The Non-Preterist Historicalism of John Calvin and the Westminster Standards

Daniel explained that "the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth…. Out of this kingdom, ten kings shall arise" — viz. after the collapse of the Roman Empire during the fifth century A.D. "Then another [the Romish Papacy] shall rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first…and shall speak great words against the Most High and shall wear out the saints of the Most High and think to change times and laws. And they shall be given into his hand B until a time and [two] times and the dividing [or half] of a time. Daniel 7:23-25.

"But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion…. And the kingdom 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. And all dominions shall serve and obey Him." Daniel 7:26-27. 

                                                             7 Comm. on Dan. 2:44f.

Calvin on Christ's World Conquest through His Heavenly Rule in Daniel 7:13-14 

On this ultimate conquest by the Ascended Christ's earthly saints — their conquest of Pagan Rome and even of the subsequent Romish Papacy — Calvin comments8 on Daniel's predictions that although "many persons extend this prophecy to the second Advent of Christ" — this is "an interpretation by no means correct." For "the subject treated, is the first coming of Christ." Calvin adds: "It ought not to be restricted to the thirty-three years of His sojourn in the world. But it embraces His ascension — and [also] that preaching of the gospel which ushered in His Kingdom…. Daniel appropriately relates how God was seated, when the first advent of Christ is depicted….

"After Daniel has narrated how he saw God on the throne of judgment…., he now adds the second part of the vision. As it were, 'the Son of man appeared in the clouds.' Without doubt, this is to be understood of Christ…. It afterwards follows, 'He came to the Ancient of days.' This, in my judgment, ought to be explained of Christ's ascension. For He then commenced His reign, as we see in numberless passages of Scripture…. He really appeared…'in the clouds'…when He ascended to heaven." Acts 1:8-11.

Thereafter — Calvin continues, commenting on Daniel's predictions about Christ — "'He now arrives at the Ancient of days'…[after] He ascends to heaven…. Christ truly ascended into heaven…. We ought clearly to weigh the purpose of His doing so…. Christ left the world and ascended to the Father — first, to subdue all powers to Himself…; next, to restrain the devil and to protect and preserve the Church….

"The prophet [Daniel] adds, ‘power was given to Him’…. We will not say it was bestowed with relation to His being [or essence] — of being called God. It was given to Him as Mediator — as God manifest in flesh, and with respect to His human nature…. For this reason, therefore, 'all power, honour and kingdom' was given to Christ" — so "'that all nations, people and tongues should serve Him'…. The events which the prophet here narrates, are not yet complete….

"This vision suits very well with many assertions of Christ — where He bears witness to the power given Him by the Father. Matthew 28:18…. He does not here [in Daniel 7:14] speak of the last judgment — but is only teaching us the object of His ascension to heaven…. When the prophet says Christ's dominion is eternal, he doubtless signifies the constant endurance of His Monarchy — even to the end of the world….

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