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[The vision of the four beasts]
1 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.
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 another.
There were certain important particulars to be revealed in connection with the empires and kingdoms of the Metallic Image, which could not be suitably expressed through a symbol of the human form. It became necessary therefore to introduce other representations, that would admit of appendages more in harmony with them. Wild beasts were selected to represent dominions instead of parts of a metallic figure; and as there were four different metals, four different animals were selected, according to the following order:
1. The head of gold, was illustrated by a LION;
2. The breasts and arms of silver, by a BEAR;
3. The belly and thighs of brass, by a LEOPARD; and,
4. The legs, feet, and toes of iron, by a FOURTH BEAST WITH TEN HORNS
Exposition of Daniel Ch 3.
4 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.
...Egypt became a part of Babylon; the great Egyptian Dragon was abolished; and the power of "the old serpent" thus symbolized, transferred to the FIRST of Daniel's four Mediterranean empires; which under Nebuchadnezzar stood man-like upon its feet, with a lion's head, and the heart of a man (Dan. 7:2,4).
Hence, at this epoch, when the Seed of the Woman; of which Daniel, Ezekiel and Jeremiah were constituents, was heelbruised in Babylon, the wing-plucked lion-power was "the Great Dragon, the old serpent, surnamed the Devil and the Satan."
The Head of the old serpent, in this first beast manifestation, was the dynasty represented by Nebuchadnezzar, who had conquered Egypt, and plucked the wings of the Assyrian Lion. This dynasty was "the Head of Gold" - the cockatrice, or adder, which came forth out of the Egypto-Assyrian Serpent's root, whose fruit the world has found to be "a fiery flying serpent" (Isa. 14:29).
The Dragon under this dynastic form continued only seventy years. At the end of this period it was changed; and "Lucifer, son of the morning, who weakened the nations, was cut down;" and made to give way to YAHWEH'S "sanctified ones," the Medes and Persians; who, under the command of Darius and Cyrus, "took the kingdom" (Isa. 14:12; 13:17; Dan. 5:28,31).
The Beasts being substituted for the metals of Nebuchadnezzar's Image, they represent of course the same phases of the Kingdom of Men. We learn from Jeremiah that the powers of Nineveh and Babylon were each represented by lions. He says, "Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven them away: first the King of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon hath broken his bones" (Jer. 50:17).
The Ninevite Assyrian was represented to Daniel as a lion with eagle's wings. Many years before, the Deity had punished the King of Assyria and his land for scattering the Ten Tribes, by transferring the dominion over the Nimroudian empire from Nineveh to Babylon. This revolution is represented by the eagle-wings being "plucked" from the lion's back; while the lion itself was made to stand erect as a man, and to receive in exchange for its lion-heart, the heart of a man. Thus the Lion-Man became the symbol of the Kingdom of Babylon so long as the government continued in the family of Nebuchadnezzar; which with all its faults was more human than that which it succeeded.
Exposition of Daniel Ch 3.
The lion was a very appropriate symbol for the Assyrian dynasty; and it was as well understood to represent it in the days of the prophets, as it is now that the lion and unicorn are symbols of the British power. Hence, speaking of the overthrow coming upon Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah says, "I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. The Lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way. He is gone forth to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste without an inhabitant " (Jer. 4:6,7).
But in Daniel (Dan. 6:4), the Assyrian lion appears under different aspects. He is represented first, as a lion with eagle's wings, crouching; and, secondly, as a lion without wings, standing erect, human-like, and with the disposition of a man.
The lion in those two aspects represents the Assyrian monarchy in two phases; first, while Nineveh was its capital; and secondly, when by conquest the seat of government was transferred to Babylon.
Esarhaddon was king of Assyria while Merodach Baladan was king of Babylon, and both were contemporary with Hezekiah, king of Judah. Baladan, the father of Merodach-Baladan, was probably the founder of Nebuchadnezzar's dynasty. Merodach was doubtless an important member of the family; for Nebuchadnezzar named his son Evil Merodach, after him.
