“VERSE 1. 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.”

This is the same Belshazzar mentioned in chapter 5. Chronologically, therefore, this chapter precedes chapter 5; but chronological order has been disregarded in order that the historical part of the book might stand by itself, and the prophetic part, on which we now enter, might not be interrupted by writings of that nature.

“VERSE 2. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”

All Scripture language is to be taken literally, unless there exists some good reason for supposing it to be figurative; and all that is figurative is to be interpreted by that which is literal. That the language here used is symbolic, is evident from verse 17, which reads, “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth.” And to show that kingdoms are intended, and not merely individual kings, the angel continues, “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom.” And further, in the explanation of verse 23, the angel said, “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth.” These beasts are therefore symbols of four great kingdoms; and the circumstances under which they arose, and the means by which their elevation was accomplished, as represented in the prophecy, are symbolic also. The symbols introduced are, the four winds, the sea, four great beasts, ten horns, and another horn which had eyes and a mouth, and rose up in war against God and his people. We have now to inquire what they denote. Winds, in symbolic language, denote strife, political commotion, and war. Jer.25:31-33: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth.” Here the prophet speaks of a controversy which the Lord is to have with all nations, when the wicked shall be given to the sword, and the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth to the other; and the strife and commotion which produces all this destruction is called a great whirlwind. That winds denote strife and war is further evident from a consideration of the vision itself; for as the result of the striving of the winds, kingdoms arise and fall; and these events are accomplished through political strife. The Bible definition of sea, or waters, when used as a symbol, is peoples, and nations, and tongues. In proof of this, see Rev.17:15, where it is expressly so declared. The definition of the symbol of the four beasts is given to Daniel ere the close of the vision. Verse 17: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth.” The field of the vision is thus definitely opened before us.

“VERSE 4. 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 stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.”

As these beasts denote four kings, or kingdoms, we inquire, What four? Where shall we commence to enumerate? These beasts do not rise all at once, but consecutively, as they are spoken of as first, second, etc.; and the last one is in existence when all earthly scenes are brought to an end by the final Judgment. Now, from the time of Daniel to the end of this world’s history, there were to be but four universal kingdoms, as we learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image in chapter 2. Daniel was still living under the same kingdom which he had declared, in his interpretation of the king’s dream, about sixty-five years before, to be the head of gold. The first beast of this vision must therefore denote the same as the head of gold of the great image, namely, the kingdom of Babylon, and the other beasts the succeeding kingdoms shown by that image. But if this vision covers essentially the same ground as the image of chapter 2, the query may arise why it is given; why was not the vision of chapter 2 sufficient? We answer, The ground is passed over again and again that additional characteristics may be brought out, and additional facts and features may be presented. It is thus that we have “line upon line.” Here earthly governments are viewed as represented in the light of Heaven. Their true character is shown by the symbol of wild and ravenous beasts. At first the lion had eagle’s wings, denoting the rapidity with which Babylon extended its conquests under Nebuchadnezzar. At this point in the vision a change had taken place; it wings had been plucked. It no longer flew like an eagle upon its prey. The boldness and spirit of the lion were gone. A man’s heart, weak, timorous, and faint, had taken its place. Such was emphatically the case with the nation during the closing years of its history, when it had become enfeebled and effeminate through wealth and luxury.

“VERSE 5. 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.”

As in the great image of chapter 2, so in this series of symbols a marked deterioration will be noticed as we descend from one kingdom to another. The silver of the breast and arms was inferior to the gold of the head. The bear was inferior to the lion. Medo-Persia fell short of Babylon in wealth and magnificence, and the brilliancy of its career. And now we come to additional particulars respecting this power. The bear raised itself up on one side. This kingdom was composed of two nationalities, the Medes and Persians. The same fact is represented by the two horns of the ram of chapter 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; and this was fulfilled by the Persian division of the kingdom, which came up last, but attained the higher eminence, becoming the controlling influence in the nation. (See on chapter 8:3.) The three ribs perhaps signify the three provinces of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which were especially ground down and oppressed by this power. Their saying unto it, “Arise, devour much flesh,” would naturally refer to the stimulus given to the Medes and the Persians by the overthrow of these provinces, to plan and undertake more extensive conquests. The character of the power is well represented by a bear. The Medes and the Persians were cruel and rapacious, robbers and spoilers of the people. As already noticed in the exposition of chapter 2, this kingdom dated from the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus, B.C.538, and continued to the battle of Arbela, B.C.331, a period of 207 years.

“VERSE 6. 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.”

