What statement did Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, make to his wise men whom he had assembled?
Dan 2:3 The King said, I have dreamed a dream, my spirit was troubled
NOTE: The King’s wise men fail him – The magicians practiced magic, using the term in its bad sense that is, they employed all the superstitious rites and ceremonies of fortunetellers, and casters of nativities, and the like. Astrologers were men who pretended to foretell events by the study of the stars. The science, or the superstition, of astrology was extensively cultivated by the Eastern Nations of antiquity, sorcerers were such as pretended to hold communication with the dead. In this sense, we believe, the word ‘sorcerer’ is always used in the scriptures. The Chaldeans here mentioned were a sect of philosophers similar to the magicians and astrologers, who made natural science and divinations their study. All these sects of professions abounded in Babylon. The result desired by each was the same – the explaining of mysteries and the foretelling of events, the principal difference between them being the means by which they sought to accomplish their object. The King’s difficulty lay equally within the province of each to explain; hence he summoned them all. With the king it was an important matter. He was greatly troubled and therefore concentrated upon the solution of his perplexity the wisdom of his realm.
In whatever else the ancient magicians and astrologers may have been efficient, they seem to have been thoroughly schooled in the art of drawing out sufficient information to form a basis for some showed calculation, or of framing their answers in such an ambiguous manner that they would be applicable whichever way the events turned. In the present case, true to their cunning instincts, they called upon the king to make known to them his dream, if they could get full information respecting this, they could easily agree on some interpretation which would not endanger their reputation. They addressed themselves to the king in Syriac, a dialect of the Chaldean language which was used by the educated and cultural classes. From this point to the end of Daniel 7, the record continues in Chaldaic, the language spoken by the king.
After being threatened with death if they did not make known the dream and the interpretation, what did the wise men say to the king?
Dan 2:10-11 The Chaldeans answered before the king, there is not a
man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter(the dream
NOTE: These verses contain the record of the desperate struggle between the wise man and the king. The former sought some avenue of escape, since they were caught on their own ground. The king was determined that they should make known his dream, which was no more than should be expected from their profession. Some have severely censured Nebuchadnezzar in this matter, as acting the part of a heartless unreasonable tyrant. But what did these magicians profess to be able to do- to reveal hidden things, to foretell events, to make known mysteries entirely beyond human foresight and penetration, and to do this by the aid of supernatural agencies. There was therefore nothing unjust in Nebuchadnezzar’s demand that they should make known his dream. When they declared that none but the gods whose dwelling was not with flesh could make known the king’s matter, it was a tacit acknowledgement that they had no communication with these gods, and knew nothing beyond what human’s wisdom and discernment could reveal. For this cause the king was angry and very furious. He saw that he and all his people were being made the victims of deception. While we cannot justify the extreme measures to which he resorted, dooming them to death, and their house to destruction, we cannot but feel a hearty sympathy with him in his condemnation of a class of miserable impostors. The king would be no party to dishonesty or deception.
DANIEL AND THE DREAM
After the wise men had thus confessed their inability to do what the king required, who offered to interpret the dream?
Dan 2:16-18 Daniel desired of the king that he would give him time to
show him the interpretation
NOTE: (Daniel and the Revelation pgs 32-35) – Daniel to the rescue. In this narrative we see the providence of God working in several remarkable particulars. It was providential that the dream of the king should leave such a powerful impression upon his mind as to raise him to the greatest height of anxiety, and yet the thing itself be held from his recollection. This led to the complete exposure of the false system of the magicians and other pagan teachers. When put to the test to make known the dream, they were unable to do what they professed was entirely within their power. It was remarkable that Daniel and his companions, so lately pronounced by the king ten times better than all his magicians and astrologers, should not have been consulted in this matter. But there was providence in this. Just as the dream was held from the king, so he was unaccountably restrained from appealing to Daniel for a solution of the mystery. Had he called on Daniel at the first to make known the matter, the magicians would not have been brought to the test. But God would give the heathen systems of the Chileans the first chance. He would let them try and ignominiously fail, and then confess their utter incompetency, even under the penalty of death, that they might be the better prepared to acknowledge His intervention when He should finally manifest His power in behalf of His captive servants, and for the honor of His name.
After Daniel and his fellows had sought God earnestly, how was the dream and its interpretation revealed Daniel?
Daniel 2:19 The secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision
Numbers 12:6 If there be a prophet among you, he will make himself
known to him
Job 33:14-18 God speaketh… In vision of the night, when deep sleep
falleth upon men
NOTE: It appears that the first intimation Daniel had of the matter was the presence of the executors that came for his arrest. His own life being thus at stake, he was led to seek the Lord with all his heart until He should word for the deliverance of His servant. Daniel gained his request of the king for time to consider the matter – a privilege which probably none of the magicians could not obtain as the king had already accused them of preparing false and corrupt words, and of seeking to gain time for this very purpose. Daniel at once went to his three companions, and asked them to unite with him in desiring mercy of the God of heaven concerning this secret. He could have prayed alone, and doubtless would have been heard, but then, as now, in the union of God’s people there is prevailing power. The promise of the accomplishment of that which is asked, to the two or three who shall agree concerning it (Matthew 18:19-20)
Whether or not the answer came while Daniel and his companions were yet offering up their petitions, we are not informed. It was in a vision that God revealed Himself in their behalf. The words “night vision” means anything that is seen, whether through dreams or visions.