About 106 years elapsed from the embassy of Merodach-Baladan, to inquire after the health of Hezekiah, and concerning the bringing back of the shadow ten degrees by which it had gone down on the dial, to the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign; which was equivalent to the third of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. It was by the Merodach-Baladan dynasty, that "the wings of the Assyrian lion were plucked;" that is, the Esarhaddon dynasty of Assyria was superseded by the king of Babylon, as the destroyer of the Gentiles.
Before this revolution was effected, the Assyrian dominion was represented by a winged lion, having the form of a man down to the waist, and furnished with arms. This is satisfactorily demonstrated by Mr. Layard in his "Nineveh and its remains." In his excavations at Nineveh he laid bare sculptured lions, twelve feet high and twelve feet long. In one hand, a goat was held; and in the other hanging down by the side, a branch with three flowers. From the shoulder sprang forth expanded wings which spread over the back. The body was that of a lion with five legs, two on the fore-end, and three on the side. The head, breast, and arms were human, and as low down as the waist. A knotted girdle ending in tassels, encircled the loins.
But when Nineveh's dominion was transferred to Babylon by a conqueror, a change came over the Assyrian lion. Daniel [7:4] says, "I beheld till its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth." In consequence of its eagle's wings being plucked, that is, of Armenia and Persia being subdued, the Assyrian dominion was prostrated to the earth; completely overthrown, but not destroyed; for Daniel says furthermore, that "the lion was made to stand upon the feet as a man" [Dan. 7:4].
Nebuchadnezzar was at once the conqueror and re-builder of the Assyrian monarchy. He made it stand erect, and gave it a more civilized constitution. Shalmaneser had destroyed the kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel, and Sennacherib had blasphemed Yahweh, and the posterity of his son Esarhaddon had become effete: this was a dynasty which had become a pest, a plague spot upon the nations; but Nebuchadnezzar, though an idolator, was a man better suited to the purposes of God.
There was more of the man, and less of the wild beast, in him than in the kings of the dynasty he had overthrown. Therefore, when the Assyrian lion was made to stand erect upon its hind feet like a man, Daniel says, that "a man's heart was given to it".
Its golden, or imperial lion-head, was responsive to divine impressions, and gave utterance to sentiments, which were entirely alien from the heart of the kings of Nineveh. "I blessed the Most High," said Nebuchadnezzar, "and I praised and honored Him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation; 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? I praise, and extol, and honour the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth and His ways judgment; and those that walk in pride He is able to abase." [compare Dan. 4:34, 35, 37 with Isaiah 36]
But this "man's heart," was not the disposition of Belshazzar, his son's son. Instead of praising, and extolling, and honoring the God of Israel, he defied Him; and "lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven; and out of the holy vessels of His temple, he, and his lords, his wives, and his concubines, drank wine; and he praised the gods of silver and gold, and of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand his breath was, and whose were all his ways, he had not glorified."
This was his offence, on account of which the Lord of heaven passed this sentence upon him:
"God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. And thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians." Nor was the execution of the decree long delayed, for
"on that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom" (Dan. v. 30-31).
Elpis Israel 3.1.
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.
The lion dominion being overthrown, the dynasty of the Bear took its place when "Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans," in 542 before Christ.
It was a dominion to be extended by the sword, as particular expressed in the words addressed to the Bear, "Arise, devour much flesh."
In the symbolography, or description of the symbol, the prophet saith, that
"it raised up itself on one side."
Hence, one side was "higher than the other;" but, before it raised itself up, the higher side was the lower; therefore, the higher side acquired its more elevated position last. Compare this characteristic of the Bear, with what is said of the horns of the Ram (Dan. 8:3). The inequality of the sides of the Bear, represents the historical fact, that the dynasty of the Bear-dominion was mixed; that is, it was first Median and then Persian.