The third kingdom, Grecia, is represented by this symbol. If wings upon the lion signified rapidity of conquest, they would signify the same here. The leopard itself is a swift-footed beast, but this was not sufficient to represent the career of the nation which it symbolized in this respect; it must have wings in addition. Two wings, the number the lion had, were not sufficient, it must have four; this would denote unparalleled celerity of movement, which we find to be historically true of the Grecian kingdom. The conquests of Grecia under Alexander have no parallel in historic annals for suddenness and rapidity. Rollin, Ancient History, b.15, sec.2, gives the following brief synopsis of Alexander’s marches:- “From Macedonia to the Ganges, which river Alexander nearly approached, is computed at least eleven hundred leagues. Add to this the various turnings in Alexander’s marches; first, from the extremity of Cilicia, where the battle of Issus was fought, to the temple of Jupiter Ammon in Libya; and his returning from thence to Tyre, a journey of three hundred leagues at least, and as much space at least for the windings of his route in different places; we shall find that Alexander, in less then eight years, marched his army upward of seventeen hundred leagues [or more than fifty-one hundred miles], without including his return to Babylon.’ “The beast had also four heads.” The Grecian empire maintained its unity but little longer than the lifetime of Alexander. Within a few years after his brilliant career ended in a fever induced by a drunken debauch, the empire was divided among his four leading generals. Cassander had Macedon and Greece in the west; Lysimachus had Thrace and the parts of Asia on the Hellespont and Bosphorus in the north; Ptolemy received Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele Syria in the south; and Seleucus had Syria and all the rest of Alexander’s dominions in the east. These divisions were denoted by the four heads of the leopard; B.C.308. Thus accurately were the words of the prophet fulfilled. As Alexander left no available successor, why did not the huge empire break up into countless petty fragments? Why into just four parts, and no more? Because the prophecy had said that there should be four. The leopard had four heads, the rough goat four horns, the kingdom was to have four divisions; and thus it was. (See more fully on chapter 8.)

“VERSE 7. 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.”

Inspiration finds no beast in nature which it can make even the basis of a symbol to represent the power here illustrated. No addition of hoofs, heads, horns, wings, scales, teeth, or nails to any beast found in nature, would answer. This power was diverse from all the others and the symbol wholly nondescript. The foundation for a volume is laid in verse 7, just quoted; but we are compelled to treat it the more briefly here, because anything like a full history is entirely beyond the space that can be allowed in this brief exposition. This beast, of course, corresponds to the fourth division of the great image – the legs of iron. Under chapter 2:40 are given some reasons for supposing this power to be Rome. The same reasons are applicable to the present prophecy. How accurately Rome answered to the iron division of the image! How accurately it answers to the beast before us! In the dread and terror which it inspired, and in its exceeding strength, the world has never seen its equal. It devoured as with iron teeth, and brake in pieces; and it ground the nations into the very 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 chapter 2, Rome was divided into ten kingdoms, enumerated as follows: The Huns, the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, the Franks, the Vandals, the Suevi, the Burgundians, the Heruli, the Anglo-Saxons, and the Lombards. These divisions have ever since been spoken of as the ten kingdoms of the Roman empire. See on chapter 2:41,42; also Appendix III.

“VERSE 8. 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.”

Daniel considered the horns. Indications of a strange movement appeared among them. A little horn (at first little, but afterward more stout than its fellows) thrust itself up among them. It was not content quietly to find a place of its own, and fill it; it must thrust aside some of the others, and usurp their places. Three kingdoms were plucked up before it. This little horn, as we shall have occasion to notice more fully hereafter, was the papacy. The three horns plucked up before it were the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Vandals. And the reason why they were plucked up was because they were opposed to the teaching and claims of the papal hierarchy, and hence to the supremacy in the church of the bishop of Rome. And “in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things,” the eyes, a fit emblem of the shrewdness, penetration, cunning, and foresight of the papal hierarchy; and the mouth speaking great things, a fit symbol of the arrogant claims of the bishops of Rome.

“VERSE 9. 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. 10. 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.”

