and the REVELATION
Start the Book of Daniel
Very truly yours, Uriah Smith
DANIEL AND THE REVELATION. THE RESPONSE OF HISTORY
TO THE VOICE OF PROPHECY. A VERSE BY VERSE STUDY OF THESE
IMPORTANT BOOKS OF THE BIBLE.
URIAH SMITH. AUTHOR OF "HERE AND HEREAFTER," "LOOKING
UNTO JESUS," "THE MARVEL OF NATIONS," "SYNOPSIS
OF PRESENT TRUTH," AND OTHER WORKS ON BIBLE SUBJECTS.
PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, Fort Worth,
Texas, Alanta, Ga.
3 -- 1. With
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, and for three hundred and
eight years contemporary with Adam, the voice of prophecy
began to be heard through human lips. For so the apostle
also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying,
Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are
ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds which they
have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which
ungodly sinners have spoken against him." Jude 14,
15. This sublime and
earliest prophecy reaches to the end of time. And through
all the intervening ages, other prophecies have covered
all the more important events in the great drama of history.
The coming to pass of these great events has been but the
response of history to what the prophecies had declared.
And thus amid the ever-present evidences of the short-sightedness
of men, and the ever-recurring failures of human schemes,
a voice has continually gone up from earth to heaven, "The
word of the Lord endureth forever." TOP
3. It is
for the purpose of calling attention to some of these important
prophetico-historical lessons, if we may be permitted to
coin a word, that this volume is written. And the books
of Daniel and the Revelation are chosen for this purpose,
because in some respects their prophecies are more direct
than are to be found elsewhere upon the prophetic page,
and the fulfilments more striking. The object before us
is threefold: (1) To gain an understanding
of the wonderful testimony of the books themselves; (2)
To acquaint ourselves with some of the more interesting
and important events in the history of civilized nations,
and mark how accurately the prophecies, some of them depending
upon the developments of the then far-distant future, and
upon conditions the most minute and complicated, have been
fulfilled in these events; and (3) To
draw from these things important lessons relative to practical
Christian duties, which were not given for past ages merely,
but are for the learning and admonition of the world to-day.
The books of Daniel and the Revelation are
counterparts of each other. They naturally stand side by
side, and should be studied together.
4 -- 5. We are aware that any attempt to
explain these books and make an application of their prophecies,
is generally looked upon as a futile and fanatical task,
and is sometimes met even with open hostility. It is much
to be regretted that any portions of that volume which all
Christians believe to be the book wherein God has undertaken
to reveal his will to mankind, should come to be
regarded in such a light. But a great fact, to which the
reader's attention is called in the following paragraph,
is believed to contain for this state of things both an
explanation and an antidote.
There are two general systems of interpretation
adopted by different expositors in their efforts to explain
the sacred Scriptures. The first is the mystical or spiritualizing
system invented by Origen, to the shame of sound criticism
and the curse of Christendom; the second is the system of
literal interpretation, used by such men as Tyndale, Luther,
and all the Reformers, and furnishing the basis for every
advance step which has thus far been made in the reformation
from error to truth as taught in the Scriptures. According
to the first system, every declaration is supposed to have
a mystical or hidden sense, which it is the province of
the Interpreter to bring forth; by the second, every declaration
is to be taken in its most obvious and literal sense, except
where the context and the well-known laws of language show
that the terms are figurative, and not literal; and whatever
is figurative must be explained by other portions of the
Bible which are literal.
By the mystical method of Origen, it is vain
to hope for any uniform understanding of either Daniel or
the Revelation, or of any other book of the Bible; for that
system (if it can be called a system) knows no law but the
uncurbed imagination of its adherents; hence there are on
its side as many different interpretations of Scripture
as there are different fancies of different writers. By
the literal method, everything is subject to well-established
and clearly-defined law; and, viewed from this standpoint,
the reader will be surprised to see how simple, easy, and
clear many portions of the Scriptures at once become, which,
according to any other system, are dark and unsolvable.
It is admitted that many figures are used in the Bible,
and that much of the books under consideration, especially
that of the Revelation, is clothed in symbolic language;
but it is also claimed that the Scriptures introduce no
figure which they do not somewhere furnish literal language
to explain. This volume is offered as a consistent exposition
of the books of Daniel and the Revelation according to the
The study of prophecy should by no means
be neglected; for it is the prophetic portions of the word
of God which especially constitute it a lamp to our feet
and a light to our path. So both David and Peter unequivocally
testify. Ps. 119:105; 2 Peter 1:19.
No sublimer study can occupy the mind than
the study of those books in which He who sees the end from
the beginning, looking forward through all the ages, gives,
through his inspired prophets, a description of coming events
for the benefit of those whose lot it would be to meet them.
5 -- 10. An increase of knowledge respecting
the prophetic portions of the word of God was to be one
of the characteristics of the last days. Said the angel
to Daniel, "But thou, 0 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;"
or, as Michaelis's translation reads:
"When many shall give their sedulous attention
to the understanding of these things, and knowledge
shall be increased." It is our lot to live this side
the time to which the angel told Daniel to thus shut up
the words and seal the book. That restriction has now expired
by limitation. In the language of the figure, the seal has
been removed, and many are running to and fro, and knowledge
has marvelously increased in every department of science;
yet it is evident that this prophecy specially contemplates
an increase of knowledge concerning those prophecies that
are designed to give us light in reference to the age in
which we live, the close of this dispensation, and the soon-coming
transfer of all earthly governments to the great King of
Righteousness, who shall destroy his enemies, and crown
with an infinite reward every one of his friends. The fulfilment
of the prophecy in the increase of
this knowledge, is one of the pleasing signs of the present
time. For more than half a century, light upon the prophetic
word has been increasing, and shining with ever-growing
luster to our own day.
no portion of the word of God is this more apparent than
in the books of Daniel and the Revelation; and we may well
congratulate ourselves on this, for no other parts of that
word deal so largely in prophecies that pertain to the closing
scenes of this world's history. No other books contain so
many chains of prophecy reaching down to the end. In no
other books is the grand procession of events that leads
us through to the termination of probationary time, and
ushers us into the realities of the eternal state, so fully
and minutely set forth. No other books embrace so completely,
as it were in one grand sweep, all the truths that concern
the last generation of the inhabitants of the earth, and
set forth so comprehensively all the aspects of the times,
physical, moral, and political, in which the triumphs of
earthly woe and wickedness shall end, and the eternal reign
of righteousness begin. We take pleasure in calling attention
especially to these features of the books of Daniel and
the Revelation, which seem heretofore to have been too generally
overlooked or misinterpreted.
seems to be no prophecy which a person can have so little
excuse for misunderstanding as the prophecy of Daniel, especially
as relates to its main features. Dealing but sparingly in
language that is highly figurative, explaining all the symbols
it introduces, locating its events within the rigid confines
of prophetic periods, it points out the first advent of
the Messiah in so clear and unmistakable a manner as to
call forth the execration of the Jews upon any attempt to
explain it, and gives so accurately, and so many ages in
advance, the outlines of the great events of our world's
history, that infidelity stands confounded and dumb before
its inspired record.
no effort to arrive at a correct understanding of the book
of the Revelation needs any apology; for the Lord of prophecy
p 6 -- has himself pronounced
a blessing upon him that readeth and they that hear the
words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written
therein; for the time is at hand. Rev. 1:1-3. And it is
with an honest purpose of aiding somewhat in arriving at
this understanding, which is set forth by the language above
referred to as not only possible but praiseworthy, that
an exposition of this book, according to the literal rule
of interpretation, has been attempted.
thrilling interest we behold to-day the nations marshaling
their forces, and pressing forward in the very movements
described by the royal seer in the court of Babylon twenty-five
hundred years ago, and by John on Patmos eighteen hundred
years ago; and these movements - hear it, ye children of
men - are the last political revolutions to be accomplished
before this earth plunges into her final time of trouble,
and Michael, the great Prince, stands up, and his people,
all who are found written in the book, are crowned with
full and final deliverance. Dan. 12:1, 2.
these things so? "Seek," says our Saviour, "and
ye shall find; knock , and it shall be opened unto you."
God has not so concealed his truth that it will elude the
search of the humble seeker.
With a prayer that the same
Spirit by which those portions of Scripture which form the
basis of this volume were at first inspired, and whose aid
the writer has sought in his expository efforts, may rest
abundantly upon the reader in his investigations, according
to the promise of the Saviour in John 16:7, 13, 15, this
work is commended to the candid and careful attention of
all who are interested in prophetic themes. U. S.
Battle Creek, Mich.,
Table of Contents - Left Sidebar
of Illustrations - Left Sidebar
the book of Daniel was written by the person whose name
it bears, there is no reason to doubt. Ezekiel, who was
contemporary with Daniel, bears testimony, through the spirit
of prophecy, to his piety and uprightness, ranking him in
this respect with Noah and Job:
"Or if I send a pestilence into that land,
and pour out My fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it
man and beast; though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it,
as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither
son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls
by their righteousness." Ezekiel 14:19, 20. His
wisdom, also, even at that early day, had become proverbial,
as appears from the same writer. To the prince of Tyrus
he was directed by the Lord to say, "Behold,
thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they
can hide from thee." Ezekiel 28:3. But above
all, our Lord recognized him as a prophet of God, and bade
His disciples understand the predictions given through him
for the benefit of His church:
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination
of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in
the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then
let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains."
Matthew 24:15, 16.
we have a more minute account of his early life than is
recorded of that of any other prophet, yet his birth and
lineage are left in complete obscurity, except that he was
of the royal line, probably of the house of David, which
had at this time become very numerous. He first appears
as one of the noble captives of Judah, in the first year
of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, at the commencement
of the seventy years' captivity, B.C. 606. Jeremiah and
Habakkuk were yet uttering
20 -- their prophecies. Ezekiel commenced soon after,
and a little later, Obadiah; but both these finished their
work years before the close of the long and brilliant career
of Daniel. Three prophets only succeeded him, Haggai and
Zechariah, who exercised the prophetic office for a brief
period contemporaneously, B.C. 520-518, and Malachi, the
last of the Old Testament prophets who flourished a little
season about B.C. 397.
the seventy years' captivity of the Jews, B.C. 606-536,
predicted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11), Daniel resided at
the court of Babylon, most of the time prime minister of
that brilliant monarchy. His life affords a most impressive
lesson of the importance and advantage of maintaining from
earliest youth strict integrity toward God, and furnishes
a notable instance of a man's maintaining eminent piety,
and faithfully discharging all the duties that pertain to
the service of God, while at the same time engaging in the
most stirring activities, and bearing the weightiest cares
and responsibilities that can devolve upon men in this earthly
a rebuke is his course to many at the present day, who,
having not a hundredth part of the cares to absorb their
time and engross their attention that he had, yet plead
as an excuse for their almost utter neglect of Christian
duties, that they have no time for them. What will the God
of Daniel say to such, when He comes to reward His servants
impartially, according to their improvement or neglect of
the opportunities offered them?
But it is not alone nor chiefly his connection with the
Chaldean monarchy, the glory of kingdoms, that perpetuates
the memory of Daniel, and covers his name with honor. From
the height of its glory he saw that kingdom decline, and
pass into other hands. Its period of greatest prosperity
was embraced within the limits of the lifetime of one man.
So brief was its supremacy, so transient its glory. But
Daniel was intrusted with more enduring honors. While beloved
and honored by the princes and potentates of Babylon, he
enjoyed an infinitely higher exaltation, in being beloved
and honored by God and His holy angels, and admitted to
a knowledge of the counsels of the Most High.
21 -- His prophecy is, in many respects, the most remarkable
of any in the sacred record. It is the most comprehensive.
It was the first prophecy giving a consecutive history of
the world from that time to the end. It located the most
of its predictions within well-defined prophetic periods,
though reaching many centuries into the future. It gave
the first definite chronological prophecy of the coming
of the Messiah. It marked the time of this event so definitely
that the Jews forbid any attempt to interpret its numbers,
since that prophecy shows them to be without excuse in rejecting
Christ; and so accurately had its minute and literal predictions
been fulfilled down to the time of Porphyry, A. D. 250,
that he declared (the only loophole he could devise for
his hard-pressed skepticism) that the predictions were not
written in the age of Babylon, but after the events themselves
had transpired. This shift, however, is not now available;
for every succeeding century has borne additional evidence
to the truthfulness of the prophecy, and we are just now,
in our own day, approaching the climax of its fulfillment.
personal history of Daniel reaches to a date a few years
subsequent to the subversion of the Babylonian kingdom by
the Medes and Persians. He is supposed to have died at Shushan,
or Susa, in Persia, about the year B.C. 530, aged nearly
ninety-four years; his age being the probable reason why
he returned not to Judea with other Hebrew captives, under
the proclamation of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1), B.C. 536, which marked
the close of the seventy years' captivity.
Response of History to the Prophecy of Daniel
23 -- Verse
the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged
it. 2. And the Lord gave
Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the
vessels of the house of God; which he carried into the land
of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels
into the treasure-house of his god.
a directness characteristic of the sacred writers, Daniel
enters at once upon his subject. He commences in the simple,
historical style, his book, with the exception of a portion
of chapter 2, being of a historical nature till we reach
the seventh chapter, when the prophetical portion, more
properly so called, commences. Like one conscious of uttering
only well-known truth, he proceeds at once to state a variety
of particulars by which his accuracy could
24 -- at once be tested. Thus in the two verses quoted,
he states five particulars purporting to be historical facts,
such as no writer would be likely to introduce into a fictitious
narrative: (1) That Jehoiakim was king
of Judah; (2) That Nebuchadnezzar
was king of Babylon; (3) That
the latter came against the former; (4)
That this was the third year of Jehoiakim's reign; and
(5) That Jehoiakim was
given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, who took a portion
of the sacred vessels of the house of God, and carrying
them into the land of Shinar, the country of Babylon (Gen.
10:10), placed them in the treasure-house of his heathen
divinity. Subsequent portions of the narrative abound as
fully in historical facts of a like nature.
overthrow of Jerusalem was predicted by Jeremiah, and immediately
accomplished, B.C. 606. Jeremiah 25:8-11. Jeremiah places
this captivity in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Daniel in
the third. This seeming discrepancy is explained by the
fact that Nebuchadnezzar set out on his expedition near
the close of the third year of Jehoiakim, from which point
Daniel reckons. But he did not accomplish the subjugation
of Jerusalem till about the ninth month of the year following;
and from this year Jeremiah reckons. (Prideaux, Vol. I,
pp. 99, 100.) Jehoiakim, though bound for the purpose of
being taken to Babylon, having humbled himself, was permitted
to remain as ruler in Jerusalem, tributary to the king of
was the first time Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar.
Twice subsequently, the city, having revolted, was captured
by the same king, being more severely dealt with each succeeding
time. Of these subsequent overthrows, the first was under
Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim, B.C. 599, when all the sacred
vessels were either taken or destroyed, and the best of
the inhabitants, with the king, were led into captivity.
The second was under Zedekiah, when the city endured the
most formidable siege it ever sustained, except that by
Titus, in A. D. 70. During the two years' continuance of
this siege, the inhabitants of the city suffered all the
horrors of extreme famine. At length the garrison and king
attempting to escape from the city, were captured by the
Chaldeans. The sons of the king were slain before his face.
His eyes were put out,
(Siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar)
p 26 -- and he was taken to Babylon; and thus was
fulfilled the prediction of Ezekiel, who declared that he
should be carried to Babylon, and die there, but yet should
not see the place. Ezekiel 12:13. The city and temple were
at this time utterly destroyed, and the entire population
of the city and country, with the exception of a few husbandmen,
were carried captive to Babylon, B.C. 588.
was God's passing testimony against sin. Not that the Chaldeans
were the favorites of Heaven, but God made use of them to
punish the iniquities of his people. Had the Israelites
been faithful to God, and kept his Sabbath, Jerusalem would
have stood forever. Jeremiah 17:24-27. But they departed
from him, and he abandoned them. They first profaned the
sacred vessels by sin, in introducing heathen idols among
them; and he then profaned them by judgments in letting
them go as trophies into heathen temples abroad.
these days of trouble and distress upon Jerusalem, Daniel
and his companions were nourished and instructed in the
palace of the king of Babylon; and, though captives in a
strange land, they were doubtless in some respects much
more favorably situated than they could have been in their
native country. TOP
3 -- And
the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs,
that he should bring certain of the children of Israel,
the king's seed, and of the princes; 4 children
in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful in
all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding
science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the
king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and
the tongue of the Chaldeans. 5 And the
king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat,
and of the wine which he drank; so nourishing them three
years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the
have in these verses the record of the probable fulfillment
of the announcement of coming judgments made to King Hezekiah
by the prophet Isaiah, more than a hundred years before.
When this king had vaingloriously shown to the messengers
of the king of Babylon all the treasures and holy things
of his palace and kingdom, he was told that all these good
things should be carried as trophies to the city of Babylon,
27 -- and nothing should be left; and that even his
own children, his descendants, should be taken away, and
be eunuchs in the palace of the king there. 2 Kings 20:14-18.
It is probable that Daniel and his companions were treated
as indicated in the prophecy; at least we hear nothing of
their posterity, which can be more easily accounted for
on this hypothesis than on any other; though some think
that the term eunuch had come to signify office rather
word children, as applied to these captives, is
not to be confined to the sense to which it is limited at
the present time. It included youth also. And we learned
from the record that these children were already skillful
in all wisdom, cunning in knowledge, and understanding science,
and had ability in them to stand in the king's palace. In
other words, they had already acquired a good degree of
education, and their physical and mental powers were so
far developed that a skillful reader of human nature could
form quite an accurate estimate of their capabilities. They
are supposed to have been about eighteen or twenty years
the treatment which these Hebrew captives received, we see
an instance of the wise policy and the liberality of the
rising king, Nebuchadnezzar.
Instead of choosing, like too many kings
of later times, means for gratification of low and base
desires, he chose young men who should be educated in all
matters pertaining to the kingdom, that he might have efficient
help in administering its affairs.
2. He appointed them daily provision
of his own meat and wine. Instead of the coarse fare which
some would have thought good enough for captives, he offered
them his own royal viands.
For the space of three years, they had all the advantages
the kingdom afforded. Though captives, they were royal children,
and they were treated as such by the humane king of the
question may be raised, why these persons were selected
to take part, after suitable preparation, in the affairs
of the kingdom. Were there not enough native Babylonians
28 -- these
positions of trust and honor? It could have been for no
other reason than that the Chaldean youth could not compete
with those of Israel in the qualifications, both mental
and physical, necessary to such a position.
Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah: 7 unto whom the
prince of the eunuchs gave names; for he gave unto Daniel
the name of Belteshazzar;
and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach;
and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.
change of names was probably made on account of the signification
of the words. Thus, Daniel signified, in the Hebrew, God
is my judge; Hananiah, gift of the Lord; Mishael, he that
is a strong God; and Azariah, help of the Lord. These names,
each having some reference to the true God, and signifying
some connection with his worship, were changed to names
the definition of which bore a like relation to the heathen
divinities and worship of the Chaldeans. Thus Belteshazzar,
the name given to Daniel, signified keeper of the hid treasures
of Bel; Shadrach, inspiration of the sun (which the Chaldeans
worshiped); Meshach, of the goddess Shaca (under which name
Venus was worshiped); and Abed-nego, servant of the shining
fire (which they also worshiped).
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself
with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which
drank; therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself. 9 Now
God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the
prince of the eunuchs. 10 And the prince
of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king,
who hath appointed your meat and your drink; for why should
he see your faces worse liking than the children which are
of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to
the king. 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar,
whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah, 12 Prove thy servants,
I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to
eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let
our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance
of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat;
and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and
proved them ten days. 15 And at the end
of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter
in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion
of the king's meat. 16 Thus Melzar took
away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should
drink; and gave them pulse.
29 -- Nebuchadnezzar appears upon this record wonderfully
free from bigotry. It seems that he took no means to compel
his royal captives to change their religion. Provided they
had some religion, he seemed to be satisfied, whether it
was the religion he professed or not. And although their
names had been changed to signify some connection with heathen
worship, this may have been more to avoid the use of Jewish
names by the Chaldeans than to indicate any change of sentiment
or practice on the part of those to whom these names were
Daniel purposed not to defile himself with the king 's meat
nor with his wine. Daniel had other reasons for this course
than simply the effect of such a diet upon his physical
system, though he would derive great advantage in this respect
from the fare he proposed to adopt. But it was frequently
the case that meat used by the kings and princes of heathen
nations, who were often the high priests of their religion,
was first offered in sacrifice to idols, and the wine they
used, poured out as a libation before them; and again, some
of the meat of which they made use, was pronounced unclean
by the Jewish law; and on either of these grounds Daniel
could not, consistently with his religion, partake of these
articles; hence he requested, not from any morose or sullen
temper, but from conscientious scruples, that he might not
be obliged to defile himself; and he respectfully made his
request known to the proper officer. TOP
prince of the eunuchs feared to grant Daniel's request,
since the king himself had appointed their meat. This shows
the great personal interest the king took in these persons.
He did not commit them to the hands of his servants, telling
them to care for them in the best manner, without himself
entering into its details; but he himself appointed their
meat and drink. And this was of a kind which it was honestly
supposed would be best for them, in as much as the prince
of the eunuchs thought that a departure from it would render
them poorer in flesh and less ruddy of countenance than
those who continued it; and thus he would be brought to
account for neglect or ill-treatment of them, and so loose
his head. Yet it was equally well understood that if they
maintained good physical conditions, the
30 -- king would take no exception to the means used,
though it might be contrary to his own express direction.
It appears that the king's sincere object was to secure
in them, by whatever means it could be done, the very best
mental and physical development that could be attained.
How different this from the bigotry and tyranny which usually
hold supreme control over the hearts of of those who are
clothed with absolute power. In the character of Nebuchadnezzar
we shall find many things worthy of our highest admiration.
requested pulse and water for himself and his three companions.
Pulse is a vegetable food of the leguminous kind, like peas,
beans, etc. Bagster says, "Zeroim denotes all
leguminous plants, which are not reaped, but pulled or plucked;
which, however wholesome, were not naturally calculated
to render them fatter in flesh than the others."
ten days' trial of this diet resulting favorably, they were
permitted to continue it during the whole course of their
training for the duties of the palace. Their increase in
flesh and improvement in countenance which took place during
these ten days can hardly be attributed to the natural result
of the diet; for it would hardly produce such marked effects
in so short a time. Is it not much more natural to conclude
that this result was produced by a special interposition
of the Lord, as a token of his approbation of the course
on which they had entered, which course, if preserved in,
would in process of time lead to the same result through
the natural operation of the laws of their being?
17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge
and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding
in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at
the end of the days that the king had said that he should
bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them
in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the
king communed with them; and among them all was found none
like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore stood
they before the king. 20 And
in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king
inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all
the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
21 And Daniel continued even unto the first
year of king Cyrus.
Daniel alone seems to have been committed an understanding
in visions and dreams. But the Lord's dealing with
31 -- Daniel in this respect does not prove the others
any less accepted in his sight. Preservation in the midst
of the fiery furnace was as good evidence of the divine
favor as they could have had. Daniel probably had some natural
qualifications that peculiarly fitted him for this special
same personal interest in these individuals heretofore manifested
by the king, he still continued to maintain. At the end
of the three years, he called them to a personal interview.
He must know for himself how they had fared, and what proficiency
they had made. This interview also shows the king to have
been a man well versed in all the arts and sciences of the
Chaldeans, else he would not have been qualified to examine
others therein. As the result, recognizing merit wherever
he saw it, without respect to religion or nationality, he
acknowledged them to be ten times superior to any in his
it is added that Daniel continued even unto the first year
of King Cyrus. This is an instance of the somewhat singular
use of the word unto, or until, which occasionally
occurs in the sacred writings. It does not mean that he
continued no longer than to the first year of Cyrus, for
he lived some years after the commencement of his reign;
but this is the time to which the writer wished to direct
special attention, as it brought deliverance to the captive
Jews. A similar use of the word is found in Ps. 112:8 and
Matt. 5:18. TOP
--Verse 1 And
second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar,
dreamed dreams,wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his
sleep brake from him.
was carried into captivity in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar.
For three years he was placed under instructors, during
which time he would not, of course, be reckoned among the
wise men of the kingdom, nor take part in public affairs.
Yet in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar, the transactions
recorded in this chapter took place. How, then, could Daniel
be brought in to interpret the king's dream in his second
year? The explanation lies in the fact that Nebuchadnezzar
reigned for two years conjointly with his father, Nabopolassar.
From this point the Jews reckoned, while the Chaldeans reckoned
from the time he commenced
33 -- to reign alone on the death of his father. Hence,
the year here mentioned was the second year of his reign
according to the Chaldean reckoning, but the fourth according
to the Jewish. It thus appears that the very next
year after Daniel had completed his preparation to participate
in the affairs of the Chaldean empire, the providence of
God brought him into sudden and wonderful notoriety throughout
all the kingdom.
Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers,
and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king
his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
magicians were such as practiced magic, using the term in
its bad sense; that is, they practiced all the superstitious
rites and ceremonies of fortune-tellers, casters of nativities,
etc. Astrologers were men who pretended to foretell future
events by the study of the stars. The science, or the superstition,
of astrology was extensively cultivated by the Eastern nations
of antiquity. Sorcerers were such as pretended to hold communication
with the dead. In this sense, we believe, it is always used
in the Scriptures. Modern Spiritualism is simply ancient
heathen sorcery revived. The Chaldeans here mentioned were
a sect of philosophers similar to the magicians and astrologers,
who made physic, divinations, etc., their study. All these
sects or professions abounded in Babylon. The end aimed
at by each was the same; namely, the explaining of mysteries
and the foretelling of future events, the principal difference
between them being the means by which they sought to accomplish
their object. The king's difficulty lay equally within the
province of each to explain; hence he summoned them all.
