Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    ROME

    “Rome, That sat on her seven hills, and from her throne Of beauty ruled the world.”PROLI 79.1

    “In that elder day, to be a Roman, Was greater than a king.”PROLI 79.2

    “AND the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron; forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.” Daniel 2:40.PROLI 79.3

    We have learned the names of the first three empires symbolized by the gold, the silver, and the brass of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The head of gold represented Babylon, whose universal dominion lasted from 606 to 538 B.C. The breast and arms of silver represented the Medo-Persian Empire, which from 538 to 331 B.C. ruled the territory that had formed the Babylonian Empire. And the belly and thighs of brass symbolized the kingdom of Greece, which, in the year 331 B.C., began to “bear rule over all the earth.” Each one of these kingdoms was universal; therefore the fourth kingdom, which was represented by iron, must also be universal. We must expect to see it as much more powerful than either of the preceding as iron is stronger than gold, silver, or brass. This is indicated by the words of the prophet, “And as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.”PROLI 79.4

    The name of this fourth kingdom is not given, but we have the data by which it may easily be ascertained. The four universal kingdoms, with the kingdoms into which the fourth was to be divided, cover the history of the world until the end of time, when the God of Heaven shall set up a kingdom which “shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Now since there are but four universal monarchies from the days of Nebuchadnezzar till the end of time, and we have the names of three of them, it is evident that if anywhere in history we find any mention of a universal kingdom other than one of those already found, it will be the one sought, — the one represented by the iron legs of the image. Here, as in the case of each of the other kingdoms, the Bible furnishes us with what we want. It says:—PROLI 79.5

    “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” Luke 2:1.PROLI 80.1

    One needs only to hear the words “Caesar” and “Augustus,” to have Rome brought to his mind,—PROLI 80.2

    “Rome, That sat on her seven hills, and from her throne Of beauty ruled the world.”PROLI 80.3

    Rome, then, is the fourth universal monarchy, — the one represented by the legs of iron.PROLI 80.4

    After the death of Alexander, his empire was divided into four parts, namely, Macedon, Thrace, Syria, and Egypt. The history of these divisions of the Grecian Empire, for the next two hundred years, is one of continual warfare for the supremacy. All this time Rome was developing, and enlarging her borders. The year 171 B.C. found Rome engaged in war with Perseus, king of the Macedonian division of the Grecian Empire. The war continued three years, and its result is thus described by Prof. Arthur Gilman:—PROLI 80.5

    “In 168 the Romans met the army of Perseus at Pydna, in Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus, on the 22nd June, and utterly defeated it. Perseus was afterward taken prisoner and died at Alba. From the battle of Pydna the great historian Polybius, who was a native of Megalopolis, dates the complete establishment of the universal empire of Rome, since after that no civilized State ever confronted her on an equal footing, and all the struggles in which she engaged were rebellions or wars with ‘barbarians’ outside of the influence of Greek or Roman civilization, and since all the world recognized the Senate as the tribunal of last resort in differences between nations.” — Story of Rome (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York), pp. 163, 164.PROLI 80.6

    In “Prideaux’s Connexion” (part 2, book 3) we find testimony to the same effect. In the record of the year 168 B.C., Prideaux tells of the embassy which the Roman Senate sent to command Antiochus to desist from his contemplated war upon Egypt. Popillius, the chief of the embassy, met Antiochus near Alexandria, and delivered to him the decree of Rome. “Antiochus having read the decree, told Popillius he would consult with his friends about it, and speedily give him the answer they should advise; but Popillius, insisting on an immediate answer, forthwith drew a circle round him [Antiochus] in the sand with the staff which he had in his hand, and required him to give his answer before he stirred out of that circle; at which strange and peremptory way of proceeding Antiochus being startled, after a little hesitation, yielded to it, and told the ambassador, that he would obey the command of the Senate.”PROLI 80.7

    Picture the scene — Antiochus fully armed, at the head of a vast army, surrounded by his generals, yet obeying the decree that was brought him by an unarmed citizen of Rome! How can such weakness be accounted for? Prideaux answers:—PROLI 81.1

    “That which made him [Popillius] so bold as to act with him after this peremptory manner, and the other so tame as to yield thus patiently to it, was the news which they had a little before received of the great victory of the Romans, which they had gotten over Perseus, king of Macedonia. For Paulus AEmilius having now vanquished that king, and thereby added Macedonia to the Roman Empire, the name of the Romans after this carried that weight with it, as created a terror in all the neighboring nations; so that none of them after this cared to dispute their commands, but were glad on any terms to maintain peace, and cultivate a friendship with them.”PROLI 81.2

    These quotations also serve to corroborate the conclusion already arrived at, that Rome was the fourth universal empire. A very few quotations, out of the many at hand, will suffice to show the extent and power or Rome. Says Gibbon:—PROLI 81.3