Darius was a Mede, and his successor Cyrus, a Persian. They were allies in the overthrow of the Chaldean kingdom. When the crown was to be assumed, the Mede preceded the Persian; but when Darius died, instead of the crown descending to a Mede, it passed to a Persian, whose race continued to wear it until the dominion of the Bear was superseded by the leopard. Thus the Persian side of the Bear was raised up last.
But the Bear had also "three ribs in the mouth of it, between the teeth of it." This indicates that in devouring much flesh, the result was that its prey was reduced to "three ribs," which had become firmly fixed to its head. In other words, that the Medes and Persians had made extensive conquests, which were reduced to three divisions for the better administration of public affairs. A rib of the dominion, then, represents an imperial presidency, or, as we should say, vice-royalty; each satrapy comprehending a number of principalities. This organization of the Bear is thus expressed by the prophet,
"It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these THREE PRESIDENTS; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king (or Bear's head) should have no damage."
By the reign of Ahasuerus, or Artaxerxes II, the dominion of the Bear extended "from India to Ethiopia over one hundred and twenty seven provinces." Though the principalities may have been increased in number, or extent, the presidencies remained the same. A dominion represented by the Bear, its dynastic branch by the higher side, and its three presidencies by the three ribs, were the principal points which distinguished the realm of the Chaldeans, under the Medo Persian sovereignty, from that of the Lion, or the Head of Gold. And it is worthy of remark here with reference to the image at the crisis of its fate, that the power which shall possess Persia in the latter days will be the Bear, and consequently answer to the breast of silver.
We have already in the heraldry of nations an intimation of the power destined to act the part of the bear, when the Four Beasts have "their dominion taken away." This power is the Russian whose symbol is a Bear. This is so well known, that the phrase "the Russian Bear" is as familiar as household words. Russia, which already comprehends some of the Persian territory in its bounds, is destined to conquer Persia, and to possess it from India to Ethiopia. This is not conjecture, but an absolute certainty; for God has declared by Ezekiel, that Persia in the latter days shall be a constituent of the dominion of Gog; and, that Gog is the autocratic dynasty of Russia will be seen when we come to treat of that prophecy in its proper place.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
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 to it.
This beast represents the Macedonian dominion which superseded that of the Bear, as the belly and thighs of brass did the breast and arms of silver. The Leopard-dominion was more extended than its predecessors; for it embraced all that belonged to the Lion and the Bear, with the addition of that which had been established by Philip of Macedon, the predecessor of Alexander "the Great." "It bore rule over all the earth," or Image-territory, thus far subjugated to "civilization," such as it was at that era of the world.
In the year 301 before Christ, the Macedonian dominion in its divisions, and their relative position, is illustrated by the Four Wings of a fowl, and the four Leopard heads. Alexander ruled his conquests for the short space of six years, when he died in Babylon of intoxication. After a long period of war, his unwieldy empire was resolved into several kingdoms, of which the four principal ones are represented by the Four Heads of the Leopard. These were its mighty powers to which the others looked up, as the lesser states do now to the great military potentates of the age.
The four great powers, or heads, of the Grecian Leopard, were,
1. The kingdom of the south which comprehended Egypt, Lybia, Arabia, Coele-Syria, and Palestine, under the Greco Egyptian dynasty;
2. The kingdom of the North-west, including Thrace, Bythinia, &c.; or, the Thraco-Macedonian;
3. The kingdom of the North-east, comprehending the rest of Asia, and beyond the Euphrates to the Indus; India beyond the river, though allotted to this dominion, revolted; so that the Indus became its boundary: this was the Assyro-Macedonian; and,
4. The kingdom of the West, which embraced Macedonia and Greece.
Such were the heads. But, how was it to be determined that they should stand related to these four points of the compass? This was indicated by the wings of the Leopard; an interpretation made evident from the words of the prophet, saying, "the Lord shall gather Judah from the four corners (in Heb. the four wings) of the earth" (Isaiah 11:12; Dan. 11:4). The addition of the wings, then, to this beast, signifies that the kingdoms represented by the heads would be towards the east, west, north, and south, of Judea.