With the king it was an important matter. He was greatly
troubled, and therefore concentrated upon the solution of
his perplexity the whole wisdom of his realm.
the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my
spirit was troubled to know the dream. 4
Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac, 0 king,
live forever; tell thy servants the dream, and we will show
Whatever else the ancient magicians and astrologers may
have been efficient in, they seem to have been thoroughly
34 -- schooled in the art of drawing out sufficient
information to form a basis for some shrewd calculation,
or of framing their answers in so an ambiguous manner that
they would be equally applicable, let the event turn either
way. In the present case, true to their cunning instincts,
they called upon the king to make known to them his dream.
If they could get full information respecting this, they
could easily agree on some interpretation which would not
endanger their reputation. They addressed themselves to
the king in Syriac, a dialect of the Chaldean language which
was used by the educated and cultured classes. From this
point to the end of chapter 7, the record continues in Chaldaic.
5. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans,
The thing is gone from me; if ye will not make known unto
me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall
be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.
6 But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation
thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great
honor; therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation
thereof. 7 They answered again and said,
Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show
the interpretation of it. 8 The king
answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain
the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.
9 But if ye will not make known unto me the
dream, there is but one
decree for you; for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words
to speak before me, till the time be changed; therefore
tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me
the interpretation thereof. 10 The Chaldeans
answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon
the earth that can show the king's matter; therefore there
is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any
magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. 11 And
it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is
none other that can show it before the king, except the
gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. 12
For this cause the king was angry and very furious,
and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13
And the decree went forth that the wise men should
be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
verses contain the record of the desperate struggle between
the wise men, so called, and the king. The former seeking
some avenue of escape, seeing they were caught on their
own ground, and the latter determined that they should make
known his dream, which was no more than their profession
would warrant him in demanding. Some have severely censured
Nebuchadnezzar in this matter, as acting the part of
35 -- a heartless, unreasonable tyrant. But what did
these magicians profess to be able to do? - To reveal hidden
things; to foretell future events; to make known mysteries
entirely beyond human foresight and penetration; and to
do this by the aid of supernatural agencies. If, then, their
claim was worth anything, could they not make known to the
king what he had dreamed? - They certainly could. And if
they were able, knowing the dream, to give a reliable interpretation
thereof, would they not also be able to make known the dream
itself when it had gone from the king? - Certainly, if there
was any virtue in their pretended intercourse with the other
world. There was therefore nothing unjust in Nebuchadnezzar's
demand that they should make known his dream. And when they
declared (verse 11) that none but the gods whose dwelling
was not with flesh could make known the king's matter, it
was a tacit acknowledgment that they had no communication
with these gods, and knew nothing beyond what human wisdom
and discernment could reveal. For this cause, the king was
angry and very furious. He saw that he and all his people
were being made the victims of deception. He accused them
(verse 9) of endeavoring to dally along till the "time
be changed," or till the matter had so passed from
his mind that his anger at their duplicity should abate,
and he would either recall the dream himself, or be unsolicitous
whether it were made known and interpreted or not. And while
we cannot justify the extreme measures to which he resorted,
dooming them to death, and their houses to destruction,
we cannot but feel a hearty sympathy with him in his condemnation
of a class of miserable impostors. TOP
severity of his sentence was probably attributable more
to the customs of those times than to any malignity on the
part of the king. Yet it was a bold and desperate step.
Consider who these were who thus incurred the wrath of the
king. They were numerous, opulent, and influential sects.
Moreover, they were the learned and cultivated classes of
those times; yet the king was not so wedded to his false
religion as to spare it even with all this influence in
its favor. If the system was one of fraud and imposition,
it must fall, however
(Daniel and his fellows are sought to be slain)
high its votaries might stand in numbers or position, or
however many of them might be involved in its ruin. The
king would be no party to dishonesty or deception.
14. Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom
to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone
forth to slay the wise men of Babylon. 15
he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is
the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the
thing known to Daniel. 16 Then Daniel
went in, and desired of the king that he would give him
time, and that he would show the king the interpretation.
17 Then Daniel went to his house, and
made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
his companions; 18 That they would desire
mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that
Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of
the wise men of Babylon.
In this narrative we see the providence of God working in
several remarkable particulars.
It was providential that the dream of the
king should leave such a powerful impression upon his mind
as to raise him to the greatest height of anxiety, and yet
the thing itself should be held from his recollection. This
led to the complete exposure of the false system of the
magicians and other pagan teachers; for when put to the
test to make known the dream, it was found that they were
unable to do what their profession made it incumbent on
them to do.
was remarkable that Daniel and his companions, so lately
pronounced by the king ten times better than all his magicians
and astrologers, should not sooner have been consulted,
or, rather, should not have been consulted at all, in this
matter. But there was a providence in this. Just as the
dream was held from the king, so he was unaccountably held
from appealing to Daniel for a solution of the mystery.
For had he called on Daniel at first, and had he at once
made known the matter, the magicians would not have been
brought to the test. But God would give the heathen systems
of the Chaldeans the first chance. He would let them try,
and ignominiously fail, and confess their utter incompetency,
even under the penalty of death, that they might be the
better prepared to acknowledge his hand when he should finally
reach it down in behalf of his captive servants, and for
the honor of his own name.
38 -- 3. It appears that the first intimation
Daniel had of the matter was the presence of the executioners,
come for his arrest. His own life being thus at stake, he
would be led to seek the Lord with all his heart till he
should work for their deliverance. Daniel gains his request
of the king for time to consider the matter, - a privilege
which probably none of the magicians could have secured,
as the king had already accused them of preparing lying
and corrupt words, and of seeking to gain time for this
very purpose. Daniel at once went to his three companions,
and engaged them to unite with him in desiring mercy of
the God of heaven concerning this secret. He could have
prayed alone, and doubtless would have been heard; but then,
as now, in the union of God's people there is prevailing
power; and the promise of the accomplishment of that which
is asked, is to the two or three who shall agree concerning
it. Matthew 18:19, 20. TOP
was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then
Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20
Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever
and ever; for wisdom and might are his; 21
And he changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings,
and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and
knowledge to them that know understanding; 22
He revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what
is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. 23
I thank thee, and praise thee, 0 thou God of my fathers,
who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known
unto me now what we desired of thee; for thou hast now made
known unto us the king's matter.
or not the answer came while Daniel and his companions were
yet offering up their petitions, we are not informed. If
it did, it shows their importunity in the matter; for it
was through a night vision that God revealed himself in
their behalf, which would show that they continued their
supplications, as might reasonably be inferred, far into
the night, and ceased not till the answer was obtained.
Or, if their season of prayer had closed, and God at a subsequent
time sent the answer, it would show us that, as is sometimes
the case, prayers are not unavailing though not immediately
answered. Some think the matter was made known to Daniel
by his dreaming the same dream that Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed;
39 -- Matthew Henry considers it more probable that
"when he was awake, and continuing instant in prayer,
and watching in the same, the dream itself and the interpretation
of it were communicated to him by the ministry of an angel,
abundantly to his satisfaction." The words "night
vision" mean anything that is seen, whether through
dreams or visions.
immediately offered up praise to God for his gracious dealing
with them; and while his prayer is not preserved, his responsive
thanksgiving is fully recorded. God is honored by our rendering
him praise for the things he has done for us, as well as
by our acknowledging through prayer our need of his help.
Let Daniel's course be our example in this respect. Let
no mercy from the hand of God fail of its due return of
thanksgiving and praise. Were not ten lepers cleansed? "But
where," asks Christ sorrowfully, "are the nine?"
had the utmost confidence in what had been shown him. He
did not first go to the king, to see if what had been revealed
to him was indeed the king's dream; but he immediately praised
God for having answered his prayer.
the matter was revealed to Daniel, he did not take honor
to himself as though it were by his prayers alone that this
thing had been obtained, but immediately associated his
companions with himself, and acknowledged it to be as much
an answer to their prayers as to his own. It was, said he,
"what we desired of thee," and thou hast
made it "known unto us."
Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had
ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and
said thus unto him: Destroy not the wise men of Babylon;
bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king
the interpretation. TOP
first plea is for the wise men of Babylon. Destroy them
not, for the king's secret is revealed. True it was through
no merit of theirs or their heathen systems of divination
that this revelation was made; they were worthy of just
as much condemnation as before. But their own confession
of utter impotence in the matter was humiliation enough
for them, and Daniel was anxious that they should so far
40 -- the benefits shown to him as to have their lives
spared. Thus they were saved because there was a man of
God among them. And thus it ever is. For the sake of Paul
and Silas, all the prisoners with them were loosed. Acts
16:26. For the sake of Paul, the lives of all that sailed
with him were saved. Chapter 27:24. Thus the wicked are
benefited by the presence of the righteous. Well would it
be if they would remember the obligations under which they
are thus placed. What saves the world today? For whose sake
is it still spared? - For the sake of the few righteous
persons who are yet left. Remove these, and how long would
the wicked be suffered to run their guilty career? - No
longer than the antediluvians were suffered, after Noah
had entered the ark, or the Sodomites, after Lot had departed
from their polluted and polluting presence. If only ten
righteous persons could have been found in Sodom, the multitude
of its wicked inhabitants would, for their sakes, have been
spared. Yet the wicked will despise, ridicule, and oppress
the very ones on whose account it is that they are still
permitted the enjoyment of life and all its blessings.
Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said
thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah,
that will make known unto the king the interpretation.
is ever a characteristic of ministers and courtiers to ingratiate
themselves with their sovereign. So here Arioch represented
that he had found a man who could make known the desired
interpretation; as if with great disinterestedness, in behalf
of the king, he had been searching for someone to solve
his difficulty, and had at last found him. In order to see
through this deception of his chief executioner, the king
had but to remember, as he probably did, his interview with
Daniel (verse 16), and Daniel's promise, if time could be
granted, to show the interpretation thereof.
king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar,
Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have
seen, and the interpretation thereof? 27
Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The
secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men,
the astrologers, the magicians,
the soothsayers, show unto the king; 28
but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and
maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in
the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head
upon thy bed, are these.
thou able to make known the dream? was the king's doubtful
salutation to Daniel, as he came into his presence. Notwithstanding
his previous acquaintance with Daniel, the king seems to
have questioned his ability, so young and inexperienced,
to make known a matter in which the aged and venerable magicians
and soothsayers had utterly failed. Daniel declared plainly
that the wise men, the astrologers, the soothsayers, and
the magicians could not make known this secret. It was beyond
their power. Therefore the king should not be angry with
them, nor put confidence in their inefficient superstitions.
He then proceeds to make known the true God, who rules in
heaven, and is the only revealer of secrets. And he it is,
says Daniel, who maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar
what shall be in the latter days.
As, for thee, 0 king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon
thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter; and he that
revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to
pass. 30 But
as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom
that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that
shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that
thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. TOP
is brought out another of the commendable traits of Nebuchadnezzar's
character. Unlike some rulers, who fill up the present with
folly and debauchery without regard to the future, he thought
forward upon the days to come, with an anxious desire to
know with what events they should be filled. His object
in this was, doubtless, that he might the better know how
to make a wise improvement of the present. For this reason
God gave him this dream, which we must regard as a token
of the divine favor toward the king, as there were many
other ways in which the truth involved in this matter could
have been brought out, equally to the honor of God's name,
and the good of his people both at that time and through
subsequent generations. Yet God would not work for the king
independently of his own people; hence, though he gave the
p 42 --the king, he sent the interpretation through
one of his own acknowledged servants. Daniel first disclaimed
all credit for himself in the transaction, and then to modify
somewhat the feelings of pride which it would have been
natural for the king to have, in view of being thus noticed
by the God of heaven, he informed him indirectly, that,
although the dream had been given to him, it was not for
his sake altogether that the interpretation was sent, but
for their sakes through whom it should be made known. Ah!
God had some servants there, and it was for them that he
was working. They are of more value in his sight than the
mightiest kings and potentates of earth. Had it not been
for them, the king would never have had the interpretation
of his dream, probably not even the dream itself. Thus,
when traced to their source, all favors, upon whomsoever
bestowed, are found to be due to the regard which God has
for his own children. How comprehensive was the work of
God in this instance. By this one act of revealing the king's
dream to Daniel, he accomplished the following objects:
(1) He made known to the king the
things he desired; (2) He
saved his servants who trusted in him; (3)
He brought conspicuously before the Chaldean
nation the knowledge of the true God; (4)
He poured contempt on the false systems
of the soothsayers and magicians; and (5)
He honored his own name, and exalted his servants
in their eyes.
Thou, 0 king, sawest, and behold a great
image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent,
stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32 This image's head was of fine
gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly
and his thighs of brass, 33 His
legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34 Thou sawest till that a stone
was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon
his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them
to pieces. 35 Then was the iron,
the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken
to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the
summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them
away, that no place was found for them; and the stone
that smote the image became a great mountain, and
filled the whole earth.
The Great World Kingdom Image
practicing the Chaldean religion, was an idolater. An image
was an object which would at once command his attention
and respect. Moreover, earthly kingdoms, which, as we shall
hereafter see, were represented by this TOP
p 43 - image, were objects of esteem and value in
his eyes. With a mind enlightened by the light of revelation,
he was unprepared to put a true estimate upon earthly wealth
and glory, and to look upon earthly governments in their
true light. Hence the striking harmony between the estimate
which he put upon these things, and the object by which
they were symbolized before him. To him they were presented
under the form of a great image, an object in his eyes of
worth and admiration. With Daniel the case was far different.
He was able to view in its true light all greatness and
glory not built on the favor and approbation of God; and
therefore to him these same earthly kingdoms were afterward
shown (see chapter 7) under the form of cruel and ravenous
how admirably adapted was this representation to convey
a great and needful truth to the mind of Nebuchadnezzar.
Besides delineating the progress of events through the whole
course of time for the benefit of his people, God would
show Nebuchadnezzar the utter emptiness and worthlessness
of earthly pomp and glory. And how could this be more impressively
done than by an image commencing with the most precious
of metals, and continually descending to the baser, till
we finally have the coarsest and crudest of materials, -
iron mingled with the miry clay, - the whole then dashed
to pieces, and made like the empty chaff, no good thing
in it, but altogether lighter than vanity, and finally blown
away where no place could be found for it, after which something
durable and of heavenly worth occupies its place? So would
God show to the children of men that earthly kingdoms were
to pass away, and earthly greatness and glory, like a gaudy
bubble, would break and vanish; and the kingdom of God,
in the place so long usurped by these, should be set up,
to have no end, and all who had an interest therein should
rest under the shadow of its peaceful wings forever and
ever. But this is anticipating.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof
before the king. 37 Thou, 0 king, art
a king of kings; for the
God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength,
and glory. 38 And wheresoever the children
of men dwell, the
44 -- beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven
hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler
over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
Now opens one of the sublimest chapters of human history.
Eight short verses of the inspired record tell the whole
story; yet that story embraces the history of this world's
pomp and power. A few moments will suffice to commit it
to memory; yet the period which it covers, commencing more
than twenty-five centuries ago, reaches on from that far-distant
point past the rise and fall of kingdoms, past the setting
up and overthrow of empires, past cycles and ages, past
our own day, over into the eternal state. It is so comprehensive
that it embraces all this; yet it is so minute that it gives
us all the great outlines of earthly kingdoms from that
time to this. Human wisdom never devised so brief a record
which embraced so much. Human language never set forth in
so few words, so great a volume of historical truth. The
finger of God is here. Let us heed the lesson well. TOP
what interest, as well as astonishment, must the king have
listened, as he was informed by the prophet that he, or
rather his kingdom, the king being here put for his kingdom
(see the following verse), was the golden head of the magnificent
image which he had seen. Ancient kings were grateful for
success; and in cases of prosperity, the tutelar deity,
to whom they attributed their success, was the adorable
object upon which they would lavish their richest treasures
and bestow their best devotions. Daniel indirectly informs
the king that in this case all these are due to the God
of heaven, since he is the one who has given him his kingdom,
and made him ruler over all. This would restrain him from
the pride of thinking that he had attained his position
by his own power and wisdom, and would enlist the gratitude
of his heart toward the true God.
kingdom of Babylon, which finally developed into the golden
head of the great historic image, was founded by Nimrod,
the great-grandson of Noah, over two thousand years before
Christ. Gen. 10:8-10: "And Cush begat Nimrod; he began
to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty
45 -- hunter before the Lord; wherefore it is said,
Even as Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the
beginning of his kingdom was Babel [margin Babylon],
and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar."
It appears that Nimrod also founded the city of Nineveh,
which afterward became the capital of Syria. (See marginal
reading of Genesis 10:11, and Johnson's Cyclopedia,
art. Syria.) The following sketch of the history of Babylon,
art. Babylon, is according to the latest authorities
on this subject: -
1270 B.C., the Assyrian kings became masters of Chaldea,
or Babylonia, of which Babylon was the capital. This country
was afterward ruled by an Assyrian dynasty of kings, who
reigned at Babylon, and sometimes waged war against those
who reigned in Assyria proper. At other times the kings
of Babylon were tributary to those of Assyria. Several centuries
elapsed in which the history of Babylon is almost a blank.
In the time of Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, Nabonassar ascended
the throne of Babylon in 747 B.C. He is celebrated for the
chronological era which bears his name, and which began
in 747 B.C. About 720 Merodach-baladan became king of Babylon,
and sent ambassadors to Hezekiah, king of Judah (see 2 Kings
20, and Isa. 39). A few years later, Sargon, king of Assyria,
defeated and dethroned Merodach-baladan. Sennacherib completed
the subjection of Babylon, which he annexed to the Assyrian
empire about 690 B.C. The conquest of Nineveh and the subversion
of the Assyrian empire, which was effected about 625 B.C.,
By Cyaxeres the Mede, and his ally Nabopolassar, the rebellious
governor of Babylon, enabled the latter to found the Babylonian
empire, which was the fourth of Rawlinson's ' Five Great
Monarchies,' and included the valley of the Euphrates, Susiana,
Syria, and Palestine. His reign lasted about twenty-one
years, and was probably pacific, as the history of it is
nearly a blank; but in 605 B.C. his army defeated Necho,
king of Egypt, who had invaded Syria. He was succeeded by
his more famous son, Nebuchadnezzar (604 B.C.) who was the
greatest of the kings of Babylon."
Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar in the
first year of his reign, and the third year of Jehoiakim,
king of Judah (Dan. 1:1), B.C. 606. Nebuchadnezzar reigned
two years conjointly with his father, Nabopolassar. From
this point the Jews computed his reign, but the Chaldeans
from the date of his sole reign, 604 B.C., as stated above.
Respecting the successors of Nebuchadnezzar, the authority
above quoted adds: -
died in 561 B.C., and was succeeded by his son Evil-merodach,
who reigned only two years. Nabonadius (or Labynetus), who
became king in 555 B.C., formed an alliance with Croesus
against Cyrus the Great. He appears to have shared the royal
power with his son, Belshazzar, whose mother was a daughter
of Nebuchadnezzar. Cyrus besieged Babylon, which be took
by stratagem in 538 B.C., and with the death of Belshazzar,
whom the Persians killed, the kingdom of Babylon ceased
to exist." TOP
When we say that the image of Daniel 2 symbolizes the four
great prophetic universal monarchies, and reckon Babylon
as the first of these, it is asked how this can be true,
when every country in the world was not absolutely under
the dominon of any one of them. Thus Babylon never conquered
Grecia or Rome; but Rome was founded before Babylon had
risen to the zenith of its power. Rome's position and influence,
however, were then altogether prospective; and it is nothing
against the prophecy that God begins to prepare his agents
long years before they enter upon the prominent part they
are to perform in the fulfilment of prophecy. We must place
ourselves with the prophet, and view these kingdoms from
the same standpoint. We shall then, as is right, consider
his statements in the light of the location he occupied,
the time in which he wrote, and the circumstances by which
he was surrounded. It is a manifest rule of interpretation
that we may look for nations to be noticed in prophecy when
they become so far connected with the people of God that
mention of them becomes necessary to make the records of
sacred history complete. When this was the case with Babylon,
it was, from the standpoint of the prophet, the great and
47 -- object in the political world. In his eye, it
necessarily eclipsed all else; and he would naturally speak
of it as a kingdom having rule over all the earth. So far
as we know, all provinces or countries against which Babylon
did move in the height of its power, were subdued by its
arms. In this sense, all were in its power; and this fact
will explain the somewhat hyperbolical language of verse
38. That there were some portions of territory and considerable
numbers of people unknown to history, and outside the pale
of civilization as it then existed, which were neither discovered
nor subdued, is not a fact of sufficient strength or importance
to condemn the expression of the prophet, or to falsify
606 B.C. Babylon came in contact with the people of God,
when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, and led Judah into
captivity. It comes at this point, consequently, into the
field of prophecy, at the end of the Jewish theocracy.
character of this empire is indicated by the nature of the
material composing that portion of the image by which it
was symbolized - the head of gold. It was the golden kingdom
of a golden age. Babylon, its metropolis, towered to a height
never reached by any of its successors. Situated in the
garden of the East; laid out in a perfect square sixty miles
in circumference, fifteen miles on each side; surrounded
by a wall three hundred and fifty feet high and eighty-seven
feet thick, with a moat, or ditch, around this, of equal
cubic capacity with the wall itself; divided into six hundred
and seventy-six squares, each two and a quarter miles in
circumference, by its fifty streets, each one hundred and
fifty feet in width, crossing each other at right angles,
twenty-five running each way, every one of them straight
and level and fifteen miles in length; its two hundred and
twenty-five square miles of inclosed surface, divided as
just described, laid out in luxurant pleasure-grounds and
gardens, interspersed with magniftcent dwellings, - this
city, with its sixty miles of moat, its sixty miles of outer
wall, its thirty miles of river wall through its center,
its hundred and fifty gates of solid brass, its hanging
gardens, rising terrace above terrace, till they equaled
in height the walls themselves, its temple of Belus, three
(A Babylonian Palace) TOP
p 49 -- circumference, its two royal palaces, one
three and a half, and the other eight miles in circumference,
with its subterranean tunnel under the River Euphrates connecting
these two palaces, its perfect arrangement for convenience,
ornament, and defense, and its unlimited resources, - this
city, containing in itself many things which were themselves
wonders of the world, was itself another and still mighter
wonder. Never before saw the earth a city like that; never
since has it seen its equal. And there, with the whole earth
prostrate at her feet, a queen in peerless grandeur, drawing
from the pen of inspiration itself this glowing title, "The
glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency,"
sat this city, fit capital of that kingdom which constituted
the golden head of this grat historic image.
was Babylon, with Nebuchadnezzar, in the prime of life,
bold, vigorous, and accomplished, seated upon its throne,
when Daniel entered its impregnable walls to serve a captive
for seventy years in its gorgeous palaces. There the children
of the Lord, oppressed more than cheered by the glory and
prosperity of the land of their captivity, hung their harps
on the willows of the sparkling Euphrates, and wept when
they remembered Zion.
there commenced the captive state of the church in a still
broader sense; for, ever since that time, the people of
God have been in subjection to, and more or less oppressed
by, earthly powers. And so they will be, till all earthly
powers shall finally yield to Him whose right it is to reign.
And lo, that day of deliverance draws on apace.
Into another city, not only Daniel, but all the children
of God, from least to greatest, from lowest to highest,
from first to last, are soon to enter; a city not merely
sixty miles in circumference, but fifteen hundred miles;
a city whose walls are not brick and bitumen, but precious
stones and jasper; whose streets are not the stone-paved
streets of Babylon, smooth and beautiful as they were, but
transparent gold; whose river is not the mournful waters
of the Euphrates, but the river of life; whose music is
not the sighs and laments of broken-hearted captives, but
the thrilling paeans of victory over death and the grave,
50 -- which ransomed multitudes shall raise; whose light
is not the intermittent light of earth, but the unceasing
and ineffable glory of God and the Lamb. Into this city
they shall enter, not as captives entering a foreign land,
but as exiles returning to their father's house; not as
to a place where such chilling words as "bondage,"
"servitude," and "oppression," shall
weigh down their spirits, but to one where the sweet words,
"home," "freedom," "peace,"
"purity," "unutterable bliss," and "unending
life," shall thrill their bosoms with delight forever
and ever. Yea; our mouths shall be filled with laughter,
and our tongue with singing, when the Lord shall turn again
the captivity of Zion. Ps. 126:1, 2; Rev. 21:1-27.
And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee,
and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule
over all the earth.
reigned forty-three years, and was succeeded by the following
rulers: His son, Evil-merodach, two years; Neriglissar,
his son-in-law, four years; Laborosoarchod, Neriglissar's
son, nine months, which, being less than one year, is not
counted in the canon of Ptolemy; and lastly, Nabonadius,
whose son, Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, was associated
with him on the throne, and with whom that kingdom came
to an end. TOP
the first year of Neriglissar,
only two years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, broke
out that fatal war between the Babylonians and the Medes,
which was to result in the utter subversion of the Babylonian
kingdom. Cyaxares, king of the Medes, who is called "Darius"
in Dan. 5:31, summoned to his aid his nephew, Cyrus, of
the Persian line, in his efforts against the Babylonians.
The war was prosecuted with uninterrupted success on the
part of the Medes and Persians, until, in the eighteenth
year of Nabonadius (the third year of his son Belshazzar),
Cyrus laid siege to Babylon, the only city in all the East
which then held out against him. The Babylonians, gathered
within their impregitable walls, with provision on hand
for twenty years, and land within the limits of their broad
city sufficient to furnish food for the inhabitants
51 -- and
garrison for an indefinite period, scoffed at Cyrus from
their lofty walls, and derided his seemingly useless efforts
to bring them into subjeetion. And according to all human
calculation, they had good ground for their feelings of
security. Never, weighed in the balance of any earthly probability,
with the means of warfare then known, could that city be
taken. Hence, they breathed as freely and slept as soundly
as though no foe were waiting and watching for their destruction
around their beleaguered walls. But God had decreed that
the proud and wicked city should come down from her throne
of glory; and when he speaks, what mortal arm can defeat
their very feeling of security lay the source of their danger.
