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    “Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter’d saints, whose bones Lie scattered on the Alpine Mountains cold; ...In thy book record their groans Who were thy sheep.... Their martyr’d blood and ashes sow O’er all the Italian fields, ...That from these may grow A hundred-fold, who, having learned thy way, Early may fly the Babylonian woe.”PROLI 85.1

    - Milton.PROLI 85.2

    “IN 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.” Daniel 7:1.PROLI 85.3

    Just what year the first year of Belshazzar was, we are unable to determine. It used to be stated, with confidence, that it was the year 555 B.C.; but then it was supposed that Belshazzar and Nabonadius were one and the same person. The name Nabonadius was found in the accounts of the overthrow of Babylon; and, knowing that he began to reign in 555 B.C., chronologers placed 555 in the margin of the Bible, as the first year of Belshazzar. But more recent explorations have revealed the fact that Belshazzar was the son of Nabonadius, and was simply associate king with his father. (See Rawlinson’s Seven Great Monarchies, Fourth Monarchy, chap. 8, paragraphs 38-50.) When Cyrus came against Babylon, Nabonadius came out to meet him, but, being defeated, he shut himself up in Borsippa, a few miles below Babylon, leaving Belshazzar in charge of the city of Babylon.PROLI 85.4

    This explains why Belshazzar, on the night of his riotous feast, promised to make Daniel the third ruler in the kingdom (Daniel 5:16), and not the second, if he would interpret the writing on the wall. He promised Daniel the highest place that there was to bestow. Nabonadius was first, Belshazzar himself was second, and Daniel was made third. This is one of the strongest proofs of the accuracy of the Bible as an historical record. The more the ancient resources are unearthed, the more exact and authentic is the Bible shown to be.PROLI 85.5

    “Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” Daniel 7:2, 3.PROLI 86.1

    The Scriptures never put a man under the necessity of guessing at anything that God wishes him to understand; he wishes us to understand the book of Daniel (Matthew 24:15), and therefore we shall look to the Bible for the interpretation of this vision. In this seventh chapter we have the explanation. Verse 17 says:—PROLI 86.2

    “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.”PROLI 86.3

    And then, that nothing may be lacking by which to identify them, the angel who is giving the explanation continues:—PROLI 86.4

    “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” Verse 18.PROLI 86.5

    From this verse we learn that these four kingdoms are to be the only universal empires before the setting up of the kingdom of God, of which the saints are heirs, and in which they are to dwell forever. We found that this was the case with the four kingdoms of Daniel 2. Therefore we know that the four kings of Daniel 7 must be identical with the four kings of Daniel 2. For it is an utter impossibility that two series of universal kingdoms should exist in the earth at the same time.PROLI 86.6

    There are two other symbols, namely, the winds and the sea, but they are easily explained. The four beasts (kingdoms) came up as the result of the strife of the four winds of heaven upon the great sea. Winds blowing on the sea, produce commotion. But the commotion by which nations rise and fall is war; therefore we must conclude that the four winds blowing on the great sea, represent strife among the people of the earth. We shall see that this is correct.PROLI 86.7

    It must be accepted as a fact that when a symbol is once used in prophecy, with a certain meaning, it must have the same meaning in whatever other prophecy it is found. If this were not so, there would be no harmony in the Bible. By following this principle, all is harmonious. In the seventeenth of Revelation, John says that he saw a woman sitting on many waters (verse 1); and the angel told him (verse 15) that these waters were “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Then the great sea of Daniel 7 must represent the people of the earth. See also Isaiah 8:7, where the people of Assyria are called “the waters of the river.” If the sea means people, then of course the stirring up of the sea by winds denotes the stirring up of the people, — strife. In harmony with this, we find in Jeremiah 25:32, 33 that, as the result of a great whirlwind that shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth, the slain shall be from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth. In Revelation 7:1-3 the winds — the fierce passions of men — are represented as being held so that the earth may not be hurt.PROLI 86.8

    The prophecy, then, simply brings to view the four universal empires, — Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome, — each arising as the result of the ungoverned passions of the people. They were presented in this manner, in order to bring out additional features. The first, Babylon, with its power and glory, was represented by a lion, with eagle’s wings. Daniel 7:4. In one place it is described as follows: “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation.... Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves; and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.” Habakkuk 1:6-8.PROLI 87.1

    Daniel continues concerning this first beast:—PROLI 87.2

    “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.” Daniel 7:4. The marginal rendering “wherewith,” in place of the first “and,” makes the passage more clear thus: “I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, wherewith it was lifted up from the earth, and [it was] made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.”PROLI 87.3

    The wings upon the back of the lion symbolize the swiftness with which Babylon extended her conquests. (See Habakkuk 1:6-8, quoted above.) By its wings it was lifted up from the earth, and made to rise above any obstacle that lay in its path, and thus its progress was unhindered. But the glory of the Babylonian kingdom ended with Nebuchadnezzar. The kingdom was as magnificent as ever, but the power to uphold the magnificence was gone. No longer did it surmount all obstacles as with eagle’s wings; it then stood still, and extended its conquests no further. Instead of being lion-hearted, Belshazzar was so timid that “the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another” (Daniel 5:6), when in the midst of his blasphemous revel the handwriting appeared on the wall. “Conscience doth make cowards” of all wicked men, when they see the handwriting of God, whether on the wall or in his book.PROLI 87.4

    “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.” Daniel 7:5.PROLI 88.1

    For the expression, “And it raised up itself on one side,” the marginal reading would substitute, “it raised up one dominion.” This would indicate, what was actually the case, that one branch of the Medo-Persian Empire had the pre-eminence. At the first, the Median kingdom was the kingdom, and Persia was only a province. When the Babylonian expedition was begun, it was by Darius, king of Media; his nephew Cyrus, prince of Persia, was simply an ally. When Babylon was conquered, Darius took the throne; but after the death of Darius, the Median portion of the kingdom became secondary. Some historians say that Persia revolted from Media, and gained its pre-eminence by conquest. But however it was, there is no question but that Persia was the leading power in the Medo-Persian dominion. So greatly did it tower above the Median portion, that the empire is often spoken of simply as the Persian Empire.PROLI 88.2

    “And they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.” Daniel 7:5. By this we can see the propriety of having this second line of symbols to represent the four kingdoms. Their peculiar characteristics could not be indicated by the parts of the image, except that one could be shown to be stronger or more magnificent than another. But in this line additional features are indicated. Thus the Medo-Persian Empire is shown to have been characterized by lust for conquest, and disregard for human life. Every reader of history knows that the cruel, despotic disposition of most of the Persian kings, and the vast armies that they sacrificed, fully sustain the character which the prophecy gives to that empire. Prideaux pronounces the Persian kings, after Cyrus, “the worst race of men that ever governed an empire.” — Connexion, under the year 559 B.C., Neriglissar I.PROLI 88.3

    “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 to it.” Daniel 7:6.PROLI 88.4

    The leopard is a very swift-footed beast, and the addition of four wings would give it speed almost beyond comprehension. Nothing could more fitly represent the Grecian Empire under Alexander, whose very name is a synonym for celerity of movement. Says Rollin (book 15, sec. 2, last paragraph), “Alexander, in less than eight years, marched his army upwards of seventeen hundred leagues, without including his return to Babylon.” And he conquered enemies as he went.PROLI 88.5

    The four heads of this beast can indicate nothing but the four partsPROLI 88.6


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