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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 1

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    CHAPTER III

    I. THE VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS, DANIEL, SEVENTH CHAPTER.—THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN AND HIS KINGDOM TO SUCCEED THEN

    The prophecies of Daniel, relating to the successive events of time, are, above all the other prophets, consecutive and full, taking up long chains of events from his own day, and carrying us down the stream of time to the coming of the everlasting kingdom of Jesus Christ. So full is he, in his delineations of the characters of governments, and their relation one to another, that it would hardly seem possible for us to mistake the governments intended. In none of his visions, however, is he more clear than in the vision of the four beasts, in the 7th chapter.PREX1 77.1

    This vision of Daniel is peculiarly striking, from the manner in which it is given; the leading events being three times repeated. 1. A series of emblematic representations passed in vision before his eyes. 2. He repeated what he had seen, in the form of an inquiry as to the meaning; of the imagery. 3. A divine messenger explained, in order, each of the emblems seen in the vision. Each of these three repetitions of the events winds up by introducing an universal triumph of the saints, which shall never end.PREX1 77.2

    1. The prophetic imagery of the vision.PREX1 78.1

    The substance of the vision is as follows: The four winds strove upon the great sea, and four great beasts arose from the sea, diverse one from another. The first like a lion, with eagle’s wings. The second like a bear, with three ribs in the mouth. The third like a leopard, with four wings and four heads. The fourth was a dreadful and terrible, and exceeding strong beast, with great iron teeth; and it had ten horns. Then there came up among the ten another little horn, before whom three of the first ten fell, or were plucked up by the roots. In this little horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. Then appeared the Ancient of Days on a throne of fiery flame: ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. He saw also in vision the Son of man, coming in the clouds, of heaven, and receiving an universal and everlasting kingdom and dominion.PREX1 78.2

    2. The inquiry respecting the meaning of the imagery.PREX1 78.3

    (1.) The meaning of the four great beasts; verse 16. (2.) The meaning of the fourth beast, diverse from all which were before it; verse 19. (3.) The meaning of the ten horns that were in his head; verse 20. (4.) The meaning of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth which spake very great things; and which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.PREX1 78.4

    3. The answer of the explaining messenger to the foregoing inquiries.PREX1 79.1

    (1.) The answer to the first inquiry is found, verses 17, 18: “Thus he said; these great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth; but the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.”PREX1 79.2

    This text is a general explanation of the whole vision, and gives a comprehensive view of the course of events from then to the end of time. This course was comprehended under the reigns of four great kingdoms, or human governments, here called kings. But that the meaning of the term here is kingdom, is evident from verse 23: “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth.”PREX1 79.3

    Beginning, then, with the days of Daniel, in the first year of Belshazzar, the last of the Chaldean monarchs, have four great kingdoms successively arisen, and followed each other, so as to form a perfect chain of events from Daniel to us? And does the last of them now exist?PREX1 79.4

    The Chaldean monarchy was founded by Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord. He was the great-grandson of Noah. “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Genesis 10:10. This kingdom continued to flourish, and in the time of Nebuchadnezzar it had extended its conquests over the then known world. See Daniel 2:37, 38. “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven hath he given into thy hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all.” All this was addressed to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Chaldea, in the second year of his reign. His kingdom continued to flourish, until that night when Belshazzar saw a hand-writing appear on his palace wall, announcing that his kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians. “And in that night was Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans, slain, and Darius the Median took the kingdom.” Daniel, fifth chapter.PREX1 79.5

    Thus ended the first kingdom upon earth, and at the same time the second began.PREX1 80.1

    The Medes and Persians continued to maintain their dominion until the time of Alexander the Great. The history of his conquest of the Medes and Persians is given, 1 Macc. i. 1: “Alexander, son of Philip the Macedonian, conquered Darius, of the seed of the Medes and Persians, and reigned in his stead, the first king over Greece.” The writer then proceeds to tell us of the conquests of Alexander, and finally of his sickness, the division of his kingdom among his servants, his death, and their reign as his successors.PREX1 80.2