Cyrus resolved to accomplish by stratagem what he could
not effect by force; and learning of the approach of an
annual festival, in which the whole city would be given
up to mirth and revelry, he fixed upon that day as the time
to carry his purpose into execution. There was no entrance
for him into that city except he could find it where the
River Euphrates entered and emerged, passing under its walls.
He resolved to make the channel of the river his own highway
into the stronghold of his enemy. To do this, the water
must be turned aside from its channel through the city.
For this purose, on the evening of the feast-day above referred
to, he detailed three bodies of soldiers, the first, to
turn the river at a given hour into a large artificial lake
a short distance above the city; the second, to take their
station at the point where the river entered the city; the
third to take a position fifteen miles below, where the
river emerged from the city; and these two latter parties
were instructed to enter the channel, just as soon as they
found the river fordable, and in the darkness of the night
explore their way beneath the walls, and press on to the
palace of the king, where they were to meet, surprise the
palace, slay the guards, and capture or slay the king. When
the water was turned into the lake mentioned above, the
river soon became fordable, and the soldiers detailed for
that purpose followed its channel into the heart of the
city of Babylon.
all this would have been in vain, had not the whole city,
on that eventful night, given themselves over to the most
p 52 --
(Babylon taken by the Medo-Persians)
53 -- reckless carelessness and presumption, a state
of things upon which Cyrus calculated largely for the carrying
out of his purpose. For on each side of the river, through
the entire length of the city, were walls of great height,
and of equal thickness with the outer walls. In these walls
were huge gates of solid brass, which when closed and guarded,
debarred all entrance from the river-bed to any and all
of the twenty-five streets that crossed the river; and had
they been thus closed at this time, the soldiers of Cyrus
might have marched into the city along the river-bed, and
then marched out again, for all that they would have been
able to accomplish toward the subjugation of the place.
But in the drunken revelry of that fatal night, these river
gates were all left open, and the entrance of the Persian
soldiers was not perceived. Many a cheek would have paled
with terror, had they noticed the sudden going down of the
river, and understood its fearful import. Many a tongue
would have spread wild alarm through the city, had they
seen the dark forms of their armed foes stealthly treading
their way to the citadel of their strength. But no one noticed
the sudden subsidence of the waters of the river; no one
saw the entrance of the Persian warriors; no one took care
that the river gates should be closed and guarded; no one
cared for aught but to see how deeply and recklessly he
could plunge into the wild debauch. That night's work cost
them their kingdom and their freedom. They went into their
brutish revelry subjects of the king of Babylon; they awoke
from it slaves to the king of Persia. TOP
The soldiers of Cyrus first made known their presence in
the city by falling upon the royal guards in the very vestibule
of the palace of the king. Belshazzar soon became aware
of the cause of the disturbance, and died vainly fighting
for his imperiled life. This feast of Belshazzar is described
in the fifth chapter of Daniel; and the scene closes with
the simple record, "In that night was Belshazzar the
king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darins the Median took
the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old."
Thus the first division of the great image was completed.
Another kingdom had arisen, as the prophet had declared.
54 -- The first instalment of the prophetic dream was
before we take leave of Babylon, let us glance forward to
the end of its thenceforth melancholy history. It would
naturally be supposed that the conqueror, becoming possessed
of so noble a city, far surpassing anything in the world,
would have taken it as the seat of his empire, and maintained
it in its primitive splendor. But God had said that that
city should become a heap, and the habitation of the beasts
of the desert; that their houses should be full of doleful
creatures; that the wild beasts of the islands should cry
in their desolate dwellings, and dragons in their pleasant
palaces. Isa. 13:19-22. It must first be deserted. Cyrus
removed the imperial seat to Susa, a celebrated city in
the province of Elam, east from Babylon, on the banks of
the River Choaspes, a branch of the Tigris. This was probably
done, says Prideaux (i. 180), in the first year of his sole
reign. The pride of the Babylonians being particularly provoked
by this act, in the fifth year of Darius Hystaspes, B.C.
517, they rose in rebellion, which brought upon themselves
again the whole strength of the Persian empire. The city
was once more taken by stratagem. Zopyrus, one of the chief
commanders of Darius, having cut off his own nose and ears,
and mangled his body all over with stripes, fled in this
condition to the besieged, apparently burning with desire
to be revenged on Darius for his great cruelty in thus mutilating
him. In this way he won the confidence of the Babylonians
till they at length made him chief commander of their forces:
Whereupon he betrayed the city into the hands of his master.
And that they might ever after be deterred from rebellion,
Darius impaled three thousand of those who had been most
active in the revolt, took away the brazen gates of the
city, and beat down the walls from two hundred cubits to
fifty cubits. This was the commencement of its destruction.
By this act, it was left exposed to the ravages of every
hostile band. Xerxes, on his return from Greece, plundered
the temple of Belus of its immense wealth, and then laid
the lofty structure in ruins. Alexander the Great endeavored
to rebuild it; but after employing ten thousand men two
months to clear away the rubbish, he died from excessive
drunkenness and debauchery,
(Alexander removing the ruins of Babylon)
56 -- and the work was suspended. In the year 294 B.C.,
Seleucus Nicator built the city of New Babylon in its neighborhood,
and took much of the material and many of the inhabitants
of the old city, to build up and people the new. Now almost
exhausted of inhabitants, neglect and decay were telling
fearfully upon the ancient city. The violence of Parthian
princes hastened its ruin. About the end of the fourth century,
it was used by the Persian kings as an enclosure for wild
beasts. At the end of the twelfth century, according to
a celebrated traveler, the few remaining ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's
palace were so full of serpents and venomous reptiles that
they could not, without great danger, be closely inspected.
And to-day scarcely enough even of the ruins is left to
mark the spot where once stood the largest, richest, and
proudest city the world has ever seen. Thus the ruin of
great Babylon shows us how accurately God will fulfil his
word, and make the doubts of skepticism appear like wilful
after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee."
The use of the word kingdom here, shows that kingdoms,
and not particular kings, are represented by the different
parts of this image; and hence when it was said to Nebuchadnezzar,
" Thou art this head of gold," although the personal
pronoun was used, the kingdom, not the person of the king,
was meant. TOP
The succeeding kingdom, Medo-Persia, is the one which answers
to the breast and arms of silver of the great image. It
was to be inferior to the preceding kingdom. In what respect
inferior? Not in power; for it was its conqueror. Not in
extent; for Cyrus subdued all the East from the Aegean Sea
to the River Indus, and thus erected the most extensive
empire that up to that time had ever existed. But it was
inferior in wealth, luxury and magnificence.
from a Scriptural standpoint, the principal event under
the Babylonish empire was the captivity of the children
of Israel; so the principil event under the Medo-Persian
kingdom was the restoration of Israel to their own land.
At the taking of Babylon, B.C. 538, Cyrus, as an act of
courtesy, assigned the first place in the kingdom to his
57 -- But,
two years afterward, B.C. 536, Darius died; and in the same
year also died Cambyses, king of Persia, Cyrus' father.
By these events, Cyrus was left sole monarch of the whole
empire. In this year, which closed Israel's seventy years
of captivity, Cyrus issued his famous decree for the return
of the Jews and the rebuilding of their temple. This was
the first instalment of the great decree for the restoration
and building again of Jerusalem (Ezra 6:14), which was completed
in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, B.C. 457,
and marked, as will hereafter be shown, the commencement
of the 2300 days of Daniel 8, the longest and most important
prophetic period mentioned in the Bible. Dan. 9:25.
a reign of seven years, Cyrus left the kingdom to his son
Cambyses, who reigned seven years and five months, to B.C.
522. Eight monarchs, whose reigns varied from seven months
to forty-six years each, took the throne in order till the
year B.C. 336, as follows: Smerdis the Magian, seven months,
in the year B.C. 522; Darius Hystaspes, from B.C.521 to
486; Xerxes from B.C. 485 to 465; Artaxerxes Longimanus,
from B.C. 464 to 424; Darius Nothus, from B.C. 423 to 405;
Artaxerxes Mnemon, from B.C. 404 to 359; Ochus, from B.C.
358 to 338; Arses, from B.C. 337 to 336. The year 335 is
set down as the first of Darius Codomanus, the last of the
line of the old Persian kings. This man, according to Prideaux,
was of noble stature, of goodly person, of the greatest
personal valor, and of a mild and generous disposition.
Had he lived at any other age, a long and splendid career
would have undoubtedly have been his. But it was his ill-forutne
to have to contend with one who was an agent in the fulfilment
of prophecy; and no qualifications, natural or acquired,
could render him successful in the unequal contest. "Scarcely
was he warm upon the throne," says the last-named historian,
"ere he found his formidible enemy, Alexander, at the
head of the Greek soldiers, preparing to dismount him from
cause and particilars of the contest between the Greeks
and Persians we leave to histories specially devoted to
such matters. Suffice it here to say that the deciding point
58 -- reached on the field of Arbela, B.C. 331, in which
the Grecians, though only one to twenty in number as compared
with the Persians, were entirely victorious; and Alexander
thenceforth became absolute lord of the Persian empire to
the utmost extent that it was ever possessed by any of its
another third kingdom of brass shall bear rule over all
the earth," said the prophet. So few and brief are
the inspired words which involved in their fulfilment a
change of the world's rulers. In the ever-changing political
kaleidoscope, Grecia now comes into the field of vision,
to be, for a time, the all-absorbing object of attention,
as the third of what are called the great universal empires
of the earth. TOP
the fatal battle which decided the fate of the empire, Darius
still endeavored to rally tho shattered remnants of his
army, and make a stand for his kingdom and his rights. But
he could not gather, out of all the host of his recently
so numerous and well-appointed army, a force with which
he deemed it prudent to hazard another engagement with the
victorious Grecians. Alexander pursued him on the wings
of the wind. Time after time did Darius barely elude the
grasp of his swiftly following foe. At length two traitors,
Bessus and Nabarzanes, seized the unfortunate prince, shut
him up in a close cart, and fled with him as their prisoner
toward Bactria. It was their purpose, if Alexander pursued
them, to purchase their own safety by delivering up their
king. Hereupon Alexander, learning of Darius's dangerous
position in the hands of the traitors, immediately put himself
with the lightest part of his army upon a forced pursuit.
After several days' hard march, he came up with the traitors.
They urged Darius to mount on horseback for a more speedy
flight. Upon his refusing to do this, they gave him several
mortal wounds, and left him dying in his cart, while they
mounted their steeds and rode away.
Alexander came up, he beheld only the lifeless form of the
Persian king. As he gazed upon the corpse, he might have
learned a profitable lesson of the instability of human
fortune. Here was a man who but a few months before, possessing
many noble and generous qualities, was seated upon the throne
of universal empire. Disaster, overthrow, and desertion
59 -- had come suddenly upon him. His kingdom had been
conquered, his treasure seized, and his family reduced to
captivity. And now, brutally slain by the hand of traitors,
he lay a bloody corpse in a rude cart. The sight of the
melancholy spectacle drew tears even from the eyes of Alexander,
familar though he was with all the horrible vicissitudes
and bloody scenes of war. Throwing his cloak over the body,
he commanded it to be conveyed to the captive ladies of
Susa, himself furnishing the necessary means for a royal
funeral. For this generous act let us give him credit; for
he stands sadly in need of all that is his due.
Darius fell, Alexander saw the field cleared of his last
formidable foe. Thenceforward he could spend his time in
his own manner, now in the enjoyment of rest and pleasure,
and again in the prosecution of some minor conquest. He
entered upon a pompous campaign into India, because, according
to Grecian fable, Bacchus and Hercules, two sons of Jupiter,
whose son he also claimed to be, had done the same. With
comptemptible arrogance, he claimed for himself divine honors.
He gave up conquered cities, freely and unprovoked, to the
absolute mercy of his blood-thirsty and licentious soldiery.
He himself often murdered his own friends and favorites
in his drunken frenzies. He sought out the vilest persons
for the gratification of his lust. At the instigation of
a dissolute and drunken woman, he, with a company of his
courtiers, all in a state of frenzied intoxication, sallied
out, torch in hand, and fired the city and palace of Persepolis,
one of the then finest palaces in the world. He encouraged
such excessive drinking among his followers that one occasion
twenty of them together died as the result of their carousal.
At length, having sat through one long drinking spree, he
was immediately invited to another, when, after drinking
to each of the twenty guests present, he twice drank full,
says history, incredibe as it may seem, the Herculean cup
containing six of our quarts. He thereupon fell down, seized
with a violent fever, of which he died eleven days later,
in May or June, B.C. 323, while yet he stood only at the
threshold of mature life, in the thirty-second year of his
(Alexander commanding the conflagration of Persepolis) TOP
61 -- The progress of the Grecian empire we need not
stop to trace here, since its distinguishing features will
claim more particular notice under other prophecies. Daniel
thus continues in his interpretation of the great image:
40. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as
iron; for as much as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth
all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it
break in pieces and bruise.
Thus far in the application of this prophecy there is a
general agreement among expositors. That Babylon, Medo-Persia,
and Grecia are represented respectively by the head of gold,
the breast and arms of silver, and the sides of brass, is
acknowledged by all. But with just as little ground for
a diversity of views, there is strangely a difference of
opinion as to what kingdom is symbolized by the fourth division
of the great image, - the legs of iron. On this point we
have only to inquire, What kingdom did succeed Grecia in
the empire of the world? for the legs of iron denote the
fourth kingdom in the series. The testimony of history is
full and explicit on this point. One kingdom did this, and
one only, and that was Rome. It conquored Grecia; it subdued
all things; like iron, it broke in pieces and bruised. Gibbon,
following the symbolic imagery of Daniel, thus describes
this empire: -
arms of the Republic sometimes vanquished in battle, always
victorious in war, advanced with rapid steps to the Euphrates,
the Danube, the Rhine, and the ocean; and the images of
gold, or silver, or brass, that might serve to represent
the nations or their kings, were successively broken by
the iron monarchy of Rome."
the opening of the Christian era, this empire took in the
whole south of Europe, France, England, the greater part
of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the south of Germany,
Hungary, Turkey, and Greece, not to speak of its possessions
in Asia and Africa. Well, therefore, may
say of it: -
empire of the Romans filled the world. And when that empire
fell into the hands of a single person, the world became
a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. To resist was
fatal; and it was impossible to fly."
62 -- It will be noticed that at first the kingdom is
described unqualifiedly as strong as iron. And this was
the period of its strength, during which it has been likened
to a mighty Colossus, bestriding the nations, conquering
everything, and giving laws to the world. But this was not
41. And whereas thou sawest the feet
and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom
shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength
of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with
miry clay. 42. And as the
toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so
the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
element of weakness symbolized by the clay, pertained to
the feet as well as to the toes. Rome, before its division
into ten kingdoms, lost that iron tenacity which it possessed
to a superlative degree during the first centuries of its
career. Luxury, with its accompanying effeminacy and degeneracy,
the destroyer of nations as well as of individuals, began
to corrode and weaken its iron sinews, and thus prepared
the way for its subsequent disruption into ten kingdoms.
iron legs of the image terminate, to maintain the consistency
of the figure, in feet and toes. To the toes, of which there
were of course just ten, our attention is called by the
explicit mention of thern in the prophecy; and the kingdom
represented by that portion of the image to which the toes
belonged, was finally divided into ten parts. The question
therefore naturally arises, Do the ten toes of the image
represent the ten final divisions of the Roman empire? To
those who prefer what seems to be a natural and straightforward
interpretation of the word of God, it is a matter of no
little astonishment that any question should here be raised.
To take the ten toes to represent the ten kingdoms into
which Rome was divided seems like such an easy, consistent,
and matter-of-course procedure, that it requires a labored
effort to interpret it otherwise. Yet such an effort is
made by some - by Romanists universally, and by such Protestants
as still cling to Romish errors. TOP
volume by H. Cowles, D. D., may perhaps best be taken as
a representative exposition on this side of the question.
63 -- The writer gives every evidence of extensive erudition
and great ability. It is the more to be regretted, therefore,
that these powers are devoted to the propagation of error,
and to misleading the anxious inquirer who wishes to know
his whereabouts on the great highway of time.
can but briefly notice his positions. They are,
(1) That the third kingdom was Grecia during
the lifetime of Alexander only; (2)
That the fourth kingdom was Alexander's successors;
(3) That the latest point to which the
fourth kingdom could extend, is the manifestation of the
Messiah; for (4) There the
God of heaven set up his kingdom; there the stone smote
the image upon its feet, and commenced the process of grinding
can we reply at any great length to these positions.
We might as well confine the Babylonian empire to the single
reign of Nebuchadnezzar, or that of Persia to the reign
of Cyrus, as to confine the third kingdom, Grecia, to the
reign of Alexander.
Alexander's successors did not constitute
another kingdom, but a continuation of the same, the Grecian
kingdom of the image; for in this line of prophecy the succession
of kingdoms is by conquest. When Persia had conquered Babylon,
we had the second empire; and when Grecia had conquered
Persia, we had the third. But Alexander's successors (his
four leading generals) did not conquer his empire, and erect
another in its place; they simply divided among themselves
the empire which Alexander had conquered, and left ready
to their hand.
C., "the fourth empire must
immediately succeed Alexander, and lie entirely between
him and the birth of Christ." Chronologically,
we reply, it must do no such thing; for the birth of Christ
was not the introduction of the fifth kingdom, as will in
due time appear. Here he overlooks almost the entire duration
of the third division of the image, confounding it with
the fourth, and giving no room for the divided state of
the Grecian empire as symbolized by the four heads of the
leopard of chapter 7, and the four horns of the goat of
64 -- "Territorially,"
continues Professor C.,
" it [the fourth kingdom] should be sought in Western
Asia, not in Europe; in general, on the same territory where
the first, second, and third kingdoms stood."
Why not Europe? we ask. Each of the first three kingdoms
possessed territory which was pecularily its own. Why not
the fourth? Analogy requires that it should. And was not
the third kingdom a European kingdom? that is, did it not
rise on European territory, and take its name from the land
of its birth? Why not, then, go a degree farther west for
the place where the fourth great kingdom should be founded?
And how did Grecia ever occupy the territory of the first
and second kingdoms? - Only by conquest. And Rome did the
same. Hence, so far as the territorial requirements of the
professor's theory are concerned, Rome could be the fourth
kingdom as truthfully as Grecia could be the third.
he adds, "it
should be the immediate successor of Alexander's empire,
. . . changing the dynasty, but not the nations."
Analogy is against him here. Each of the first three kingdoms
was distinguished by its own peculiar nationality. The Persian
was not the same as the Babylonian, nor the Grecian the
same as either of the two that preceded it. Now analogy
requires that the fourth kingdom, instead of being composed
of a fragment of this Grecian empire, should possess a nationality
of its own, distinct from the other three. And this we find
in the Roman kingdom, and in it alone. But, TOP
3. The grand fallacy which underlies
this whole system of misinterpretation, is the too commonly
taught theory that the kingdom of God was set up at the
first advent of Christ. It can easily be seen how fatal
to this theory is the admission that the fourth empire is
Rome. For it was to be after the division of that fourth
empire, that the God of heaven was to set up his kingdom.
But the division of the Roman empire into ten parts was
not accomplshed previous to A. D. 476; consequently the
kingdom of God could not have been set up at the first advent
of Christ, nearly five hundred years before that date. Rome
must not, therefore, from their standpoint, though it answers
admirably to the prophecy in every particular, be allowed
65 -- be the kingdom in question. The position that
the kingdom of God was set up in the days when Christ was
upon earth, must, these interpreters seem to think, be maintained
at all hazards.
is the ground on which some expositors appear, at least
to reason. And it is for the purpose of maintaining this
theory that our author dwindles down the third great empire
of the world to the insignificant period of about eight
years! For this, he endeavors to prove that the fourth universal
empire was bearing full sway during a period when the providence
of God was simply filling up the outlines of the third!
For this, he presumes to fix the points of time between
which we must look for the fourth, though the prophecy does
not deal in dates at all, and then whatever kingdom he finds
within his specified time, that he sets down as the fourth
kingdom, and endeavors to bend the prophecy to fit his interpretation,
utterly regardless of how much better material he might
find outside of his little inclosure, to answer to a fulfilment
of the prophetic record. Is such a course logical? Is the
time the point to be first established? - No; the
kingdoms are the great features of the prophecy, and we
are to look for them; and when we find them, we must accept
them, whatever may be the chronology or location. Let them
govern the time and place, not the time and place govern
that view which is the cause of all this misapplication
and confusion is sheer assumption. Christ did not smite
the image at his first advent. Look at it! When the stone
smites the image upon its feet, the image is dashed in pieces.
Violence is used. The effect is immediate. The image becemes
as chaff. And then what? Is it absorbed by the stone, and
gradually incorporated with it? - Nothing of the kind. It
is blown off, removed away, as incompatible and unavailable
material; and no place is found for it. The territory is
entirely cleared; and then the stone becomes a mountain,
and fills the whole earth. Now what idea shall we attach
to this work of smiting and breaking in pieces? Is it a
gentle, peaceful, and quiet work? or is it a manifestation
of vengeance and violence? How did the kingdoms of the prophecy
succeed the one to the
66 -- other? - It was through the violence and din of
war, the shock of armies and the roar of battle. "Confused
noise and garments rolled in blood," told of the force
and violence with which one nation had been brought into
subjection to another. Yet all this is not called "smiting
" or "breaking in pieces."
When Persia conquered Babylon, and Greece Persia, neither
of the conquered empires is said to have been broken in
pieces, though crushed beneath the overwhelming power of
a hostile nation. But when we reach tbe introduction of
the fifth kingdom, the image is smitten with violence; it
is dashed to pieces, and so scattered and obliterated that
no place is found for it. And now what shall we understand
by this? - We must understand that here a scene transpires
in which is manifested so much more violence and force and
power than accompany the overthrow of one nation by another
through the strife of war, that the latter is not worthy
even of mention in connection with it. The subjugation of
one nation by another by war, is a scene of peace and quietude
in comparison with that which transpires when the image
is dashed in pieces by the stone cut out of the mountain
without hands. TOP
what is the smiting of the image made to mean by the theory
under notice? - Oh, the peaceful, introduction of the gospel
of Christ! the quiet spreading abroad of the light of truth!
the gathering out of a few from the nations of the earth,
to be made ready through obedience to the truth, for his
second coming, and reign! the calm and unpretending formation
of a Christian church, - a church that has been domineered
over, persecuted, and oppressed by the arrogant and triumphant
powers of earth from that day to this! And this is the smiting
of the image! this is the breaking of it into pieces, and
violently removing the shattered fragments from the face
of the earth! Was ever absurdity more absurd?
this digression we return to the inquiry, Do the toes represent
the ten divisions of the Roman empire? We, answer, Yes;
1. The image of chapter 2 is exactly
parallel with the vision of the four beasts of chapter 7.
The fourth beast of chapter 7 represents the same as the
iron legs of the image.
67 -- The ten horns of the beast, of course, correspond
very naturally to the ten toes of the image; and these horns
are plainly declaired to be ten kings which should arise;
and they are just as much independent kingdoms as are the
beasts themselves; for the beasts are spoken of in prcisely
the same manner; name1y, as "four kings which should
arise." Verse 17. They do not denote a line of successive
kings, but kings or kingdoms which exist contemporaneously;
for three of them were plucked up by the little horn. The
ten horns, beyond controversy, represen the ten kingdoms
into which Rome was divided.
We have seen that in Daniel's interpretation of the image
he uses the words king
interchangeably, the former denoting the same
as the latter. In verse 44 he says that "in the days
of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom."
This shows that at the time the kingdom of God is set up,
there will be a plurality of kings existing contemporaneously.
It cannot refer to the four preceding kingdoms; for it would
be absurd to use such language in reference to a line of
successive kings, since it would be in the days of the last
king only, not in the days of any of the preceeding, that
the kingdom of God would be set up.
then, is a division presented; and what have we in the symbol
to indicate it? - Nothing but the toes of the image. Unless
they do it, we are left utterly in the dark as to the nature
and extent of the division which the prophecy shows did
exist. To suppose this would be to cast a serious imputation
upon the prophecy itself. We are therefore held to the conclusion
that the ten toes of the image denote the ten parts into
which the Roman empire was divided. 1 TOP
1 -- This
division was accomplished between the years A. D. 351 and
A. D. 476. The era of this dissolution thus covered a hundred
and twenty-five years, from about the middle of the fourth
century to the last quarter of the fifth. No historians
of whom we are aware, place the beginning of this work of
the dismemberment of the Roman empire earlier than A. D.
351, and there is general agreement in assigning its close
in A. D. 476. Concerning the intermediate dates, that is,
the precise time from which each of the ten kingdoms that
arose on the ruins of the Roman empire is to be dated, there
is some difference of views among historians. Nor does this
seem strange, when we consider that there was an era of
great confusion, that the map of the Roman empire during
that time underwent many sudden and violent changes, and
that the paths of hostile nations charging upon its territory,
crossed and recrossed each other in a labyrinth of confusion.
But all historians agree in this, that out of the territory
of Western Rome, ten seperate kingdoms were ultimately established,
and we may safely assign them to the time between the dates
above named; namely, A. D. 351 and 476.
ten nations which were most instrumental in breaking up
the Roman empire, and which at some time in their history
held respectively portions of Roman territory as separate
and independent kingdoms, may be enumerated (with out respect
to the time of their establishment) as follows: The Huns,
Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Burgundians,
Heruli, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards. The connection between
these and some of the modern nations of Europe, is still
traceable in the names, as England, Burgundy, Lombardy,
France, etc. Such authorities as Calmet, Faber, Lloyd, Hales,
Scott, Barnes, etc., concur in the foregoing enumeration.
