AT WHAT time was Daniel's second vision given?
"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.
What effect did this dream have upon Daniel?
"I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me." Verse 15.
NOTE.—The effect of Daniel's dream upon him, it will be noticed, was similar to the effect of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams upon him; it troubled him. (See Daniel 2:1.)
What did Daniel ask of one of the heavenly attendants who stood by him in his dream?
"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." Verse 16.
What did the prophet see in this vision?
"Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea." Verse 2.
What was the result of this strife?
"And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another." Verse 3.
THE MEANING OF THE BEAST SYMBOLS
What did these four beasts represent?
"These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth." Verse 17.
NoTE.—The word kings here, as in Daniel 2:44, denotes kingdoms, as explained in verses 23 and 24 of the seventh chapter, the two words being used interchangeably in this prophecy.
In symbolic language, what is represented by winds?
Strife, war, commotion. (See Jeremiah 25:31-33; 49:36, 37.)
NOTE.—That winds denote strife and war is evident from the vision itself. As a result of the striving of the winds, kingdoms rise and fall.
What, in prophecy, is symbolized by waters?
"And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest . . . are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15.
NOTE.—In the second chapter of Daniel, under the figure of an image of man, the mere political outline of the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms is given, preceding the setting up of God's everlasting kingdom. In the seventh chapter earthly governments are represented as viewed in the light of Heaven —under the symbols of wild and ferocious beasts—the last, in particular, op- pressing and persecuting the saints of the Most High. Hence the change in the symbols used to represent these kingdoms.
What was the first beast like?
"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 to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it." Daniel 7:4.
NOTE.—The lion, the first of these four great beasts, like the golden head of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, represents the Babylonian monarchy; the lion, the king of beasts, standing at the head of his kind, as gold does of metals. The eagle's wings doubtless denote the rapidity with which Babylon rose to its peak of power under Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned from 605 s.c. to 562 B.c. (605 B.c. was his accession year, and the following year was counted his first official year.)
By what was the second kingdom symbolized?
"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." Verse 5.
NOTE.—"This was the Medo-Persian empire, represented here under the symbol of the bear. . . . The Medes and Persians are compared to a bear on account of their cruelty and thirst after blood, a bear being a most voracious and cruel animal."—AnAm CLARKE, Commentary, on Daniel 7:5. The first year of this kingdom of the Medes and Persians is dated from 538 B.C.
By what was the third universal empire symbolized?
"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." Verse 6.
NOTE.—If the wings of an eagle on the back of a lion denoted rapidity of movement in the Babylonian Empire (Hab. 1:6-8), four wings on the leopard must denote unparalleled celerity of movement in the Grecian Empire. This we find to be historically true.
"In the spring of 334 B.c. Alexander crossed over to Asia Minor at the head of an army of some thirty-five thousand Macedonians and Greeks. . . . Four years later—he had overthrown the Persian empire founded by Cyrus the Great, and set himself up as its ruler by right of conquest. Another four years were spent in the subjugation of the wild tribes of the Iranian Plateau and the more civilized peoples of the Indus Valley. In this short space of eight years Alexander had annexed an area of little less than two million square miles, containing a population of more than twenty million persons. The amazing rapidity of his conquest, a feat all the more remarkable in view of the small force at his disposal, was due in large part to the superior organiza- tion of the Macedonian army, the excellence of Alexander's generals, trained in the school of his father, Philip, and his own superlative qualities as a general and a leader of men."—A. E. R. BOAK, ALBERT HYMA, and PRESTON SLOSSON, The Growth of European Civilization (1938), vol. 1, pp. 59, 60. Copyright, 1938, by F. S. Crofts & Co., Inc. Used by permission of Appleton- Century-Crofts, Inc
"The beast had also four heads." The Grecian Empire maintained its unity but a short time after the death of Alexander, which occurred in 323 B.c. Within twenty-two years after the close of his brilliant career, or by 301 B.C., the empire was divided among four of his leading generals. (See page 224.)
How was the fourth kingdom represented?
"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." Verse 7.
What was the fourth beast diclared to be?
"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." Verse 23.