    But before the birth of Christ, all the dominions of Alexander, or all the Grecian empire, had been conquered by the Romans, so that, at the time of Christ’s birth, the world was tributary to them. In Luke 2:1, we are informed, that Cesar Augustus issued a decree, that all the world should be taxed.PREX1 80.3

    We have now found the four great kingdoms of the earth; and beginning with Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah, the Roman government is the fourth kingdom upon earth. And this government yet exists, and exerts its influence in every land, whether civilized or savage; and in every land has its sworn liege subjects.PREX1 80.4

    (2.) The answer to die second inquiry. The meaning of the fourth beast is given, verse 23: “Thus he said; the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, and shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.”PREX1 81.1

    Sufficient has already been said on this point, to show conclusively that it predicts the Roman government, which had devoured the whole earth, and trod it down, and broke it in pieces, at the time of Christ’s birth.PREX1 81.2

    (3.) The answer to the third question,-the ten horns which were in his head,-is found, verse 24: “The ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings which shall arise.”PREX1 81.3

    Did ten kings, or kingdoms, as above predicted, arise out of the fourth beast, or Roman government? When, and where?PREX1 81.4

    That ten kings did arise and concurrently exist in the western Roman empire, is a matter too notorious to be disputed, and too plain to need proof. The only difficulty in the way seems to be this,-what ten kingdoms are intended? for, since their first establishment, they have continually been changing their names and location. Some have been plucked up or subverted, and others have arisen to take their place. This point, however, I think, may be settled by the text. Verses 7, 8: “And it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots.” Observe, first, there were to be ten kings contemporaneously flourishing, before any of the number were plucked up; and, second, that three of the first ten horns were to be plucked up by the roots, before the little horn’s establishment. The kingdoms must then be the first ten established in western Rome. According to Marchiaval, the historian, (Hist. of Florence, book 1,) and Bishop Lloyd, an excellent chronologer, (in Lowth’s Commentary on the Prophets, pp. 381-2,) and Dr. Hale’s Analysis of Chronology, (vol. 2, b. 1, pp. 536-8,) the first ten kingdoms were as follows:-1. The Huns, in Hungary, A. D. 356. 2. The Ostrogoths, in Mysia, A. D. 377. 3. The Visgoths, in Pannonia, A.D. 378. 4. The Franks, in France, A. D. 407. 5. The Vandals, in Africa, A. D. 407. 6. The Sueves and Alans, in Gascoigne and Spain, A. D. 407. 7. The Burgundians, in Burgundy, A. D. 407. 8. The Heruli and Rugii, or Thuringi, in Italy, A. D. 476. 9. The Saxons and Angles, in Britain, A. D. 476. 10. The Lombards, in Germany, A. D. 483. If in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established, then this point is abundantly proved.PREX1 81.5

    (4.) The answer to the fourth inquiry is given verses 24-26,-the meaning and history of the little horn, etc.: “Another shall rise after them, (the ten kingdoms,) and he shall subdue three kings. 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. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.”PREX1 82.1

    From this passage we learn the character of the little horn.PREX1 83.1

    1. He was to be a blasphemous power. “Speak great words against the Most High.” Such has Popery always been. To go back no farther than Sept., 1840, we shall find sufficient evidence of his arrogancy and blasphemy in his Encyclical letter. Title of the letter: “Encyclical Letter of our Most Holy Lord, Gregory XVI., by Divine Providence Pope.” No being but Deity can claim and appropriate to himself such titles, or permit them to be applied to him by others, unreproved, without robbing God of the glory he has declared he will not give to another, and incurring the charge of blasphemy. His arrogancy is also manifest in the same letter:—“Hence it is easy to conceive the state of anguish into which our soul is plunged day and night, as we, being charged with the superintendence of the whole fold of Jesus Christ, and the care of all the churches,” etc. There is no title which Jehovah has ever claimed, or prerogative he has professed to exercise, but what the Roman pontiff has, at one time or other, professed to bear and exercise. “Sitting in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”PREX1 83.2

