14.—“Messiah The Prince”
It may be in place here briefly to consider the titles given to the chieftain in this prophecy who is to deliver Judah, and break the adversary in pieces. In the eighth chapter he is designated by two titles; the one, Sar-hatz-zavah, Commander of the army; and the other, Sar-sahrim, Commander of commanders, or Commander-in-Chief of the army. In the seventh chapter, the Son of Man and the holy ones, and their people, are introduced upon the arena of the Dragon-power, with judgment given to them for its destruction; but the military relation they were to sustain towards one another in the work, though it might be inferred, was not expressed. In the chapter before us, however, this deficiency is supplied: the Son of Man is styled Commander-in-Chief; the holy ones, Commanders; and their people, the army of the heavens. Thus, a military power is prospectively prepared for the work of destroying the armies of the Gentiles when, as in the days of Joshua, Israel shall be commissioned to go up and possess the Holy Land, and to subdue the kingdoms of the west.
The Bible is full of testimony to this effect, which in the New Testament is pictorially illustrated. There the Commander-in-Chief is represented as a King and General riding a white horse, clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and a sharp sword going out of his mouth, that with it he should smite the nations. This symbol is declared to be representative of the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who judges and makes war in righteousness, and treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Rev. 19:11–16). In another chapter, he is styled “The Lamb”. Speaking of the papal kings of the west, the Spirit says: “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14). As to the person represented by the Lamb, he is defined as one that had been slain, and had redeemed his companion kings and lords from among Israel and the nations (Rev. 5:6–10). No person intelligent in the Scriptures can deny that these symbols are representative of Jesus Christ in the character of a Royal Military Commander in active service against the armies of the Gentiles. The white horse that bears the Conquering Hero is Judah; and the “sword going forth from his mouth” is Ephraim, or the Ten Tribes of Israel with them; as is proved by the following testimonies: “Yahweh of armies hath visited the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle: and they shall be as mighty men who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle; and they shall fight, because Yahweh is with them” (Zech. 10:3–5). Israel is Yahweh’s inheritance, therefore thus saith Yahweh, “Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war; for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers” (Jer. 51:19–23). “Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in Yahweh, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel” (Isa. 41:15–16). “I will render double unto thee when I have bent Judah for me, filled the (Judah) bow with Ephraim (as the arrow), and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee (Zion) as the sword of a mighty man. And Yahweh shall be seen over them, and his arrow (Ephraim) shall go forth as the lightning: and Adonai Yahweh shall blow the trumpet, and shall go forth as whirlwinds of the south” (Zech. 9:13–14).
In these testimonies there are things affirmed that never have come to pass since they were written. Judah has never been since then Yahweh’s goodly horse in the battle, fighting because He was with them, and seen over them. Instead of Israel breaking in pieces the nations, destroying kingdoms, and reducing the empires of the Gentiles to chaff, they have been themselves the broken and destroyed. What is here testified remains to be accomplished in the simultaneous breaking to pieces of the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron, and the clay of Nebuchadnezzar’s Image; and the reducing them to the likeness of the chaff of the summer threshingfloors: and in the overcoming of the armies of the Beast and the kings of the Latino-Greek dominion. In this war, which will be the last on the Babylonian earth for a thousand years, “Israel will do valiantly” (Num. 24:18), as the goodly horse and sword of the Mighty One, as represented in the apocalypse of John.