A Leopard is sometimes used to indicate the British power. During the war in the Peninsular, Napoleon and his generals often threatened to "drive the leopard into the sea;" by which they meant, that they would drive the British out of Spain and Portugal. Now, in Daniel (Dan. 8:5) the dominion of Alexander, which extended into British India, is represented by a Unicorn, that is, a goat with one horn. Hence, the Leopard, without additional heads, and without wings, represents the same dominion as the Unicorn.
Now it occurs to me, that the British Unicorn is a symbol representing a similar thing to the Aegean Unicorn of Alexander; and, therefore, identifies the British power with the Grecian Leopard. I do not say, that the mind which designed the heraldry of the British power had the part predestined for Britain to enact in the latter days before it, when it inserted the leopard Unicorn. But divine wisdom some times impels men to do things the import of which they very imperfectly understand; and the insertion of the Unicorn may have been an act of this nature. Be this as it may, there are indications which make the idea more than probable.
In the first place, the British power is the constitutional protector of the Ionian Islands contiguous to the Morea and ancient Macedonia; and secondly, it possesses a part of Alexander "the Great's" dominion in India, and is absorbing more and more of it every war it wages in the far east.
When the Bear pushes for Constantinople, it is not unlikely that the British Unicorn will make extensive seizures of the islands in the Mediterranean as an antagonistic compensation for the continental territory acquired by the autocrat in European Turkey.
Britain is bound to maintain a maritime ascendancy in the Mediterranean; not because she has any continental territory washed by its waters, but because of her vast interests in India, which would be greatly endangered by an uncontrolled military power in Anatolia [Turkey] and Egypt. When the power of the British Unicorn shall be fully developed in maritime Greece, Egypt, Palestine, the Red Sea, and India, a leopard dominion will again appear upon the stage of action, and be prepared for the catastrophy of the latter days.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
7 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.
Daniel's nameless "dreadful and terrible" fourth beast is a contraction, or condensation, - of John's great fiery-red dragon, ten-homed beast of the sea, two-homed beast of the earth, image of the beast, and scarlet beast and drunken woman.
...A dragon is a kind of beast, and therefore partakes in the characteristics of beasts. These in prophetic writing are the well-known symbols of destroying monarchies or powers; and, where the people of the Deity are found sojourning under their authority, the persecutors of the saints. But, though the dragon is a beast, he is apocalyptically distingished from the beast of the earth, and the beast of the sea; nevertheless, possesses certain characteristics in common with then both: for are all found upon the same arena, though not contemporary in all they history.
The four beasts in Dan. 7:3, the winged lion, the bear, the winged leopard, and the anonymous fourth beast, are explained in verse 17, as representative of four kings or powers, styled kingdoms in verse 23. The less fourth beast, that is not named by Daniel, is styled by John diversely a dragon and a beast, according to the subject he maybe treating of.
The Hebrew tannin, and the Greek drakon, rendered in our English version dragon, it is evident from Ezek. 29:3, signifies a crocodile; the great scaly serpent-fish of the Nile, the symbol of the Egyptian power styled "Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers."
The dragon, then, whose force is in his tail, symbolized the power of the old Egyptian Polity. This, in the days of Moses, was the great enemy of Israel after both flesh and spirit. It embodied in its institutions all the filthiness, and superstition, and tyranny of human nature; and stood before the world as the great SIN-POWER of antiquity - "the Old Serpent, the Devil and the Satan."
But the empire of the Dragonic-Sin-power was westward. It did not remain enthroned in Egypt. Yahweh's servant Nebuchadnezzar transferred it to Babylon; whence in due time it migrated, and was at length found in the city of the Seven Hills. The power there, in the epoch of the sip, was the old Egyptian Dragon incorporate in the Graeco-Latin polIty, which possessed Egypt, Syria, 'and the East. Hence, the territory of the Dragonic fourth beast of Daniel is apocalyptically and "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified" (Ch. 11:8); "the great city Babylon."
