תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

like iron and clay. This kingdom has been divided between Pagan Rome, the head wounded to death, and Papal Rome, the deadly wound healed, both“ mixing themselves with the seed of men,” that is, uniting church and state, ecclesiastical and civil, in the government. The stone denotes Christ, the God of heaven; and the mountain the kingdom of God. His breaking the image to pieces, shows that all the kingdoms of this world are to be utterly destroyed and carried away, so that no place can be found for them. And the kingdom of God filling the whole earth teaches us that the beloved city, the New Jerusalem, will fill the world, and God will dwell with his people on the earth. Read Dan. ii. 37– 45. This dream was in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, 603 B. C. Forty-eight years afterwards, in the first year of Belshazzar's reign and 555 B. C., Daniel had another dream, yet the same in substance. “ Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea, and four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagles' 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. And behold, another beast, a second, like unto 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. After this 1 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 I beheld, then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake. I beheld, even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, Daniel vii. 1–14. This ends Daniel's night vision, except the instruction he received from some one standing by. “So he told me, and made me know the truth of all this,' or the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most high shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” We see in this instruction that this vision and Nebuchadnezzar's dream agree in the most prominent parts; the four beasts representing the four kingdoms, and the saints possessing the kingdom, the same as the stone becoming a great mountain and filling the whole earth ; “forever and ever" shows us that it is an immortal state in everlasting life; "the saints” evidently includes all saints, “ for they shall live and reign with him on the earth," Revelation v. 10, 20. iv. 6. “Then,” Daniel says, vii. 19, 20, “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, wilose look was more stout than his fellows.”

In these verses we learn that the fourth beast would be diverse from the others. This was true with Rome; that kingdom first rose from a small colony of adventurers settled in Italy. Rome, also, had seven different forms of government, while the others had but one. We learn that this kingdom would devour, break in pieces, harass and perplex the people of God, whether Jew or Gentile; that it would be divided into ten kingdoms, and afterwards there would arise another power which would swallow up three of the ten kingdoms. This was all true with the Roman government. In A. D. 476, the Western Empire fell, and was divided into ten kingdoms by the Goths, Huns, and Vandals, — “France, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Tuscany, Austria, Lombardy, Rome, and Ravenna. The three last were absorbed in the territory of Rome,” (E. Irwin,) and became the States of the Church, governed by the Papal chair, the little horn that had eyes and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. This description cannot apply to any other power but the church of Rome. “Had eyes,” showing that they made pretence at least to be the household of faith; “ eyes” meaning faith, and “mouth that spake very great things,” showing that the church would claim infallibility; “ whose look would be more stout than his fellows,” showing that he would claim authority over all other churches, or even the kings, the other horns. See Rev. xvii. 18: “ And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” That the little horn is a part of the fourth kingdom is evident, for it was to come up among the ten horns which were upon the head of the beast; and there cannot be a shadow of a doubt, even in Scripture itself, but that Rome is meant by this fonrth beast; for wha power but the Roman will answer the description here and elsewhere given in Daniel ? “I beheld, and the

same horn made war 'with the saints, and prevailed 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." Daniel vii. 21, 22. In these verses we are taught clearly that anti-Christ will prevail over the church of Christ until the first resurrection and the first judgment, when the saints are raised and judged, which utterly destroys the modern idea of a temporal millennium, a thousand years before the dead are raised and judged. This also agrees with the whole tenor of Scripture; as,“ judgment must first begin at the house of God,” and “whom he shall destroy with the brightness of his coming;” when the Ancient of days shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, “ to give reward to his servants, the prophets, and them that fear his name, small and great, and destroy them who destroy the earth,” described next verse, 23. “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. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall arise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 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. But the judgment shall sit

, and they shall take away his dominion to consume and to destroy it unto the end," 24–26. In these verses we have the history of the fourth beast, or Roman power, during 1260 years of the close of this kingdom, which I shall, in some future lecture, show is the meaning of time, times, and a half. We have also another clear description of the Papal power: “He shall speak great words,&c. the blasphemies against God, in the pretensions of the Roman clergy to divine power, working of miracles, canonizing departed votaries, changing ordinances and laws of God's house, worshipping saints and images, and performing rites and ceremonies too

foolish and ridiculous to be for a moment indulged in, and which any unprejudiced mind cannot for a moment believe to be warranted by divine rule, or example of Christ or his apostles. And we are again brought down to the time when the judgment shall sit: “And the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shalĩ be given to the people of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, (not temporal, as some say, or a thousand years, but an immortal and eternal,) and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” It is very evident that this verse brings us down to the time when the kingdom of Christ will be complete “in the greatness of the kingdom.” Every word in Scripture has a meaning, and its own proper meaning, unless used figuratively, and then explained by Scripture itself. « Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

This ends Daniel's night vision. Two years afterwards, in the year 553 before Christ, Daniel vii., he had another vision in the day-time, at the palace of Shushan, like the one which we have just described, and Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

“ Then I lifted up mine eyes and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward, so that no beast might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.” In the 20th verse, the angel Gabriel explains to Daniel what kingdom was represented by the “ram with two horns," and says, “ The ram which thou sawest, having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia.” We see by this that the Chaldean kingdom is left out, for the reason that that kingdom was then crumbling to ruin, and the glory of the Babylonish kingdom had faded; therefore he now begins his vision with the Mede and Persian kingdom, and that, too, when at the height of their power and conquests. The higher

« הקודםהמשך »