The commanders of whom the Lord Jesus is the royal chief, are represented as his body-guards, or staff, in the apocalyptic vision. They are there styled ta strateumata, the body-guards in the heaven that “follow him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean”. As they are his associate commanders of Judah, their king’s goodly horse, they are fitly represented as all riding horses similar to his. The Commander-in-Chief’s vesture is dipped in human blood; because before the things represented in the nineteenth chapter, he had trodden the winepress alone, and stained all his raiment at Bozrah (Isa. 63:1–4), when he shatters the Russo-Gogian Image into fragmental parts, previous to “breaking them to pieces together”. After the overthrow at Bozrah, he prepares to subdue the West; and in this preparation he summons his soldiery to the conflict under his companions in arms his joint-commanders of Israel. Until the battle of Bozrah, their vestments are unstained with the blood of the enemy, and therefore represented simply as emblematic of their character. To be clothed in “fine linen, white and clean”, is significant of the wearer’s righteousness. This is the interpretation put upon the symbolic raiment in the eighth verse of this chapter; for, speaking of these holy ones as constituents of the Bride ready for union with the Lamb, it is there written: “To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is (or represents) the righteousness of the holy ones”. They therefore who are represented as clothed with this figurative raiment are the holy ones spoken of in Daniel; and prepared to go forth with Jesus as the One Yahweh, to judge and make war in righteousness. They are the lords, and kings of whom he is the Lord and King—“the called, and chosen, and faithful that are with him” (Rev. 17:14); the “redeemed from among men, who follow him whithersoever he goeth” (Rev. 14:1–5).
In the ninth of Daniel, as we have seen, this great commander of heaven’s forces against the Russianized Græco-Latin confederacy occupying the Holy Land, is styled the Holy One of holy ones, which is equivalent to the Most Holy of them. He was to be anointed by the Spirit of Yahweh, which was done at his baptism in the Jordan. He was therefore the Anointed Most Holy One of the Father, who had constituted him the heir of the throne of His Kingdom of Israel. For this cause he is styled mahshiach nahgid, the anointed prince royal; or as in the common version, Messiah the Prince. In the twenty-sixth verse in one sentence he is termed the Anointed One; and in another simply nahgid, or prince royal. In the Syriac version, “the anointed prince royal” is expressed by “the Anointed One the King”, as though it were melekh instead of nahgid. But, I conceive, that there is all the difference between melekh and nahgid as that existing between the heir-apparent and the king upon his throne. Till the Anointed One ascends the throne of his father David he is Prince Royal, or king expectant, not king in fact. It must be so; for a melekh, or king, is one who reigns, and not one who expects to reign. This distinction is maintained by Jesus himself in the twenty-fifth of Matthew. In the thirty-first verse of that chapter, when speaking of his appearing in glory to sit upon the throne of his glory, he styles himself simply “the Son of Man”; but when he possesses that throne, and invites the blessed of the Father to occupy the kingdom in verse 34, he terms himself “the King”.
But, if Sar mean “prince”, in the sense in which the Son of Man is a prince royal, as the common version has it for nahgid, nahsi, as well as sar, why is he not styled the anointed Sar? If the revelator did not intend to convey distinct ideas concerning the Son of Man, I do not see why these three words should be all applied to him. King James’ translators discerned no reason for the employment of these various words; so they rendered them all by the one word, “prince”. But I see no reason to follow their example. I take it rather that there was design in the variety; each word being adapted to the Son of Man in the part he was represented as enacting at the time; thus, while breaking the Russo-Gogian confederacy he is called Sar; when making expiation for iniquity his military character is veiled, and he is styled the anointed most holy one, or nahgid; and when elevated to the throne in Israel, he is termed nahsi: so that a sar anointed becomes a nahgid; and a nahgid elevated to his throne a nahsi.
This verbal criticism is in harmony with after developments. At the end of the sixty-nine heptades, or 483 years, John the immerser heralded the approaching manifestation of a royal personage, a nahgid; not of a military commander, or Sar, but of the future majesty of the kingdom of the heavens. The Son of Man was to appear as the rightful claimant of David’s throne and the Holy Land; that is, to establish his right to it; not to gather Israel to his standard at that time for a contest with the Latino-Greek Little Horn, then “waxed exceeding great”. The time had not come for that, as he told Pontius Pilate. He came, not only to prove his claim, but to bring the Abrahamic Covenant into force by his death and resurrection; that by virtue of it he might afterwards rightfully lay hold of the sovereignty of Israel and the nations, and compel the latter by the edge of the sword to recognize him as king of all the earth. No other conqueror by whom he will have been preceded since the days of Nimrod will have been able to prove his right to universal dominion by virtue of a legal instrument divinely attested and confirmed. Their right has been derived from their own swords; and they have reigned on the principle that “might is right; therefore keep who can”. Israel’s Commander-in-Chief claims all existing dominions by right derived from the Deity; and proclaims his intention to meet them upon their own principle, and laying hold upon them with a strong arm, to wrest from them their thrones, and to keep them by his might.