Daniel immediately offered up praise to God for His gracious dealing with them. And while his prayer is not preserved, his responsive thanksgiving is fully recorded. God is honored by our praise to Him for the things He had done for us, as well as by our petitions to him for helps. Let Daniel’s course be our example in this respect. Let no mercy from the hand of God fail of its due return of thanksgiving and praise. In the days of Christ’s ministry on earth, did He not cleanse ten lepers, and only one returned to give Him thanks? “But where,” asks Christ sorrowfully, “are the nine?” Luke 17:17. Daniel had the utmost confidence in what had been revealed to him. He did not first go to the King to see if what had been revealed to him was indeed the King’s dream, but he immediately praised God for having answered his prayer. Although the matter was revealed to Daniel, he did not take honour to himself as though it were by his prayers alone that the answer had been obtained; but he immediately associated his companions with him, and acknowledged it to be as much an answer to their prayers as it was to his own. It was said of him “what we desired of thee,” and “Thou hast made it known unto us.”
When brought before the King, what did Daniel say?
Daniel 2:27, 28 The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise
men show, the God of heaven reveals secrets
Daniel 2: 18,47 The King answered unto Daniel and said “Of a truth it is,
God is a God of gods, a Lord of kings”
Amos 4:13 God forms the mountains, and created the wind, and declares unto man what is his thought
NOTE: Daniel’s first plea was for the wise men of Babylon. Destroy them not, for the King’s secret is revealed, he implored. True, it was through no merit of theirs on their heathen systems of divination that this revelation was made. They were worthy of as much condemnation as before. But their own confession or utter impotence in the matter was humiliation enough for them, and Daniel was anxious that they should so far partake of the benefits shown him as to have their lives spared. They were saved because there was a man of God among them. Thus it ever is. For the sake of Paul and Silas, all the prisoners with them were loosed (Acts 16:26) what saves the world today? For whose sake is it still spared? for the sake of the few righteous persons.
“Art thou able to make known unto me the dream?” was the king’s salutation to Daniel as he came into the royal presence. Notwithstanding his previous acquaintance with this Hebrew, the king seemed to question his ability, so young and inexperienced to make a matter in which the aged and venerable magicians and soothsayers had utterly failed. Daniel declared plainly that the wise men, the astrologers, the soothsayers, and the magicians could not make known this secret. It was beyond their power. Therefore the king should not be angry with them, nor put confidence in their vain superstitions. The prophet proceeded to make known the true God, who rules in heaven, and is the only revealer of secrets. “He it is,” said Daniel, who “maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.”
Daniel first disclaimed all credit for the interpretation, and then he sought to modify the king’s natural feelings of pride in being thus noticed by the God of heaven. He informed him that although the dream had been given to him, it was not for his sake alone that the interpretation was sent, but also for their sakes through whom it should be given. Ah! God had some servants there, and it was for them that He was working. They were of more value in His sight than the mightiest kings and potentates of earth. How comprehensive was the work of God in this instance? By this one act of revealing the king’s dream by Daniel, He made known to the king the things he desired, He saved his servants who trusted in Him, He brought conspicuously before the Chaldean nation the knowledge of Him who knows the end from the beginning, He poured contempt on false systems of the soothsayers and magicians, and He honoured His own name and exalted His servant in their eyes.
Daniel relates the dream
What did Daniel say the king had seen in his dream?
Daniel 2:28-31 The visions of thy head upon thy bed are these. Thou sawest a great image
Genesis 40:8 Do not interpretations (of dreams) belong to God?
Daniel 2:18,47 Your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings
Amos 4:13 The Lord declares unto man what is his thoughts
After making it clear to the king that the purpose of the “God in heaven” in giving him the dream, was to reveal “what shall be in the latter days,” Daniel related the dream itself.
Nebuchadnezzar, a worshiper of the gods of the Chaldean religion, was an idolater. An image was an object which would at once command his attention and respect. Moreover, earthly kingdoms, which, as we shall hereafter see, were represented by this image, were objects of esteem and value in his eyes.
But how admirably adapted was this representation to convey a great and needful truth to the mind of Nebuchadnezzar. Besides delineating the progress of events through the whole course of time for the benefit of His people, God would show Nebuchadnezzar the utter emptiness and worthlessness of earthly pomp and glory. How could this be more impressively done than by an image whose head was of gold? Below this head was body composed of inferior metals descending in value until they reached their basest form in the feet and toes of iron mingled with miry clay. The whole image was then dashed to pieces, and made like the empty chaff. It was fully blown away where no place could be found for it, after which something durable and of heavenly worth occupied its place. So would God show to the children of men that earthly kingdoms are to pass away, and earthly greatness and glory, like gaudy bubbles, will break and vanish. In the place so long usurped by these, the kingdom of God shall be set up and have no end, while all who have an interest in that kingdom shall rest under the shadow of its peaceful wings forever and ever. But this is anticipating.
