected with Egypt; and its ending by a consummation connected with Israel. The fortieth verse of the eleventh chapter announces its beginning by informing the reader that “at”, or near, “the time of the end shall the King of the South push at him”. For the southern horn of the Goat to push at him is for the Egyptian Power to attack the Little Horn Power; for “the king” or Little Horn of the Goat is the power last discoursed of in the preceding context. This attack, then, upon the Ottoman régime of the kingdom of Babylon, by the Ruler of Egypt, including Arabia, etc., indicates the approach of the Time of the End. The conclusion of it is marked by the event predicted in the seventh verse of the last chapter, which is to be completed at the end of “a time, times, and an half”, and noted in the words, “When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished”. Between these two orders of events, the attack of Egypt on the Porte, and the reconcentration of the power of the Twelve Tribes, the vision speaks, and no more of the book of Daniel remains to be fulfilled—the Time of the End will have passed away, in other words, with the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
The reader, on turning to the eleventh chapter, will find that no more is said about the King of the South, or of Egypt, after the ships of Chittim interfered in his behalf against Antiochus, the King of the North, until the fortieth verse. Between the first event of this verse, then, and that of the thirtieth is an interval of about 2000 years. During this long time no note is made of Egypt in the prophecy, nor of the King of the North from the time of the Maccabees, through whom Judah was “holpen with a little help” (verse 34). The connecting link in the prophetic chain between B.C. 160 and A.D. 1838 is the Little Horn of the Goat which incorporated the Assyrian kingdom of the north, and the kingdom of the south, into its own dominion. But in the year 1829, Egypt, which had been so long in vassalage to the Little Horn, or Constantinopolitan power, revolted; and reappeared on the map of the Babylonian world as a kingly power. Mehemet Ali then established himself as king of the south. He attacked and conquered Syria, and for a time was lord ascendant of the east. This exaltation opened new prospects to Mehemet, and he aspired to the throne of the Sultan. The time of the end was approaching, there being only twenty-two years of the evening-morning 2400 years to expire. In 1838 he “pushed at” the Sultan. Hitherto he had confined his operations to Egypt, Arabia, and Syria, but now at the dosing of the war he pushed for Constantinople, and advanced as far as Smyrna; and but for the interference of Russia, Austria, Prussia, and England, unconsciously “to establish the vision”, he Would doubtless have dethroned him. Wearied of this state of affairs, these powers undertook to establish peace, and to place things on a permanent footing. They ordered the king of the south to surrender Syria including Palestine to the sovereignty of the Little Horn, and to restore its fleet which had revolted from the Sultan during the war. Mehemet refused to do either, contending that Syria was his as a part of his kingdom by right of conquest for ever, and the fleet as the spoils of war. These four powers, however, were not to be trifled with. They were willing that the throne of Egypt should be hereditary in his family; but resolved that he should only be Pacha of Syria for life. But the king of the south would not yield, and the result was that the allied fleet under Sir Charles Napier bombarded the dries of the Syrian sea-board, and took possession of St. Jean d’Acre. They again offered him “all that part of Syria, extending from the Gulf of Suez to the Lake of Tiberias, together with the province of Acre for life”, if he would restore the Little Horn’s fleet. But he still refused, and in the autumn of 1840, they compelled the Egyptians to evacuate the country, and determined he should not have it at all; and threatened that if he did not restore the fleet in ten days, they would make Alexandria too hot to hold him. Prudence, said to be the better part of valour, at length overcame the obstinacy of the king of the south; he therefore yielded, and surrendered the ships within the time. Thus, the Holy Land was wrested from the Ruler of Egypt and restored to the sovereignty of the Constantinopolitan Little Horn, which still continues to possess the country.
Such was the important series of events which marked the approaching termination of the 2,400 years, and the commencing of the Time of the End. The king of the south’s pushing at “the king” terminating in the disposal of the Holy Land is evidential of the time approaching to which Yahweh refers in Lev. 26:42, saying, “I will remember my covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will remember the land”. The king of the south claimed the land as his for ever; but Yahweh hath said, “The land shall not be sold for ever; for the land is mine”. If then the God of Israel would not permit the people of His own nation to alienate it from one to another for ever, He would be far from permitting a Gentile power to possess it, or the Allies to grant it him, for ever. The hand of Yahweh may be dearly discerned in the events of this epoch. He hardened the Ruler of Egypt’s heart not to accept the land on any other terms than his own, which were certain not to be granted. If they had yielded to his demand, the present “eastern question” involving the overthrow of the Ottoman dynasty of the Little Horn, could not have been created. If the Allies had allowed the king of the south to retain possession of the Holy Land, the Frog-Power could have made no demands on the Sultan for the protectorate of the Holy Places. The application must have been made at Alexandria instead of Constantinople, which would have deprived Russia of the power of interference, having no access to Egypt by land, and her fleets being shut up in the Baltic and Black Sea. But in 1840 the time had nearly come to put things in train for “avenging the holy”, which had been so long trodden under foot of the worst of the Gentiles. It was necessary, therefore, to place the land under the sovereignty of the Porte, so that when the question of the Holy Places should be mooted by the Frog-Power, it might stir up the King of the North to jealousy, and bring him into collision with the Little Horn. The transfer, then, of the land from Egypt to the Porte prepared the way for the demands of the Frog-Power on the Sultan; the granting of these stirred up the King of the North to send Menschikoff to pick a quarrel with the Sultan, who having rejected his demands found it necessary to prepare for the worst. Meantime the King of the North crossed the Pruth, and took up his position in the Moldo-Wallachian principalities of the Little Horn. It is clear, then, that as far as statesmanship is concerned, the attack of the Allied Powers on Egypt in 1840, and their restitution of the Holy Land to the Porte, was a great political blunder. They should have left it in the possession of the King of the South, or have given it to the Jews under their joint protectorate, and the Crimean phase of the Eastern Question, with all its terrible accompaniments, would never have occurred. But their counsel was turned into foolishness by Yahweh, whose purposes are diametrically opposed to theirs. Their purpose is to establish Gentile sovereignty over the East for ever: while, on the contrary, His avowed intention is to restore the kingdom to Israel with dominion over the world. These projects are as opposite as the poles, and each project has its policy. The European Powers unsheathed the sword, that the purpose of the strongest might be established. The West was sanguine of speedy and entire success. The boastings of England and France were premature. When they don their armour Powers no more than men should boast; it is time enough for that when they come to put it off. Woefully will these western powers be deceived in the result of the coming struggle. The Ottoman empire will be dried up, and “the sick man” must die in spite of all their efforts to save him. The sure word of prophecy is against them, and shines upon their patient’s doom as near, sudden, and complete. He is already in articulo morris, and his efforts but the convulsive energies of an expiring man.
The rest of the events predicted from the fortieth verse of this chapter to the second verse of chapter twelve all belong to the time of the end, and are yet future. The king of the north is to come against the Little Horn king, and to sweep away the reigning dynasty; many countries are to be overthrown; the land of Egypt will be taken from its Mohammedan rulers; the Holy Land will be invaded by the northern king; his power will be broken there; the nations will be in such trouble as they were never in before; the Lord Jesus Christ will appear on the arena of conflict; the dead will be raised, and the righteous glorified; and the Kingdom of God established on the ruin of the Kingdom of Men. These are speaking events, trumpet-tongued proclaiming the purpose of Yahweh in all His doings among the children of men.