Had Gabriel told Daniel that it should be 483 years to the Anointed One, the Sar, he would perhaps have expected him in the capacity of a military chieftain within the 490 years; and then, if Gabriel had added, the Anointed One shall be cut off, or “slain”, as the Syriac has it, he might have inferred, that he would be slain in battle: but when he heard that he was to be put to death as prince royal, he would understand that it was in connection with the question of his right to the royalty, as we learn it really was from the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He was put to death as prince royal, not as Sar—as heir of David, and therefore Israel and Judah’s king.
Speaking of the prince, Gabriel said, “The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the holy”. This refers to the “days of vengeance”, or “judgment to come”, preached by the apostles; and referred to by Jesus when he apostrophized the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, saying, “Ye are the children of them who killed the prophets. Fill up then the measure of your fathers. Serpents, generation of vipers, how can ye escape from the judgment of Hinnom’s Vale?” (Matt. 23:29–33). Many of those who very properly reject the notion of the book of Daniel revealing nothing beyond the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, as erroneously imagine that “the prince” was Titus the Roman general, whose troops destroyed the holy, and took away the daily, and cast down the truth, Mosaically typified, to the ground. But Titus was certainly not the prince. He was Sar of the Gentile forces, not a nahgid; and no reason exists why this should be applied to any other person than the Anointed Prince Royal referred to in the context. This was the prince, and the Romans were his people in the same sense in which Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldees were the Deity’s. When Yahweh sent Nebuchadnezzar and his forces against Judah and other nations to destroy them for their wickedness, they were the sword of Yahweh. Speaking of this conqueror, he styles him, “Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant”: and in overthrowing Tyre, Yahweh says, “The Chaldeans wrought for me”; and in their operations against Egypt, he says, “I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put my sword in his hands”. It was so with the Romans, although they knew it not. They wrought for the Prince Royal of Israel against rebellious Judah, who refused to acknowledge him as their king. See the parable comparing the kingdom of the heavens to a certain king who makes a marriage for his son. After he is raised from the dead, messengers are sent to invite Judah to the marriage; but they took his servants and slew them. “But when the king heard thereof he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city” (Matt. 22:7). What armies were these Jesus styles the king’s armies? There is but one answer that can be given—they were the Royal Father’s, and therefore also the Prince Royal, his Son’s; or in the words of the man Gabriel, “the people of the Prince”. This explains the meaning of “an army being given to the Little Horn of the Goat against the evening-morning sacrifice”. The Prince put them in commission for that work; and no doubt, though invisible, superintended the operations of the siege. Hence the coming of the Roman eagles against Judah’s carcass (Deut. 28:26), as Moses had predicted (Matt. 24:27–28; Deut. 28:50), was also the coming (Matt. 10:23), though not the appearing, of the Son of Man. If the prince had not given me army against the city, the Roman eagles would have been stripped of all their feathers; and have met with a fate not less disastrous than that of the Assyrians of old.
The last place in which Messiah is mentioned in Daniel is where he is styled, “Michael the great prince” (Dan. 12:1). Here the word is Sar, not nahgid, as might be expected; seeing that the passage speaks of the time when the Russianized-Latino-Greek confederacy is to be broken on the mountains of Israel by Judah’s king. The phrase would have been better rendered “Michael the great Commander”, whose name well expresses his omnipotence, signifying, “Who like to Power?”. Because Gabriel in the tenth of Daniel speaks of a contemporary angel whom he calls Michael, some there are who think that Michael the great commander is he. But the identity of name is no proof that the same person is referred to in both places. Michael who aided Gabriel against the Angel-Prince of the kingdom of Persia was no doubt the angel-sar Yahweh appointed over Israel in the days of Moses, concerning whom he said, “Beware of him, and obey his voice; for my name (or divine power) is in him” (Exod. 23:20–21). But in the time of trouble this angel is superseded by Jesus, who is the great power of Deity, and therefore styled “Michael the great commander”.