... In Daniel's description of it no mention is made of more heads than one. "The ten horns that were on his head." This is all recorded of its head. Daniel says nothing about "seven heads" on any beast shown to him. He only saw one; but behind this one were concealed seven others, of which we should have no more knowledge than he, had not the Apocalypse brought them into view. In this, the seven heads are brought out conspicuously.
They are seen upon the Dragon, the Beast of the Sea, and the Scarlet-coloured Beast of the Wilderness. Tbough seen on different symbolic beasts, they are not different sets of seven; that is, one set of seven heads for the Dragon; and a set of different seven heads for the Marine Beast; and yet a different seven from either, for the Scarlet Beast of the Wilderness.
They are one and the same seven heads upon all three beasts; so that the signification of them in connexion with the scarlet beast, is their signification as the heads of the Dragon and the Beast of the Sea.
8 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 great things.
This beast was to arise out of the Mediterranean territory as well as the others. The belligerent tempests on every side were to give rise to it; for, says Daniel, "the four winds of the heaven strove upon the Great Sea. And Four Great Beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another:" and, when he has finished the description of them, he states that "they are four kings (kings being used in scripture oftentimes for their kingdoms, and vice versa) which shall arise out of the earth;" which explains, that when he says "up from the sea," he means the countries of the Mediterranean, which in scripture geography is styled the Great Sea.
That this beast is identical in signification with the iron part of the image, and incorporates within its dominion the territory of the kingdoms of the brazen thighs, is indicated by "its teeth of iron and claws of brass." A beast of prey destroys with its teeth and claws. Like the iron kingdom of the image, this iron toothed dominion was to devour and break in pieces all that came in its way, and to stamp the undevoured residue with its brazen-clawed feet. It was "exceedingly dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly;" and, though not named by the prophet, may, by the aid of history and the apocalypse, be correctly termed, the GRECO-ROMAN DRAGON.
This fourth Beast was shown to Daniel for the purpose of representing certain things predestined to come to pass in connection with the ten toes of the image, which could not be suitably displayed in symbolic feet. The things to be Illustrated were
1. The eradication of the power of three toe-dynasties, or, royalties; and the subjection of their territories to an imperial dominion;
2. The peculiar character and constitution of this imperiality;
3. The part this militant power was to play in relation to the saints
4. The time the image's feet were to continue before they should be smitten by the stone;
5. The consumption of the militant power which was to precede the destruction of the image;
6. The personage through whom the destructive power of the stone should be manifested;
7. The giving of the kingdom to Him, and the saints; and,
8. The nature of the mountain which should fill the whole earth.
These eight points constitute a summary of the things designed to be represented by the Eleven Horns which made their appearance on the head of the Fourth Beast.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
9 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.
Whence came all these thousands of the fiery stream? They are all the Sons of Power: Spirits born of the Spirit; Israel's Elohim, or Mighty Ones; who were once Jews and Gentiles in unprofitable flesh: sinners under sentence of death, but justified by an intelligent and obedient faith. These are the Elohim of the Sh'ma Yisraail, the hypostasis of whom is the ONE YAHWEH -- the One Eternal Spirit multitudinously manifested in the Sons of Eternal Power.
Nebuchadnezzar's Image was the aggregation into one symbolic man, of a multitude of powers contemporary with many generations; so this one powerful [rainbow - Rev 10.] angel is an aggregation into One Body, named Yahweh Tz'vaoth, of all saints accounted worthy of co-operation with the Lord Jesus in the execution of "the judgment written."
"Judgment," says Daniel, "was given to the saints;" and this rainbowed angel is their symbol, representing their aspect in the possession of judicial power, and ready to
"destroy them who corrupt the earth" (xi. 18).
This, then is the "ALL-POWERFUL LORD GOD, who is, and was, and is to come" (xi. 17); in "the Omega" and terminal manifestation of the Eternal Spirit. This manifestation is yet in the future -- it is "to come;" and therefore, it is spoken of in Apoc ch. xvi. 5, as one that "shall be;" for "Shall be is his name" -- Yahweh shemo.