A sublimer description of a sublimer scene is not to be found in the English language. But not only on account of the grand and lofty imagery introduced should it arrest our attention; the nature of the scene itself is such as to demand most serious consideration. The Judgment is brought to view; and whenever the Judgment is mentioned, it ought to take an irresistible hold upon every mind; for all have an interest in its eternal issues. By an unfortunate translation in verse 9, a wrong idea is almost sure to be conveyed. the words cast down are from a word which in the original signifies just the opposite, namely, to set up. The word …. [r‘mah] Gesenius defines as follows: “Chald.1 To cast, to throw, Dan.3:20,21,24; 6:16. 2. To set, to place, e.g., thrones, Dan.7:9. Comp. Rev.4:2, …. and …. No. 2.” The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, by Davidson, also gives to this word the definition “to set, to place” and refers to Dan.7:9 as an example of its use in this sense. Why this word was used to express the idea here intended may perhaps be learned from the following note found in the Cottage Bible: “Ver.9. The thrones were cast down. Wintle, ‘Were placed.’ So Boothroyd. But both come to the same meaning. The Asiatics have neither chairs nor stools, but, to receive persons of rank, ‘cast down,’ or ‘place,’ cushions round the room for seats, which seems to be here alluded to. See Matt.19:28; Rev.20:4.” Dr. Clarke says that the word “might be translated erected: so the Vulgate, positi sunt [were placed], and so all the versions.” The Septuagint has …. (etethesan), which is defined to mean “to set, put, place; to set up; to erect.” The thrones are not the thrones of earthly kingdoms, which are to be thrown down at the last day, but thrones of judgment, which are to be “placed,” or set up, in the court of God on high just before the end. The “Ancient of days,” God the Father, takes the throne of judgment. Mark the description of his person. Those who believe in the impersonality of God are obliged to admit that he is here described as a personal being; but they console themselves by saying that it is the only description of the kind in the Bible. We do not admit this latter assertion; but granting that it were true, is not one description of this kind as fatal to their theory as though it were repeated a score of times? The thousand thousands who minister unto him, and the ten thousand times ten thousand who stand before him, are not sinners arraigned before the judgment-seat, but heavenly beings who wait before him, attendant on his will. An understanding of these verses involves an understanding of the subject of the sanctuary; and to the works on this question we refer the reader. The closing up of the ministration of Christ, our great High Priest, in the heavenly sanctuary, is the work of judgment here introduced. It is an investigative judgment. The books are opened, and the cases of all come up for examination before the great tribunal, that it may be determined beforehand who are to receive eternal life when the Lord shall come to confer it upon his people. John, as recorded in Rev.5, had a view of this same place, and saw the same number of heavenly attendants engaged with Christ in the work of investigative judgment. Looking into the sanctuary (as we learn from Rev.4 that he was doing), in chapter 5:11
he says, “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” It will appear from the testimony of chapter 8:14, that this solemn work is even now transpiring in the sanctuary above.

“VERSE 11. 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. 12. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.”

There are persons who believe in a thousand years’ triumph of the gospel and reign of righteousness over all the world before the Lord comes; and there are others who believe in probation after the Lord comes, and a mixed millennium, the immortal righteous still proclaiming the gospel to mortal sinners, and turning them into the way of salvation. But both of these systems of error are completely demolished by the verses before us.
1. The fourth terrible beast continues without change of character, and the little horn continues to utter its blasphemies, and hold its millions of votaries in the bonds of a blind superstition, till the beast is given to the burning flame; and this is not its conversion, but its destruction. (See 2Thess.2:8)
2. The life of the fourth beast is not prolonged after its dominion is gone, as were the lives of the preceding beasts. Their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season. The territory and subjects of the Babylonian kingdom still existed, though made subject to the Persians. So of the Persian kingdom in respect to Grecia, and of Grecia in respect to Rome. But what succeeds the fourth kingdom? No government or state in which mortals have any part. Its career ends in the lake of fire, and it has no existence beyond. The lion was merged into the bear; the bear into the leopard; the leopard into the fourth beast; and the fourth beast into what? Not into another beast; but it is cast into the lake of fire, under which destruction it rests till men shall suffer the second death. Then let no one talk of probation or a mixed millennium after the Lord comes. The adverb then, in the sentence, “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake,” etc., seems to refer to some particular time. The work of the investigative judgment is introduced in the previous verses; and this verse would seem to imply that while this work is going forward, and just before this power is destroyed and given to the burning flame, the little horn utters its great words against the Most High. Have we not heard them, and that, too, within a few years? Look at the decrees of the Vatican Council of 1870. What can be more blasphemous than to attribute infallibility to a mortal man? Yet in that year the world beheld the spectacle of an Ecumenical Council assembled for the purpose of deliberately decreeing that the occupant of the papal throne, the man of sin, possesses thisprerogative of God, and can not err. Can anything be more presumptuous and blasphemous? Is not this the voice of the great words which the horn spake? and is not his power ripe for the burning flame, and near its end?

“VERSE 13. 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. 14. 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.”