NOTE.—"This is allowed, on all hands, to be the Roman empire. It was dreadful, terrible, and exceeding strong: . . . and became, in effect, what the Roman writers delight to call it, the empire of the whole world."—ADAM CLARKE, Commentary, on Daniel 7:7.
World power may be said to have passed from the Greeks to the Romans at the Battle of Pydna, in 168 B.C.
"Finally, in 168, the Romans . . . won a complete victory over Perseus [of Macedonia] in the battle of Pydna. The Macedonian kingdom was at an end. ... Having disposed of Macedonia the Romans turned their attention to other Greek states with the intention of rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies. . . . Henceforth it was clear that Rome was the real sovereign in the eastern Mediterranean and that her friends and allies only enjoyed local autonomy, while they were expected to be obedient to the orders of Rome."—A. E. R. BOAK, A History of Rome to 565 A.D. (1938 ed.), p. 109. Copyright, 1921, 1929, 1943, by the Macmillan Company. Used by permission.
What was denoted by the ten horns?
"And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise." Verse 24.
NoTE.—The Roman Empire was broken up into ten kingdoms in the century preceding A.D. 476. Because of the uncertainties of the times, religious writers have differed in the enumeration of the exact kingdoms intended by the prophecy. With good show of reason the following list has freely been adopted by interpreters of prophecy: Alamanni, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Burgundians, Heruli, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards. Says one writer on Bible prophecy:
"The ten horns may not be strictly permanent, but admit of partial change. Some may perhaps fall, or be blended, and then replaced by others. The ten- fold character may thus be dominant through the whole, and appear dis- tinctly at the beginning and close of their history, though not strictly main- tained every moment."
"Amidst fluctuations so numerous and unceasing as almost to defy an exact numeration, the prophetic description remains prominent, and a ten- fold division of the Western Empire reappears from time to time. The cor- respondence with the prediction is thus accurate and complete. For it must be borne in mind that two opposite features had equally to be fulfilled. The tenfold number was to exist; but there was also to be a frequent intermingling with the seed of men. In the actual outline of European history, both of these predicted features are alike conspicuous. A tenfold division, such as some have looked for, mathematical and unvaried, would frustrate one-half of the prediction; and would deprive the rest of all its freedom and moral grandeur. But now every part is alike accomplished. At the same time, by these partial changes in the list of the doomed kingdoms, the reproach of a stern fatalism, which otherwise would cloud the equity of divine Providence, is rolled away."—REv. T. R. BIRKS, M.A., The Four Prophetic Empires, and the Kingdom of Messiah: Being an Exposition of the First Two Visions of Daniel (1845 ed.), pp. 143, 144, 152.
What change did Daniel see take place in these horns?
"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 a man, and a mouth speaking great things." Verse 8.
What inquiry on the part of Daniel shows that the fourth beast, and especially the little-horn phase of it, constitutes the leading feature of this vision?
"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; 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." Verses 19, 20.
When was the little horn to arise?
"And another shall rise after them." Verse 24.
NOTE.—The ten horns, as already shown, arose when Rome, the fourth kingdom, was divided into ten kingdoms. This division was completed by A.D. 476. The little-horn power which was to arise after them and before whom three of the other kings—the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths —fell, was the Papacy.
"Out of the ruins of political Rome, arose the great moral Empire in the `giant form' of the Roman Church."—A. C. FLICK, The Rise of the Mediaeval Church (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1909), p. 150.
"Under the Roman Empire the popes had no temporal powers. But when the Roman Empire had disintegrated and its place had been taken by a number of rude, barbarous kingdoms, the Roman Catholic church not only became independent of the states in religious affairs but dominated secular affairs as well. At times, under such rulers as Charlemagne (768-814), Otto the Great (936-73), and Henry III (1039-56), the civil power controlled the church to some extent; but in general, under the weak political system of feudalism, the well-organized, unified, and centralized church, with the pope at its head, was not only independent in ecclesiastical affairs but also con- trolled civil affairs."—CARL CONRAD ECKHARDT, The Papacy and World- Aflairs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), p. 1.
With the place and the time of the kingdom of the little horn identified, the study of its character and work will be considered in the readings which follow.