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

                                                             8 Comm. on Dan. 7:9 & 7:13f & 7:22.

"'Judgment was given to the saints' — [even] at the commencement of the gospel era…. [But then,] domestic enemies arose…. [At that time,] the Kingdom of Christ never flourished in the world…. But God wished to propose this solace to His prophet [Daniel] — by showing him the future reputation of the Church and its elevation to some degree of honour after emerging from obscurity."

Calvin on Christ's Kingdom's demolition of the Roman Empire in Daniel 

Calvin next explains Daniel's predictions regarding the Roman Empire — during the continuance of which Christ ascended into heaven. First, Daniel explains the strength of "the fourth beast" — Pagan Rome. Daniel 7:19. However, thereafter Daniel goes on to describe how the ascended Christ — over and through His people in His earthly Empire — would slowly but surely demolish it. Daniel 7:22 & 7:26-27.

Comments Calvin:9 "I have no doubt that in this vision the Prophet was shewn the figure of the Roman Empire…. The fourth beast signifies 'a fourth kingdom…which shall differ from all the kingdoms' [before it]…. The Roman Empire, we know…to have been more extensive and powerful than the other monarchies…. Miserably and cruelly, the Church has been harassed by many tyrants…. We shall find the Church to have been much more heavily afflicted after Christ's advent, and to have been opposed by the Caesars in open warfare…. The Caesars became more and more stirred up to carry on war against the elect, and to oppress the Church….

"It was God…Who delivered into the hands of that [Roman] king the saints…and the institutions of piety — allowing him to pour out promiscuously human blood; to violate every national right; and to ruin as far as possible all religion.” In God’s good time, it is certain that “these calamities should come to an end…. [Yet] 'for a time and times and the division of a time'…license would be given to the tyrants and enemies of the Church — to pervert all things, to despise God, and set aside all justice….

"[However,] he says also, 'judgment shall then sit'; that is, God shall again restore to order…. The world shall feel His Providence ruling over the earth and the human race…. The restoration is here called a 'sitting in judgment' — when the Roman Empire was blotted out….

"These two things, then, are mutually in accordance — namely the slaying of the fourth beast; and the giving of the kingdom and authority to the people of the saints. This does not seem to have been accomplished yet" — in 1561, when Calvin was still writing these words in his Commentary on Daniel.

                                                             9 Comm. on Dan. 7:7 & 7:23-27.

Calvin thus summarizes Daniel seven. "Let us now return to the passage. Daniel first of all says, 'a kingdom and power and extensive dominion shall be given to the people of the holy ones.' This was partially fulfilled when the Gospel emerged from persecution…. Daniel or the angel does not predict here occurrences connected with the [second] advent of Christ as Judge of the world, but with the first preaching and promulgation of the Gospel and the celebration of the Name of Christ. But this does not prevent him from drawing a magnificent picture of Christ's reign — and embracing its final completion….

"When the preaching of the Gospel commenced, no one would have thought its success could have been so great and prosperous…. In consequence of the intimate union between Christ and His Church, the peculiar attribute of Christ Himself is often transferred to His body [the Church]…. God's royal sceptre went forth from Jerusalem, and shone far and wide — while the Lord was extending His Hand and His Authority….

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