.–Now opens one of the most comprehensive of the histories of World Empire. Eight short verses of the inspired record tell the whole story, yet that story embraces the history of this world’s pomp and power. A few moments will suffice to commit it to memory, yet the period which it covers, beginning more than twenty-five centuries ago, reaches from that far-distant point past the rise and fall of kingdoms, past the setting up and overthrow of empires, past cycles and ages, past our own day, to the eternal state. It is so comprehensive that it embraces all this, yet it is so minute that it gives us the great outlines of earthly kingdoms from that time to this. Human wisdom never devised so brief a record that embraced so much. Human language never set forth in so few words such a great volume of historical truth. The finger of God is here. Let us heed the lesson well. With what interest and astonishment must the king have listened as he was informed by the prophet that his kingdom was the golden head of the magnificent image. Daniel informed the king that the God of heavens had given him his kingdom, and made him ruler over all. This would restrain him from the pride of thinking that he had attained his position by his own power and wisdom, and would enlist the gratitude of his heart toward the true God.
Of what were the different parts of the image composed?
Daniel 2: 32-33 This image’s head was of fine gold, arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet part of iron and clay
NOTE: The golden head of the image and the lioness denoted the Babylonians; the shoulders and arms of silver, and the bear, represented the Persians and Medes, the belly and thighs of brass, and the leopard meant the Greeks, who held the sovereignty from Alexander’s time, the legs of iron, and the beast dreadful and terrible, expressed to Romans, who hold the sovereignty at present; the toes of the feet were part clay and part iron, and the ten horns, were emblems of the kingdoms that are yet to rise; the other little horn that grew up among them meant the Antichrist in their midst; the stone that smites the earth and brings judgment upon the world was Christ
“Speak with me O blessed Daniel, give me full assurance I beseech thee. Thou dost prophecy concerning the lioness in Babylon; for thou was a captive there. Thou hast unfolded the future regarding the bear; for thou wast still in the world, and didst see the things come to pass. Then thou speakest to me of the leopard; and whence canst thou know this, for thou art already gone to thy rest? Who instructed thee to announce these things, but he who formed thee in thy mother’s womb? That is God, thou sayest. Thou hast spoken indeed, and that not falsely. The leopard has arisen; the he-goat is come; he had smitten the ram; he hath broken his horns in pieces; he hath stamped upon him with his feet. He had been exalted by his fall; the four horns have come up from under that one. Rejoice, blessed Daniel! thou hast not been in error: all these things have come to pass. Daniel and the Revelation pages 65 -67
By what means was the image broken to pieces?
Daniel 2:34 A stone was cut without hands which smote the image, and break them to pieces
NOTE: Rome has been distinguished above all other powers for a policy of craft, by means of which it brought the nations under its control. This is true of both pagan and papal Rome. Thus by peace it destroyed many. Finally, in the person of one of its governors, Rome stood up against the prince of princes, by giving sentence of death against Jesus Christ. “But he shall be broken without hands.” This parallels the prophecy of Daniel 2:34 where the stone “cut out without hands destroy all earthly powers.
Daniel 8:26-27 “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days (27) And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterwards I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
Note: The vision of the evening and the morning refers to the period of 2300 days. In view of the long period of oppression, and the calamities which were to come upon his people; Daniel fainted and was sick certain days. He was astonished at the vision, but did not understand it. Why did not Gabriel at this time fully carry out his instructions, and cause Daniel to understand the vision? Undoubtedly because Daniel had received all that he could bear. Further instructions are therefore deferred to a future time.
What became of the various parts of the images?
Daniel 2: 35 The iron, clay, brass, silver, gold broke in pieces, the stone that smote it became a great mountain.
Psalm1:4 The ungodly are like the chaff which the wind driveth away
Hosea 13:1-3 They shall be as the morning cloud, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor
Psalm 37:10,36 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be
Isaiah 2:2-3 It shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be in the top of the mountains
Note: In Revelation 17:1, 15 waters symbolize “people and multitudes and nation and tongues.” In the old Testament, the Babylonian Empire made up of numerous people and tongues (or languages), called a destroying mountain. See Jeremiah 51:24, 25. Christ’s future kingdom, including g its numerous happy and loyal nations and peoples is also called a mountain in Daniel 2:35, 44, 45
Its Nature. The vision opposes the stone to the statue by having being thrown against the latter. The verb “strike” employed in Daniel 2:35 suggests a struggle, a clash between the two orders. The Kingdom set up by God is not an offshoot of human kingdoms. All the human kingdoms have been “broken to pieces” (verse 35), destroyed and completely crushed (verse 44), “no place was found for them”
The new kingdom has nothing to do with its predecessors, even the clay being destroyed along with the iron.
The essential difference lies in the fact that it comes from elsewhere: the stone carved out of the mountain changes back, its mission accomplished, to a ‘great mountain’ (verse 35). The coincidence between the origin and the outcome implicitly testifies to the kingdom’s divine nature. Nothing of the old order remains.
Daniel and the interpretation
With what words did Daniel begin the interpretation of the dream?
Daniel 2:37-38 For the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom
Jeremiah 27:6-7 I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, to serve him
By what is this kingdom of Babylon represented in the great image?