(See Barnes's concluding notes on Daniel 7.)
68 -- As an objection to the view that the ten toes
of the image denote the ten kingdoms, we are sometimes reminded
that Rome, before its division into ten kingdoms, was divided
into two parts, the Western and Eastern empires, corresponding
to the two legs of the image; and as the ten kingdoms all
arose out of the western division, if they are denoted by
the toes, we would have, it is claimed, ten toes on one
foot of the image, and none on the other; which would be
unnatural and inconsistent.
this objection devours itself; for certainly if the two
legs denote division, the toes must denote division also.
It would be inconsistent to say that the legs symbolize
division, but the toes do not. But if the toes do indicate
division at all, it can be nothing but the division of Rome
into ten parts.
fallacy, however, which forms the basis of this objection,
is the view that the two legs of the image do signify the
separation of the Roman empire into its eastern and western
divisions. To this view there are several objections.
1. The two legs of iron symbolize Rome,
not merely during its closing years, but from the very beginning
of its existence as a nation; and if these legs denote division,
the kingdom should have been divided from the very commencement
of its history. This claim is sustained by the other symbols.
Thus the division (that is, the two elements) of the Persian
kingdom, denoted by the two horns of the ram (Dan. 8:20),
also by the elevation of the bear upon one side (Dan. 7:5),
and perhaps by the two arms of the image of this chapter,
existed from the first. The division of the Grecian kingdom,
denoted by the four horns of the goat and the four heads
of the leopard, dates back to within eight years of the
time when it was introduced into prophecy. So Rome should
have been divided from the first, if the legs denote division,
instead of remaining a unit for nearly six hundred years,
and separating into its eastern
69 -- and
western divisions only a few years prior to its final disruption
into ten kingdoms.
such division into two great parts is denoted by other symbols
under which Rome is represented in the book of Daniel; namely,
the great and terrible beast of Daniel 7, and the little
horn of chapter 8. Hence it is reasonable to conclude that
the two legs of the image were not designed to represent
such a division.
it may be asked,Why not suppose the two legs to denote division
as well as the toes? Would it not be just as inconsistent
to say that the toes denote division, and the legs do not,
as to say that the legs denote divisions and the toes do
not? We answer that the prophecy itself must govern our
conclusions in this matter; and whereas it says nothing
of division in connection with the legs, it does introduce
the subject of division as we come down to the feet and
toes. It says, "And whereas thou sawest the feet and
toes, part of potters' clay and part of iron, the kingdom
shall be divided." No division could take place, or
at least none is said to have taken place, till the weakening
element of the clay is introduced; and we do not find this
till we come to the feet and toes. But we are not to understand
that the clay donotes one division and the iron the other;
for after the long-existing unity of the kingdom was broken,
no one of the fragments was as strong as the original iron,
but all were in a state of weakness denoted by the mixture
of iron and clay. The conclusion is inevitable, therefore,
that the prophet has here stated the cause for the effect.
The introduction of the weakness of the clay element, as
we come to the feet, resulted in the division of the kingdom
into ten parts, as represented by the ten toes; and this
result, or division, is more than intimated in the sudden
mention of a plurality of contemporaneous kings. Therefore,
while we find no evidence that the legs denote division,
but serious objections against such a view, we do find,
we think, good reason for supposing that the toes denote
division, as here claimed. TOP
Each of the four monarchies had its own
particular territory, which was the kingdom proper, and
where we are to
70 -- look for the chief events in its history shadowed
forth by the symbol. We are not, therefore, to look for
the divisions of thc Roman empire in the territory formerly
occupied by Babylon, or Persia, or Grecia, but in the territory
proper of the Roman kingdom, which was what was finally
known as the Western empire. Rome conquered the world; but
the kingdom of Rome proper lay west of Grecia. That is what
was represented by the legs of iron. There, then, we look
for the ten kingdoms; and there we find them. We are not
obliged to mutilate or deform the symbol to make it a fit
and accurate representation of historical events.
43. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry
clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men;
but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is
not mixed with clay.
Rome fell the last of the universal empires belonging to
the world in its present state. Heretofore the elements
of society had been such that it was possible for one nation,
rising superior to its neighbors in prowess, bravery, and
the science of war, to attach them one after another to
its chariot wheels till all were consolidated into one vast
empire, and one man seated upon the dominant throne could
send forth his will as law to all the nations of the earth.
When Rome fell, such possibilities forever passed away.
Crushed beneath the weight of its own vast proportions,
it crumbled to pieces, never to be united again. The iron
was mixed with the clay. Its elements lost the power of
cohesion, and no man or combination of men can again consolidate
them. This point is so well set forth by another that we
take pleasure, in quoting his words: - "
From this, its divided state, the first strength of the
empire departed; but not as that of the others had done.
No other kingdom was to succeed it, as it had the three
which went before it. It was to continue in this tenfold
division, until the kingdom of stone smote it upon its feet,
broke them in pieces, and scattered them as the wind does
the chaff of the summer threshing-floor! Yet, through all
this time, a portion of its strength was to remain. And
so the prophet says, ' And as the toes of the feet were
part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be
partly strong, and partly broken.' TOP
showing territory covered by the four universal kingdoms.
72 -- Verse
42. How in any other way could you so strikingly represent
the facts? For more than fourteen hundred years, this tenfold
division has existed. Time and again men have dreamed of
rearing on these dominions one mighty kingdom. Charlemagne
tried it. Charles V tried it. Louis XIV tried it. Napoleon
tried it. But none succedded. A single verse of prophecy
was stronger than all their hosts. Their own power was wasted,
frittered away, destroyed. But the ten kingdoms did not
become one. ' Partly strong, and partly broken,' was the
prophetic description. And such, too, has been the historic
fact concerriing them. With the book of history open before
you, I ask you, Is not this an exact representation of the
renmants of this once mighty empire? It ruled with unlimited
power. It was the throned mistress of the world. its scepter
was broken; its throne pulled down; its power taken away.
Ten kingdoms were formed out of it; and ' broken' as then
it was, it still continues; i.e., 'partly broken;'
for its dimensions still continue as when the kingdom of
iron stood upright upon its feet. And then it is 'partly
strong; ' i.e., it retains, even in its broken state,
enough of its iron strength to resist all attempts to mold
its parts together. 'This shall not be,' says the word of
God. 'This has not been,' replies the book of history.
then,' men may say, 'another plan remains. If force cannot
avail, diplomacy and reasons of state may; we will try them.'
And so the prophecy foreshadows this when it says, 'They
shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; ' i.e.,
marriages shall be formed, in hope thus to consolidate their
power, and, in the end, to unite these divided kingdoms
shall this device succeed? - No. The prophet answers: 'They
shalt not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed
with clay.' And the history of Europe is but a running commentary
on the exact fulfilment of these words. From the time of
Canute to the present age, it has been the policy of reigning
monarchs, the beaten path which they have trodden in order
to reach a mightier scepter and a wider sway. And the most
signal instance of it which history has recorded
p 73 --
in our own day, is in the case of Napoleon. He ruled
in one of the kingdoms....He sought to gain by alliance
what he could not gain by force; i.e., to build
up one mighty, consolidated empire. And did he succeed?
- Nay. The very power with which he was allied, proved his
destruction, in the troops of Blucher, on the field of Waterloo!
The iron would not mingle with clay. The ten kingdoms continue
yet, if as the result of these alliances or of other causes,
that number is sometimes disturbed, it need not surpirise
us. It is, indeed, just what the prophecy seems to call
for. the iron was 'mixed with the clay.' For a season, in
the image, you might not distinguish between them. But they
would not remain so. 'They shall not cleave one to another.'
The nature of the substances forbids them to do so in the
one case; the word of prophecy In the other. Yel there was
to be an attempt to mingle - nay, more, there was an approach
to mingle in both cases. But it was to be abortive. And
how marked the emphasis with which history affirms this
declaration of the word of God!" - Wm. Newton, Lectures
on the First Two Visions of the Book of Daniel, pp. 34-36.
Yet with all these facts before them, asserting the irresistible
power of God's providence through the overturnings and changes
of centuries, the efforts of warriors, and the diplomacy
and intrigues of courts and kings, some modern expositors
have manifested such a marvelous misapprehension of this
prophecy as to predict a future universal kingdom, and point
to a European ruler, even now of waning years and declining
prestige, as the "destined monarch of the world."
Vain is the breath they spend in promulgating such a theory,
and delusive the hopes or fears they may succeed in raising
over such an expectation. 1
44. And in the days of these kings shall the
God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed;
and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it
shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and
it shall stand forever. 45. Forasmuch
as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain
-- Shortly after
this language was penned, Nepoleon III, this "destined
monarch of the world"! was dethroned, and died in ignominious
retirement, and his son and heir has since fallen by the
hands of savages in Africa.
74 -- hands,
and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay,
the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known
to the king what shall come to pass hereafter; and the dream
is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
here reach the climax of this stupendous prophecy; and when
Time in his onward flight shall bring us to the sublime
scene here predicted,we shall have reached the end of human
history. The kingdom of God! Grand provision for a new and
glorious dispensation, in which his people shall find a
happy terminus of this world's sad, degenerate, and changing
career. Transporting change for all the righteous, from
gloom to glory, from strife to peace, from a sinful to a
holy world, from death to life, from tyranny and oppression
to the happy freedom and blessed privileges of a heavenly
kingdom! Glorious transition, from weakness to strength,
from the changing and decaying to the immutable and eternal!
when is this kingdom to be established ? May we hope for
an answer to an inquiry of such momentous concern to our
race? These are the very questions on which the word of
God does not leave us in ignorance; and herein is seen the
surpassing value of this heavenly boon. We do not say that
the exact time is revealed (we emphasize the fact that it
is not) either in this or in any other prophecy; but so
near an approximation is given that the generation which
is to see the establishment of this kingdom may mark its
approach unerringly, and make that preparation which will
entitle them to share in all its glories.
already explained, we are brought down by verses 41-43 this
side of the division of the Roman empire into ten kingdoms;
which division was accomplislied, as already noticed, between
351 aud 476. The kings, or kingdoms, in the days of which
the God of heaven is to set up his kingdom, are evidently
those kingdoms which arose out of the Roman empire. Then
the kingdom of God here brought to view could not have been
set up, as some claim it was, in connection with the first
advent of Christ, four hundred and fifty years before. But
whether we apply this division to the ten kingdoms or not,
it is certain that some kind of division was to take place
75 -- the
Roman empire before the kingdom of God should be set up;
for the prophecy expressly declares, "The kingdom shall
be divided." And this is equally fatal to the popular
view; for after the unification of the first elements of
the Roman power down to the days of Christ, there was no
division of the kingdom; nor during his days, nor for many
years after, did any such thing take place. The civil wars
were not divisions of the empire; they were only the efforts
of individuals worshiping at the shrine of ambition, to
obtain supreme control of the empire. The occasional petty
revolts of distant provinces, surpressed as with the power,
and almost with the speed, of a thunderbolt, did not constitute
a division of the kingdom. And these are all that can be
pointed to as interfering with the unity of the kingdom,
for more than three hundred years this side of the days
of Christ. This one consideration is siifficient to disprove
forever the view that the kingdom of God, which constitutes
the fifth kingdom of this series as brought to view in Daniel
2, was set up at the commencement of the Christian era.
But a thought more may be in place. TOP
1. This fifth kingdom, then, could not
have been set up at Christ's first advent, because it is
not to exist contemporaneously with earthly governments,
but to succeed them. As the second kingdom succeeded the
first, the third the second, and the fourth the third, by
violence and overthrow, so the fifth succeeds the fourth.
It does not exist at the same time with it. The fourth kingdom
is first destroyed, the fragments are removed, the territory
is cleared, and then the fifth is establislied as a succeeding
kingdom in the order of time. But the church has existed
contemporaneously with earthly governments ever since earthly
governments were formed. There was a church in Abel's day,
in Enoch's, in Noah's, in Abraham's, and so on to the present.
No; the church is not the stone that smote the image upon
its feet. It existed too early in point of time, and the
work in which it is engaged is not that of smiting and overthrowing
The fifth kingdom is introduced by the stone
smiting the image. What part of the image does the stone
smite? - The feet and toes. But these were not developed
76 -- four centuries and a half after the crucifixion
of Christ. The image was, at the time of the crucifixion,
only developed to the thighs, so to speak; and if the kingdom
of God was there set up, if there the stone smote the image,
it smote it upon the thighs, not upon the feet, where the
prophecy places the smiting.
The stone that smites the image is cut out
of the mountain without hands. The margin reads, "
Which was not in hand." This shows that the smiting
is not done by an agent acting for another, not by the church,
for instance, in the hands of Christ; but it is a work which
does by his own divine power, without any human agency.
Again, the kingdom of God is placed before
the church as a matter of hope. The Lord did not teach his
disciples a prayer which in two or three years was to become
obsolete. The petition may as appropriately ascend from
the lips of the patient, waiting flock in these last days,
as from the lips of his first disciples, "Thy kingdom
We have plain Scripture declarations to
establish the following propositions: (1)
The kingdom was still future at the time of
our Lord's last Passover. Matt. 26:29.
(2) Christ did not set it up before his
ascension. Acts 1:6. (3)
Flesh and blood cannot inherit it. I Cor. 15:50.
(4) It is a matter of promise to the apostles,
and to all those that love God. James 2:5. (5)
It is promised in the future to the little flock.
Luke 12:32. (6) Through much
tribulation the saints are to enter therein.
Acts 14:22. (7) It is to
be set up when Christ shall judge the living and the dead.
2 Tim. 4:1. (8) This is to
be when he shall come in his glory with all his holy angels.
militating against the foregoing view, it may be asked if
the expression , "Kingdom of heaven," is not,
in the New Testament, applied to the church. In some instances
it may be; but in others as evidently it cannot be. In the
decisive texts referred to above, which show that it was
still a matter of promise even after the church was fully
established, that mortality cannot inherit it, and that
it is to be set up only in connection with the coming of
our Lord to judgment, the reference
77 -- cannot be to any state or organization here upon
earth. The object we have before us is to ascertain what
constitutes the kingdom of Dan. 2:44; and we have seen that
the prophecy utterly forbids our applying it there to the
church, inasmuch as by the terms of the prophecy itself
we are prohibited from looking for that kingdom till over
four hundred years after the crucifixion of Christ and the
establishment of the gospel church. Therefore if in some
expressions in the New Testament the word "kingdom"
can be found applying to the work of God's grace, or the
spread of the gospel, it cannot in such instances be the
kingdom mentioned in Daniel. That can only be the future
literal kingdom of Christ's glory, so often brought to view
in both the Old Testament and the New. TOP
may be objected again, that when the stone smites the image,
the iron, the brass, the silver, and the gold are broken
to pieces together; hence the stone must have smitten the
image when all these parts were in existence. In reply we
ask, What is meant by their being broken to pieces together?
Does the expression mean that the same persons who constituted
the kingdom of gold would be alive when the image was dashed
to pieces? - No; else the, image covers but the duration
of a single generation. Does it mean that that would be
a ruling kingdom? - No; for there is a succession of kingdoms
down to the fourth. On the supposition, then, that the fifth
kingdom was set up at the first advent, in what sense were
the brass, silver, and gold in existence then any more than
at the present day? Does it refer to the time of the second
resurrection, when all these wicked nations will be raised
to life? - No; for the destruction of earthly governments
in this present state, which is here symbolized by the smiting
of the image, certainly takes place at the end of this dispensation;
and in the second resurrection national distinctions will
be no more known.
objection really exists
in the point under consideration; for all the kingdoms symbolized
by the image are, in a certain sense, still in existence.
Chaldea and Assyria are still the first divisions of the
image; Media and Persia, the second; Macedonia, Greece,
Thrace, Asia Minor, and Egypt, the third. Political
78 -- life and dominion, it, is true, have passed from
one to the other, till, so far as the image is concerned,
it is all now concentrated in the divisions of the fourth
kingdom; but the others, in location and substance, though
without dominion, are still there; and together all will
be dashed to pieces when the fifth kingdom is introduced.
may still further be asked, by way of objection, Have not
the ten kingdoms, in the days of which the kingdom of God
was to be set up, all passed away? and as the kingdom of
God is not yet set up, has not the prophecy, according to
the view here advocated, proved a failure? We answer: Those
kingdoms have not yet passed away. We are yet in the days
of those kings. The following illustration from
Dr. Nelson's "
Cause and Cure of Infidelity," pp. 374, 375,
will set this matter in a clear light: -
Suppose some feeble people should be suffering from the
almost constant invasions of numerous and ferocious enemies.
Suppose some powerful and benevolent prince sends them word
that he will, for a number of years, say thirty, maintain,
for their safety along the frontier, ten garrisons, each
to contain one hundred well-armed men. Suppose the forts
are built and remain a few years, when two of them are burned
to the ground and rebuilt without delay; has there been
any violation of the sovereign's word? - No; there was no
material interruption in the continuance of the walls of
strength; and, furthermore, the most important part of the
safeguard was still there. Again, suppose the monarch sends
and has two posts of strength demolished, but, adjoining
the spot where these stood, and immediately, he has other
two buildings erected, more capacious and more desirable;
does the promise, still stand good? We answer in the affirmative,
and we believe no one would differ with us. Finally, suppose,
in additon to the ten garrisons, it could be shown that
for several months during the thirty years, one more had
been maintained there; that for one or two years out of
the thirty, there had been there eleven instead of ten fortifications;
shall we call it a defeat or a failure of the original undertaking?
0r shall any seeming interruptions, such as have been stated,
destroy the propriety of
79 -- our calling these the ten garrisons of
the frontier? The answer is, No, without dispute. TOP
So it is, and has been, respecting the ten kingdoms of Europe
once under the Roman scepter. They have been there for twelve
hundred and sixty years. If several have had their names
changed according to the caprice of him who conquered, this
change of name did not destroy existence. If others have
had their territorial limits changed, the nation was still
there. If others have fallen while successors were forming
in their room, the ten horns were still there. If, during
a few years out of a thousand, there were more than ten,
if some temporary power reared its head, seeming to claim
a place with the rest and soon disappeared, it has not caused
the beast to have less than ten horns."
It is certain that the Roman empire was divided into ten
kingdoms; and though they might be sometimes more and sometimes
fewer, yet they were still known by the name of the ten
kingdoms of the Western empire."
Thus the subject is cleared
of all difficulty. Time has fully developet this great image
in all its parts. Most strictly does it represent,
the important political events it was designed to symbolize.
It stands complete upon its feet. Thus it has been standing
for over fourteen hundred years. It waits to be smitten
upon the feet by the stone cut out of the mountain without
hand, that is, the kingdom of Christ. This is to be accomplished
when the Lord shall be revealed in flaming fire, taking
vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (See Ps. 2:8, 9.) In the
days of these kings the God of heaven is to set up a kingdom.
We have been in the days of these kings for over fourteen
centuries, and we are still in their days. So far as this
prophecy is concerned, the very next event is the setting
up of God's everlasting kingdom. Other prophecies and innumerable
signs show unmistakably its immediate proximity.
The coming kingdom! This ought to be the all-absorbing topic
with the present generation. Reader, are you ready for the
issue? He who enters this kingdom enters it not merely
80 -- for such a lifetime as men live in this present
state, not to see it degenerate, not to see it overthrown
by a succeeding and more powerful kingdom; but he enters
it to participate in all its privileges and blessings, and
to share its glories forever; for this kingdom is not to
" be left to other people." Again we ask you,
Are you ready? The terms of heirship are most liberal: "
If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise." Are you on terms of friendship
with Christ, the coming King? Do you love his character?
Are you trying to walk humbly in his footsteps, and obey
his teachings? If not, read your fate in the cases of those
in the parable, of whom it was said, " But those mine
enemies, which would not that I should reign over them,
bring hither, and slay them before me." There is to
be no rival kingdom where you can find an asylum if you
remain an enemy to this; for this is to occupy all the territory
ever possessed by any and all of the kingdoms of this world,
past or present. It is to fill the whole earth. Happy they
to whom the rightful Sovereign, the all-conquering King,
at last can say, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the
the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshiped
Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation
and sweet odors unto him. 47. The
king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that
your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer
of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.
48. Then the king made Daniel a great man,
and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the
whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over
all the wise men of Babylon. 49. Then
Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon;
but Daniel sat in the gate of the king. TOP
have dwelt quite at length on the interpretation of the
dream, which Daniel made known to the Chaldean monarch.
From this we must now return to the palace of Nebuchadnezzar,
and to Daniel, as he stands in the presence of the king,
having made known to him the dream and the interpretation
thereof, while the courtiers and the baffled soothsayers
and astrologers wait around in silent awe and wonder.
81 -- It might be expected that an ambitious monarch,
raised to the highest earthly throne, and in the full flush
of uninterrupted success, would scarcely brook to be told
that his kingdom, which he no doubt fondly hoped would endure
through all time, was to be overthrown by another people.
Yet Daniel plainly and boldly made known this fact to the
king, and the king, so far from being offended, fell upon
his face before the prophet of God, and offered him worship.
Daniel doubtless immediately countermanded the orders which
the king issued to pay him divine honors. That Daniel had
some communication with the king which is not here recorded,
is evident from verse 47: "The king answered unto Daniel,"
etc. And it may be still further inferred that Daniel labored
to turn the king's feelings of reverence from himself to
the God of heaven, inasmuch as the king replies, "Of
a truth it is that your God is a God of gods and a Lord
Then the king made Daniel a great man. There are two things
which in this life are specially supposed to make a man
great, and both these Daniel received from the king: (1)
A man is considered great if he is a man of wealth;
and we read that the king gave him many and great gifts.
( 2) Power.
If in conjunction with riches a man has power, certainly
in popular estimation he is considered a great man; and
power was bestowed upon Daniel in abundant measure. He was
made ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief
of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
speedily and abundantly did Daniel begin to be rewarded
for his fidelity to his own conscience and the requrements
of God. So great was Balaam's desire for the presents of
a certain heathen king, that he endeavored to obtain them
in spite of the Lord's expressed will to the contrary, and
thus signally failed. Daniel did not act with a view of
obtaining these presents; yet by maintaining his integrity
with the Lord they were given abundantly into his hands.
His advancement, both with respect to wealth and power,
was a matter of no small moment with him, as it enabled
him to be of service to his fellow-countrymen less favored
than himself in their long captivity.
82 -- Daniel did not become bewildered nor intoxicated
by his signal victory and his wonderful advancement. He
first remembers the three who were companions with him in
anxiety respecting the king's matter; and as they had helped
him with their prayers, he determined that they should share
with him in his honors. At his reqnest they were placed
over the affairs of Babylon, while Daniel himself sat in
the gate of the king. The gate was the place where councils
were held, and matters of chief moment were deliberated
upon. The record is a simple declaration that Daniel became
chief counselor to the king.
83 -- VERSE
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height
was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof
six cubits; he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province
is a conjecture extant that this image had some reference
to the dream of the king as described in the previous chapter,
it having been erected only twenty-three years subsequently,
according to the marginal chronology. In that dream the
head was of gold, representing Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom.
That was succeeded by metals of inferior quality, denoting
a succession of kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar was doubtless quite
gratified that his kingdom should be represented by the
gold; but that it should ever be succeeded by another kingdom
was not so pleasing. Hence, instead of having simply the
head of his image of gold, he made it all of gold, to denote
that the gold of the head should extend through the entire
image; or, in other words, that his kingdom should not give
way to another kingdom, but be perpetual.
is probable that the height here mentioned, ninety feet
at the lowest estimate, was not the height of the image
(The three Hebrews refusing to bow to the image)
85 -- but included the pedistal also. Nor is it probable
that any more than the image proper, if even that, was of
solid gold. It could have been overlaid with thin plates,
nicely joined, at a much less expense, without detracting
at all from its external appearance.
2. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather
together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the
judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and
all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication
of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
3. Then the princes, the governors, and
captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the
sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered
together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar
the king had set up; and they stood before the image that
Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4.
Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, 0 people,
nations, and languages, 5.
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute,
harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music,
ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar
the king hath set up; 6.
And whoso falleth not down and worshipeth shall the same
hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
7. Therefore at that time,
when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute,
harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the
people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshiped
the goIden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
dedication of this image was made a great occasion. The
chief men of all the kingdom were gathered together; so
much pains and expense will men undergo in sustaining idolarous
and heathen systems of worship. So it is and ever has been.
Alas, that those who have the true religion should be so
far outdone in these respects by the upholders of the false
and counterfeit! The worship was accompanied with music;
and whoso should fail to participate therein was threatened
with a fiery furnace. Such are ever the strongest motives
to impel rnen in any direction, - pleasure on the one hand,
pain on the other.
6 contains the first mention to be found in the Bible of
the division of time into hours. It was probably the invention
of the Chaldeans. TOP
8. Wherefore at that time certain
Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
9. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar,
0 king, live forever. 10.
Thou, 0 king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall
hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut,
86 -- psaltery,
and dulcimer and all kinds of music, shall fall down and
worship the golden image; 11. And
whoso falleth not down and worshipeth, that he should be
cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12.
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs
of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego;
these men, 0 king, have not regarded thee; they serve not
thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set
Chaldeans who accused the Jews were probably the sect of
philosophers who went by that name, and who were still smarting
under the chagrin of their ignominious failure in respect
to their interpretation of the king's dream of chapter 2.
They were eager to seize upon any pretext to accuse the
Jews before the king, and either disgrace or destroy them.