The symbol of these "hosts" is styled "an angel," because the Spirit incorporate in them has a mission; which is to
"take the kingdom, and to possess the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven" (Dan. vii. 18,27); or, as it is expressed in Apoc. xi. 15, "the kingdoms of this world," that they may be the kingdoms of this powerful angel, styled there, "our Lord and his Christ" or YAHWEH ELOHIM.
12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
Thus, he will not only deliver Judah from the Assyrian when he cometh into their land, and treadeth within her borders; but the Rainbowed Angel will also take away the dominion of the first three beasts of Daniel.
But, though deprived of dominion, they will still exist as national organizations; for "their lives shall be prolonged for a season and a time," or a thousand years. Their kingdoms will become the Rainbowed Angel's, and they will be blessed in the new administration of their affairs. While Yahweh inherits Judah his portion in the Holy Land, and dwells in the midst of Zion, these nations are joined to him, and become his people (Zech. ii. 10,12).
The regeneration of Egypt, Israel, and Assyria becomes complete. His right hand is established in the rivers, and his left in the sea; and he is already higher than the kings of the earth (Psa. lxxxix. 25-27): and by his prowess he has changed the face of the east, having wrested those fair and luxuriant countries from the destroyer; and made the land that was desolate, the enchanting Paradise of God (Ezek. xxxvi. 35; Isa. li. 3).
"In that day there shall be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land, whom Yahweh T'zvaoth shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance" (Isa. xix. 23-25).
But the vindication, or avengement, of the Holy Land (Dan. viii. 14 -- we-nitzdaik kodesh) and the conquest and regeneration of Egypt and Assyria, do not consummate the work of the Rainbowed Angel; they only serve to
"place his right foot upon the sea;"
and to prepare him for setting
"his left upon the earth."
He has conquered the lion, the bear, and leopard: he has taken away their dominion, and placed them under his own: but there still remains that
"dreadful, and terrible, and exceedingly strong fourth beast,"
which came up out of the same sea as the others.
This is not simply to lose his dominion, and yet continue as a body politic to exist like the others
"for a season and a time."
The contrary of this, would be the continuance of the European commonwealth as now constituted in church and state, but without human government, for a thousand years. This however, can never be.
The decree of heaven has long been on record for its utter and total destruction. The decree is this:
"Because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld till the beast was slain and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame" (Dan. vii. 11).
This is the grand catastrophe of the apocalypse -- the slaying of the Latin Catholic Beast, and the destroying of its body politic by the Rainbowed Angel -- by the Spirit manifested in the saints. His "pillars of fire" march through the countries of Europe with the destruction of a "burning flame;" the result of which is "judging among the nations, filling their countries with dead bodies, and the bruising of the Head over an extensive region" (Psa. cx. 6).
This exposition, then, of "the mystery of the Deity as he hath declared the glad tidings to his servants the prophets," defines the position of the Rainbowed Angel; and brings him up before us as a colossus prepared to bestride the world.
By his right foot being placed upon the sea, it plants his left foot, of course, upon daemonial and idol worshipping Spain, brings before him all the countries of the Latin and Greek churches, as Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Britain and Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Prussia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Pope's temporality, Turkey, and Greece.
In this enumeration there are protestant countries; but they all belong to the Fourth Beast dominion, being
"the Harlots and Abominations of the earth"
which all acknowledge the Church of Rome as their common "mother" -- "the Mother of all the Churches."
Such is the commonwealth or body politic to be destroyed root and branch, by the saints when judgment is given to them, and they proceed to
"prophesy before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" (x. 11).
Then will the high praises of AIL (the Eternal Power -- THE FATHER) be in their mouths; and
"a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the nations, and punishments upon the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their honorable ones with fetters of iron: to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye YAH" (Psa. cxlix. 6-9).
