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of two or three witnesses shall everything be estab: lished.” Such confirmation was added to the angel's assurance, “ Then I Daniel looked, and behold, there stood other two, the one on this side the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." Dan. xii. 549.
When we read of things being shown in a vision, we are apt to regard it as all the imagery of a dream; and those who find it difficult to realize to themselves the actual existence of spiritual beings, always apply the word vision as opposed to what it actually imports : they interpret it to mean not something seen, but thing not seen: a mental phantasmagoria, unreal, and easily produced by a disordered state of the bodily functions, affecting the brain. This, of course, no believer can for a moment venture upon connecting with any thing declared in Scripture; but many seem to think that what the inspired writers are described to have seen of angelic beings, was only a sort of alle
gorical representation ; a vehicle for conveying to their minds certain impressions concerning the divine will and purpose. So far from agreeing in these phantomizing interpretations, we believe Daniel to have truly seen with his bodily eyes the angels of God, even as the keepers at the sepulchre and the disciples saw them at the Lord's resurrection; and as we shall all see them when he comes in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels. God can speak to his servants without any such intermediate agency, as we find in a multitude of instances throughout the Scriptures; but in some cases he has seen fit to employ one or more of the heavenly host, and has also commanded his witnesses to record it for our instruction. We surely owe it to our Divine Teacher to receive with thankful hu. mility and undoubting credence, what he has vouchsafed thus to reveal to us of the interest taken by his angels in the concerns of men; and to believe that a book, not one thing contained in which may we dare to take away or to alter, the whole being given by the inspiration of God, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that such a book is not a volume of riddles and allegories; but is a plain, comprehensible declaration, no less of what we are to believe than of what we are to do.
ANGELIC INTEREST IN THE JEWISH
It may appear strange to devote a separate section to this subject, seeing that the whole is, so far, essentially Jewish: but we live in a time so peculiar, and the portion of the Old Testament which remains to be con. sidered, bears so directly upon what we in our day look for, while it primarily treated of a former and very partial work of mercy, that we must especially point it out. Zechariah was cotemporary with Daniel during the later years of that great prophet's ministry; and in the abundance of the prophetic revelations made to him, he was scarcely less favoured: but his visions have this distinguishing mark, that they refer almost exclusively to the literal restoration of the literal Israel to the land which God gave unto their fathers, and to their seed after them, for an inheritance to the end of the world.
Daniel sometimes beheld several individuals of the angelic legions uniting their testimony as to the divine authority of what was declared to him; but Zechariah saw them in larger numbers, and astir with great vivacity in the work of preparation for the return of his people from captivity. It is a glorious spectacle that this sublime book opens to us, and may well shame our cold-heartedness in a cause so dear to the inhabitants of heaven. For our example, no doubt, as equally for the encouragement of Israel after the flesh, is-all this written down; and howsoever we may delude ourselves by the so-called spiritualizing of these things, if not to the exclusion at least to the national extinguishment of the Jews as a separate people, we shall yet find that a literal accomplishment will be given to every word which the Lord has spoken of, or to, the natural descendants of Jacob-yea, that one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away, until all be fulfilled.
We cannot fully enter upon the extraordinary instances of angelic kindness, and we may call it affectionate freedom of discourse, displayed in the book of Zechariah. He begins by relating, “I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind them there were red horses, speckled and white. Then said I, O my Lord, what are these ? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will show thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.” Zech. i. 8–11. It has been decided by expositors in gen. eral, that the man who stoou among the myrtle trees was the Lord Jesus; and this decision seems to be grounded on the sequel : “ Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of Hosts, how long wilt thou not bave mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Ju. dah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me, with good words and comfortable words.” (Verses 12, 13.) Christ being the one appointed Mediator between God and Man, it is alike vain and sinful to seek the intercession of any created being; but are we therefore justified in deny. ing to the angels a privilege that we know from holy writ the spirits of the redeemed enjoy? John heard the souls of them that were slain for the testimony of Jesus, asking how long it would be ere their blood was avenged on them that dwelt upon the earth ; and surely an angel might venture to remind the Lord that the time spoken of by Jeremiah, threescore and ten years, was now come to an end; and to ask how long it should be ere he would have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Judah, which were to be rebuilt and inhabited again. In the first year of Darius, Daniel made his accepted prayer, grounded on his understanding by the books that the number of the years revealed to Jeremiah was almost fulfilled : and in the second year of Darius, Zechariah hears an angel remarking the same thing, in a tone of reverential entreaty.