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During this captivity in Babylon, and while the enemies of Israel reigned over her, the time of this subjection, and the succession of nations that were to have the dominion, were more fully revealed to Daniel. In the 2d chapter of Daniel, it was revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, in his vision of the great image, that after him should arise another kingdom inferior to him, and another third kingdom of brass, which should bare rule over all the earth, and the fourth kingdom should be strong as iron, which should break all those in pieces. The fourth kingdom was then to be divided, as symbolized by the toes of the image; and in the days of those kings the God of heaven was to set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, but should break in pieces all those kingdoms, and stand forever.
The same four kingdoms were again presented to Daniel in the 7th chapter, symbolized by the four beasts. He was assured that the fourth beast was the FOURTH KINGDOM, out of which ten kingdoms were to arise, and another one after them diverse from them, into whose hands the saints of the Most High were to be given for 1260 years. After that, it was to make war against the saints, and prevail against them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom, who
should possess the kingdom forever even forever and ever.
In the 8th chapter, the kingdom of Persia and Grecia are expressly mentioned by name; and Daniel is shown that the Grecian kingdom was to be divided into four parts towards the four winds of heaven, when the HORN of ROME should arise, wax EXCEEDING GREAT, stand up against the Prince of princes, destroy the holy people, and give both the sanctuary and host to be trodden under foot to the end of the 2300 days. .'
The time of the commencement and length of the days, Daniel did not understand, until the seventy years, as predicted in Jer. XXV., were fulfilled, and the king of Babylon and that nation punished. This was when Belshazzar made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, (Dan. v.) and there came forth fingers of a man's hand and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.” In that night the seventy years were ended, Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was slain, and Darius the Median took the kingdom.
After the Persians were possessed of the kingdom, “ that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled," the Lord stirred up the spirit of the Persian kings to build again the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, and restore the Jews to their own land. Important concessions were made by Cyrus and Darius, so that the
temple was rebuilt and dedicated. And in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus, when the Medo-Persian kinddom was in its meridian glory,-as symbolized by the ram pushing in every direction, with its horns at their greatest height, when first seen at the commencement of the vision of the 2300 days-he gave permission to Ezra in a letter, and decreed that all they of the people of Israel in his realm, might go up to Jerusalem and do whatsoever it might seem to Ezra and his brethren good to do. This decree gave Ezra unlimited power, was accompanied with a grant of all the treasures east of the river; and a command that whatsoever Ezra should require should be done immediately. Under this decree, the city, and wall thereof was built “even in tronblous times.” According to the marginal chronology, this decree was given B. C. 457. The walls were completed under Nehemiah, who went up from Babylon with the last of the captives that returned, and at that time the Jewish nation stood the highest in the favor of the Persian kings; yet we learn from Nehemiah that they were then servants, and had been from the days of the kings of Assyria. Nehemiah prayed and said, (ix. 32–37,) “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. Howbeit, thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly. Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in their kingdoms, and in thy goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works. Behold, we are SERVANTS this day; and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are SERVANTS in it. And it yielded much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins; also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.” If they were servants when they stood the highest with the kings of Persia, then at no period from the captivity of Manasseh, at the commencement of the seven times, B. C. 677, were the Jews again independent.
Although Jerusalem was again rebuilt, yet it was destined to be once more desolated, as our Savior predicted in the commencement of the 24th of Matt., and which, according to Daniel and Jeremiah, was to be final, Jeremiah says, (xxv. 15–38, “For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me, Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send thee to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the Lord's hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the Lord had sent me: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse; as it is this day. Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people. And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, and all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, and all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert; and all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes; and all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth; and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. Therefore thou shalt say