Daniel 2:38 Thou art this head of gold
The Kingdom of Babylon, which finally developed into the nation represented by the golden head of the great historic image, was founded by Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah, more than two thousand years before Christ. “Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel(“Babylon,” ), and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Genesis 10:8-10.
The Babylonian Empire rose to power under the general who also became King, Nabopolassar. When he died in 604 B.C his son Nebuchadnezzar became king.
The “head of gold,” the first kingdom, represents then the kingdom of Babylon from the beginning of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C.E to its fall in 539B.C.E.
By what is the Medes and Persians, generally known as the Persian Empire, represented in the great image?
Daniel 2: 32 The Breast and arms of silver
Medo-Persian Kingdom.–The succeeding kingdom, Medo-Persia, answered to the breast and arms of silver of the great image. It was to be inferior to the preceding kingdom. In what respect inferior? Not in power, for it conquered Babylon. Not in extent, for Cyrus subdued all the East from the AEgean Sea to the River Indus, and thus erected a more extensive empire. But it was inferior in wealth, luxury, and magnificence.
Viewed from a Scriptural standpoint, the principal event under the Babylonian Empire was the captivity of the children of Israel; under the Medo-Persian kingdom it was the restoration of Israel to their own land. At the taking of Babylon, Cyrus, as an act of courtesy assigned the first place in the kingdom to his uncle, Darius, in 538 B.C. But two years afterward Darius died, leaving Cyrus sole monarch of the empire. In this year, which closed Israel’s seventy years of captivity, Cyrus issued his famous decree for the return of the Jews and the rebuilding of their temple. This was the first installment of the great decree for the restoration and building again of Jerusalem (Ezra 6: 14), which was completed in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, 457 B.C., a date of much importance, as will hereafter be shown.
By what is the Greek, or Macedonian Empire, which succeeded the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, represented in the image?
Daniel 2: 39 His Belly and thighs of brass
NOTE: That the Empire which replaced the Persian was the Greek is clearly stated in Daniel 8:5-8, 20,21
What is said of the fourth kingdom?
Daniel 2:40 The fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces
NOTE: The Lion- In the vision of Daniel 7, the first beast seen by the prophet was a lion. For the use of the Lion as a symbol read Jeremiah 4: 7, 50:17, 43, 44. The Lion as first seen in the vision before us had eagle’s wings. This symbolic use of wings is impressively described in Habbakuk 1:6-8 where it is said that the Chaldeans should “fly as the eagle that hastened to eat.
From these symbols we may easily deduce that Babylon was a kingdom of great strength, and that under Nebuchadnezzar, its conquests were extended with great rapidity. But there came a time when the wings were plucked. It no longer rushed upon its prey like a eagle. The boldness and spirit of the lion were gone. A man’s heart, weak, timorous and faint took the place of a lion’s strength. Such was the case with the nation during the closing years of its history, when it had become enfeebled and effeminate through wealth and luxury.
NOTE: The Bear- As in the image of Daniel 2; so in this series of symbols a marked deterioration is noticed as we descend from one kingdom to another, the silver of the breast and arm is inferior to the gold of the head. The bear is inferior to the Lion; Medo Persia fell short of Babylon in wealth, magnificence, and brilliance.
The bear raised itself up on one side. The kingdom was composed of two nationalities, the Medes and the Persians. The same fact is represented by the two horns of the ram in Daniel 8. Of these horns it is said that the higher came up last, and of the bear that it raised itself up on one side. This was fulfilled by the Persian division of the kingdom, for although it came up last, it attained the brighter eminence, becoming a dominant influence in the nation which were especially oppressed by Medo-Persians. The command “Arise, devour much flesh” would naturally refer to the stimulus given to the Medes and Persians by the overthrow of these provinces. The character of the power is well represented by a bear. The Medes and Persians were cruel and rapacious, robbers and spoilers of the people. This Medo-Persian kingdom continued from the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus to the battle of Arbela in 331 B.C a period of 207 years.
NOTE: Leopard- The third kingdom, Grecia, is here represented by the symbol of a leopard. Its wings upon the lion signified rapidity of conquest; they would signify the same here. The leopard itself is a sure- footed beast, but this was not sufficient to represent the career of the nation here symbolized. It must have wings in the leopard must have four. This would denote unprecedented celebrity of movement, which we find to be a historical fact in the Grecian kingdom. The conquests of Grecia under Alexander had no parallel in ancient times for suddenness and rapidity. His military achievements are summarized by W.W. Tann “He was a master in the combination of various arms; he taught the world the advantages of campaigning in winter, the value of pressing pursuit to the utmost an the principle of ‘march divided fight united’ He marched usually in two divisions, one conducting the impediments and his own (division) travelling light; his speed of movement was extra-ordinary. It is said that he attributed his military success to ‘never putting anything off.’ The enormous distances traversed in unknown country imply a very high degree of organizing ability; in ten years he had only two serious breakdowns…Had a lesser man attempted what he achieved and failed, we should have heard enough of hopeless military difficulties of the undertaking.’
