11.—“The Holy shall be Avenged”
After the announcement of the all-conquering prosperity of Judah’s foe, Daniel heard the question asked, “Until when the vision (khahzon), the evening-morning sacrifice (tahmid), and the down-treading of the desolate, to give both the holy (kodesh) and the host a treading down?” Here was an answer sought in regard to three things: first, Unto what period of time should the vision reach, the last incident of which is the destruction of the Latino-Greek Babylonian power? In other words, When should that destruction happen? Secondly, Until when should the evening-morning sacrifice be sup pressed? And thirdly, When should Judah’s rebellion causing desolation, or which had induced all these calamities, have an end? A fourth inquiry might be made which would cover the whole ground, namely, How long shall the treading down of the Holy Land and the Jews continue? Now, the answer which saluted Daniel’s ears shows that the precise point of time, when these things should be, cannot certainly, though it may be inferentially, extracted from the prophecy; because there is no numerical intimation given of the commencement of the period named. The answer recorded is, “During and evening-morning of two thousand four hundred; then the holy shall be avenged”. The meaning of this is, that there should be an evening-morning period of 2400 years, after the expiration of which the Holy Land should be avenged. The Lord Jesus has paraphrased the reply in these words: “Jerusalem (the holy) shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). When these have elapsed, neither Turk, Frank, nor Russian, Greek nor Latin, will be permitted to desecrate the Holy with their hateful presence and abominations; the treading down will then be terminated and the spoiler expelled; that is, when judgment is given to the holy ones at the expiration of the three times and a half, the holy land and city will be vindicated from violence and injury.
The answer as it stands in the common version, has caused insuperable difficulties to all who have endeavoured to understand it. It is rendered there, “Unto two thousand three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”. But the original is not yahmim, “days”; it is erev boker, “an evening-morning”. This departure from the usual mode of expression was not without good reason. The reply was in effect, “During a two thousand three hundred tahmid”; that is, Judah’s host for its rebellion against Yahweh was to become an evening-morning sacrifice until the end of a period of 2400 years: as it is written, “His anger is momentary; in his favour is life; weeping may endure for an evening; but joy cometh in the morning”. This is as true of Judah as of Judah’s king. And again, “A lion out of the forest (Nebuchadnezzar) shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities (The Roman Wolf and Greek Leopard), every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces; because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased” (Jer. 5:6). This was an evening sacrifice of the nation, in which they eat the bread of affliction with bitter herbs, until the time of the morning oblation come, the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), when they will be avenged in the great sacrifice of Bozrah in the day of Yahweh’s vengeance; and in the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion (Isa. 34:6–8; 63:1–6; Ezek. 39:17). During the suspension of the Mosaic sacrifices Judah is the tahmid which bleeds for its rebellion against the Lamb, slain in the evening and morning oblation from the foundation of the world.
But the phrase that has caused the greatest difficulty is, “Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”. Theologists of the Gentiles have not perceived that the vision has no reference to the Gentiles but as destroyers of Judah and the enemies of their king. They have therefore imagined that “the sanctuary” to be cleansed is the Gentile church; as if any cleansing could make the thing called “the church” anything but unclean. Assuming this, they have looked for the advent of Christ the year after the 2,300th year according to the Common Version had expired; and have called his appearing to burn up the world, and to place those whom they style “the saints” upon the purified earth as its sole occupants in glory, “the cleansing of the sanctuary”! Well, this is as reasonable an interpretation as could be expected from people who deny the restoration of the Jews, and believe in world-burning at the coming of Christ! But so long as men hold on to such foolishness it is impossible for them to understand the Bible, or to form any rational conclusion concerning the divine predetermination respecting the issue of human affairs.
But, all speculations and absurdities connected with this subject are most readily extinguished by reference to the original. There we find that the words crucibleized in the fires of world-burning theories do not exist! “Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” was no part of the answer given in Daniel’s hearing. The words he heard were we-nitzdak kodesh. The word kodesh is not “sanctuary”, but holy; designating what is holy connected with Judah, such as the Holy City, called emphatically “The Holy”; and the Holy Land. Then as to nitzdak, rendered cleansed in the common version. This is not its meaning. It signifies, to be vindicated from injury and violence, or to be avenged. The word for to cleanse is tahar, and is used several times in the sense of to cleanse Judea from the putrifying bodies of the slain in the prophecy of the Autocrat of Russia’s overthrow in the breaking of the Latino-Greek Babylonian power (Ezek. 39:12, 14, 16). “Then the Holy shall be avenged”, is the only proper rendering of which the original is susceptible in this place. Let it be also observed, that this does not teach that the avenging of the holy is to commence immediately the last of the 2,400 evening-morning is finished. It only gives us to understand that when that period is passed, the next series of events in relation to the Holy Land shall be the manifestation of things necessary to wrest it from the Gentiles, and to avenge it in their overthrow.
It must be evident to every intelligent reader, that, before a country in the actual possession of any enemy can be avenged for desolations current in twenty-four hundred years, a situation of affairs must be created favouring its deliverance. This requires time; and the time provided in the case before us is styled, “the time of the end”, now current. Every year since 1840 the Holy Land has been mixing itself up more and more with the policy of the Gentile Powers; until at the present time a situation of affairs in the east is nearly formed which will make its possession by other powers than the Ottoman a matter of belligerent dispute. Here are twenty-eight years consumed in bringing affairs to their present crisis, which is not yet quite ripe enough for the accomplishment of the prediction, “the Holy shall be avenged”. The overthrow of the Latino-Greek Babylonian Dragon under the supremacy of God on the mountains of Israel is indispensable to this most desirable consummation.
The reply to the question “Until when?” did not state the anno mundi as the terminus, but the development of a work. One step, however, was gained towards a solution of the question, and that was, that whenever the beginning of the period might be, the avenging of the holy would not be short of 2,400 years afterwards. Daniel had the vision b.c. 554, which is 2,422 years ago. This was a long period to look forward to the end of; and by no method of calculation could he reduce it to less than 2,300 years. Happily for us, if of Daniel’s class, we shall live after the termination of the vengeance. We believe we know its beginning and end. “The vision is for many days”, whose commencement though not numerically revealed to Daniel, may be stated inferentially as the third year of Cyrus, b.c. 540.