18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
'..."during the age, and during the age of the ages"
'...at the end of which, perfection being attained, the constitution of the kingdom will be altered to meet the improved condition of the world. Thenceforth, all things will be permanent, and generations will cease to come and go. The unrighteous will have been exterminated; and the earth will be inhabited by immortals only, who will have attained to immortality upon the condition of believing heartily what God has promised and taught in His word prophetically and apostolically ministered; and of doing what He there requires to be done.
A kingdom having the Invisible One in all for its king; the Anointed One and his brethren for its princes; and the redeemed from among Israel and the nations during the previous thousand years for its nation of immortals, will be our globe's "New Heavens and Earth" that shall never wax old nor vanish away. Its times, therefore, will be interminable...'. -
Exposition of Daniel
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;
Daniel's fourth beast system of powers has its sun, moon, and stars, as well as the polities by which it was preceded. Under its pagan constitution, the authority and power vested in the imperial and senatorial orders were the sun of the Roman orb; its moon, the priestly orders of the state; and subject kings, nobles, and magistrates, its stars and constellations.
When the pagan constitution that hindered was taken out of the way, the aerial, or political expanse, transmitted the rays of the same lights, only that they emitted influences less intensely heathen than before. The sun, moon and stars which continued to shine had become "catholic." They radiated the malign influences of the Laodicean Apostasy, and were essentially, though not professedly and in detail, as devilish as of old.
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.
Trial is the order of the House of God; and in our day, when the sword is taken out of the hand of the magistrate, it is necessary, if we are to belong to this House, that we be put on a par with our brethren of past ages, by having trials in a form adapted to our time of freedom and privilege.
A right view of the case will make us welcome these when they come. Paul said, in the view of the meaning of his sufferings:
"I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake."
A spiritual view of our affairs will lead us to entertain a similar sentiment with regard to those things we may be called on to endure through our identification with and our service of the one faith. They are far from agreeable: if they were agreeable, they would not answer their purpose, which is, that by the mental exercise induced, we may become partakers of the Father's holiness. Pleasure would not exercise us in this direction, but contrariwise.
Bro Roberts - Breaking of bread
The longest period in the apocalypse in reference to the affairs of the saints is 1,260. It is transferred from the book of Daniel, ch. vii. 25, and xii. 7, where it is given in the formula "a time, times, and the dividing of time." This formula is itself reproduced in Apoc. xii. 14, as representative of the period during which the Fugitive Woman was to be nourished in the two wings of the Great Eagle.
The question, how should these "times" be expressed in figures? is answered in the sixth verse of this chapter, where the period of the nourishing or feeding is stated at 1260 days. This, therefore, gives us certainty, that "a time, times, and the dividing of time" is a period equal to 1260.
This 1260 is a whole number constituting the numerical expression of the aion or cycle pertaining to the saints, in their hostile relations to that blasphemous power into whose hands they were to be given (Dan. vii. 21-25; Apoc. xiii. 6).
The shorter times of the apocalypse are proportional parts of 1260; which is itself the half of 2520, or SEVEN TIMES, allotted to "the Kingdom of Men," styled by Paul, "the powers that be."
Between these and the saints in Christ Jesus, there was to be war. The saints were to be overcome till their aion expired; and then they are to conquer, and their conquest will be complete, when the aion of "the Powers that be," the 2520, shall be full (Dan. iv. 16,23).
The apocalypse has to do with the second half of the 2520; the former half in the first six centuries and half of it pertaining to Israel according to the flesh exclusively; and in its last six centuries, to the faithful in Christ in their conflict with paganism and catholicism before the legal and constitutional establishment of POPERY.
The second, or latter, half of the 2520, is the aion of the saints running parallel with popery; and terminating with the manifestation era of the Ancient of Days, or Time of the End, which ends with the end of the 2520.
But, what are these Seven Times of 2520? Are they so many of what the Gentile speculators term "literal days" of twenty-four hours each; or literal years? When we consider the subject of which the 2520 is the aion, or cycle, we shall see that it can only be a cycle of years. It is the Cycle of a Tree representing the loftiness and extension of the Kingdom of Men. This umbrageous dominion existed in great glory; and was symbolized by the majesty of Babylon, styled, in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, "the house of the Kingdom."