    “A modern tyrant, who should find no resistance either in his own breast, or in his people, would soon experience a gentle restraint from the example of his equals, the dread of present censure, the advice of his allies, and the apprehension of his enemies. The object of his displeasure, escaping from the narrow limits of his dominions, would easily obtain, in a happier climate, a secure refuge, a new fortune adequate to his merit, the freedom of complaint, and perhaps the means of revenge. But the 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. The slave of imperial despotism, whether he was condemned to drag his gilded chain in Rome and the Senate, or to wear out a life of exile on the barren rock of Seriphus, or the frozen banks of the Danube, expected his fate in silent despair. To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master. Beyond the frontiers, his anxious view could discover nothing, except the ocean, inhospitable deserts, hostile tribes of barbarians, of fierce manners and unknown language, or dependent kings, who would gladly purchase the emperor’s protection by the sacrifice of an obnoxious fugitive. ‘Wherever you are,’ said Cicero to the exiled Marcellus, ‘remember that you are equally within the power of the conqueror.’” — Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. 3, paragraph 37.PROLI 81.4

    De Quincey says:—PROLI 82.1

    “That imperatorial dignity ...was undoubtedly the sublimest incarnation of power, and a monument the mightiest of greatness built by human hands, which upon this planet has been suffered to appear.” — Essay on the Caesars, chap. 6, last paragraph.PROLI 82.2

    Again, the historian Gibbon, in recording the universal conquest of Rome, makes unmistakable reference to Daniel 2:40, in the following words:—PROLI 82.3

    “The ambitious design of conquest, which might have been defeated by the seasonable conspiracy of mankind, was attempted and achieved; and the perpetual violation of justice was maintained by the political virtues of prudence and courage. The 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 and their kings, were successively broken by the iron monarchy of Rome.” — Decline and Fall, first paragraph under General Observations at the close of chap. 38.PROLI 82.4

    But so long as nations are composed of mortal men, they must be subject to change; and so we find that the empire of Rome did not always retain its proud position as a universal monarchy in the hands of one man. But we must not anticipate the prophecy:—PROLI 82.5

    “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. 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. 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.” Daniel 2:41-43.PROLI 82.6

    In these words a division is foretold. This is not the place to give the details of that division; but that it has been made is evident from the fact that there is no universal empire of Rome to-day. The territory that was once governed by a single man, is now in the hands of several rulers. Suffice it to say that the breaking up of Rome into fragments was accomplished by the vast hordes of barbarians that poured in from the North; that the first division was made in 351 A.D., after Rome had stood as an undivided universal empire for over five hundred years; and that the last division was made in 476 A.D.PROLI 82.7

    The prophecy indicates that these divisions would seek to reunite, but that such reunion will be as impossible as for clay to become united to iron. “They shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”PROLI 82.8

    The closing act in the great drama of the nations is thus described: “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.” Daniel 2:44.PROLI 83.1

    Here is brought to view the setting up of the fifth universal empire — the kingdom of the God of Heaven — represented by the stone which dashed the image in pieces. That kingdom will not be a temporal kingdom, because it “shall not be left to other people;” the people who are citizens of it when it is set up, will be citizens of it to all eternity, for “it shall stand forever.”PROLI 83.2

    That kingdom will be a real, literal kingdom, as much so as was Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, or Rome. It will have territory and subjects. Moreover, it will occupy the very same territory that those kingdoms occupied, for it is to break them in pieces, before it can be established. Yes, it will occupy more territory than those kingdoms did, for when they were at the height of their power, much of the world was undiscovered; but God has said to Christ: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:8, 9.PROLI 83.3

    Thus we see that the object of the prophecy is to bring to our attention the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the throne of his glory, to give reward to his saints, and to destroy them that corrupt the earth. We know not the time of that last great overturning, but we know that, in the nature of things, it cannot be long. From the supremacy of Babylon to that of Medo-Persia was less than a hundred years; from Medo-Persia to Greece was two hundred and seven years; from Greece to Rome was one hundred and sixty-three years; and from the accession of Rome to the dominion of the world till the present time has been over two thousand years.PROLI 83.4

    We say that from the nature of things time cannot last much longer. Degeneration is the word that describes the nations from the creation till now. In Nebuchadnezzar’s day gold was a fit symbol of earthly power. A little later, and silver, an inferior metal, was used as a symbol. In a short time brass represented the value of earthly monarchies. Then came the iron, then iron mixed (but not united) with clay, until now the clay seems to predominate. The moral degeneration has been in like proportion. Evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse; but soon shall come the time when the Lord shall “send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.” Matthew 13:41, 42. Christ, the stone cut out without hands, shall break in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold, — the nations “that know not God, and that obey not the gospel,” — and they shall become like the chaff of the summer threshing floor. The fate of the chaff is to be burned up with “unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12); and so it is said of the ungodly nations, that “as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust.” Isaiah 5:24.PROLI 83.5

    This does not mean gradual extinction, nor conversion. There is no scriptural warrant for the idea that the stone shall “roll and roll, ever increasing in size until it shall have gathered to it all nations, and so shall fill the whole earth.” There is no rolling about it. The stone smites the image, and instantly dashes it in pieces. This smiting is not conversion, for when Christ smites the earth with the rod of his mouth it is the slaying of the wicked by the breath of his lips. (See Isaiah 11:4.) While the wicked are saying, “Peace and safety,” and are deluding themselves that all things shall continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, then sudden destruction shall come upon them, and they shall not escape. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”PROLI 84.1

    Thus the Lord makes known to us “what shall be in the latter days;” it will surely come to pass, for “the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Daniel 2:45.PROLI 84.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents