Daily Thought for: 17th May

THE PRINCE OF PRINCES

Daniel 8. 23-27

There are many ‘princes’ in the book of Daniel. In fact, Daniel himself was a prince of the house of Judah, ch. 1. 3. Later in the same chapter, vv. 7-8, we are introduced to the ‘prince of the eunuchs’, an official in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. We meet the ‘princes’ in the civil service of the Babylonish state, ch. 3. 2-3 and their counterparts in the reign of Belshazzar, ch. 5. 3. Darius the Mede had 120 princes in his administration, ch. 6.1. So there are princes aplenty in this book. Later in the book we move into the spiritual realm and, in the heavenly sphere, there are also dignitaries designated ‘princes’. We read of the ‘prince of Persia’ and the ‘prince of Grecia’, both of these are angelic figures, ch. 10. 20. Michael is named, in ch. 10.13, as ‘one of the chief princes’ and, later in 12.1, as ‘the great prince’.

Given such a hierarchy of dignitaries we are intensely interested in this One who is classified as the ‘Prince of princes’. It is a singular and superlative title. In Hebrew idiom this title may be compared with ‘holy of holies’, designating the ‘most holy place’. We have the ‘Song of songs’ describing the sweetest of all songs. Now the ‘Prince of princes’ bringing before us the ruler who has supreme princely authority.

In contrast we are given a description of one of history’s ugliest characters, Antiochus Epiphanes, vv. 9-12. Daniel designates him as the ‘little horn’ and one of his boldest outrages is to oppose the ‘Prince of the host’, v. 11. This probably refers to the true God of the host of Israel, whose temple at Jerusalem was ransacked and desecrated by Antiochus in 167 B.C. In the end times Antiochus will have an evil counterpart in an individual designated the ‘king of fierce countenance’. By policy and persecution this antagonist will prosper in his evil activity until he ‘shall also stand up against the Prince of princes’. At this point his career of wickedness will be abruptly and divinely terminated for ‘he shall be broken without hand’, v. 25. God will again be seen to be in supreme control over even the highest and mightiest. How comforting to know there is One who is ‘Prince of princes’ and He will shortly show Himself to be in control of all world politics, presidents, princes and potentates.

 

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