They worked upon the king's prejudice by strong insinuations
of their ingratitude: Thou hast set them over the affairs
of Babylon, and yet they have disregarded thee. Where Daniel
was upon this occasion, is not known. He was probably absent
on some business of the empire, the importance of which
demanded his presence. But why should Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-nego, since they knew they could not worship the
image, be present on the occasion? Was it not because they
were willing to comply with the king's requirements as far
as they could without compromising their religious principles?
The king required them to be present. With this requirement
they could comply, and they did. He required them to worship
the image. This their religion forbade, and this they therefore
refused to do.
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these
men before the king. 14.
Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, 0 Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship
the golden image which I have set up? 15.
Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of
the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer,
and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image
which I have made, well: but if ye worship not, ye shall
be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery
furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out
of my hands? 16. Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, 0
Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this
matter. 17. If it be so,
our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning
fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand,
0 king. 18. But if not, be it known
87 -- thee,
0 king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the
golden image which thou hast set up.
forbearance of the king is shown in his granting Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego another trial after their first failure
to comply with his requirements. Doubtless the matter was
thoroughly understood. They could not plead ignorance. They
knew just what the king wanted, and their failure to do
it was an intentional and deliberate refusal to obey him.
With most kings this would have been enough to seal their
fate. But no, says Nebuchadnezzar, I will overlook this
offense, if upon a second trial they comply with the law.
But they informed the king that he need not trouble himself
to repeat the farce. "We are not careful," said
they, "to answer thee in this matter." That is,
you need not grant us the favor of another trial; our mind
is made up. We can answer just as well now as at any future
time; and our answer is, We will not serve thy gods, nor
worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Our God
can deliver if he will; but if not, it is just the same.
We know his will, and to that we shall render unconditional
obedience. Their answer was both honest and decisive. TOP
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his
visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego;
therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat
the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be
heated. 20. And he commanded
the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning
fiery furnace, 21. Then these
men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats,
and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of
the burning fiery furnace. 22.
Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and
the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those
men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
23. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning
fiery furnace. 24. Then Nebuchadnezzar
the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake,
and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men
bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said
unto the king, True, 0 king. 25.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking
in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the
form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
was not entirely free from the faults and follies into which
an absolute monarch so easily runs. Intoxicated
(The three Hebrews
in the fiery furnace)
89 -- with unlimited power, he could not brook disobedience
or contradiction. Let his expressed authority be resisted,
on however good grounds, and he exhibits the weakness common
to our fallen humanity under like circumstances, and flies
into a passion. Ruler of the world, he was not equal to
that still harder task of ruling his own spirit. And even
the form of his visage was changed. Instead of the calm,
dignified, self-possesed ruler that he should have appeared,
he betrayed himself in look and act as the slave of ungovernable
furnace was heated one seven times hotter than usual; in
other words, to its utmost capacity. The king overreached
himself in this; for even if the fire had been suffered
to have its ordinary effect upon the ones he cast into tho
furnace, it would only have destroyed them the sooner. Nothing
would have been gained by that means on the part of the
king. But seeing they were delivered from it, much was gained
on the part of the cause of God and his truth; for the more
intense the heat, the greater and more impressive the miracle
of being delivered from it. Every circumstance was calculated
to show the direct power of God. They were bound in all
their garments, but came out with not even the smell of
fire upon them. The most mighty men in the army were chosen
to cast them in. These the fire slew ere they came in contact
with it; while on the Hebrews it had no effect, though they
were in the very midst of its flames. It was evident that
the fire was under the control of some supernatural intelligence;
for while it had effect upon the cords with which they were
bound, destroying them, so that they were free to walk about
in the midst of the fire, it did not even singe their garments.
They did not, as soon as free, spring out of the fire, but
continued therein; for, first, the king had put them in,
and it was his place to call them out; and, secondly, the
form of the fourth was with them, and in his presence they
could be content and joyful, as well in the furnace of fire
as well as in the delights and luxuries of the palace. Let
us in all our trials, afflictions, persecutions, and straitened
places, but have the "form of the fourth" with
us, and it is enough. TOP
90 -- The king said, "And the form of the fourth
is like the Son of God." This language is by some supposed
to refer to Christ; but it is not likely that the king had
any idea of the Saviour. A better rendering, according to
good authorities, would be "like a son of the gods;"
that is, he had the appearance of a supernatural or divine
being. Nebuchadnezzar subsequently called him an angel.
a scathing rebuke upon the king for his folly and madness
was the deliverance of these worthies from the fiery furnace!
A higher power than any on earth had vindicated those who
stood firm against idolatry, and poured contempt on the
worship and requirements of the king. None of the gods of
the heathen ever had wrought such deliverance as that, nor
were they able to do so.
26. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the
burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth,
and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came
forth of the midst of the fire. 27.
And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's
counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon
whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their
head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell
of fire had passed on them. 28. Then
Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered
his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's
word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve
nor worship any God, except their own God. 29.
Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and
language, which speak anything amiss against the God of
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces,
and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there
is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
30. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-nego in the province of Babylon.
bidden, these three men came forth from the furnace. Then
the princes, governors, and king's counselors, through whose
advice, or at least concurrence, they had been cast into
the furnace (for the king said to them, verse 24, "Did
not we cast three men bound into the midst of the
fire?"), were gathered together to look upon these
men, and have optical and tangible proof of their wonderful
preservation. The worship of the great image was lost sight
of. The whole
91 -- interest of this vast concourse of people was
now concentrated upon these three remarkable men. All men's
thoughts and minds were full of this wonderful occurrence.
And how the knowledge of it would be spread abroad throughout
the empire, as they should return to their respective provinces!
What a notable instance in which God caused the wrath of
man to praise him!
the king blessed the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego,
and made a decree that none should speak against him. This
the Chaldeans had undoubtedly done. In those days, each
nation had its god or gods; for there were "gods many
and lords many." And the victory of one nation over
another was supposed to occur because the gods of the conquered
nation were not able to deliver them from the conquerors.
The Jews had been wholly subjugated by the Babylonians,
on which account the latter had no doubt spoken disparagingly
or contemptuously of the God of the Jews. This the king
now prohibits; for he is plainly given to understand that
his success against the Jews was owing to their sins, not
to any lack of power on the part of their God. In what a
conspicuous and exalted light this placed the God of the
Hebrews in comparison with the gods of the nations! It was
an acknowledgment that he held men amenable to some high
standard of moral character, and that he did not regard
with indifference their actions in reference to it; since
he would visit with punishment those who transgressed it,
and would consequently bestow his blessing on those who
complied with it. Had these Jews been time-servers, the
name of the true God had not thus been exalted in Babylon.
What honor does the Lord put upon them that are steadfast
king promoted them; that is, he restored to them the offices
which they held before the charges of disobedience and treason
were brought against them. At the end of verse 30 the Septuagint
adds: "And he advanced them to be governors over all
the Jews that were in his kingdom." It is not probable
that he insisted on any further worship of his image.
92 -- VERSE 1.
Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages,
that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
2. I thought it good to show
the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward
me. 3. How great are his
signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation
chapter opens, says Dr. Clarke, with "a regular decree,
and one of the most ancient on record." It was from
the pen of Nebuchadnezzar, and was promulgated in the usual
form. He wishes to make known, not to a few men only, but
to all peoples, nations, and languages, the wonderful dealings
of God with him. People are ever ready to tell what God
has done for them in the way of benefits and blessings.
We ought to be no less ready to tell what God has done for
us in the way of humiliation and chastisements; and Nebuchadnezzar
sets us a good example in this
93 -- respect,
as we shall see from the subsequent portions of this chapter.
He frankly confesses the vanity and pride of his heart,
and the means that God took to abase hirn. With a genuine
spirit of repentance and humiliation, he thinks it good,
of his own free will, to show these things, that the sovereignty
of God may be extolled, and his name adored. In reference
to the kingdom, he no longer claims immutability for his
makes a full surrender to God, acknowledging his kingdom.
alone to be everlasting, and his dominion from generahon
4. I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house
and flourishing in my palace: 5. I
saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon
my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6.
Therefore made I a decree to bring in all
the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make
known unto me the interpretation of the dream.
7. Then came in the magicians, the astrologers,
the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers; and I told the dream
before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation
thereof. 8. But at the last Daniel
came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according
to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the
holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,
9. 0 Belteshazzar, master of the magicians,
because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee,
and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my
dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. 10.
Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed:
I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and
the height thereof was great. 11. The
tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached
unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the
earth; 12. The leaves thereof
were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat
for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and
the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and
all flesh was fed of it. 13.
I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold,
a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; 14.
He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut
off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his
fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls
from his branches: 15. Nevertheless,
leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band
of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and
let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion
be with the beasts in the grass of the earth; 16.
Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart
be given onto him; and let seven times pass over him. 17.
This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand
by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living
may know that Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and
giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it
the basest of men. 18. This
dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, 0 Belteshazzar,
94 -- declare the interpretation thereof,
forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able
to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able;
for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. TOP
the events here narrated, several striking points may be
was at rest in his house. He had accomplished
successfully all his enterprises. He had subdued Syria,
Phoenicia, Judea, Egypt, and Arabia. It was probably these
great conquests that puffed him up, and betrayed him into
such vanity and self-confidence. And this very time, when
he felt most at rest and secure, when it was most unlikely
that he would allow a thought to disturb his self-complacent
tranquillity, - this very time God takes to trouble him
with fears and forebodings.
means by which God did this. What could strike
with fear the heart of such a monarch as Nebuchadnezzar?
He had been a warrior from his youth. With the perils of
battle, the terrors of slaughter and carnage, he had often
stood face to face, and his countenance had not blanched,
nor his nerves trembled. And what should make him afraid
now? No foe threatened, no hostile cloud was visible? As
the most unlikely time was taken for him to be touched with
fear, so the most unlikely means was selected by which to
accomplish it - a dream. His own thoughts, and the visions
of his own head, were taken to teach him what nothing else
could, - a salutary lesson of dependence and humility. He
who had terrified others, but whom no others could terrify,
was made a terror to himself.
still greater humiliation than that narrated in the second
chapter was brought upon the magicians. There, they
boasted that if they only had the dream, they could make
known the interpretation. Here, Nebuchadnezzar distinctly
remembers the dream, but meets the mortification of having
his magicians ignominiously fail him again. They could not
make known the interpretation, and resort is again had to
the prophet of God.
remarkable illustration of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.
This is symbolized by a tree in the midst of the earth.
95 -- Babylon,
where Nebuchadnezzar reigned, was about in the center of
the then known world. The tree reached unto heaven, and
the leaves thereof were fair. Its external glory and splendor
were great; but this was not all of it, as is the case with
too many kingdoms. It had internal excellences. Its fruit
was much, and it had meat for all. The beasts of the field
had shadow under it, the fowls of heaven dwelt in the boughs
thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. What could represent
more plainly and forcibly the fact that Nebuchadnezzar ruled
his kingdom in such a way as to afford the fullest protection,
support, and prosperity to all his subjects?
mercy that God mingles with his judgments. When order
was given that this tree should be cut down, it was commanded
that the stump of the roots should be left in the earth,
and protected with a band of iron and brass, that it might
not be wholly given to decay, but that the source of future
growth and greatness might be left. The day is coming when
the wicked shall be cut down, and no such residue of hope
be left them. No mercy will be mingled with their punishment.
They shall be destroyed both root and branch.
An important key
to prophetic interpretation. Verse 16. "Let
pass over him," said the decree. This is plain, literal
narration; hence the time is here to be understood literally.
How long a period is denoted? This may be determined by
ascertaining how long Nebuchadnezzar, in fulfilment of this
prediction, was driven out to have his dwelling with the
beasts of the field; and this, Josephus informs us, was
seven years. A "time," then, denotes one year.
When used in symbolic prophecy, it would, of course, denote
symbolic or prophetic time. A "time" would then
denote a prophetic year, or, each day standing for a year,
three hundred and sixty literal years. In Bible chronology
thirty days are reckoned to the month, and 360 days to the
year. See Gen. 7:11;8:3, 4; " Sacred Chronology,"
by S. Bliss, under "The Day, Week, etc."
interest that the holy ones, or the angels, take in human
affairs. They are represented as demanding this dealing
with Nebuebadnezzar. They see, as mortals never can
Humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar) TOP
97 -- see, how unseemly a thing is pride in the human
heart. And they approve of, and sympathize with, the decrees
and providences of God by which he works for the correction
of these evils. Man must know that he is not the architect
of his own fortune, but that there is One who ruleth in
the kingdom of men, on whom his dependence should be humbly
placed. A man may be a successful monarch, but he should
not pride himself upon that; for unless the Lord had set
him up, he would never have reached this position of honor.
acknowledges the supremacy of the true God over the heathen
oracles. He appeals to Daniel to solve the mystery.
"Thou art able," he says; "for the spirit
of the holy gods is in thee." The Septuagint has the
singular, the Spirit of the holy God.
19. Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar,
was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him.
The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream,
or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar
answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate
thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.
20. The tree that thou sawest, which grew,
and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and
the sight thereof to all the earth; 21.
Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and
in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field
dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had
their habitation: 22. It
is thou, 0 king, that art grown and become strong; for thy
greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion
to the end of the earth. 23. And
whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down
from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy
it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth,
even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass
of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven,
and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till
seven times pass over him; 24. This
is the interpretation, 0 king, and this is the deecree of
the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king;
25. That they shall drive thee from men,
and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field,
and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they
shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall
pass over thee, till thou know that the Most High ruleth
in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
26. And whereas they commanded to leave
the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto
thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens
do rule. 27. Wherefore, 0
king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break
off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing
mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
98 -- The hesitation of Daniel, who sat astonished for
one hour, did not arise from any difficulty he had in interpreting
the dream, but from its being so delicate a matter to make
it known to the king. Daniel had received favor from the
king, - nothing but favor, so far as we know, - and it came
hard for him to be the bearer of so terrible a threatening
of judgment against him as was involved in this dream. He
was troubled to determine in what way he could best make
it known. It seems the king had anticipated something of
this kind, and hence assured the prophet by telling him
not to let the dream, or the interpretation trouble him;
as if he had said, Do not hesitate to make it known, whatever
bearing it may have upon me. Thus assured, Daniel speaks;
and where can we find a parallel to the force and delicacy
of his language: "The dream be to them that hate thee,
and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies." A
calamity is set forth in this dream, which we would might
come upon your enemies rather than upon you.
had given a minute statement of his dream; and as soon as
Daniel informed him that the dream applied to himself, it
was evident that he had pronounced his own sentence. The
interpretation which follows is so plain that it need not
detain us. The threatened judgments were conditional. They
were to teach the king that the Heavens do rule, the word
here being put for God, the ruler of the heavens. Hence
Daniel takes occasion to give the king counsel in view of
the threatened judgment. But he does not denounce him with
harshness and censoriousness. Kindness and persuasion are
the weapons he chooses to wield: "Let my counsel be
acceptable unto thee." So the apostle beseeches men
to suffer the word of exhortation. Heb. 13:22. If the king
would break off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities
by showing mercy to the poor, it might result in a lengthening
of his tranquillity, or, as the margin reads, "An healing
of thine error." That is, he might even have averted
the judgment the Lord designed to bring upon him. TOP
28. All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.
29. At the end of twelve months he walked
in the palace of the kingdom of
99 -- Babylon.
30. The king spake, and said, Is not
this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the
kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my
majesty? 31. While the word
was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven,
saying, 0 king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken: The
kingdom is departed from thee. 32.
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall
be with the beasts of the field; they shall make thee to
eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee,
until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom
of men, and giveth it unto whomsoever he will.
33. The same hour was the thing fulfilled
upon Nebuchadnezzar; and he was driven from men, and did
eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of
heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagle's feathers
and his nails like bird's claws.
failed to profit by the warning he had received; yet God
bore with him twelve months before the blow fell. All the
time he was cherishing pride in his heart, and at length
it reached a climax beyond which God could not suffer it
to pass. The king walked in the palace, and as he looked
forth upon the wonders of that wonder of the world, great
Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, he forgot the source of
all his strength and greatness, and exclaimed, "Is
not this great Babylon, that
I have built?" The time had come for
his humiliation. A voice from heaven again announces the
threatened judgment, and divine Providence proceeds immediately
to execute it. His reason departed. No longer the pomp and
glory of his great city charmed him, when God with a touch
of his finger took away his capability to appreciate and
enjoy it. He forsook the dwellings of men, and sought a
home and companionship among the beasts of the forest.
34. And at the end of the days I
Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine
understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High,
and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose
dominion is an everlasting, dominion, and his kingdom is
from generation to generation: 35.
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven,
and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay
his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36.
At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the
glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned
unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me;
and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty
was added unto me. 37. Now I Nebuchadnezzar
praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose
works are truth, and his ways judgment; and those that walk
in pride he is able to abase.
100 -- At the end of seven years, God removed his afflicting
hand, and the reason and understanding of the king returned
to him again. His first act then was to bless the Most High.
Matthew Henry has the following appropriate remark:
may justly be reckoned void of understanding that do not
bless and praise God; nor do men ever rightly use their
reason till they begin to be religious, nor live as men
till they live to the glory of God. As reason is the substratum
or subject of religion (so that creatures which have
no reason are not capable of religion), so religion is the
crown and glory of reason; and we have our reason in vain,
and shall one day wish we had never had it, if we do not
glorify God with it." TOP
honor and brightness returned to him, his counselors sought
unto him, and he was once more established in the kingdom.
The promise was (verse 26) that his kingdom should be sure
unto him. During his insanity, his son, Evil-merodach, is
said to have reigned as regent in his stead. Daniel's interpretation
of the dream was doubtless well understood throughout the
palace, and was probably more or less the subject of conversation.
Hence the return of Nebuchadnezzar to his kingdom must have
been anticipated, and looked for with interest. Why he was
permitted to make his home in the open field in so forlorn
a condition, instead of being comfortably cared for by the
attendants of the palace, we are not informed. It is supposed
that he dexterously escaped from the palace, and eluded
affiction had its designed effect. The lesson of humility
was learned. He did not forget it with returning prosperity.
He was ready to acknowledge that the Most High rules in
the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will;
and he sent forth through all his realm a royal proclamation,
containing an acknowledgment of his pride, and a manifesto
of praise and adoration to the King of heaven.
is the last Scripture record we have of Nebuchadnezzar.
This decree is dated in the authorized version, says Dr.
Clarke, 563 B.C., one year before Nebuchadnezzar's death;
though some place the date of this decree seventeen years
before his death. Be this as it may, it is probable that
101 -- not again relapse into idolatry but died in the
faith of the God of Israel.
Thus closed the life of this remarkable man. With all the
temptations incident to his exalted position as king, may
we not suppose that God saw in him honesty of heart, integrity,
and purity of purpose, which he could use to the glory of
his name? Hence his wonderful dealings with him, all of
which seem to have been designed to wean him from his false
religion, and attach him to the service of the true God.
We have, first, his dream of the great image, containing
such a valuable lesson for the people of all coming generations.
Secondly, his experience with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego
in reference to his golden image, wherein be was again led
to an acknowledgement of the supremacy of the true God.
And lastly, we have the wonderful incidents recorded in
this chapter, showing the still unceasing efforts of the
Lord to bring him to a full acknowledgment of himself. And
may we not hope that the most illustrious king of the first
prophetic kingdom, the head of gold, may at last have part
in that kingdom before which all earthly kingdoms shall
become as chaff, and the glory of which shall never dim?
102 -- VERSE 1.
Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of
his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
chief feature of interest pertaining to this chapter is
the fact that it describes the closing scenes of the Babylonish
empire, the transition from the gold to the silver of the
great image of chapter 2, and from the lion to the bear
of Daniel's vision in chapter 7. This feast is supposed
by some to have been a stated annual festival in honor of
one of their deities. On this account, Cyrus, who was then
besieging Babylon, learned of its approach, and knew when
to lay his plans for the overthrow of the city. Our translation
reads that Belshazzar, having invited a thousand of his
lords, drank before the thousand. Some translate it "drank
against the thousand," showing that whatever
other propensities he may have had, he was at least an enormous
2. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the
wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which
his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which
was in Jerusalem; that the king,
103 -- and
his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink
therein. 3. Then they brought the
golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the
house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king, and his
princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
4. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold,
and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
this festival had some reference to former victories over
the Jews may be inferred from the fact that the king, when
he began to be heated with his wine, called for the sacred
vessels which had been taken from Jerusalem. It would be
most likely that, lost to a sense of all sacred things,
he would use them to celebrate the victory by which they
were obtained. No other king, probably, had carried his
impiety to such a height as this. And while they drank wine
from vessels dedicated to the true God, they praised their
gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone. Perhaps,
as noticed on chapter 3:29, they celebrated the superior
power of their gods over the God of the Jews, from whose
vessels they now drank to their heathen deities.
5. In the same hour came forth fingers
of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick
upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the
king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6. Then the king's countenance was changed,
and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his
loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
7. The king cried aloud to bring in the
astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the
king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever
shall read this writing, and show me the interpretation
thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet,and have a chain
of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in
the kingdom. 8. Then came
in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the
writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.
9. Then was king Belshazzar
greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him,
and his lords were astonied.
flashes of supernatural light, nor deafening peals of thunder,
announce the interference of God in their impious revelries.
A hand silently appeared, tracing mystic characters upon
the wall. It wrote over against the candlestick. In the
light of their own lamp they saw it. Terror seized upon
the king; for his conscience accused him. Although he could
not read the writing, he knew it was no message of peace
104 -- blessing that was traced
in glittering characters upon his palace wall. And the description
the prophet gives of the effect of the king's fear cannot
be excelled in any particular. The king's countenance was
changed, his heart failed him, pain seized upon him, and
so violent was his trembling that his knees smote one against
another. He forgot his boasting and revelry; he forgot his
dignity; and he cried aloud for his astrologers and soothsayers
to solve the meaning of the mysterrious inscription. TOP
VERSE 10. Now the queen by reason
of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet
house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live forever;
let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance
be changed. 11. There is
a man in thy kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods;
and in the days of thy father light and understanding and
wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom
the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy
father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans,
and soothsayers; 12. Forasmuch
as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding,
interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and
dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom
the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and
he will show the interpretation. 13.
Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king
spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which
art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the
king my father brought out of Jewry? 14.
I have even heard of thee, that the spirit
of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding
and excellent wisdom is found in thee. 15.
And now the wise men, the astrologers, have
been brought in before me, that they should read this writing,
and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they
could not show the interpretation of the thing.
16. And I have heard of thee, that thou
canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if
thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation
thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a
chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler
in the kingdom.
It appears from the circumstance
here narrated, that the fact that Daniel was a prophet of
God had by some means been lost sight of at the court and
palace. This was doubtless owing to his having been absent
at Shushan, in the province of Elam, as narrated in chapter
8:1, 2, 27, whither he had been sent to attend to the business
of the kingdom there. The country being swept by the Persian
army would compel his return to Babylon at this time. The
queen, who came in and
p 105 --
p 106 -- made known
to the king that there was such a person to whom appeal
could be made for knowledge in supernatural things, is supposed
to have been the queen mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar,
in whose memory the wonderful part Daniel had acted in her
father's reign would still be fresh and vivid. Nebuchadnezzar
is here called Belshazzar's father, according to the then
common custom of calling any paternal ancestor father, and
any male descendant son. Nebuchadnezzar was in reality his
grandfather. The king inquired of Daniel, when he came in,
if he was of the children of the captivity of Judah. Thus
it seems to have been ordered, that while they were holding
impious revelry in honor of their false gods, a servant
of the true God, and one whom they were holding in captivity,
was called in to pronounce the merited judgment upon their
17. Then Daniel answered and said before the
king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards
to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and
make known to him the interpretation. 18.
0 thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father
a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor; 19.
And for the majesty that he gave him, all
peoples, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before
him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive;
and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.
20. But when his heart was
lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed
from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
21. And he was driven
from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts,
and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with
grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven;
till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom
of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
22. And thou his son, 0 Belshazzar, hast
not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; 23.
But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord
of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house
before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy
concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised
the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and
stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in
whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast
thou not glorified: 24. Then
was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing
was written. TOP
Daniel first of all disclaims
the idea of being influenced by such motives as governed
the soothsayers and astrologers. He says, Let thy rewards
be to another. He wishes it distinctly understood that he
does not enter upon the work of interpreting
p 107 -- this matter
on account of the offer of gifts and rewards. He then rehearses
the experience of the king's grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar,
as set forth in the preceding chapter. He told the king
that though he knew all this, yet he had not humbled his
heart, but had lifted up himself against the God of heaven,
and even carried his impiety so far as to profane his sacred
vessels, praising the senseless gods of men's making, and
failing to glorify the God in whose hand his breath was.
For this reason, he tells him, it is, that the hand has
been sent forth from that God whom he had daringly and insultingly
challenged, to trace those characters of fearful, though
hidden import. He then proceeds to explain the writing.
25. And this is the writing that was written,
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 26. This
is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered
thy kingdom, and finished it. 27. TEKEL;
Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and
given to the Medes and Persians. 29.
Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with
scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made
a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third
ruler in the kingdom.
It is not known in what language
this inscription was written. If it had been in Chaldaic,
the king's wise men would have been able to read it. Dr.
Clarke conjectures that it was written in the Samaritan,
the true Hebrew, a language with which Daniel was familiar,
as it was the character used by the Jews previous to the
Babylonish captivity. It seems much more likely that it
was a character strange to all the parties, and that it
was specially made known to Daniel by the Spirit of the
In this inscription each word
stands for a short sentence.
Upharsin, from the root
peres, divided. God, whom thou hast defied, has
thy kingdom in his own hands, and has numbered its days
and finished its course just at the time thou thoughtest
it at the height of its prosperity. Thou, who hast lifted
up thy heart in pride as the great one of the earth, art
weighed, and found lighter than vanity. Thy kingdom, which
thou didst dream was to stand forever, is divided between
the foes already waiting at
p 108 -- thy gates.