The beast had also four heads. The Grecian Empire maintained its unity but little longer than the lifetime of Alexander. After his brilliant career ended in a fever induced by a drunken debauch, the empire was divided among his four leading generals. Cassander had Macedonia and Greece in the west; Lysimachus had Thrace and the parts of Asia on the Hellespont and Bosphorous in the north Ptolemy had Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria in the South, and Seleucus had Syria and all the rest of Alexander’s dominion in the east. By the year 301 B.C with the death of Antigonus, the division of the kingdom of Alexander into four parts was completed by his generals. These divisions were denoted by the four heads of the leopard.
Thus accurately were the words of the prophets fulfilled. As Alexander left no available successor, why did not the huge empire break up in to countless petty fragments? why into just four parts, and no more? for reasons that the prophecy foresaw and foretold. The leopard had four heads, the rough goat four horns, the kingdom was to have four divisions; and thus it was. (See more fully the comments on Daniel 8) DANIEL AND REVELATION PG 107-109
What scripture shows that the Roman emperors ruled the world?
Luke 2:1 There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the world should be taxed.
NOTE: A Dreadful Beast: Inspiration finds no beast in nature to symbolize the power here illustrated. No additional hoofs, heads, horns, wings, scales, teeth, or nail to any beast found in nature will answer. This power is diverse from all the other, and the symbol is wholly different from anything found in the animal kingdom. The foundation for a volume is laid in verse 7, but for lack of space we are compelled to treat it briefly here.
The beast corresponds to the fourth division of the great image- the legs of iron. In the comment on Daniel 2:40, are give some reasons for believing this power to be Rome. The same reasons are applicable to the present prophecy. How accurately Rome answered to the iron portion of the images? How accurately it answers to the beast before us? in the dread and terror which it inspired, and in its great strength, it answered admirably to the prophetic description. The world had never seen its equal. It devoured as with iron teeth, and broke in pieces all that stood in its way. It grinded the nations into the dust beneath its brazen feet. It had ten horns, which are explained in verse 24 to be ten kings, or kingdoms, which should arise out of this empire. As already noticed in comments on Daniel 2, Rome was divided into ten kingdoms. These divisions have ever since been spoken of as the ten kingdoms of the Roman Empire.
Note: Daniel considered the horns – A strange movement appeared among them. Another horn, at first little, but afterward more stout than its fellows, thrust itself up. It was not content quietly to find a place of its own, and fill it. It must thrust aside of the other, and usurp their places. Three kingdoms were thus plucked up.
Note: A little horn among the ten – This little horn, as we shall have occasion to notice more fully hereafter, was the papacy. The three horns plucked up by the roots represented the Heruli, Ostrogoths, and the Vandals. The reason for their removal was their opposition to the teachings and claim of the papal hierarchy. “In this hour were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things” – fit emblems of the shrewdness, penetration and arrogant claims of an apostate religious organization.
Man’s failure to unite nations
What was indicated by the mixture of clay and iron in the feet and toes of the image?
Daniel 2:41 The feet and toes, the kingdom shall be divided part of potter’s clay and part iron
Note: The barbarian tribes that overran the Roman Empire formed the kingdom which developed into the nations of modern Europe.
Note: Little horn to make war with the saints – The amazing wrath of this little horn against the saints particularly attracted the attention of Daniel. The rise of the ten horns or the division of Rome in to ten kingdoms, between A.D 351 and 476, has already been notified in comments on Daniel 2:41. As these horns denote kingdoms, the little horn must denote a kingdom also, yet not of the same nature, because it was diverse from the others. They were political kingdoms. Now we have but to inquire if, since A.D 476, any kingdom has risen among the ten divisions of the Roman Empire which was diverse from them all, and if so, what one? The answer is yes the spiritual kingdom of the papacy. It answers to the symbol in every particular, as we shall see as we proceed.
Note: Daniel beheld this power making war upon the saints. Has such a war been waged by the papacy? Millions of martyrs answer yes. Witness the cruel persecutions of the Waldenses, the Albiganses and Protestants in general by the papal power.
Were any efforts to be made to reunite the divided empire of Rome?
Daniel 2:42-43 Iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another
Note: The Seven Trumpets– The subjects of the seven trumpets is resumed. These trumpets occupy the rest of this chapter and all of Revelation 9. The blowing of the trumpets by the seven angels come as a complement oto the prophecy of Daniel 2 and 7, beginning with the breaking up of the Roman Empire into its ten divisions. In the first four trumpets, we have a description of the special events which marked Rome’s fall. (Daniel and the Revelation pg 475)
Note: Age of this power-There is good evidence in the prophecy to show that the governments symbolized by the two horned beast is introduced in the early part of its career; that is, while a youthful power. John words are: “I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb.” Why does not John simply say, “He had two horns?” why does he add “like a lamb” showing that it is not only of an innocent and harmless demeanour, but also that it is a youthful power; for the horns of a lamb are horns that have barely begun to grow.
Bear in mind that by the preceding argument on chronology our gaze is fixed on the year 1798, when the power symbolized was then youthful. What notable power was at that time coming into prominence, but still in its youth? England was not, nor was France, nor Russia, nor any European power. For a young and rising power at the epoch we are obliged to turn our eyes to the New World. But as soon as we turn them in that direction, they may rest inevitably upon the United States as the power in question. No other power west of the United States fits the description.