    2. He was to be a persecuting power. And how fully this trait has been exemplified in the popes of Rome, church history must tell. More than fifty millions of innocent, unoffending Christians, it is estimated, have suffered martyrdom at the hands of that bloody power, during its dark reign. Thus were the saints worn out.PREX1 83.3

    3. He was to think to change times and laws. He shall assume to dictate laws to the world. This will be illustrated too by some extracts from the letters and bulls of the popes. Pope Innocent III. writes, “So hath Christ established the kingdom and the priesthood in the church, that the kingdom is sacerdotal, and the priesthood is kingly. He hath set one man over the world, him whom he hath appointed his vicar on earth; and as to Christ is bent every knee in heaven, in earth and under the earth, so shall obedience and service be paid to his vicar by all, that there may be one fold and one shepherd.” [Croley on the Apocalypse, p. 153.]PREX1 84.1

    But the authority of the popes over kings is still more strongly asserted by Pope Gregory VII. in his epistles. “The Roman Pontiff alone is by right universal. In him alone is the right of making laws. Let all kings kiss the feet of the Pope. His name alone shall be heard in the churches. It is the only name in the world. It is his right to depose kings. His word is not to be repealed by any one. It is to be repealed by himself alone. He is to be judged by none. The church of Rome has never erred; and the Scriptures testify, it never shall err.” [Croley, p. 154.]PREX1 84.2

    Again, the bull of Pope Pius, against Queen Elizabeth, reads, “This one he hath constituted Prince over all nations, and all kingdoms, that he might pluck up, destroy, dissipate, overturn, plant and build.” [Ibid.]PREX1 84.3

    4. He was to have dominion over the saints, or church, a time, times, and dividing of time. This period, it is generally agreed, is three and a half years, of three hundred and sixty days each; each day standing for a year: the whole being twelve hundred and sixty years. The difficulty is to determine with certainty that it is so; and if so, when the period was to begin. The only certain means by which we may know that the period means twelve hundred and sixty years, is its accomplishment. But to determine whether it is accomplished, we must understand what was to precede, fill up, and immediately follow the time. The date of the last of the events which were to precede the period, will mark its commencement; and the date of the first event which was to follow or close the period, will mark its end.PREX1 84.4

    Events which were to precede the period.PREX1 85.1

    1. There were four great kingdoms successively to arise in the earth, and fill up all the time from Daniel to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. All this has taken place, and the last now exists, and awaits the coming of Christ.PREX1 85.2

    2. Out of the fourth and last of those kingdoms, ten kingdoms were to rise. They did so.PREX1 85.3

    3. Another, a blasphemous, persecuting power was to rise after the ten kingdoms, and wear out the saints. Such a power, Popery, did so arise.PREX1 85.4

    4. The saints were to be given into his hand. In A. D. 533, Justinian, the Greek emperor, passed an edict constituting the Bishop of Rome the head of all the churches; thus giving the saints over into his hand.PREX1 85.5

    Mr. Croley, speaking of the acts of Justinian, says that he, in “the fullest and most unequivocal form, declared the Bishop of Rome the Chief of the whole ecclesiastical body of the empire.” “His letter (of A. D. 533) was couched in these terms:”PREX1 86.1

    “‘Justinian, pious, fortunate, renowned, triumphant, emperor, consul, etc., to John, the most holy Archbishop of our city of Rome, and patriarch.PREX1 86.2