Nebuchadnezzar being the reigning monarch, was the representative for the time then present of this Tree-Dominion, as was Cyrus after him; and Alexander the Great many years after Cyrus. Over this kingdom 2520 were to pass in the line of its gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay dynastic constitutions. What happened to Nebuchadnezzar was typical of what should happen to the Tree. He was hewn down from his loftiness, deprived of reason, and made to herd with the beasts for 2520 "literal days," or seven times of days. This was the sign, or type; and a sign, in its times, persons, actions, &c., always represents something, analogous indeed, but different from itself.
According to the sign, then, so it was to come over the kingdom of men, at that time overshadowing the nations to the end of the earth, like a tree whose height reached to heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth. Its loftiness was to be hewn down, as it was by Cyrus; but it was not then to be uprooted: the stump of its roots was to continue in the earth, banded with iron and brass; and 2520 was to pass over it.
Now the Kingdom of Men undeniably exists in our time; and has continuously existed from the days of Nebuchadnezzar, who began his reign over it about 2478 years ago. It is now the stump banded with a Greco-Latin band; and will continue so banded until it shall have been completely eradicated by Christ and the saints at the end of 2520.
The reader will perceive, then, that the Kingdom of Men being the subject to be passed over by the 2520, the limitation of this period to "literal days" is out of the question. It can only signify 2520 years; and this being so, the 1260 of the apocalypse, being the latter half of it, must be years also.
But this apocalyptic aion of 1,260 years is expressed in months as well as days. Divided by 30, the number of units in the twelfth of a time, the product is 42. These, in Apoc. xi. 2, and xiii. 5, are termed "forty-two months," during which the saints, or Holy City, are trodden under foot by the Gentiles of the unmeasured court, and symbolized, in their civil and ecclesiastical constitution by the Beast of the Sea and his Mouth
27 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.
It is manifest, therefore, that the destiny of all colonies, and republics, and empires, upon the American arena, has long since been decreed; and that destiny is unquestionably glorious and blessed -- that of being delivered by judicial power from the debasing tyranny under which they now groan; and of becoming the flourishing and happy provinces of an imperial dominion, co-extensive with the globe, under which life, liberty, and property, will be secure;
"mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace embrace each other;"
"glory will be to the Deity in the highest heavens, over the earth peace, and goodwill among men" (Psa. lxxxv. 10; Luke ii. 14). "Hitherto is the end of the matter" (Dan. vii. 28).
The wars of the Angel of the Bow culminate in the conquest of a peace, which extinguishes all belligerent conflagration in the earth for a thousand years.
The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom
For this cause, therefore, in the ascription of thanks to YAHWEH AIL Shaddai, the four belligerent Living Ones are withdrawn from the figuration; and the four and twenty elders only are in prostration before the Everliving One. The reader is aware that the saints are symbolized both by the Four Living Ones and the Elders, only in different relations.
The Four represent them in their militant antagonism to the powers that rule the nations; while "the elders" represent them as victorious kings and priests in the glorious and peaceful possession of their conquests. When "the war of the great day of AIL Shaddai" is over, and peace obtains in all the earth, there is no more premillennial work for the saints to do as the "Four Living Ones full of eyes." As militants they have
"gotten the victory,"
and their community is wreathed with the coronals which "they cast before the throne." These are cast there when the cause of thanksgiving, rejoicing, and prostration has been developed. Hence, ch. 4:10, is parallel with ch. 11: 16.
The saints, no longer belligerent, give thanks because YAHWEH AIL-Shaddai has acquired great power on the earth and reigned. When this thanksgiving was dictated to John in Patmos, it was the revelation of a purpose - an end which Deity had predetermined. The "great power" had not been taken, nor the reign commenced, when the apocalypse was given to John. Nor have they yet; nor will they be till the end of the seventh trumpet.