Location of the two–horned Beast – A single declaration of the prophecy is sufficient to guide us to important and correct conclusions on this point. John calls it “another beast.” It therefore is no part of that which is intended by that beast. This is fatal to the claim of those who avoid the application of this symbol to the United States by saying that it denotes some phase of the papacy; for such a case it would be a part of the preceding, or leopard beast.
Since this is ‘another beast coming up out of the earth’ it must be found in some territory not convened by any other symbol respecting the application of which there is scarcely any room for doubt.
But there is a mighty nation in the western Hemisphere worthy, as we have seen, of being mentioned in prophecy, which is not yet brought in. There is one symbol remaining whose application has not yet been made. All the symbols but one are applied, and all the available areas of the Eastern Hemisphere are covered by the applications. Of all the symbols mentioned, one alone, the two horned beast of Revelation 13, is left. Of all the countries of the earth respecting which any reason exists why they should be mentioned in prophecy, one alone, the United States of America, remains. Does the two-horned beast represent the United States? If it does, then all the symbols find an application, and all the ground is covered. If it does not, it follows that the United States is not represented in prophecy, and the symbol of the two-horned beast is left without a nation to which it can apply. But the first of these suppositions is not probable, and the second is not possible.
Another consideration pointing to the location of this power is drawn from the fact that John saw it arise from the earth. If the sea, from which the leopard beast arose (Revelation 13: 1) denotes peoples, nations, and multitudes (Revelation 17: 15), the earth would suggest, by contrast, a new and previously unoccupied territory. By exclusion from Eastern continents, and by looking to territory not previously known to civilization, we turn of necessity to the Western Hemisphere.
Note:Rome the Last Universal Empire.–With Rome fell the last of the world’s universal empires. Heretofore it was possible for one nation, rising superior to its neighbors in prowess, bravery, and the science of war, to consolidate them into one vast empire. But when Rome fell, such possibilities forever passed away. The iron was mixed with clay, and lost the power of cohesion. No man or combination of men can again consolidate the fragments. This point is so well set forth by another that we quote his words: “From this, its divided state, the first strength of the empire departed–but not as that of the others had done. No other kingdom was to succeed it, as it had the three which went before it. It was to continue, in this tenfold division, until the kingdom of the stone smote it, upon its feet; broke them in pieces, and scattered them as the wind does ‘the chaff of the summer threshing-floor!’ Yet, through all this time, a portion of its strength was to remain. And so the prophet say, ‘And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. Verse 42. . . . Time and again men have dreamed of rearing on these dominions one mighty kingdom. Charlemagne tried it. Charles V tried it. Louis XIV tried it. Napoleon tried it. But neither succeeded. A single verse of prophecy was stronger than all their host. . . ‘Partly strong, and partly broken,’ was the prophetic description. And such, too, has been the historic fact concerning them. . . . Ten kingdoms were formed out of it; and ‘broken,’ as then it was, it still continues–i.e., ‘partly broken.’ . . . It is ‘partly strong’–i.e., it retains, even in its broken state, enough of its iron strength to resist all attempts to mold its part together. ‘This shall not be,’ says the word of God. ‘This has not been,’ replies the book of history.
“But then, men may say, ‘Another plan remains. If force cannot avail, diplomacy and reasons of state may–we will try them. And so the prophecy foreshadows this when it says, ‘They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men’–i.e., marriages shall be formed, in hope thus to consolidate their power, and, in the end, to unite these divided kingdoms into one.
“And shall this device succeed?–No. The prophet answers: ‘They shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.’ And the history of Europe, is but a running commentary on the exact fulfillment of these words. From the time of Canute until the present age, it has been the policy of the reigning monarchs, the beaten path which they have trodden, in order to reach a mightier scepter and a wider sway. . . . Napoleon . . . sought to reach by alliance, what he could not gain by force, i.e., to build up one mighty, consolidated empire. And did he succeed?–Nay. The very power with which he was allied, proved his destruction, in the troops of Blucher, on the field of Waterloo! The iron would not mingle with clay.”
But Napoleon was not the last to try the experiment. Numerous European wars followed the efforts of the Little Corporal. To avert future conflicts, benevolent rulers resorted to the expedient of intermarriage to ensure peace, until by the opening of the twentieth century it was asserted that every ranking hereditary ruler of Europe was related to the British royal family. World War I showed the futility of these attempts. Daniel and the Revelation pages 60-61.
Note: Our kingdom is not of this world. We are waiting for our Lord from heaven to come to earth to put down all authority and power, and set up His everlasting kingdom. Earthly powers are shaken. We need not, and cannot, expect union among the nations of the earth. Our position in the image of Nebuchadnezzar is represented by the toes, in a divided state, and a crumbling material, that will not hold together. Prophecy shows us that the great day of God is right upon us. It hasteth greatly. Testimonies Vol. 1 pg 360- 361
What is to take place in the days of these kingdoms?