Notwithstanding this terrible denunciation, Belshazzar did
not forget his promise, but had Daniel at once invested
with the scarlet robe and chain of gold, and proclaimed
him third ruler in the kingdom. This Daniel accepted, probably
with a view to being better prepared to look after the interests
of his people during the transition to the succeeding kingdom.
30. In that night was Belshazzar
the king of the Chaldeans slain. 31. And
Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore
and two years old.
The scene here so briefly mentioned
is described in remarks on chapter 2, verse 39. While Belshazzar
was indulging in his presumptuous revelry, while the angel's
hand was tracing the doom of the empire on the walls of
the palace, while Daniel was making known the fearful import
of the heavenly writing, the Persian soldiery, through the
emptied channel of the Euphrates, had made their way into
the heart of the city, and were speeding forward with drawn
swords to the palace of the king. Scarcely can it be said
that they surprised him, for God had just forewarned him
of his doom. But they found him and slew him; and with him
the empire of Babylon ceased to be. TOP
As a fitting conclusion to
this chapter, we give the following beautiful poetic description
of Belshazzar's feast, from the pen of
Arnold, author of " The Light of Asia."
It was written in 1852, and obtained the Newdegate prize
for an English poem on the Feast of Belshazzar, at University
College, Oxford: -
by one portal, or one path alone,
God's holy messages to men are known;
Waiting the glances of his awful eyes,
Silver-winged seraphs do him embassies;
And stars, interpreting his high behest,
Guide the lone feet and glad the falling breast;
The rolling thunder and the raging sea
Speak the stern purpose of the Deity,
And storms beneath and rainbow hues above
Herald his anger or proclaim his love;
The still small voices of the summer day,
The red sirocco, and the breath of May,
p 109 -- TOP
lingering harmony in ocean shells,
The fairy music of the meadow bells,
Earth and void air, water and wasting flame,
Have words to whisper, tongues to tell, his name.
Once, with no cloak of careful mystery,
Himself was herald of his own decree;
The hand that edicts on the marble drew,
Graved the stern sentence of their scorner too.
Listen and learn! Tyrants have heard the tale,
And turned from hearing, terror-struck and pale;
Spiritless captives, sinking with the chain,
Have read this page, and taken heart again.
sunlight unto starlight, trumpets told
Her king's command in Babylon the old;
From sunlight unto starlight, west and east,
A thousand satraps girt them for the feast,
And reined their chargers to the palace hall
Where king Belshazzar held high festival:
A pleasant palace under pleasant skies,
With cloistered courts and gilded galleries,
And gay kiosk and painted balustrade
For winter terraces and summer shade;
By court and terrace, minaret and dome,
Euphrates, rushing from his mountain home,
Rested his rage and curbed his crested pride
To belt that palace with his bluest tide;
Broad-fronted bulls with chiseled feathers barred,
In silent vigil keeping watch and ward,
Giants of granite, wrought by cunning hand,
Guard in the gate and frown upon the land.
Not summer's glow nor yellow autumn's glare
Pierced the broad tamarisks that blossomed there;
The moonbeams, darting through their leafy screen,
Lost half their silver in the softened green,
And fell with lessened luster, broken light,
Tracing quaint arabesque of dark and white,
Or dimly tinting on the graven stones
The pictured annals of Chaldean thrones.
There, from the rising to the setting day,
Birds of bright feathers sang the light away,
And fountain waters on the palace floor
Made even answer to the river's roar,
Rising in silver from the crystal well,
And breaking into spangles as they fell,
Though now ye heard them not - for far along
Rang the broad chorus of the banquet song,
And sounds as gentle, echoes soft as these,
Died out of hearing from the revelries.
110 -- TOP
on a throne of ivory and gold,
From crown to footstool clad in purple fold,
Lord of the East from sea to distant sea,
The king Belshazzar feasteth royally -
And not that dreamer in the desert cave
Peopled his paradise with pomp as brave;
Vessels of silver, cups of crusted gold,
Blush with a brighter red than all they hold.
Pendulous lamps, like planets of the night,
Flung on the diadems a fragrant light,
Or, slowly swinging in the midnight sky,
Gilded the ripples as they glided by.
And sweet and sweeter rose the cittern's ring,
Soft as the beating of a seraph's wing;
And swift and swifter in the measured dance
The tresses gather and the sandals glance;
And bright and brighter at the festal board
The flagons bubble, and the wines are poured.
No lack of goodly company was there,
No lack of laughing eyes to light the cheer;
From Dara trooped they, from Daremma's grove,
"The sons of battle and the moons of love;"
From where Arsissa's silver waters sleep
To Imla's marshes and the inland deep,
From pleasant Calah, and from Cattacene -
The horseman's captain and the harem's queen.
seemed no summer-cloud of passing woe
Could fling its shadow on so fair a show;
It seemed the gallant forms that feasted there
Were all too grand for woe, too great for care; -
Whence came the anxious eye, the altered tone,
The dull presentiment no heart would own,
That ever changed the smiling to a sigh
Sudden as sea-bird flashing from the sky?
It is not that they know the spoiler waits,
Harnessed for battle, at the brazen gates;
It is not that they hear the watchman's call
Mark the slow minutes on the leaguered wall;
The clash of quivers and the ring of spears
Make pleasant music in a soldier's ears,
And not a scabbard hideth sword to-night
That hath not glimmered in the front of fight.
May not the blood of every beating vein
Have quick foreknowledge of the coming pain,
Even as the prisoned silver, 2
dead and dumb,
Shrinks at cold winter's footfall ere he come?
Hafiz, the Persian Anacreon. 2
-- The quicksilver in the tube of the thermometer.
111 -- TOP
king hath felt it, and the heart's unrest
Heaves the broad purple of his belted breast.
Sudden he speaks: "What! doth the beaded juice
Savor like hyssop, that ye scorn its use?
Wear ye so pitiful and sad a soul,
That tramp of foemen scares ye from the bowl?
Think ye the gods of yonder starry floor
Tremble for terror when the thunders roar?
Are we not gods? have we not fought with God?
And shall we shiver at a robber's nod?
No; let them batter till the brazen bars
Ring merry mocking of their idle wars.
Their fall is fated for to-morrow's sun;
The lion rouses when his feast is done.
Crown me a cup, and fill the bowls we brought
From Judah's temple when the fight was fought;
Drink, till the merry madness fill the soul,
To Salem's conqueror in Salem's bowl;
Each from the goblet of a god shall sip,
And Juda's gold tread heavy on the lip." 1
The last loud answer dies along the line,
The last light bubble bursts upon the wine,
His eager lips are on the jeweled brink,
Hath the cup poison that he doubts to drink?
Is there a spell upon the sparkling gold,
That so his fevered fingers quit their hold?
Whom sees he where he gazes? what is there?
Freezing his vision into fearful stare?
Follow his lifted arm and lighted eye,
And watch with them the wondrous mystery.
cometh forth a hand, upon the stone
Graving the symbols of a speech unknown;
Fingers like mortal fingers, leaving there
The blank wall flashing characters of fear;
And still it glideth silently and slow,
And still beneath the spectral letters grow;
Now the scroll endeth; now the seal is set;
The hand is gone; the record tarries yet.
As one who waits the warrant of his death,
With pale lips parted and with bridled breath,
They watch the sign, and dare not turn to seek
Their fear reflected in their fellow's cheek,
But stand as statues where the life is none,
Half the jest uttered, half the laughter done,
-- "He never drinks But Timon's silver treads
upon his lips." -- Shakespeare, "Titus Adronicus"
p 112 -- TOP
the flask empty, half the flagon poured;
Each where the phantom found him at the board
Struck into silence, as December's arm
Curbs the quick ripples into crystal calm.
wand of ebony and sable stole,
Chaldea's wisest scan the spectral scroll.
Strong in the lessons of a lying art,
Each comes to gaze, but gazes to depart;
And still for mystic sign and muttered spell
The graven letters guard their secret well;
Gleam they for warning, glare they to condemn,
God speaketh, but he speaketh not for them.
ever, when the happy laugh is dumb,
All the joy gone, and all the anguish come;
When strong adversity and subtle pain
Wring the sad soul and rack the throbbing brain;
When friends once faithful, hearts once all our own,
Leave us to weep, to bleed and die alone;
When fears and cares the lonely thought employ,
And clouds of sorrow hide the sun of joy;
When weary life, breathing reluctant breath,
Hath no hope sweeter than the hope of death, -
Then the best counsel and the last relief,
To cheer the spirit or to cheat the grief,
The only calm, the only comfort heard,
Comes in the music of a woman's word,
Like beacon-bell on some wild island shore,
Silverly ringing in the tempest's roar;
Whose sound, borne shipward through the midnight gloom,
Tells of the path, and turns her from her doom.
in the silence of that awful hour,
When baffled magic mourned its parted power,
When kings were pale, and satraps shook for fear,
A woman speaketh, and the wisest hear.
She, the high daughter of a thousand thrones,
Telling with trembling lip and timid tones
Of him, the captive, in the feast forgot,
Who readeth visions; him whose wondrous lot
Sends him to lighten doubt and lessen gloom,
And gaze undazzled on the days to come;
Daniel, the Hebrew, such his name and race,
Held by a monarch highest in his grace,
He may declare - oh! bid them quickly send,
So may the mystery have happy end.
Calmly and silent as the fair, full moon
Comes smiling upward in the sky of June,
113 -- TOP
as the troubled clouds of night
Shrink from before the coming of its light,
So through the hall the prophet passed along,
So from before him fell the festal throng.
By broken wassail-cup, and wine o'erthrown,
Pressed he still onward for the monarch's throne;
His spirit failed him not, his quiet eye
Lost not its light for earthly majesty;
His lip was steady and his accent clear -
"The king hath needed me, and I am here."
thou the prophet? Read me yonder scroll,
Whose undeciphered horror daunts my soul.
There shall be guerdon for the grateful task,
Fitted for me to give, for thee to ask, -
A chain to deck thee, and a robe to grace,
Thine the third throne, and thou the third in place."
He heard, and turned him where the lighted wall
Dimmed the red torches of the festival,
Gazed on the sign with steady gaze and set;
And he who quailed not at a kingly threat
Bent the true knee and bowed the silver hair,
For that he knew the King of kings was there;
Then nerved his soul the sentence to unfold,
While his tongue trembled at the tale it told.
And never tongue shall echo tale as strange
Till that change cometh which shall never change.
for thyself the guerdon and the gold;
What God hath graved, God's prophet must unfold;
Could not thy father's crime, thy father's fate, .
Teach thee the terror thou hast learned too late?
Hast thou not read the lesson of his life, -
Who wars with God shall strive a losing strife?
His was a kingdom mighty as thine own,
The sword his scepter and the earth his throne;
The nations trembled when his awful eye
Gave to them leave to live or doom to die:
The lord of life, the keeper of the grave,
His frown could wither, and his smile could save.
Yet, when his heart was hard, his spirit high,
God drave him from his kingly majesty,
Far from the brotherhood of fellow-men,
To seek for dwelling in the desert den;
Where the wild asses feed and oxen roam,
He sought his pasture and he made his home;
And bitter-biting frost and dews of night,
Schooled him in sorrow till he knew the right, -
That God is ruler of the rulers still,
And setteth up the sovereign that he will.
p 114 --TOP
hadst thou treasured in repentant breast
His pride and fall, his penitence and rest,
And bowed submissive to Jehovah's will,
Then had thy scepter been a scepter still.
But thou hast mocked the Majesty of heaven;
And shamed the vessels to his service given.
And thou hast fashioned idols of thine own, -
Idols of gold, of silver, and of stone;
To them hast bowed the knee, and breathed the breath,
And they must help thee in the hour of death.
Woe for the sight unseen, the sin forgot!
God was among ye, and ye knew it not!
Hear what he sayeth now: 'Thy race is run,
Thy years are numbered, and thy days are done;
Thy soul hath mounted in the scale of fate,
The Lord hath weighed thee, and thou lackest weight;
Now in thy palace porch the spoilers stand,
To seize thy scepter, to divide thy land."'
ended, and his passing foot was heard,
But none made answer, not a lip was stirred;
Mute the free tongue, and bent the fearless brow;
The mystic letters had their meaning now.
Soon came there other sound, - the clash of steel,
The heavy ringing of the iron heel,
The curse in dying, and the cry for life, -
The bloody voices of the battle strife.
night they slew him on his father's throne,
The deed unnoticed and the hand unknown:
Crownless and scepterless Belshazzar lay,
A robe of purple round a form of clay. TOP
in the Lions'
115 -- VERSE
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and
twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2.
And over these three presidents; of whom
Daniel was the first; that the princes might give accounts
unto them, and the king should have no damage.
3. Then this Daniel was preferred above
the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit
was found in him; and the the king thought to set him over
the whole realm. 4. Then
the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against
Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none
occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither
was there any error or fault found in him. 5.
Then said these men, We shall not find any
occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against
him concerning the law of his God.
Babylon was taken by the Persians,
and Darius the Median placed upon the throne, B.C. 538.
Two years later, B.C. 536, Darius dying, Cyrus took the
throne. Somewhere, therefore, between these two dates the
event here narrated occurred.
Daniel was a chief actor in
the kingdom of Babylon in the height of its glory; and from
that time on to the time when the Medes and Persians took
the throne of universal empire, he was at least a resident
of that city, and acquainted with all
p 116 -- the affairs
of the kingdom; yet he gives us no consecutive account of
events that occurred during his long connection with these
kingdoms. He only touches upon an event here and there such
as is calculated to inspire faith and hope and courage in
the hearts of the people of God in every age, and lead them
to be steadfast in their adherence to the right.
The event narrated in this
chapter is alluded to by the apostle Paul in Hebrews 11,
where he speaks of some who through faith have "stopped
the mouths of lions. " Darius set over the kingdom
a hundred and twenty princes, there being, as is supposed,
at that time a hundred and twenty provinces in the empire,
each one having its prince, or governor. By the victories
of Cambyses and Darius Hystaspes, it was afterward enlarged
to a hundred and twenty-seven provinces. Esther 1:1. Over
these one hundred and twenty princes were set three, and
of these Daniel was chief. Preference was given to Daniel
because of his excellent spirit. Daniel, who, for being
a great man in the empire of Babylon, might have been esteemed
an enemy by Darius, and so have been banished or otherwise
put out of the way; or, being a captive from a nation then
in ruins, might have been despised and set at naught, was
not treated in either of these ways; but to the credit of
Darius be it said, Daniel was preferred over all the others,
because the discerning king saw in him an excellent spirit.
And the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then
was the envy of the other rulers raised against him, and
they set about to destroy him. But Daniel's conduct was
perfect so far as related to the kingdom. He was faithful
and true. They could find no ground for complaint against
him on that score. Then they said they could find no occasion
to accuse him, except as concerning the law of his God.
So let it be with us. A person can have no better recommendation.
6. Then these presidents and princes assembled
together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius,
live forever. 7. All the
presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes,
the counselors, and the captains, have consulted together
to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree,
that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for
thirty days, save of thee, 0 king, he
p 117 -- shall
be cast into the den of lions. 8.
Now, 0 king, establish the decree, and sign the writing,
that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes
and Persians, which altereth not. 9. Wherefore
king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
10. Now when Daniel knew that the writing
was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being
open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his
knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before
his God, as he did aforetime. TOP
Mark the course these persons
took to accomplish their nefarious purposes. They came together
to the king, - came tumultuously, says the margin. They
came as though some urgent matter had suddenly sprung up,
and they had come unanimously to present it before him.
They claimed that all were agreed. This was false; for Daniel,
the chief of them all, was not, of course, consulted in
the matter. The decree they fixed upon was one which would
flatter the king's vanity, and thus the more readily gain
his assent. It would be a position before unheard of, for
a man to be the only dispenser of favors and granter of
petitions for thirty days. Hence the king, not fathoming
their evil designs, signed the decree, and it took its place
on the statute-books as one of the unalterable laws of the
Medes and Persians.
Mark the subtlety of these
men - the length to which people will go to accomplish the
ruin of the good. If they had made the decree read that
no petition should be asked of the God of the Hebrews, which
was the real design of the matter, the king would at once
have divined their object, and the decree would not have
been signed. So they gave it a general appplication, and
were willing to ignore and heap insult upon their whole
system of religion, and all the multitude of their gods,
for the sake of ruining the object of their hatred.
Daniel foresaw the conspiracy
going on against him, but took no means to thwart it. He
simply committed himself to God, and left the issue to his
providence. He, did not leave the empire on pretended business,
or perform his devotions with more than ordinary secrecy;
but when he knew the writing was signed, just as aforetime,
with his face turned toward his beloved Jerusalem, he kneeled
down in his chamber three times a day, and poured out his
prayers and supplications to God.
p 118 --
(Daniel in the Lion's Den)
p 119 -- VERSE
Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making
supplication before his God. 12.
Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning
the king's decree: Hast thou not signed a decree, that every
man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty
days, save of thee, 0 king, shall be cast into the den of
lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true according
to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
13. Then answered they and
said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children
of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, 0 king, nor
the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition
three times a day. 14. Then
the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased
with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him;
and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver
him. 15. Then these men assembled
unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, 0 king, that
the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor
statute which the king establisheth may be changed. 16.
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast
him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto
Daniel, Thy God, whom thou servest continually, he will
deliver thee. 17. And a stone
was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the
king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet
of his lords, that the purpose might not be changed concerning
It only remained for these
men, having set the trap, to watch their victim that they
might ensnare him therein. So they again came tumultuously
together, this time at the residence of Daniel, as though
some important business had called them suddenly together
to consult the chief of the presidents; and lo, they found
him, just as they intended and hoped, praying to his God.
So far all had worked well. They were not long in going
to the king with the matter, and, to render it more sure,
got an acknowledgment from the king that such a decree was
in force. Then they were ready to inform against Daniel;
and mark their mean resort to excite the prejudices of the
king: "That Daniel, which is of the children the captivity
of Judah." Yes; that poor captive, who is entirely
dependent on you for all that he enjoys, so far from being
grateful and appreciating your favors, regards not you,
nor pays any attention to your decree. Then the king saw
the trap that had been prepared for him as well as for Daniel,
and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver
him, probably by personal efforts with the conspirators
to cause them to relent, or by arguments and endeavors to
procure the repeal of the law. But they were inexorable.
The law was
p 120 -- sustained;
and Daniel, the venerable, the grave, the upright and faultless
servant of the kingdom, was thrown, as if he had been one
of the vilest malefactors, into the den of lions to be devoured
by them. TOP
18. Then the king went to his palace, and passed
the night fasting; neither were instruments of music brought
before him; and his sleep went from him. 19.
Then the king arose very early in the morning,
and went in haste unto the den of lions.
20. And when he came to the den, he cried
with a lamentable voice unto Daniel; and the king spake
and said to Daniel, 0 Daniel, servant of the living God,
is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver
thee from the lions? 21.
Then said Daniel unto the king, 0 king, live forever. 22.
My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths,
that they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocency
was found in me; and also before thee, 0 king, have I done
no hurt. 23. Then was the
king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should
take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out
of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because
he believed in his God. 24.
And the king commanded, and they brought those men which
had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions,
them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had
the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces
or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
The course of the king after
Daniel had been cast into the den of lions attests his genuine
interest in his behalf, and the severe condemnation be felt
for his own course in the matter. At earliest dawn he repaired
to the den where his prime minister had passed the night
in company with hungry and ravenous beasts. Daniel's response
to his first salutation was no word of reproach for the
king's course in yielding to his persecutors, but a term
of respect and honor, "0 king, live forever."
He afterward, however, reminds the king, in a manner which
be must have keenly felt, but to which he could take no
exception, that before him be had done no hurt. And on account
of his innocency, God, whom he served continually, not at
intervals, nor by fits and starts, had sent his angel, and
shut the lions' mouths.
Here, then, stood Daniel, preserved
by a power higher than any power of earth. His cause was
vindicated, his innocency declared. No hurt was found on
him, because be believed in his God. Faith did it. A miracle
had been wrought. Why,
p 121 -- then, were
Daniel's accusers brought and cast in? It is conjectured
that they attributed the preservation of Daniel, not to
any miracle in his behalf, but to the fact that the lions
chanced at that time not to be hungry. Then, said the king,
they will no more attack you than him so we will test the
matter by putting you in. The lions were hungry enough when
they could get hold of the guilty; and these men were torn
to pieces ere they reached the bottom of the den. Thus was
Daniel doubly vindicated; and thus strikingly were the words
of Solomon fulfilled: "The righteous is delivered out
of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead." Prov.
25. Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations,
and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied
unto you. 26. I make a decree,
That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear
before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and
steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not
be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
27. He delivereth and rescueth,
and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth,
who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
28. So this Daniel prospered in the reign
of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. TOP
The result of Daniel's deliverance
was that another proclamation went out through the empire
in favor of the true God, the God of Israel. All men were
to fear and tremble before him. What Daniel's enemies designed
to prove his ruin, resulted only in his advancement. In
this case, and in the case of the three Hebrews in the fiery
furnace, the seal of God is set in favor of two great lines
of duty: (1) As in the case
of the three in the fiery furnace, not to yield to any known
sin; and (2) As in the present
case, not to omit any known duty. And from these instances,
the people of God in all ages are to derive encouragement.
The decree of the king sets
forth the character of the true God in fine terms.
(1) He is the living God; all others are
dead. (2) He is steadfast
forever; all others change. (3)
He has a kingdom; for he made and governs all.
(4) His kingdom shall not be destroyed;
all others come to an end. (5)
His dominion is without end; no human power can prevail
gainst it. (6) He delivereth
those who are in bondage.
p 122 -- (7)
He rescueth his servants from their enemies
when they call upon him for help. (8)
He worketh wonders in the heavens and signs upon the earth.
(9) And to complete all,
he hath delivered Daniel, giving before our own eyes the
fullest proof of his power and goodness in rescuing his
servant from the power of the lions. How excellent an eulogium
is this on the great God and his faithful servant!
Thus closes the historical
part of the book of Daniel. We now come to the prophetic
portion, which, like a shining beacon light, has thrown
its rays over all the course of time from that point to
the present, and is still lighting up the pathway of the
church onward to the eternal kingdom. TOP
123 -- VERSE
the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had
a dream and visions of his head upon his bed; then he wrote
the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
This is the same Belshazzar
mentioned in chapter 5. Chronologically, therefore, this
chapter precedes chapter 5; but chronological order has
been disregarded in order that the historical part of the
book might stand by itself, and the prophetic part, on which
we now enter, might not be interrupted by writings of that
VERSE 2. Daniel spake and said, I saw in
my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds
of the heaven
strove upon the great sea. 3. And
four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from
All Scripture language is to
be taken literally, unless there exists some good reason
for supposing it to be figurative; and all that is figurative
is to be interpreted by that which is literal. That the
language here used is symbolic, is evident from verse 17,
which reads, "These great beasts, which are four, are
four kings which shall arise out of the earth." And
to show that kingdoms are intended, and not merely individual
p 124 --
( The lion -- symbol of Babylon) TOP
p 125 -- the angel continues,
"But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom."
And further, in the explanation of verse 23, the angel said,
"The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon
earth." These beasts are therefore symbols of four
great kingdoms; and the circumstances under which they arose,
and the means by which their elevation was accomplished,
as represented in the prophecy, are symbolic also. The symbols
introduced are, the four winds, the sea, four great beasts,
ten horns, and another horn which had eyes and a mouth,
and rose up in war against God and his people. We have now
to inquire what they denote.
Winds, in symbolic language,
denote strife, political commotion, and war. Jer. 25:31,
32, 33: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil
shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind
shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the
slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the
earth even unto the other end of the earth." Here the
prophet speaks of a controversy which the Lord is to have
with all nations, when the wicked shall be given to the
sword, and the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of
the earth to the other; and the strife and commotion which
produces all this destruction is called a great whirlwind.
That winds denote strife and
war is further evident from a consideration of the vision
itself; for as the result of the striving of the winds,
kingdoms arise and fall; and these events are accomplished
through political strife.
The Bible definition of sea,
or waters, when used, as a symbol is peoples, and nations,
and tongues. In proof of this, see Rev. 17:15, where it
is expressly so declared.
The definition of the symbol
of the four beasts is given to Daniel ere the close of the
vision. Verse 17: "These great beasts, which are four,
are four kings which shall arise out of the earth."
The field of the vision is thus definitely opened before
The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings; I beheld
till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up
from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and
a man's heart was given to it.
p 126 --
(The bear -- symbol of Medo-Persia)
p 127 -- As these beasts
denote four kings, or kingdoms, we inquire, What four? Where
shall we commence to enumerate? These beasts do not rise
all at once, but consecutively, as they are spoken of as
first, second, etc.; and the last one is in existence when
all earthly scenes are brought to an end by the final Judgment.
Now, from the time of Daniel to the end of this world's
history, there were to be but four universal kingdoms, as
we learn from Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the great image
in chapter 2. Daniel was still living under the same kingdom
which he had declared, in his interpretation of the king's
dream, about sixty-five years before, to be the head of
gold. The first beast of this vision must therefore denote
the same as the head of gold of the great image, namely,
the kingdom of Babylon, and the other beasts the succeeding
kingdoms shown by that image. But if this vision covers
essentially the same ground as the image of chapter 2, the
query may arise why it is given; why was not the vision
of chapter 2 sufficient? We answer, The ground is passed
over again and again that additional characteristics may
be brought out, and additional facts and features may be
presented. It is thus that we have "line upon line."
Here earthly governments are viewed as represented in the
light of Heaven. Their true character is shown by the symbol
of wild and ravenous beasts. TOP
At first the lion had eagle's
wings, denoting the rapidity with which Babylon extended
its conquests under Nebuchadnezzar. At this point in the
vision a change had taken place; its wings had been plucked.
