Release to the Captives
“Jehovah bringeth back the captivity of his people.”—Ps. 14:7, AS.
JEHOVAH God is the Great Deliverer and sets free whom and what he will at the appointed time according to his declared purposes. His word is never broken. His promises, though thousands of years old, are and will be carried into effect. In pre-Christian times Jehovah caused his prophets to have holy dreams and visions which were recorded by these servants, to the end that his faithful people at the appointed times should read and understand them, so providing them with knowledge, guidance and comfort. Often the servant who was given the vision did not perceive its meaning, the simple reason being that it was not for him but for others. Jehovah gives the vision and hides its meaning, and he it is who reveals the meaning thereof and to whomsoever he chooses. (Ps. 25:14) And now, in the articles to follow, we shall learn that the Almighty Deliverer will set free all lovers of truth and righteousness, and rebuild his holy city (Zion, God’s organization) and make it “beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth”. (Ps. 48:2, AS) This time it will not be the literal city of Palestine, but a spiritual organization with Christ Jesus the King seated upon its throne.
2 Daniel was a faithful worshiper of God, and one greatly beloved. (Dan. 9:23) His name means “God is judge” or “God’s judge”, hence one who vindicates or punishes, pronounces sentence—one strong enough to accomplish these things. The day has now come for judgment, which means condemnation to the oppressors, deliverance to the oppressed, for the complete vindication of God’s faithful people and for the praising of his holy name. Therefore, of special importance are the visions and wonders seen by Daniel and recorded for these last days. They were not given for this faithful prophet’s guidance, but for a time when the saints of the Most High God would be living amidst terrible corruption and violence in the world; when they would be preserving unshaken attachment to the truth, though in a situation encompassed with difficulties and surrounded by temptations; at a time when they would be publicly confessing their faith, their worship and the prophecies in Jehovah’s holy service amid grave dangers, expressing God’s judgments in defiance of intemperate, powerful, and ruthless tyrants. During this time they would experience miraculous proofs of his undeserved kindness and protecting care.
3 The visions and wonders recorded in the book of Daniel are for the comfort, encouragement and strength of the people of Jehovah, this despite the generally accepted view expressed by Bible commentators that all of them are to be understood as having a fulfillment over an extended period of thousands of years, furnishing a historical description of successive kingdoms and world empires, all of which are to be fulfilled before Messiah’s reign. It is now clearly revealed that a number of these visions were to enter upon their complete fulfillment when Christ’s kingdom began. Hence they are not pre-Kingdom prophecies, but apply when the Kingdom is set up. Once this fact is grasped and appreciated we shall get the force and application of these marvelous visions, and even learn of events taking place in heaven itself, which events have their effect upon God’s people and the nations of earth. Only Jehovah God and Christ Jesus could disclose such wonderful secrets, and this they do so that the glad tidings may be declared that the day of deliverance is here.
4 Such visions find their application and fulfillment in the time of judgment of the Gentile system of things. God judges them while their term of power runs out, and he will punish them for their treatment of his people. These wonders also deal with the rise and fall of the shameful abomination that makes desolate, the setting free of the captives from mystic “Babylon the Great”, and the complete end of all powers opposed to God’s kingdom, yes, their inglorious end, by the impact of the powerful, invisible forces of heaven operating against satanic wickedness. Such revelations in the days when the actual events are taking place truly comfort and strengthen those who are devoted to God, and it could not be so if these many prophecies had received fulfillment centuries ago, unless, of course, for confirming such prophecies by miniature fulfillment. Now is the time when there is great distress in all the earth, when perilous times are upon us, and when dreadful happenings are yet to come to pass. Now is when earnest inquiry is being made into the reason for these troubles and perplexities, so that the hope for deliverance and survival may be determined.
5 There cannot be any doubt concerning these Daniel-recorded prophecies’ coming to pass in these “last days”, because it is so stated. It is further established that prophecy may be understood only after it has been fulfilled or during the course of its fulfillment. No matter who tried to grasp the meaning of these visions they could never know until Jehovah the “revealer of secrets” (Dan. 2:47) disclosed them by bringing the actual events to pass. To Daniel it was said, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Dan. 12:4, AS) Not general worldly knowledge, such as the terrific speeds now attained through modern-day inventions, but something far different. The Greek Septuagint Version gives the correct thought: “Daniel, close the words, and seal the book to the time of the end; until many are taught and knowledge is increased.” The verb “to run” is used at Jeremiah 5:1 with regard to searching after knowledge. In the same sense it is used at Zechariah 4:10 (AS): “The eyes of Jehovah, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” Also compare Amos 8:12, AS: “They shall run to and fro to seek the word of Jehovah, and shall not find it.” The phrase in Daniel 12:4 means to read earnestly and thoroughly, to the end that they might be taught.
6 Jehovah purposed that the prophecies given to Daniel should be fulfilled and clearly revealed in the “last days” of the Gentile nations, and thereby knowledge would be increased. The Rotherham translation renders the phrase, “knowledge shall abound.” The proper conclusion to reach, therefore, is that until Jehovah’s set time comes to fulfill the prophecy and to give his spirit to his people, impelling them to diligently search his Word through and through, as it were, page by page, prophecy by prophecy, no one could possibly have an accurate interpretation. At the best it would be a guess. Understanding has been reserved for the “consummation of the system of things”, where we are now living and have been since 1914.—Matt. 24:3, NW.