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tion then is simply this: Whence did these writers derive their knowlege? Certainly not from Daniel himself; for if his book could be thus read and explained, it could not be called a sealed book ; and if this be the sealed book spoken
; of in the Revelations, how came John to weep on the supposition that no one would be found able to open, that is to explain, the book ? If, until this was effected by the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, it remained a sealed book to John, how could it be open to Peter and Paul ? and not only to them but to the churches, having been explained by Paul to the believers in Thessalonia both orally and by letter; and by Peter to the believers scattered as strangers throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia! What! an open book to such multitudes and yet a closed book to John! Yet this must be the fact, if John did not write the Apocalypse till the year 96 or 97, as some strenuously contend. Nay more strange still; John must have forgotten his former knowlege by the time he wrote his vision; for it is allowed, even by the
; most strenuous contenders for so late a date, that John's first Epistle was written about the year 801—But the cogency of this reasoning depends on another fact: Was the sealed book which John saw opened in his vision, the book of the Prophet Daniel ? If we attend carefully to
the description which John gives of this book we shall easily ascertain this point from the character and marks which he has recorded respecting it.
1. The book was written inside and outside. Its being written on the outside, evidently imports, that a part of the writing was visible; that is, the book was already in the possession of the church, and partly intelligible; and if we attend to what passed when the Lamb who was slain, but now liveth, took the book into his hand to open it, we shall discover a part of the writing itself, for it became the subject of the song of those around the throne,' “ Thou hast made us “ unto our Goo Kings and Priests, and we shall "reign on the earth.” However dark the other parts of the book were, this was one thing which could be plainly read in it, that a time was coming in which the saints shall possess the kingdom; (Dan. vii. 25.) when the rule and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (v. 27). Thus it appears that the book from which they took their song was that of the Prophet DANIEL.
2. It was a " sealed book.” Here we have a very particular and explicit description by which the book is ascertained to be that of Daniel, be
yond all possibility of cavil. Daniel was commanded to shut up the words and seal the book of his visions. He alone, of all the prophets of God, received such a command ; and, of all the books in the hands of the church, his is the only one which we find so shut up and sealed.
3. The book was not only sealed, but “ sealed “ with seven seals.". It could by no means be opened till one qualified to give the interpretation should come and explain it. The seals being seven in number, show how perfectly the meaning was hid, “ seven” in Scripture language denoting what is complete and perfect.' But we are not in the present instance left to take such a general signification of the term “seven.” As Daniel's was the only sealed book in the hands of the church, so we find that character given to it in no less than four places of that prophet, viz. ch. viii. 26, ch. ix. 24, ch. xii. 4, and again in the latter chapter, at the 9th verse : and it is not a little remarkable that the number of times which the vision—the prophet—the words—the book, are shut, closed up, or
"The reason for this sense of the term, which is quite common in the Hebrew scriptures, is evidently this: the root, yav, besides meaning seven, means also to satisfy, to fill, to have enough, to complete ;-hence to do a thing seven times is to do it perfectly.
sealed, in these places, amounts exactly to SEVEN, as follows:
I. “ Shut thou up the Vision.” (viii. 26.)
II. “ Seventy weeks are determined ..... to seal up the Vision.” (ix. 24.)
III. “ Seventy weeks are determined ..... to seal up ..... the Prophet.” (ix. 24.) IV. Shut up the Words .....
to the time of the end." (xii. 4). · V. “Seal the Book.....to the time of the end." (xii. 4.)
VI. “ The words are closed up..... till the time of the end.” (xii. 9.)
VII. « The words are ......sealed till the time of the end."(xii. 9.)
4. The book was complete: both the inside and outside of the roll or book was covered with writing. So the expression in the original de notes. That is, there was no room left for ad. ditions. And it is not a little remarkable that the explanation of this book given by the LION OF THE.TRIBE OF JUDAH, shows that it contained a prophecy of the purposes of God, respecting his church and the reign of the Messiah, so complete and perfect, that nothing could be added to it. The removal of the seals from the book of Daniel was all that was wanted to put the church in possession of this knowledge.
5. We learn from Daniel himself how long the
book was to remain sealed. This sealing or shutting up was to continue for certain weeks : that is, as we find by the context (chap. ix.) till the time of MESSIAH THE PRINCE-till he should make an end of sin—[sin-offerings, for so the word signifies]-by the one offering of himself (Heb, x. 12, 14); or in other words, till an end should be put to the sacrifices offered under the law : and we find the same thing intimated twice afterwards (Dan. chap. xii.) by the expression “ the time of the end,”—that is, the time of Christ, whose coming put an end to the Mosaic institutions. The book then that was opened in the Apocalypse, had its seals loosed at a period answerable to the prediction respecting the time in which Daniel's prophecies were to be opened; and, the fulfilment answering to the prediction, the evidence becomes complete, that the Prophet Daniel was the book that was thus opened.
The inference from all this is obvious. The writers of the Apostolic Epistles have, in various parts of their writings, spoken of some of the sealed things of Daniel, without any veil or mystery whatever : on the contrary, they speak of them as well known, even to those to whom they address their Epistles ;--as for example, “ yourselves 'know perfectly, that the day of the “ Lord so cometh as A THIEF IN THE NIGHTPaul in his first Epistle to the Thessalonians,