It no longer flew like an eagle upon its prey. The boldness
and spirit of the lion were gone. A man's heart, weak, timorous,
and faint, had taken its place. Such was emphatically the
case with the nation during the closing years of its history,
when it had become enfeebled and effeminate through wealth
5. And behold another beast, a second, like to
a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had
three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it; and
they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
As in the great image of chapter
2, so in this series of symbols a marked deterioration will
be noticed as we descend from
p 128 -- one kingdom
to another. The silver of the breast and arms was inferior
to the gold of the head. The bear was inferior to the lion.
Medo-Persia fell short of Babylon in wealth and magnificence,
and the brilliancy of its career. And now we come to additional
particulars respecting this power. The bear raised itself
up on one side. This kingdom was composed of two nationalities,
the Medes and Persians. The same fact is represented by
the two horns of the ram of chapter 8. Of these horns it
is said that the higher came up last; and of the bear that
it raised itself up on one side; and this was fulfilled
by the Persian division of the kingdom, which came up last,
but attained the higher eminence, becoming the controlling
influence in the nation. (See on chapter 8:3.) The three
ribs perhaps signify the three provinces of Babylon, Lydia,
and Egypt, which were especially ground down and oppressed
by this power. Their saying unto it, "Arise, devour
much flesh," would naturally refer to the stimulus
given to the Medes and Persians, by the overthrow of these
provinces, to plan and undertake more extensive conquests.
The character of the power is well represented by a bear.
The Medes and Persians were cruel and rapacious, robbers
and spoilers of the people. As already noticed in the exposition
of chapter 2, this kingdom dated from the overthrow of Babylon
by Cyrus, B.C. 538, and continued to the battle of Arbela,
B.C. 331, a period of 207 years.
6. After this I beheld, and lo another, like
a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a
fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given
The third kingdom, Grecia,
is represented by this symbol. If wings upon the lion signified
rapidity of conquest, they would signify the same here.
The leopard itself is a swiftfooted beast, but this was
not sufficient to represent the career of the nation which
it symbolized in this respect; it must have wings in addition.
Two wings, the number the lion had, were not sufficient,
it must have four; this would denote unparalleled celerity
of movement, which we find to be historically true of the
Grecian kingdom. The conquests of Grecia under
p 129 --
(The leopard -- symbol of Grecia)
p 130 --
(The fourth beast -- symbol of Rome) TOP
p 131 -- Alexander have
no parallel in historic annals for suddenness and rapidity.
Ancient History, b. 15, sec. 2, gives
the following brief synopsis of Alexander's marches: "From
Macedonia to the Ganges, which river Alexander nearly approached,
is computed at least eleven hundred leagues. Add to this
the various turnings in Alexander's marches; first, from
the extremity of Cilicia, where the battle of Issus was
fought, to the temple of Jupiter Ammon in Libya; and his
returning from thence to Tyre, a journey of three hundred
leagues at least, and as much space at least for the windings
of his route in different places; we shall find that Alexander,
in less than eight years, marched his army upward of seventeen
hundred leagues [or more than fifty-one hundred miles],
without including his return to Babylon."
"The beast had also four
heads." The Grecian empire maintained its unity but
little longer than the lifetime of Alexander. Within a few
years after his brilliant career ended in a fever induced
by a drunken debauch, the empire was divided among his four
leading generals. Cassander had Macedon and Greece in the
west; Lysimachus had Thrace and the parts of Asia on the
Hellespont and Bosphorus in the north; Ptolemy received
Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria in the
South; and Seleucus had Syria and all the rest of Alexander's
dominions in the east. These divisions were denoted by the
four heads of the leopard; B.C. 308.
Thus accurately were the words
of the prophet fulfilled. As Alexander left no available
successor, why did not the huge empire break up into countless
petty fragments? Why into just four parts, and no more?
- Because the prophecy had said that there should be four.
The leopard had four heads, the rough goat four horns, the
kingdom was to have four divisions; and thus it was. (See
more fully on chapter 8.)
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth
beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and
it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces,
and stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was
diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it
had ten horns.
p 132 --
Inspiration finds no beast in nature which it
can make even the basis of a symbol to represent the power
here illustrated. No addition of hoofs, heads, horns, wings,
scales, teeth, or nails to any beast found in nature, would
answer. This power was diverse from all the others, and
the symbol wholly nondescript.
The foundation for a volume
is laid in verse 7, just quoted; but we are compelled to
treat it the more briefly here, because anything like a
full history is entirely beyond the space that can be allowed
in this brief exposition. This beast, of course, corresponds
to the fourth division of the great image - the legs of
iron. Under chapter 2:40 are given some reasons for supposing
this power to be Rome. The same reasons are applicable to
the present prophecy. How accurately Rome answered to the
iron division of the image! How accurately it answers to
the beast before us! In the dread and terror which it inspired,
and in its exceeding strength, the world has never seen
its equal. It devoured as with iron teeth, and brake in
pieces; and it ground the nations into the very dust beneath
its brazen feet. It had ten horns, which are explained in
verse 24 to be ten kings, or kingdoms, which should arise
out of this empire. As already noticed in chapter 2, Rome
was divided into ten kingdoms, enumerated as follows: The
Huns, the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, the Franks, the Vandals,
the Suevi, the Burgundians, the Heruli, the Anglo-Saxons,
and the Lombards. These divisions have ever since been spoken
of as the ten kingdoms of the Roman empire. See on chapter
2:41, 42; also Appendix III. TOP
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among
them another little horn, before whom there were three of
the first horns plucked up by the roots; and, behold, in
this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking
Daniel considered the horns.
Indications of a strange movement appeared among them. A
little horn (at first little, but afterward more stout than
its fellows) thrust itself up among them. It was not content
quietly to find a place of its own, and fill it; it must
thrust aside some of the others, and usurp their places.
Three kingdoms were plucked up before it. This little horn,
as we shall have occasion to notice
p 133 --
(The little horn - symbol of the Papacy)
p 134 -- more fully
hereafter, was the papacy. The three horns plucked up before
it were the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Vandals. And
the reason why they were plucked up was because they were
opposed to the teaching and claims of the papal hierarchy,
and hence to the supremacy in the church of the bishop of
And "in this horn were
eyes like the eyes of man, and a month speaking great things,"
- the eyes, a fit emblem of the shrewdness, penetration,
cunning, and foresight of the papal hierarch; and the mouth
speaking great things, a fit symbol of the arrogant claims
of the bishops of Rome.
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient
of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the
hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like
the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10. A fiery stream issued and came forth
from before him; thousand thousands ministered unto him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the
judgment was set, and the books were opened.
A sublimer description of a
sublimer scene is not to be found in the English language.
But not only on account of the grand and lofty imagery introduced
should it arrest our attention; the nature of the scene
itself is such as to demand most serious consideration.
The Judgment is brought to view; and whenever the Judgment
is mentioned, it ought to take an irresistible hold upon
every mind; for all have an interest in its eternal issues.
By an unfortunate translation
in verse 9, a wrong idea is almost sure to be conveyed.
The words cast
down are from a word which in the original signifies
just the opposite, namely, to set up. The word (Heb.) [r'mah]
Gesenius defines as follows:
1. To cast, to throw, Dan. 3:20,
21, 24; 6:16. 2. To set,
to place, e. g., thrones, Dan. 7:9. Comp. Rev. 4:2,
qronoV ekeito and (Heb.) No.
Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, by Davidson,
also gives to this word the definition "to set, to
place," and refers to Dan. 7:9 as an example of its
use in this sense. Why this word was used to express the
idea here intended may perhaps be learned from the following
note found in the Cottage Bible: "Ver. 9. The
p 135 --
were cast down. Wintle,
'Were placed.' So Boothroyd. But both come to the
same meaning. The Asiatics have neither chairs nor stools,
but, to receive persons of rank, 'cast down,' or 'place,'
cushions round the room for seats, which seems to be here
alluded to. See Matt. 19:28; Rev. 20:4." Dr. Clarke
says that the word "might be translated erected;
so the Vulgate, positi sunt [were placed], and so
all the versions." The Septuagint has eteqhsan
which is defined to mean "'to set, put, place; to set
up; to erect." The thrones are not the thrones of earthly
kingdoms, which are to be thrown down at the last day, but
thrones of judgment, which are to be "placed,"
or set up, in the court of God on high just before the end.
"Ancient of days," God the Father, takes the throne
of judgment. Mark the description of his person. Those who
believe in the impersonality of God are obliged to admit
that he is here described as a personal being; but they
console themselves by saying that it is the only description
of the kind in the Bible. We do not admit this latter assertion;
but granting that it were true, is not one description of
this kind as fatal to their theory as though it were repeated
a score of times? The thousand thousands who minister unto
him, and the ten thousand times ten thousand who stand before
him, are not sinners arraigned before the judgment-seat,
but heavenly beings who wait before him, attendant on his
will. An understanding of these verses involves an understanding
of the subject of the sanctuary; and to the works on this
question we refer the reader. The closing up of the ministration
of Christ, our great High Priest, in the heavenly sanctuary,
is the work of judgment here introduced. It is an investigative
judgment. The books are opened, and the cases of all come
up for examination before that great tribunal, that it may
be determined beforehand who are to receive eternal life
when the Lord shall come to confer it upon his people. John,
as recorded in Revelation 5, had a view of this same place,
and saw the same number of heavenly attendants engaged with
Christ in the work of investigative judgment. Looking into
the sanctuary (as we learn from Revelation 4 that he was
doing), in chapter 5:11
p 136 -- he says, "And
I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about
the throne, and the beasts, and the elders; and the number
of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands
It will appear from the testimony
of chapter 8:14, that this solemn work is even now transpiring
in the sanctuary above.
I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which
the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain,
and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
12. As concerning the rest
of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their
lives were prolonged for a season and time.
There are persons who believe
in a thousand years' triumph of the gospel and reign of
righteousness over all the world before the Lord comes;
and there are others who believe in probation after the
Lord comes, and a mixed millennium, the immortal righteous
still proclaiming the gospel to mortal sinners, and turning
them into the way of salvation. But
both of these systems of error are completely demolished
by the verses before us.
1. The fourth
terrible beast continues without change of character, and
the little horn continues to utter its blasphemies, and
hold its millions of votaries in the bonds of a blind superstition,
till the beast is given to the burning flame; and this is
not its conversion, but its destruction. (See 2 Thess. 2:8.)
2. The life
of the fourth beast is not prolonged after its dominion
is gone, as were the lives of the preceding beasts. Their
dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged
for a season. The territory and subjects of the Babylonian
kingdom still existed, though made subject to the Persians.
So of the Persian kingdom in respect to Grecia, and of Grecia
in respect to Rome. But what succeeds the fourth kingdom?
- No government or state in which mortals have any part.
Its career ends in the lake of fire, and it has no existence
beyond. The lion was merged into the bear; the bear into
the leopard; the leopard into the fourth beast; and the
fourth beast into what? - Not into another beast; but it
is cast into the lake of fire, under which destruction it
rests till men shall
p 137 -- suffer the
second death. Then let no one talk of probation or a mixed
millennium after the Lord comes. TOP
The adverb then,
in the sentence, "I beheld then
because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake,"
etc., seems to refer to some particular time. The work of
the investigative judgment is introduced in the previous
verses; and this verse would seem to imply that while this
work is going forward, and just before this power is destroyed
and given to the burning.flame, the little horn utters its
great words against the Most High. Have we not heard them,
and that, too, within a few years? Look at the decrees of
the Vatican Council of 1870. What can be more blasphemous
than to attribute infallibility to a mortal man? Yet in
that year the world beheld the spectacle of an Ecumenical
Council assembled for the purpose of deliberately decreeing
that the occupant of the papal throne, the man of sin, possesses
this prerogative of God, and can not err. Can anything be
more presumptuous and blasphemous? Is not this the voice
of the great words which the horn spake? and is not this
power ripe for the burning flame, and near its end?
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son
of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient
of days, and they brought him near before him.
14. And there was given him dominion,
and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and
languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting
dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that
which shall not be destroyed.
The scene here described is
not the second advent of Christ to this earth, unless the
Ancient of days is on this earth; for it is a coming to
the Ancient of days. There, in the presence of the Ancient
of days, a kingdom, dominion, and glory are given him. The
Son of man receives his kingdom before his return to this
earth. (See Luke 19:10-12 and onward.) This is a scene,
therefore, which transpires in the heavenly temple, and
is closely connected with that brought to view in verses
9 and 10. He receives the kingdom at the close of his priestly
work in the sanctuary. The people, nations, and languages,
that shall serve him, are the nations of the saved (Rev.
p 138 -- not the wicked
nations of the earth; for these are dashed in pieces at
the second advent. Some out of all the nations, tribes,
and kindreds of the earth will find themselves at last in
the kingdom of God, to serve him there with joy and gladness
forever and ever.
15. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the
midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
16. I came near unto one
of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this.
So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the
things. 17. These great beasts,
which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of
the earth. 18. But the saints
of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the
kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
No less anxious should we be
than was Daniel to understand the truth of all this. And
whenever we inquire with equal sincerity of heart, we shall
find the Lord no less ready now than in the days of the
prophet to lead to a correct knowledge of these important
truths. The beasts, and the kingdoms which they represent,
have already been explained. We have followed the prophet
down through the course of events, even to the complete
destruction of the fourth and last beast, the final subversion
of all earthly governments. What next? Verse
us: "The saints shall take the kingdom." The saints!
those of all others held in low esteem in this world, despised,
reproached, persecuted, cast out; those who were considered
the least likely of all men ever to realize their hopes;
these shall take the kingdom, and possess it forever. The
usurpation and misrule of the wicked shall come to an end.
The forfeited inheritance shall be redeemed. Peace shall
be restored to its distracted borders, and righteousness
shall reign over all the fair expanse of the renovated earth.
19. Then I would know the truth of the fourth
beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding
dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass;
which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue
with his feet; 20. And of
the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which
came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that
had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose
look was more stout than his fellows.
Of the first three beasts of
this series, Daniel had so clear an understanding that he
had no trouble in reference to them. TOP
p 139 -- But he was
astonished at this fourth beast, so unnatural. and dreadful;
for the further we come down the stream of time, the further
it is necessary to depart from nature in forming symbols
to represent accurately the degenerating governments of
this earth. The lion is a production of nature; but it must
have the unnatural addition of two wings to represent the
kingdom of Babylon. The bear we also find in nature; but
as a symbol of Medo-Persia an unnatural ferocity must be
denoted by the insertion of three ribs into its mouth. So
the leopard is a beast of nature; but fitly to represent
Grecia there is a departure from nature in respect to wings,
and the number of heads. But nature furnishes no symbol
which can fitly illustrate the fourth kingdom. A beast the
likeness of which never was seen, is taken; a beast dreadful
and terrible, with nails of brass, and teeth of iron, so
cruel, rapacious, and fierce that from mere love of oppression
it devoured, and brake in pieces, and trampled its victims
beneath its feet.
Wonderful was all this to the
prophet; but something still more wonderful appeared. A
little horn came up, and, true to the nature of the beast
from which it sprang, thrust aside three of its fellows;
and lo! the horn had eyes, not the uncultivated eyes of
a brute, but the keen, shrewd, intelligent eyes of a man;
and, stranger yet, it had a mouth, and with that mouth it
uttered proud sayings, and put forth preposterous and arrogant
claims. No wonder the prophet made special inquiry respecting
this monster, so unearthly in its instincts, and so fiendish
in its works and ways. In the following verses some specifications
are given respecting the little horn, which enable the student
of prophecy to make an application of this symbol without
danger of mistake.
21. I beheld, and the same horn made war with
the saints, and prevailed against them; 22.
Until the Ancient of days came, and judgmeat was given to
the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the
saints possessed the kingdom.
The wonderful wrath of this
little horn against the saints particularly attracted the
attention of Daniel. The rise of the ten horns, or the division
of Rome into ten kingdoms, between the years A. D. 351 and
476, has already been noticed. (See
p 140 --
(Waldenses fleeing from Papal persecution)
p 141 -- on chapter
2:41.) As these horns denote kingdoms, the little horn must
denote a kingdom also, but not of the same nature, because
it was diverse
from the others. They were political kingdoms. And now we
have but to inquire if any kingdom has arisen among the
ten kingdoms of the Roman empire since A. D. 476, and yet
diverse from them all; and if so, what one? The answer is,
Yes; the spiritual kingdom of the papacy. This answers to
the symbol in every particular, as is easily proved; and
nothing else will do it. See the specifications more particularly
mentioned in verse 23.
Daniel beheld this horn making
war upon the saints. Has such a war been waged by the papacy?
Fifty million martyrs, with a voice like the sound of many
waters, answer, Yes. Witness the cruel persecutions of the
Waldenses, the Albigenses, and Protestants in general, by
the papal power. It is stated on good authority that the
persecutions, massacres, and religious wars excited by the
church and bishop of Rome, have occasioned the shedding
of far more blood of the saints of the Most High than all
the enmity, hostility, and persecutions of professed heathen
peoples from the foundation of the world. TOP
In verse 22 three consecutive
events seem to be brought to view. Daniel, looking onward
from the time when the little horn was in the height of
its power to the full end of the long contest between the
saints and Satan with all his agents, notes three prominent
events that stand as mile-posts along the way.
(1) The coming of the Ancient of days;
that is, the position which Jehovah takes in the opening
of the judgment scene described in verses 9, 10. (2)
The judgment that is given to the saints;
that is, the time when the saints sit with Christ in judgment
a thousand years, following the first resurrection (Rev.
20:1-4), apportioning to the wicked the punishment due for
their sins. Then the martyrs will sit in judgment upon the
great antichristian, persecuting power, which, in the days
of their trial, hunted them like the beasts of the desert,
and poured out their blood like water. (3)
The time that the saints possess the kingdom; that is, the
time of their entrance upon the possession of the new earth.
Then the last vestige of the curse of sin, and of sinners,
root and branch,
p 142 -- will have been
wiped away, and the territory so long misruled by the wicked
powers of earth, the enemies of God's people, will be taken
by the righteous, to be held by them forever and ever. 1
Cor. 6:2, 3; Matt. 25:34.
23. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall
be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse
from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and.
shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24.
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that
shall arise; and another shall rise after them; and he shall
be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
25. And he 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 until a time and times
and the dividing of time. 26.
But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his
dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
have here further particulars respecting the fourth beast
and the little horn.
Perhaps enough has already
been said respecting the fourth beast (Rome) and the ten
horns, or ten kingdoms, which arose therefrom. The little
horn now more particularly demands attention. As stated
on verse 8, we find the fulfilment of the prophecy concerning
this horn in the rise and work of the papacy. It is a matter
of both interest and importance, therefore, to inquire into
the causes which resulted in the development of this antichristian
The first pastors or bishops
of Rome enjoyed a respect proportionate to the rank of the
city in which they resided; and for the first few centuries
of the Christian era, Rome was the largest, richest, and
most powerful city in the world. It was the seat of empire,
the capital of the nations. "All
the inhabitants of the earth belong to her,"
declared her to be "the
fountain of laws." "If Rome is the queen of cities,
why should not her pastor be the king of bishops?"
was the reasoning these Roman pastors adopted. "Why
should not the Roman Church be the mother of Christendom?
Why should not all nations be her children, and her authority
their sovereign law? It was easy," says D'Aubigne,
from whom we quote these words
of the Reformation," Vol. I, chap. 1), "for
the ambitious heart of man to reason thus. Ambitious Rome
p 143 --
(1. The Law of God - 2. The Law as changed by the Papacy)
p 144 -- The bishops
in the different parts of the Roman empire felt a pleasure
in yielding to the bishop of Rome some portion of that honor
which Rome, as the queen city, received from the nations
of the earth. There was originally no dependence implied
in the honor thus paid. "But,"
"usurped power increases like an avalanche. Admonitions,
at first simply fraternal, soon became absolute commands
in the mouth of the pontiff. The Western bishops favored
this encroachment of the Roman pastors, either from jealousy
of the Eastern bishops, or because they preferred submitting
to the supremacy of a pope rather than to the dominion of
a temporal power."
Such were the influences clustering
around the bishop of Rome, and thus was everything tending
toward his speedy elevation to the supreme spiritual throne
of Christendom. But the fourth century was destined to witness
an obstacle thrown across the path of this ambitious dream.
Arius, parish priest of the ancient and influential church
of Alexandria, sprung his doctrine upon the world, occasioning
so fierce a controversy in the Christian church that a general
council was called at Nicaea, by the emperor Constantine,
A. D. 325, to consider and adjust it. Arius
the Son was totally and essentially distinct from the Father;
that he was the first and noblest of those beings whom the
Father had created out of nothing, the instrument by whose
subordinate operation the Almighty Father formed the universe,
and therefore inferior to the Father both in nature and
opinion was condemned by the council, which decreed that
Christ was of one and the same substance with the Father.
Hereupon Arius was banished to Illyria, and his followers
were compelled to give their assent to the creed composed
on that occasion. (Mosheim, cent. 4, part 2, chap. 4; Stanley,
History of the Eastern Church, p. 239.)
The controversy itself, however,
was not to be disposed of in this summary manner, but continued
for ages to agitate the Christian world, the Arians everywhere
becoming the bitter enemies of the pope and of the Roman
Catholic Church. From these facts it is evident that the
spread of Arianism
p 145 -- would check
the influence of the Catholics; and the possession of Rome
and Italy by a people of the Arian persuasion, would be
fatal to the supremacy of a Catholic bishop. But the prophecy
had declared that this horn would rise to supreme power,
and that in reaching this position it would subdue three
Some difference of opinion
has existed in regard to the particular powers which were
overthrown in the interest of the papacy, in reference to
which the following remark by Albert
Barnes seems very pertinent:
"In the confusion that existed on the breaking up of
the Roman empire, and the imperfect accounts of the transactions
which occurred in the rise of the papal power, it would
not be wonderful if it should be difficult to find events
distinctly recorded that would be in all respects
an accurate and absolute fulfilment of the vision. Yet it
is possible to make out the fulfilment of this with a good
degree of certainty in the history of the papacy."
- Notes on Daniel 7.
Mede supposes the three kingdoms plucked up to have
been the Greeks, the Lombards, and the Franks; and Sir
Isaac Newton supposes they were the Exarchate of
Ravenna, the Lombards, and the Senate and Dukedom of Rome.
(Dissertation on the Prophecies, pp. 217, 218) states
some serious objections to both these schemes. The Franks
could not have been one of these kingdoms; for they were
never plucked up before the papacy. The Lombards could not
have been one; for they were never made subject to the popes.
"I do not find, indeed, that the kingdom of the Lombards
was, as is commonly stated, among the number of the temporal
sovereignties that became subject to the authority of the
popes." And the Senate and Dukedom of Rome could
not have been one; for they, as such, never constituted
one of the ten kingdoms, three of which were to be plucked
up before the little horn. TOP
But we apprehend that the chief
difficulty in the applicalion made by these eminent commentators,
lay in the fact that they supposed that the prophecy respecting
the exaltation of the papacy had not been fulfilled, and
could not have been, till the pope became a temporal prince;
and hence they sought
p 146 -- to find an
accomplishment of the prophecy in the events which led to
the pope's temporal sovereignty. Whereas, evidently, the
prophecy of verses 24, 25 refers, not to his civil power,
but to his power to domineer over the minds and consciences
of men; and the pope reached this position, as will hereafter
appear, in A. D. 538; and the plucking up of the three horns
took place before
this, and to make way for this very exaltation to spiritual
dominion. The insuperable difficulty in the way of all attempts
to apply the prophecy to the Lombards and the other powers
named above is that they come altogether too late in point
of time; for the prophecy deals with the arrogant efforts
of the Roman pontiff to gain power, not with his endeavors
to oppress and humble the nations after he had secured the
The position is here confidently
taken that the three powers, or horns, plucked up before
the papacy, were the Heruli, the Vandals, and the
and this position rests upon the following statements of
Odoacer, the leader of the
Heruli, was the first of the barbarians who reigned over
the Romans. He took the throne of Italy, according to Gibbon
(Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. III,
pp. 510, 515), in 476. Of his religious belief Gibbon (p.
"Like the rest of the barbarians, he had been instructed
in the Arian heresy; but he revered the monastic and episcopal
characters, and the silence of the Catholics attests the
toleration which they enjoyed."
Again he says (p. 547) : "The
Ostrogoths, the Burgundians, the Suevi, and the Vandals,
who had listened to the eloquence of the Latin clergy, preferred
the more intelligible lessons of their domestic teachers;
and Arianism was adopted as the national faith of the warlike
converts who were seated on the ruins of the Western empire.
This irreconcilable difference of religion was a perpetual
source of jealousy and hatred; and the reproach of barbarian
was embittered by the more odious epithet of heretic.
The heroes of the North, who had submitted, with some reluctance,
to believe that all their ancestors were in hell, were astonished
and exasperated to learn
p 147 --
that they themselves had only changed the mode of their
The reader is requested to
consider carefully a few more historical statements which
throw some light on the situation at this time.
of the Eastern Church, p. 151) says: "The
whole of the vast Gothic population which decended on the
Roman empire, so far as it was Christian at all, held to
the faith of the Alexandrian heretic. Our first Teutonic
version of the Scriptures was by an Arian missionary, UIfilas.
The first conqueror of Rome, Alaric, and the first conqueror
of Africa, Genseric, were Arians. Theodoric, the great king
of Italy, and hero of the 'Nibelungen Lied,' was an Arian.
