Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Daniel

Book Overview - Daniel

by Hamilton Smith

The Book of Daniel.

An Expository Outline by Hamilton Smith, 1936.

Contents

Introduction

The Faithful Remnant1

The Times of the Gentiles2

Idolatry3

The Exaltation of Prayer of Manasseh 4

Impiety5

Apostacy6

The Four Beasts7

The Ram and the Hebrews -Goat8

Prayer and Confession9

Preparation for Divine Communications10

The Antichrist11

The Great Tribulation12

Quotations from Scripture are from the Authorised Version

or from the New Translation of J.N.D.

This book is published by and may be obtained from

74GRANTON ROAD, EDINBURGH, EH5 3RD

THE BOOK OF DANIEL

INTRODUCTION

The Book of the prophet Daniel treats of the period of the world"s history that is called in Scripture "the times of the Gentiles" ( Luke 21:24).

From Deuteronomy 32:8; Deuteronomy 32:9 we learn that, when the Most High divided the earth among the nations, He had in view the children of Israel, His chosen people. Moreover, it was through Israel, as the centre of the nations, that God governed the earth; for we are definitely told that the throne of Israel was "the throne of the LORD," as we read, "Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD" ( 1 Chronicles 29:23).

Through the failure of the kings and people of Israel, there came a time when God ceased to govern the earth from Zion as a centre. Nevertheless, we know from the second Psalm that, in the day to come, God is again going to govern the whole earth from Zion through Christ as King. Looking on to that day, God can say, "Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion." Then we are told the glory of the King and the extent of His dominion. He is the Song of Solomon, and His kingdom will reach to the uttermost parts of the earth. ( Psalm 2:6-9).

Now the Book of Daniel treats of the period of the world"s history between these two events- the breakdown and setting aside of Israel in government, and the setting up of Christ"s kingdom from Zion in the midst of restored Israel. During this time the government of the world passes from Israel to the Gentiles, and the nation of Israel, ceasing to be the head of the nations, is brought into subjection to the Gentiles. For this reason this period is called "the times of the Gentiles." It is obvious that Israel, as a nation, is still scattered and in subjection to the Gentiles, and that the reign of Christ is not yet come, so that the times in which we live are still "the times of the Gentiles."

Two great questions very naturally arise. First, how will the Gentiles use the power of government that has been committed to their responsibility? Secondly, what will be the history of God"s ancient people during the time that they are subjected to the power of the Gentiles, and how will the promises of God to His earthly people be affected by their subjection to the Gentiles? The answer to these important questions is the great subject of the Book of Daniel. We shall learn that, during the times of the Gentiles, God"s government is no longer an open and direct government from an earthly centre, but takes a hidden form of government from heaven. For this reason, in the course of the book, we find that four times God is referred to as the God of heaven, once as the King of heaven, and once as the LORD of heaven.

While, however, God is over all, ever working behind the scenes, He commits the outward government of the world to the Gentiles under a form of government entirely new upon the earth. God establishes a system of government by "imperial unity." As another has said, "Instead of independent nations having each its own ruler, God Himself sanctions in His providence the surrender of all nations of the earth to the absorbing authority of a single individual." This is the characteristic form of government given to the nations during "the times of the Gentiles."

Daniel gives a prophetic outline of this time, showing the rise and fall of four great successive Gentile powers. He shows, moreover, how completely the Gentiles will break down in the exercise of government, using it for their own glory and aggrandisement, instead of having God and His glory in view. Furthermore, it is revealed to Daniel that the attitude of the Gentile powers towards God"s ancient people will be, in the main, one of opposition and persecution.

Finally, Daniel foretells that the Gentiles, having completely broken down in government, will be judged and set aside by the introduction of the reign of Christ and the restoration of Israel.

The fact that the Book of Daniel treats of the times in which we live makes it of the greatest interest and practical importance to the Christian. Not only are there great moral lessons to be learnt from the faithful conduct of Daniel and his companions, but, by the prophecies of the Book, we are "warned of things not seen as yet," that, being warned, we may live in separation from a judgment-doomed world be kept in calmness of spirit in the midst of its turmoil.

The main divisions of the Book are as follows: -

Daniel 1 - The introduction, showing that, in spite of the failure of Israel, God still reserves a faithful remnant of His ancient people during the time of the Gentile domination, and that He does not leave Himself without a witness; further, the spirit of prophecy and understanding in the ways of God is found in this remnant:

Daniel 2 to6 - The prophetic history of the times of the Gentiles in its external form before men, presenting the moral characteristics of the four great monarchies, their failure in government, and their final judgment by the setting up of the Kingdom of Christ:

Daniel 7 to11 - The prophetic history of the four great Gentile monarchies as viewed by God, and their relation to and treatment of God"s ancient people:

Daniel 12 - The conclusion and prophetic announcement of the final establishment in blessing of the godly remnant of Israel.