« הקודםהמשך »
added, as precursors of His second coming, the darkening of the sun and moon, the falling of the stars, the shaking of the powers of heaven, the publication of the Gospel throughout the world “as a witness," "distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth.”
We have now arrived at the point where nature, as if convulsed, has hung out her signals of distress. The Luminary that rules the day has been enshrouded as in sackcloth of hair ; the moon has been enveloped in rayless night; and the falling stars have been scattered like leaves of Autumn; and an infraction has been made upon the order of the physical universe, by the appearance of “blood and fire, and vapor of smoke” in the heavens: for the phenomena of the Aurora Borealis were unknown in former times, except in the higher latitudes of the north. “The day of His preparation” has been reached : and Nahum's chariots come, with their "flaming torches," thundering along the vales, and “shaking terribly the fir trees," "raging” with noise and violence through the streets of our cities, "justling one against another in the broad ways," and “running like the lightnings.” We have come down to "the valley of decision," and the proclamation has gone forth. “Prepare war; wake up the mighty nen ; let all the men of war draw near.” The master spirits of the age have gone forth from land to land, with burning eloquence, and unprecedented ardor, to awaken to action the intellectual and physical energies of the world, preparatory to the battle of Armageddon, and to involve all the powers of earth in the final issue between absolute and democratic rule. The nations have sought redress of grievances, and the enjoyment of constitutional privilege, and popular liberty ; but the fires of freedom have been quenched in tears and blood ; and now the wail of “distress among nations" comes up from all the earth “ into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth,” and calls for “ the day of vengeance of our God.” Standing as we do at this wonderful era in the history of the world, we may look back into the past, and behold the Seer at Babylon standing in the royal palace, delineating, in the most perfect manner, the rise, progress, decline and fall of the kingdoms of earth, as embodied in the great metallic Image. As he traces the history of these mighty Empires, he declares to Nebuchadnezzar: “Thou, O King, art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron," (Dan. ii: 38–40.) These universal kingdoms have all successively arisen; the fourth has been divided ; and it was during this broken state that the Prophet saw the mighty Stone disengaging itself from the adjacent mountain — when suddenly it fell on the Collossal Statue, dashing it to pieces, and grinding it to powder; "and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them;" "and the stone, that smote the Image, became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth,” Thus end the dynasties of the present world, with all their oppressive acts, and discordant elements, and unholy principles: and upon their ruins rises the kingdom of Christ symbolized by the stone, in all its beauty and
harmony, its peace and glory. Thus" 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 shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever," (v. 44).
EXPOSITION OF DANIEL, CHAP. VII.
In the 7th Chap. of Daniel, we have presented the same four great Empires, symbolized by the image, (Dan. ii,) with a few additional items, namely, the following: The humiliation of the king of Babylon, (v. 4.) under the symbol of a lion standing up on his feet as a man, and having “a man's heart given to it.” 2. A beast (v. 6.) with four heads, symbolizing the divisions of that kingdom, namely, the Grecian monarchy. 3. A beast with ten horns, (v. 7.) prefiguring the divisions of the Roman Empire between A.D. 356 and 493. 4. Another horn, or kingdom coming up subsequently to the rise of the ten, different in its character, and prevailing against the saints until the judgment sit.
There is no subject of revelation that is fraught with deeper interest than the subject of prophecy, and from its very character, it presents the great events of futurity as clearly as the past. One of the principal designs which the dispenser of all blessings had in view in the revelation of leading facts in the history of the world, is expressed in the language of the apostle, (Rom. xv: 4); “For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.' And again, “ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. iii: 16, 17.)
The system of revealed truth may be classified in three divisions : 1. Historic ; 2. Practical ; 3. Prophetic; or, in other words, past, present, and future. The historic portions of the word are ordinarily interpreted in their primary sense, while the prophetic, which is simply history written in advance, are wrested from their simple and original import, and made to harmonize with the vagaries of fancy.
To prove the fallacy of such interpretations, and elucidate the meaning of the word in regard to prophetic declarations, we have only to mark the fulfilment of the prophecy of Daniel, relative to these kingdoms, together with their divisions and subdivisions, during a period of twenty-four centuries.
As it is the object of this work, not only to present the predictions, but also their fulfilment, we shall notice the main features in the vision, and then proceed to an application of the same.
It was about B.C. 555, according to Archbishop Usher's Chronology, and during the reign of Belshazzar, that Daniel had a dream, in which he saw the four winds of the heaven strive upon the great sea. “And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” “The first was like a lion,” the second “like to a bear,” the third “ like a leopard,” the fourth a great and terrible beast; “and it had great