    “‘Rendering honor to the apostolic see, and to your holiness, (as always was and is our desire,) and, as it becomes us, honoring your Blessedness as a father, we have laid without delay before the notice of your holiness, all things pertaining to the state of the church. Since it has always been our earnest study to preserve the unity of your holy see, and the state of the holy churches of God, which has hitherto obtained, and will remain, without any interfering opposition. Therefore we hasten to subject and to unite to your holiness, all the priests of the whole East. As to the matters which are presently agitated, although clear and undoubted, and, according to the doctrine of your apostolic see, held assuredly resolved and decided by all priests, we have yet deemed it necessary to lay them before your holiness. Nor do we suffer anything which belongs to the state of the church, however manifest and undoubted, that is agitated, to pass without the knowledge of your holiness, who are the head of all the holy churches. For in all things (as had been said or resolved) we are prompt to increase the honor and authority of your see.’”PREX1 86.3

    If the pope was not here entitled the head of all the holy churches, then he never can be. This title was confirmed and acknowledged by Justinian in his epistle to Epiphanius, bishop of Constantinople, of date 25th March, 533. He acknowledges his epistle to the Roman pontiff, and maintains that he is the head of all bishops, and that “by decisions and right judgment of his venerable see, heretics are corrected.”PREX1 86.4

    The same power, Justinian, in his Novellæ, gives to Rome the supremacy of the pontificate, and gave to the pope the precedence of all the priesthood:PREX1 87.1

    “The authenticity of the title,” says Mr. Croley, “receives unanswerable proof from the edicts of the ‘Novellæ’ of the Justinian code. The preamble of the 9th states, ‘that as the elder Rome was the founder of the laws; so was it not to be questioned, that in her was the supremacy of the pontificate.’ The 131st, on the Ecclesiastical Titles and Privileges, chapter ii., states: ‘We therefore decree that the most holy pope of the elder Rome is the first of all the priesthood, and that the most blessed archbishop of Constantinople, the new Rome, shall hold the second rank, after the holy apostolic chair of the elder Rome.’”-[Croley, pp. 114, 115.]PREX1 87.2

    5. Three of the first horns, or kingdoms, were to be plucked up by the roots before him. (1.) In A. D. 493, ten years from the time of the establishment of the last of the ten kings, the Heruli, in Rome and Italy, were subverted by the Ostrogoths. (2.) In 534, the Vandals, another of the ten kingdoms, were conquered by the Greeks, for the purpose of establishing the supremacy of the Catholics. (3.) In 538, in the month of March, the Greeks conquered the Ostrogoths, in Rome and Italy, 1See Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. and opened the way for carrying into effect the decree of Justinian, constituting the Bishop of Rome head of all the churches: for the Ostrogoths were Arians, and bitter enemies of the Pope and the Catholic faith; hence, while they held Rome, the decree could not be carried into effect. But when the same power that issued the decree conquered and possessed Rome, it could be established.PREX1 87.3

    These are all the circumstances predicted to precede the period specified. We must, therefore, begin at that point, or we must leave a vacuum in the series of events; the chain will be broken.PREX1 88.1

    Predicted events during the period.PREX1 88.2

    1. Blasphemy. “He shall speak great words against the Most High.”PREX1 88.3

    2. Persecution. “He shall wear out the saints of the Most High.”PREX1 88.4

    3. Assumption of authority. “Change times and laws.”PREX1 88.5

    All history of those ages testifies as to the accomplishment of all these by the papal power.PREX1 88.6

    4. Dominion over the saints. “They shall be given into his hands.”PREX1 88.7

    The event to end the period.PREX1 88.8

    “They shall take away his dominion.” In the month of February, 1798, Berthier, a French general, by order of the French republic, entered Rome with an army and took it; deposed the pope, abrogated his government, and in its place set up an entirely new form of government, viz., a republic, and then carried the pope a prisoner to France, where he died.PREX1 88.9

    From 538, the date of the last circumstance predicted to precede the period, to 1798, the date of the event which was to terminate the period, was twelve hundred and sixty years. A more perfect demonstration than this cannot be desired,—PREX1 88.10

    1. That the prediction of the reign of the little horn is a prediction of the great anti-Christian or papal apostacy.PREX1 89.1

    2. That a time, times, and dividing of time, is twelve hundred and sixty years.PREX1 89.2

    3. That the period has already passed by, and we are forty-three years this side its termination.PREX1 89.3

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