Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
Book Overview - Daniel
by Robert Hawker
THE B00K OF DANIEL
WE now enter upon a most interesting part of Scriptural Prophecies. The Book of Daniel demands our highest attention, affection, and regard. It is indeed but short, both in the historical part of it, and the prophetical. But there is so much in that little concerning the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his Church in him, that we never can be sufficiently thankful to God the Holy Ghost, both for the ministry of this man, and that this precious record of inspiration hath been watched over, preserved, and handed down to the Church to the present hour upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Of the certainty of Daniel's prophecy being authentic, the testimonies are undoubted. The Lord seems to have over-ruled things in such a manner, as to put it out of all question. The Jews, indeed, in order to invalidate Daniel's prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, cause his writings not to be put among the other writings of the Prophets. And the reason is very obvious. For so pointed and express is this man's whole tendency in his prophecies, to the person and glory of Christ, that had they acknowledged his writings to have been prophetical, they must have acknowledged Christ also. Therefore, by separating Daniel's book of prophecy from the general prophecies of scripture, they aimed to do away the Prophet's testimony concerning Christ. But added to the whole authority of the Word of God to prove that Daniel was a Prophet, the church of God hath one that is most blessed, conclusive, and satisfactory. I mean the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. For in that memorable discourse which the Lord Jesus delivered, and which may be called Christ's own prophecy concerning the overthrow of Jerusalem; the Lord expressly refers to the prophecy of Daniel in confirmation of it: and as expressly calls Daniel a Prophet. So that nothing can be more in point. See Daniel 12:11 and compare what he there delivers with the words of Jesus, Matthew 24:15.
The name of Daniel is not without much signification considered with an eye to his ministry. It is a compound in itself, and means, the judgment of God. And if we consider, that both his ministry in the court of Babylon, and the scope of his prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, whose office is, to set judgment in the earth when the isles should wait for his law, Isaiah 42:4. There is a great beauty in the servant's name who ministered to such a Master. Daniel was of the tribe of Judah; and as we find carried away among the captives to Babylon when very young. His ministry was lengthened, it is more than probable, through the whole of the captivity. But what I would more particularly beg to remark concerning the ministry of Daniel is, that he not only prophesied of the events to be accomplished in the Church from the Chaldean to the Roman monarchy, but his prophecies looked much further. I do not presume to speak decidedly upon this, or any other subject, that is unexplained by God the Holy Ghost; but with an eye to his divine teaching, I venture to enquire, whether the prophecies of Daniel, are not in some parts of them accomplishing in this very hour? For, as the Roman empire, to which, as by the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecies in part hath been already proved, this holy man of God plainly referred, we behold the reference of his prophecy: so as Rome was mystically the Babylon spoken of in the Revelations, it should seem, that the Prophet was directed by the Holy Ghost, to look as far forward as the present, and perhaps a future day of the Church.
The Book of Daniel is partly historical and partly prophetical; and the subjects are frequently incorporated. The first six Chapters are chiefly the history of the times of Daniel; yet not without an eye to future events in the Church. The last six Chapters are chiefly prophetical. And very blessed they are, as hath been proved in such as time hath explained by the accomplishment. And equally blessed are those, no doubt, which are to be fulfilled, and which perhaps are now fulfilling in the earth. For what can be more blessed, than what refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to his Church in Him?
I beg the Reader, both at his entrance upon the threshold of this sacred Scripture, and through all the departments of it, to keep a stedfast eye to God the Holy Ghost for his divine teaching; remembering our Lord's own words concerning it; Let him that readeth understand, Mark 13:14. Almighty Teacher! I would say both for myself and Reader! make these words, both at once, a precept and a blessing. And the grace of understanding which thou commandest to the Reader, do thou Lord thyself give him; and let both Writer and Reader be enabled to receive and accept those sayings as faithful and true. And may the Lord God of the Prophets explain them to the heart of both: and prove, here as in every other instance, that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. Amen.
the First Week after Epiphany