Daniel 2:44 In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed
Daniel 2:28 The God in heaven maketh known to the king what shall be in the latter days
Daniel 4:3, 34 His Kingdom is from generation to generation
Daniel 6:36 His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end
Daniel 7:14 There was given him dominion and a kingdom … his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed
Luke 1:32-33 He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end
Psalm 2: 2- 11 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron
Note: Iron Monarchy of Rome Gibbon, following the symbolic imagery of Daniel, thus describes this empire:
“The arms of the Republic, sometimes vanquished in battle, always victorious in war, advanced with rapid steps to the Euphrates, the Danube, the Rhine, and the ocean; and the images of gold, or silver, or brass, that might serve to represent the nations and their kings, were successively broken by the iron monarchy of Rome.” At the opening of the Christian Era, this empire took in the whole south of Europe, France, England, the greater part of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the south of Germany, Hungary, Turkey, and Greece, not to speak of its possessions in Asia and Africa. Well therefore may Gibbon say of it: “The empire of the Romans filled the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies . . . To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly.”
It will be noticed that at first the kingdom is described unqualifiedly as strong as iron. This was the period of its strength, during which it has been likened to a mighty colossus bestriding the nations, conquering everything, and giving laws to the world. But this was not to continue. Daniel and the Revelation page 55.
Note: Rome Divided.–The element of weakness symbolized by the clay, pertained to the feet as well as to the toes. Rome, before its division into ten kingdoms, lost that iron vigor which it possessed to a superlative degree during the first centuries of its career. Luxury, with its accompanying effeminacy and degeneracy, the destroyer of nations as well as of individuals, began to corrode and weaken its iron sinews, and thus prepared the way for its disintegration into ten kingdoms.
The iron legs of the image terminate in feet and toes. To the toes, of which there were of course ten, our attention is called by the explicit mention of them in the prophecy. The kingdom represented by that part of the image to which the toes belonged, was finally divided into ten parts. The question naturally arises, Do the ten toes of the image represent the ten final divisions of the Roman Empire? We answer, Yes. ibid page 55
Note: The image of Daniel 2 is exactly parallel with the four beasts in the vision of Daniel 7. The fourth beast represents the same kingdom as do the Iron legs of the image. The ten horns of the beast correspond naturally to the ten toes of the image. These horns are plainly declared to be ten kings which should arise. They are as much independent kingdoms as are the beasts themselves, for the beasts are spoken of in precisely the same manner – as “four kings, which shall arise.” Daniel 7:17. They denote a line of successive kings, but kings or kingdoms which existed contemporaneously, for three of them were plucked up by the little horn. The ten horns, beyond controversy, represent the ten kingdoms into which Rome was divided.
We have seen that in Daniel’s interpretation of the image he uses the words “king” and “kingdom” interchangeably, the former denoting the same as the latter. In verse 44 he says that “in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.” This shows that at the time the kingdom of God is set up, there will exist a plurality of kings. It cannot refer to the four preceding kingdoms; for it would be absurd to use such language in reference to a line of successive kings, since it would be in the days of the last king only, not in the days of any preceding, that the kingdom of God would be set up.
The Ten Kingdoms- Here, then, is a division presented; and what have we in the symbol to indicate it? – Nothing but the toes of the image. Unless they do, we are left utterly in the dark on the nature and extent of the division which the prophecy shows did exist. To suppose this would be to cast a serious imputation upon the prophecy itself. We are therefore held to the conclusion that the ten toes of the image denote the ten parts into which the Roman Empire was divided.
This division was accomplished between A.D 351 and 476. The era of this dissolution thus covered a hundred and twenty five years, from about the middle of the fourth century to the last quarter of the fifth. No historians of whom we are aware, place the beginning of this work of the dismemberment of the Roman Empire earlier than A.D. 351, and there is general agreement in assigning its close in A.D. 476. Concerning the intermediate dates, that is, the precise time from which each of the ten kingdoms that arose on the ruins of the Roman Empire is to be dated, there is some difference of views among historians. Nor does this seem strange, when we consider that there was an ear of great confusion, that the map of the Roman Empire during that time underwent many sudden and violent changes, and that paths of hostile nations charging upon its territory crossed and recrossed each other in a labyrinth of confusion. But all historians agree in this, that out of the territory of Western Rome, ten separate kingdoms were ultimately established, and we may safely assign them to the time between the dates above named; namely A.D. 351 and 476.
The ten nations which were most instrumental in breaking up the Roman Empire, and which at some time in their history held respectively portions of Roman territory as separate and independent kingdoms, may be enumerated (without respect to the time of their establishment) as follows: Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Burgundians, Heruli, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards. [*] The connection between these and some of the modern nations of Europe, is still traceable in the names, as England, Burgundy, Lombardy, France, etc.
But it may be asked, Why not suppose the two legs denote division as well as the toes? Would it not be as inconsistent to say that the toes denote division and the legs do not, as to say that the legs denote division and the toes do not? We answer that the prophecy itself must govern our conclusions in this matter; for though it says nothing of division in connection with the legs, it does introduce the subject of division as we come to the feet and toes. The record says, “Whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided.” No division could take place, or at least none is said to have taken place, until the weakening element of the clay is introduced; and we do not find this until we come to the feet and toes. But we are not to understand that the clay denotes one division and the iron the other; for after the long-existing unity of the kingdom was broken, no one of the fragments was broken, no one of the fragments was a strong as the original iron, but all were in a state of weakness denoted by the mixture of iron and clay.