The vacant place in his massive tomb at Ravenna is a witness
of the vengeance which the Orthodox took on his memory,
when, in their triumph, they tore down the porphyry vase
in which his Arian subjects had enshrined his ashes.
in his History of the Popes (London, edition of 1871),
Vol. I, p. 9, says:
[the church] fell, as was inevitable, into many embarrassments,
and found herself in an entirely altered condition. A pagan
people took possession of Britain; Arian kings seized the
greater part of the remaining West; while the Lombards,
long attached to Arianism, and as neighbors most dangerous
and hostile, established a powerful sovereignty before the
very gates of Rome. The Roman bishops, meanwhile, beset
on all sides, exerted themselves with all the prudence and
pertinacity which have remained their peculiar attributes,
to regain the mastery, at least in the patriarchal diocese."
in his History of Florence, p. 14, says:
"Nearly all the wars which the northern barbarians
carried on in Italy, it may be here remarked, were occasioned
by the pontiffs; and the hordes with which the country was
inundated, were generally called in by them."
These extracts give us a general
view of the state of affairs at this time, and show us that
though the hands of the Roman pontiffs might not be visibly
manifest in the movements upon the political board, they
constituted the power working assiduously behind the scenes
to secure their own purposes. The
p 148 -- relation which
these Arian kings sustained to the pope, from which we can
see the necessity of their being overthrown to make way
for papal supremacy, is shown in the following testimony
given in his History of the Church, cent. 6, part
2, chap. 2, see. 2 : "On
the other hand, it is certain, from a variety of the most
authentic records, that both the emperors and the nations
in general were far from being disposed to bear with patience
the yoke of servitude which the popes were imposing upon
the Christian church. The Gothic princes set bounds to the
power of these arrogant prelates in Italy, permitted none
to be raised to the pontificate without their approbation,
and reserved to themselves the right of judging of the legality
of every new election."
An instance in proof of this
statement occurs in the history of Odoacer, the first Arian
king above mentioned, as related by Bower
in his History
of the Popes,
Vol. 1, p. 271.
When, on the death of Pope Simplicius, A. D.
483, the clergy and people had assembled for the election
of a new pope, suddenly Basilius, lieutenant of King Odoacer,
appeared in the assembly, expressed his surprise that any
such work as appointing a successor to the deceased pope
should be undertaken without him, in the name of the king
declared all that had been done null and void, and ordered
the election to be begun anew. Certainly the horn which
exercised such a restrictive power over the papal pontiff
must be taken away before the pope could reach the predicted
Meanwhile, Zeno, the emperor
of the East, and friend of the pope, was anxious to drive
Odoacer out of Italy
(Machiavelli, p. 6), a movement which he soon had
the satisfaction of seeing accomplished without trouble
to himself, in the following manner. Theodoric had come
to the throne of the Ostrogothic kingdom in Moesia and Pannonia.
Being on friendly terms with Zeno, he wrote him, stating
that it was impossible for him to restrain his Goths within
the impoverished province of Pannonia, and asking his permission
to lead them to some more favorable region, which they might
conquer and possess. Zeno gave him permission to march against
Odoacer, and take
p 149 -- possession
of Italy. Accordingly, after a three years' war, the Heralian
kingdom in Italy was overthrown, Odoacer was treacherously
slain, and Theodoric established his Ostrogoths in the Italian
peninsula. As already stated, he was an Arian, and the law
of Odoacer subjecting the election of the pope to the approval
of the king was still retained.
The following incident will
show how completely the papacy was in subjection to his
power. The Catholics in the East, having commenced a persecution
against the Arians in 523, Theodoric summoned Pope John
into his presence, and thus addressed him:
"If the emperor [Justin, the predecessor of Justinian]
does not think fit to revoke the edict which he has lately
issued against those of my persuasion [that is, the Arians],
it is my firm resolution to issue the like edict against
those of his [that is, the Catholics]; and to see it everywhere
executed with the same rigor. Those who do not profess the
faith of Nicaea are heretics to him, and those who do are
heretics to me. Whatever can excuse or justify his severity
to the former, will excuse and justify mine to the latter.
But the emperor," continued the king, "has
none about him who dare freely and openly speak what they
think, or to whom he would hearken if they did. But the
great veneration which he professes for your See,
leaves no room to doubt but he would hearken to you. I will
therefore have you to repair forthwith to Constantinople,
and there to remonstrate, both in my name and your own,
against the violent measures in which that court has so
rashly engaged. It is in your power to divert the emperor
from them; and till you have, nay, till the Catholics [this
name Theodoric applies to the Arians] are restored to the
free exercise of their religion, and to all the churches
from which they have been driven, you must not think of
returning to Italy." - Bower's
History of the Popes, Vol. I,
p. 325. TOP
The pope who was thus peremptorily
ordered not to set his foot again upon Italian soil until
he had carried out the will of the king, certainly could
not hope for much advancement toward any kind of supremacy
till that power was taken out of the way. Baronius, according
to Bower, will have it that the pope sacrificed himself
on this occasion, and advised the
p 150 -- emperor not
by any means to comply with the demand the king had sent
him. But Mr.
thinks this inconsistent, since he could not,
he says, "sacrifice
himself without sacrificing, at the same time, the far greater
part of the innocent Catholics in the West, who were
either subject to King Theodoric, or to other Arian princes
in alliance with him."
It is certain that the pope and the other ambassadors were
treated with severity on their return, which
Bower explains on this wise:
them all of high treason; and truly the chief men of Rome
were suspected at this very time of carrying on a treasonable
correspondence with the court of Constantinople, and machinating
the ruin of the Gothic empire in Italy." - Id.,
feelings of the papal party toward Theodoric may be accurately
estimated, according to a quotation already given, by the
vengeance which the took on his memory, when they tore from
his massive tomb in Ravenna the porphyry vase in which his
Arian subjects had enshrined his ashes. But these feelings
are put into language by Baronius, who inveighs "against
Theodoric as a cruel barbarian, as a barbarous tyrant, as
an impious Arian."
exaggerated with all his eloquence, and bewailed the deplorable
condition of the Roman Church reduced by that heretic to
a state of slavery, he comforts himself in the end, and
dries up his tears, with the pious thought that the author
of such a calamity died soon after, and was eternally damned!"
- Bower, Vol.
I, p. 328; Compare Baronius' Annals, A. D. 526, p.
While the Catholics were thus
feeling the restraining power of an Arian king in Italy,
they were suffering a violent persecation from the Arian
Vandals in Africa. (Gibbon, chap. 371 sec. 2.) Elliott,
in his Horae Apocalypticae, Vol. III, p. 152. note
3, says: "The
Vandal kings were not only Arians, but persecutors of the
Catholics; in Sardinia and Corsica, under the Roman Episcopate,
we may presume, as well as in Africa."
Such was the position of affairs,
when, in 533, Justinian entered upon his Vandal and Gothic
wars. Wishing to secure the influence of the pope and the
Catholic party, he issued that memorable decree which was
to constitute the pope the
p 151 -- head of all
the churches, and from the carrying out of which, in 538,
the period of papal supremacy is to be dated. And whoever
will read the history of the African campaign, 533-534,
and the Italian campaign, 534-538, will notice that the
Catholics everywhere hailed as deliverers the army of Belisarius,
the general of Justinian.
The testimony of
(Reformation, book 1, chap. 1)
also throws light upon the undercurrents which
gave shape to outward movements in these eventful times.
He says: "Princes
whom these stormy times often shook upon their thrones,
offered their protection if Rome would in its turn support
them. They conceded to her the spiritual authority, provided
she would make a return in secular power. They were lavish
of the souls of men, in the hope that she would aid them
against their enemies. The power of the hierarchy, which
was ascending, and the imperial power, which was declining,
leaned thus one upon the other, and by this alliance accelerated
their twofold destiny. Rome could not lose by it. An edict
of Theodosius II and of Valerian III proclaimed the Roman
bishop 'rector of the whole church.' Justinian published
a similar decree."
But no decree of this nature
could be carried into effect until the Arian horns which
stood in its way were overthrown. The Vandals fell before
the victorious arms of Belisarius in 534; and the Goths
received a crushing blow in connection with their unsuccessful
siege of Rome in 538. (Gibbon, chap. 41)TOP
Procopius relates that the
African war was undertaken by Justinian for the relief of
the Christians (Catholics) in that quarter; and that when
he expressed his intention in this respect, the prefect
of the palace came very near dissuading him from his purpose;
but a dream appeared to him in which he was bidden
"not to shrink from the execution of his design; for
by assisting the Christians he would overthrow the power
of the Vandals."
- Evagrius' Eccl. Hist., book 4, chap. 16.
again to Mosheim: "It is true
that the Greeks who had received the decrees
of the Council of Nicaea [that is, the Catholics], persecuted
and oppressed the Arians wherever their
p 152 --
(Belisarius entering Rome)
p 153 --
influence and authority could reach; but the Nicenians,
in their turn, were not less rigorously treated by their
adversaries [the Arians], particularly in Africa and Italy,
where they felt, in a very severe manner, the weight of
the Arian power, and the bitterness of hostile resentment.
The triumphs of Arianism were, however, transitory, and
its prosperous days were entirely eclipsed when the Vandals
were driven out of Africa, and the Goths out of Italy, by
the arms of Justinian." -
Mosheim's Church History, cent. 6, part 2, chap.
5, sec. 3.
Elliott, in his
Horae Apocalypticae, makes
two enumerations of the ten kingdoms which rose out of the
Roman empire, varying the second list from the first according
to the changes which had taken place at the later period
to which the second list applies. His first list differs
from that mentioned in remarks on chap. 2:42, only in that
he put the Alemanni in place of the Huns, and the Bavarians
in place of the Lombards, a variation which can be easily
accounted for. But out of this list he names the three that
were plucked up before the papacy, in these words:
" I might cite three that were eradicated from
before the pope out of the list first given; namely, the
Heruli under Odoacer, the Vandals, and the
Vol. III, p. 152, note 1.
Although he prefers the second
list, in which he puts the Lombards instead of the Heruli,
the foregoing is good testimony that if we make the enumeration
of the ten kingdoms while the Heruli were a ruling power,
they were one of the horns which were plucked up.
From the historical testimony
above cited, we think it clearly established that the three
horns plucked up were the powers named; viz., the Heruli
in A. D. 493, the Vandals
in 534, and the Ostrogoths
in 553. The effective opposition of the Ostrogoths to the
decree of Justinian, however, it is to be noted, ceased
when they were driven from Rome by Belisarius in 538. TOP
"He shall speak great words against the Most High."
Has the papacy done this?
Look at such self-approved titles of the pope as
"Vicegerent of the Son of God,"
God, the Pope."-
See gloss on the Extravagantes of Pope John
p 154 --
14, ch. 4, "Declaramus."
Said Pope Nicholas to Emperor Michael,
"The pope can never be bound or loosed by the secular
power, since it is plain that he was called God by the pious
prince Constantine; . . . and it is manifest that God can
not be judged by man." - Decreti Prima Pars.
Distinctio XCVI, Caput 8. Is
there need of bolder blasphemy than this? Note also the
adulation the popes have received from their followers without
rebuke. Lord Anthony
Pucci in the fifth Lateran,
said to the pope,
"The sight of thy divine majesty
does not a little terrify me; for I am not ignorant that
all power both in heaven and in earth is given unto you;
that the prophetic saying is fulfilled in you, 'All the
kings of the earth shall worship him, and nations shall
serve him.'" (See Oswald's Kingdom Which Shall Not
Be Destroyed, pp. 97-99.)
Clarke, on verse 25, says:
speak as if he were God.' So St. Jerome quotes from Symmachus.
To none can this apply so well or so fully as to the popes
of Rome. They have assumed infallibility, which belongs
only to God. They profess to forgive sins, which belongs
only to God. They profess to open and shut heaven, which
belongs only to God. They profess to be higher than all
the kings of the earth, which belongs only to God. And they
go beyond God in pretending to loose whole nations
from their oath of allegiance to their kings, when such
kings do not please them. And they go against God
when they give indulgences for sin. This is the worst of
shall wear out the saints of the Most High." Has
the papacy done this? For the mere information of any student
of church history, no answer need here be given. All know
that for long years the papal church has pursued its relentless
work against the true followers of God. Chapter after chapter
might be given, would our limited space permit. Wars, crusades,
massacres, inquisitions, and persecutions of all kinds,
- these were their weapons of extinction.
Church History says:
"No computation can reach the numbers who have been
put to death in different ways, on account of their maintaining
the profession of the gospel, and opposing the corruptions
of the Church of Rome. A million
p 155 --
of poor Waldenses perished in France; nine hundred thousand
orthodox Christians were slain in less than thirty years
after the institution of the order of the Jesuits. The Duke
of Alva boasted of having put to death in the Netherlands
thirty-six thousand by the hand of the common executioner
during the space of a few years. The Inquisition destroyed,
by various tortures, one hundred and fifty thousand within
thirty years. These are a few specimens, and but a few,
of those which history has recorded. But the total amount
will never be known till the earth shall disclose her blood,
and no more cover her slain."
Commenting on the prophecy
that the little horn should
"wear out the saints of the Most High,"
in his Notes
on Dan. 7 :25,
Can any one doubt that this is true of the papacy? The Inqnisition,
the persecutions of the Waldenses, the ravages of the Duke
of Alva, the fires of Smithfield, the tortures of Goa, -
indeed, the whole history of the papacy, may be appealed
to in proof that this is applicable to that power. If anything
could have worn out the saints of the Most High,
- could have cut them off from the earth so that evangelical
religion would have become extinct, - it would have been
the persecutions of the papal power. In the year 1208 a
crusade was proclaimed by Pope Innocent III against the
Waldenses and Albigenses, in which a million men perished.
From the beginning of the order of Jesuits in the year 1540
to 1580, nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred
and fifty thousand perished by the Inquisition in thirty
years. In the Low Countries fifty thousand persons were
hanged, beheaded, burned, or buried alive, for the crime
of heresy, within the space of thirty-eight years from the
edict of Charles V against the Protestants to the peace
of Chateau Cambresis in 1559. Eighteen thousand suffered
by the hand of the executioner in the space of five years
and a half, during the administration of the Duke of Alva.
Indeed, the slightest acquaintance with the history of the
papacy will convince anyone that what is here said of 'making
war with the saints' (verse 21), and 'wearing out the saints
of the Most High' (verse 25), is strictly applicable to
that power, and will accurately
p 156 --
(Prominent martyrs) TOP
p 157 --
describe its history." (See Buck's Theological Dictionary,
art., Persecutions; Oswald's Kingdom, etc., pp. 107-133;
Dowling's History of Romanism; Fox's Book of Martyrs,
Charlotte Elizabeth's Martyrology; The Wars of
the Huguenots; The Great Red Dragon, by Anthony
Gavin, formerly one of the Roman Catholic priests of Saragossa,
Spain; Histories of the Reformation, etc.)
To parry the force of this
damaging testimony from all history, papists deny that the
church has ever persecuted any one; it has been the secular
power; the church has only passed decision upon the question
of heresy, and then turned the offenders over to the civil
power, to be dealt with according to the pleasure of the
secular court. The impious hypocrisy of this claim is transparent
enough to make it an absolute insult to common sense. In
those days of persecution, what was the secular power? -
Simply a tool in the hand of the church, and under its control,
to do its bloody bidding. And when the church delivered
its prisoners to the executioners to be destroyed, with
fiendish mockery it made use of the following formula:
"And we do leave thee to the secular arm, and to the
power of the secular court; but at the same time do most
earnestly beseech that court so to moderate its sentence
as not to touch thy blood, nor to put thy life in any sort
of danger." And
then, as intended, the unfortunate victims of popish hate
were immediately executed. (Geddes's Tracts on
Popery; View of the Court of Inquisition in Portugal,
p. 446; Limborch, Vol. II, p. 289.)
But the false claims of papists
in this respect have been flatly denied and disproved by
one of their own standard writers, Cardinal Bellarmine,
who was born in Tuscany in 1542, and who, after his death
in 1621, came very near being placed in the calendar of
saints on account of his great services in behalf of popery.
This man, on one occasion, under the spur of controversy,
betrayed himself into an admission of the real facts in
the case. Luther having said that the church (meaning the
true church) never burned heretics, Bellarmine, understanding
it of the Romish Church, made answer:
"This argument proves not the sentiment, but the ignorance
p 158 -- of Luther;
for as almost
an infinite number were either burned or otherwise
put to death, Luther either did not know it, and was therefore
ignorant; or if he knew it, he was convicted of impudence
and falsehood; for that heretics were often burned by
the church, may be proved by adducing a few from
To show the relation of the
secular power to the church, as held by Romanists, we quote
the answer of the
same writer to the argument that the only weapon
committed to the church is "the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
To this he replied: "As
the church has ecclesiastical and secular princes, who are
her two arms, so she has two swords, the spiritual
and material; and therefore when her right hand is unable
to convert a heretic with the sword of the Spirit, she invokes
the aid of the left hand, and coerces heretics with
the material sword."
In answer to the argument that the apostles never invoked
the secular arm against heretics, he says,
"The apostles did it not, because there was no Christian
prince whom thy could call on for aid. But afterward, in
Constantine's time, . . . the church called in the aid
of the secular arm." - Dowling's History of Romanism,
pp. 547, 548. TOP
In corroboration of these facts,
fifty million martyrs - this is the lowest computation made
by any historian - will rise up in the judgment as witnesses
against that church's bloody work.
Pagan Rome persecuted relentlessly
the Christian church, and it is estimated that three
million Christians perished in the first three
centuries, yet it is said that the primitive Christians
prayed for the continuance of imperial Rome; for they knew
that when this form of government should cease, another
far worse persecuting power would arise, which would literally,
as this prophecy declares, "wear
out the saints of the Most High."
Pagan Rome could slay the infants, but spare the mothers;
but papal Rome slew both mothers and infants together. No
age, no sex, no condition in life, was exempt from her relentless
"When Herod died," says
"he went down to the grave with infamy; and earth had
one murderer, one persecutor, less, and hell one victim
p 159 --
more. 0 Rome! what will not be thy hell, and that of thy
votaries, when thy judgment shall have come!"
3. And shall
"think to change times and laws."
What laws and whose? Not the laws of other earthly governments;
for it was nothing marvelous or strange for one power to
change the laws of another, whenever it could bring such
power under its dominion. Not human laws of any kind; for
the little horn had power to change these so far as its
jurisdiction extended; but the times and laws in question
were such as this power should only think to change, but
not be able to change. They are the laws of the same Being
to whom the saints belong who are worn out by this power;
namely, the laws of the Most High. And has the papacy attempted
this? - Yes, even this. It has, in its catechisms, expunged
the second commandment of the decalogue to make way for
its adoration of images. It has divided the tenth commandment
to make up the number ten. And, more audacious than all!
it has taken hold of the fourth commandment, torn from its
place the Sabbath of Jehovah, the only memorial of the great
God ever given to man, and erected in its place a rival
institution to serve another purpose. 1
they shall be given into his hand until a time and times
and the dividing of time."
they embraces the saints, the times, and the
laws just mentioned. How long a time were they to be given
into the hands of this power? A time, as we have seen from
chapter 4:23, is one year; two times, the least that could
be denoted by the plural, two years, and the dividing of
time, or half a time (Sept., hmisu)
half a year. Gesenius also gives " Chald.,
a half. Dan. 7:25." We thus have three years and a
half for the continuance of this power. The Hebrew, or rather
the Chaldaic, word for time in the text before us, is
iddan, which Gesenius
"Time. Spec. in prophetic language for a year.
Dan. 7:25, for
a year, also two years and half a year; i. e.,
for three years and a half; comp. Jos. B. J. 1. 1. 1."
We must now consider that we are in the
See Catholic catechisms, and the work entitled, "Who
Changed the Sabbath?" and works on the Sabbath and
Law published by the Southern Publishing Association, Nashville,
p 160 -- midst of symbolic
prophecy; hence in this measurement the time is not literal,
but symbolic also. The inquiry then arises, How long a period
is denoted by the three years and a half of prophetic time?
The rule given us in the Bible is, that when a day is used
as a symbol, it stands for a year. Eze. 4:6; Num. 14:34.
Under the Hebrew word for day, (yom),
has this remark: "3.
marks a definite space of time; viz., a year;
as also Syr. and Chald. [iddan]
denotes both time and year; and as in
English several words signifying time, weight, measure,
are likewise used to denote certain specified times, weights,
and measures." The
ordinary Jewish year, which must be used as the basis of
reckoning, contained three hundred and sixty days. Three
years and a half contained twelve hundred and sixty days.
As each day stands for a year, we have twelve hundred and
sixty years for the continuation of the supremacy of this
horn. Did the papacy possess dominion that length of time?
The answer again is, Yes. The edict of the emperor Justinian,
dated A. D. 533, made the bishop of Rome the head of all
the churches. But this edict could not go into effect until
the Arian Ostrogoths, the last of the three horns that were
plucked up to make room for the papacy, were driven from
Rome; and this was not accomplished, as already shown, till
A. D. 538. The edict would have been of no effect had this
latter event not been accomplished; hence from this latter
year we are to reckon, as this was the earliest point where
the saints were in reality in the hand of this power. From
this point did the papacy hold supremacy for twelve hundred
and sixty years? - Exactly. For 538 + 1260 = 1798; and in
the year 1798, Berthier, with a French army, entered Rome,
proclaimed a republic, took the pope prisoner, and for a
time abolished the papacy. It has never since enjoyed the
privileges and immunities which it possessed before.
note: This was true as to
the writing of this book 1897, however, the papacy has been
fully re-established to it's former power "the deadly
wound" is now fully healed as of the reign of Mussolini
in Italy around 1929.] Thus
again this power fulfils to the very letter the specifications
of the prophecy, which proves beyond question that the application
is correct. TOP
After describing the terrible
career of the little horn, and stating that the saints should
be given into his hand for 1260
p 161 -- years, bringing
us down to 1798, verse 26 declares:
"But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away
his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end."
In verse 10 of the same chapter we have substantially the
same expression relative to the judgment:
was set." It would seem
consistent to suppose that the same judgment is referred
to in both instances. But the sublime scene described in
verse 10 is the opening of the investigative Judgment in
the sanctuary in heaven, as will appear in remarks on Dan.
8:14 and 9:25 27. The opening of this judgment scene is
located by the prophecy at the close of the great prophetic
period of 2300 years, which terminated in 1844. (See under
chapter 9:25-27.) Four years after this, in 1848, the great
revolution which shook so many thrones in Europe, drove
the pope also from his dominions. His restoration shortly
after was through the force of foreign bayonets, by which
alone he was upheld till his final loss of temporal power
in 1870. The overthrow of the papacy in 1798 marked the
conclusion of the prophetic period of 1260 years, and constituted
wound " prohphesied
in Rev. 13:3, to come upon this power; but this deadly wound
was to be "healed."
In 1800 another pope
was elected; his palace and temporal dominion were restored,
and every prerogative except, as Mr. Croly says, that of
a systematic persecutor, was again under his control; and
thus the wound was healed. But since 1870, he has enjoyed
no prestige as a temporal prince, among the nations of the
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. 28.
Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my
cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed
in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.
After beholding the dark and
desolate picture of papal oppression upon the church, the
prophet is permitted once more to turn his eyes upon the
glorious period of the saints' rest, when they shall have
the kingdom, free from all oppressive powers, in everlasting
possession. How could the children of God keep heart in
this present evil world, amid the misrule
p 162 -- and oppression
of the governments of earth, and the abominations that are
done in the land, if they could not look forward to the
kingdom of God and the return of their Lord, with full assurance
that the promises concerning them both shall certainly be
fulfilled, and that speedily?
- Some startling events relative to the papacy,
filling up the prophecies uttered in this chapter concerning
that power, have taken place within a few years of the present
time. Commencing in 1798, where the first great blow fell
upon the papacy, what have been the chief characteristics
of its history? Answer:
The rapid defection of its natural supporters, and greater
assumptions on its own part. In 1844, the judgment of verse
10 began to sit; namely, the investigative judgment, in
the heavenly sanctuary, preparatory to the coming of Christ.
Dec. 8, 1854, the dogma
of the Immaculate Conception was decreed by the pope.
July 21, 1870, in the great Ecumenical Council assembled
at Rome, it was deliberately decreed, by a vote of 538 against
2, that the pope
was infallible. In the same year, France, by whose
bayonets the pope was kept upon his throne, was crushed
by Prussia, and the last prop was taken from under the papacy.
Then Victor Emmanuel,
seeing his opportunity to carry out the long-cherished dream
of a united
Italy, seized Rome to make it the capital of his
kingdom. To his troops, under General Cadorna, Rome surrendered,
Sept. 20, 1870. The pope's
temporal power was thus wholly taken away, nevermore,
said Victor Emmanael, to be restored; and since that time,
the popes, shutting themselves up in the Vatican, have styled
themselves "prisoners." Because of the great words
which the horn uttered, Daniel saw the beast destroyed,
and given to the burning flame. This destruction is to take
place at the second coming of Christ and by means of that
event; for the man of sin is to be consumed by the spirit
of Christ's mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his
coming. 2 Thess. 2:8. What words could be more arrogant,
presumptuous, blasphemous, or insulting to high Heaven,
than the deliberate adoption of the dogma
of infallibility, thus clothing a mortal man with
a prerogative of the Deity? And this was accomplished by
papal intrigue and influence, July 21, 1870. Following in
swift succession, the last vestige of temporal power was
wrenched from his grasp. It was because of these words,
and as if in almost immediate connection with them, that
the prophet saw this power given to the burning flame. His
dominion was to be consumed unto the end, implying that
when his power as a civil ruler should be wholly destroyed,
the end would not be far off. And
the prophet immediately adds: "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."
All in this line of prophecy has now been fully accomplished
except the closing scene. Next comes the last, crowning
act in the drama, when the beast will be given to the burning
flame, and the saints of the Most High will take the kingdom.
We must be, now, upon the very threshold of this glorious
of Part A. To continue your study:
Part B -- Prophacies of Daniel