The conclusion is inevitable, therefore, that the prophet has here stated the cause for the effect. The introduction of the weakness of the clay element, as we come to the feet, resulted in the division of the kingdom into ten parts, as represented by the ten toes; and this result, or division, is more than intimated in the sudden mention of a plurality of contemporaneous kings. Therefore, while we find no evidence that the legs denote division, but serious objections against such a view, we do find good reason for supposing that the toes denote division, as here claimed.Daniel and the Revelation pages 54-59
In what announcement in the New Testament is the establishment the King of God made known?
Revelation 11:15-17 The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever
Isaiah 27:13 That great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come… and worship the Lord
Revelation 16:16-17 He gathered them together into a place called in Hebrew, Armageddon
Revelation 12:10-11 Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God
Note:The opening of this heavenly temple, or the beginning of the service in its second apartment, marks the commencement of the sounding of the seventh angel. (Revelation 11: 15, 19.) The work performed therein is the foundation of the third angel’s message of Revelation 14,–the last message of mercy to a perishing world. This subject of the sanctuary renders harmonious and clear past prophetic fulfillments which are otherwise involved in impenetrable obscurity. It gives a definite idea of the position and work of our great High Priest, and brings out the plan of salvation in its distinctive and beautiful features. It reins us up, as no other subject does, to the realities of the judgment, and shows the preparation we need to be able to stand in the coming day. It shows us that we are in the waiting time, and puts us upon our watch, for we do not know how soon the work will be finished, and our Lord appear. Watch, lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.
After stating the great events connected with our Lord’s mission here upon the earth, the prophet in the last part of Daniel 9: 27 speaks of the soon- following destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman power; and finally of the destruction of that power itself, called in the margin “the desolator.” ibid page 223.
Note:The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom “of our Lord and of His Christ.” His priestly robes are to be laid aside for royal vesture. The work of mercy will be finished and the probation of the human race ended. Then he that is filthy is beyond hope of cleansing; and he that is holy is beyond the danger of falling. All cases are forever decided. From that time on until Christ comes in the clouds of heaven,the nations are broken as with a rod of iron, and dashed in pieces like a potter’s vessel, by an unparalleled time of trouble. There will be a series of divine judgments upon men who have rejected God. Then shall the Lord Jesus Christ be revealed from heaven, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.” 2 Thessalonians 1: 8. (See also Revelation 11: 15; 22: 11, 12.)
Momentous are the events introduced by the standing up of Michael. He stands up, or takes the kingdom, some length of time before He returns personally to this earth. How important, then, that we have a knowledge of His position, that we may be able to trace the progress of His work, and understand when that thrilling moment draws near which ends His intercession in behalf of mankind, and fixes the destiny of all forever.
But how are we to know this? How are we to determine what is taking place in the sanctuary above? God has been so good as to place in our hands the means of knowing this. He has told us that when certain great events take place on earth, important decisions which synchronize with them are being made in heaven. By these things which are seen, we thus learn of things that are unseen. As we “look through nature up to nature’s God,” so through terrestrial phenomena and events we trace great movements in the heavenly kingdom. When the king of the north shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain, then Michael our Lord stands up, or receives from His Father the kingdom, preparatory to His return to this earth. Or it might be expressed in words like these: Then our Lord ceases His work as out great High Priest, and the probation of the world is finished. The great prophecy of the 2300 days gives us the definite beginning of the final division of the work in the sanctuary in heaven. The verse before us gives us data whereby we can discover approximately the time of its close.
Time of Trouble.–In connection with the standing up of Michael, there occurs a time of trouble such as never was. In Matthew 24: 21 we read of a period of tribulation such as never was before it, nor should be after it. This tribulation, fulfilled in the oppression and slaughter of the church by the papal power, is already past; while the time of trouble of Daniel 12: 1 is still future, according to the view we take. How can there be two times of trouble, many years apart, each of them greater than any that had been before it, or should be after it?
To avoid difficulty here, let this distinction be carefully noticed: The tribulation spoken of in Matthew is tribulation upon the church. Christ is there speaking to His disciples, and of His disciples in coming time. They were the ones involved, and for their sake the days of tribulation were to be shortened. (Matthew 24: 22.) The time of trouble mentioned in Daniel is not a time of religious persecution, but of international calamity. There has been nothing like it since there was–not a church, but–a nation. This is the last trouble to come upon the world in its present state. In Matthew there is reference made to time beyond that tribulation; for after it is past, the people of God shall never go through another period of suffering like it. But there is no reference here in Daniel to future time after the trouble here mentioned, for it closes this world’s history. It includes the seven last plagues of Revelation 16, and culminates in the revelation of the Lord Jesus, coming in clouds of flaming fire, to visit destruction upon His enemies. But out of this tribulation everyone shall be delivered who shall be found written in the book–the book of life; “for in Mount Zion . . . shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Joel 2: 32.