The scene here described is not the second advent of Christ to this earth, unless the Ancient of days is on this earth; for it is a coming to the Ancient of days. There, in the presence of the Ancient of days, a kingdom, dominion, and glory are given him. The Son of man receives his kingdom before his return to this earth. (See Luke 19:10-12 and onward.) This is a scene, therefore, which transpires in the heavenly temple, and is closely connected with that brought to view in verses 9 and 10. He receives the kingdom at the close of his priestly work in the sanctuary. The people, nations, and languages, that shall serve him, are the nations of the saved (Rev. 21:24), not the wicked nations of the earth; for these are dashed in pieces at the second advent. Some out of all the nations, tribes, and kindreds of the earth will find themselves at last in the kingdom of God, to serve him there with joy and gladness forever and ever.

“VERSE 15. Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16. 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. 17. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth. 18. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, and even forever and ever.”

No less anxious should we be than was Daniel to understand the truth of all this. And whenever we inquire with equal sincerity of heart, we shall find the Lord no less ready now than in the days of the prophet to lead to a correct knowledge of these important truths. The beasts, and the kingdoms which they represent, have already been explained. We have followed the prophet down through the course of events, even to the complete destruction of the fourth and last beast, the final subversion of all earthly governments. What next? Verse 18 tells us: “The saints shall take the kingdom.” The saints! those of all others held in low esteem in this world, despised, reproached, persecuted, cast out; those who were considered the least likely of all men ever to realize their hopes; these shall take the kingdom, and possess it forever. The usurpation and misrule of the wicked shall come to an end. The forfeited inheritance shall be redeemed. Peace shall be restored to its distracted borders, and righteousness shall reign over all the fair expanse of the renovated earth.

“VERSE 19. 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; 20. 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.”

Of the first three beasts of this series, Daniel had so clear an understanding that he had no trouble in reference to them. But he was astonished at this fourth beast, so unnatural and dreadful; for the further we come down the stream of time, the further it is necessary to depart from nature in forming symbols to represent accurately the degenerating governments of this earth. The lion is a production of nature; but it must have the unnatural addition of two wings to represent the kingdom of Babylon. The bear we also find in nature; but as a symbol of Medo-Persia an unnatural ferocity must be denoted by the insertion of three ribs into its mouth. So the leopard is a beast of nature; but fitly to represent Grecia there is a departure from nature in respect to wings, and the number of heads. But nature furnishes no symbol which can fitly illustrate the fourth kingdom. A beast the likeness of which never was seen, is taken; a beast dreadful and terrible, with nails of brass, and teeth of iron, so cruel, rapacious, and fierce that from mere love of oppression it devoured, and brake in pieces, and trampled its victims beneath its feet. Wonderful was all this to the prophet; but something still more wonderful appeared. A little horn came up, and, true to the nature of the beast from which it sprang, thrust aside three of its fellows; and lo! the horn had eyes, not the uncultivated eyes of a brute, but the keen, shrewd, intelligent eyes of a man; and, stranger yet, it had a mouth, and with that mouth it uttered proud sayings, and put forth preposterous and arrogant claims. No wonder the prophet made special inquiry respecting this monster, so unearthly in its instincts, and so fiendish in its works and ways. In the following verses some
specifications are given respecting the little horn, which enable the student of prophecy to make an application of this symbol without danger of mistake.

“VERSE 21. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22. 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.”

The wonderful 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 into ten kingdoms, between the years A.D.351 and 476, has already been noticed. (See on chapter 2:41.) As these horns denote kingdoms, the little horn must denote a kingdom also, but not of the same nature, because it was diverse from the others. They were political kingdoms. And now we have but to inquire if any kingdom has arisen among the ten kingdoms of the Roman empire since A.D.476, and yet diverse from them all; and if so, what one? The answer is, Yes; the spiritual kingdom of the papacy. This answers to the symbol in every particular, as is easily proved; and nothing else will do it. See the specifications more particularly mentioned in verse 23. Daniel beheld this horn making war upon the saints. Has such a war been waged by the papacy? Fifty million martyrs, with a voice like the sound of many waters answer, Yes. Witness the cruel persecutions of the Waldenses, the Albigenses, and Protestants in general, by the papal power. It is stated on good authority that the persecutions, massacres, and religious wars excited by the church and bishop of Rome, have occasioned the shedding of far more blood of the saints of the Most High than all the enmity, hostility and persecutions of professed heathen peoples from the foundation of the world. In verse 22 three consecutive events seem to be brought to view. Daniel, looking onward from the time when the little horn was in the height of its power to the full end of the long contest between the saints and Satan with all his agents, notes three prominent events that stand as mile-posts along the way. (1) The coming of the Ancient of days; that is, the position which Jehovah takes in the opening of the judgment scene described in verses 9,10. (2) The judgment that is given to the saints; that is, the time when the saints sit with Christ in judgment a thousand years, following the first resurrection (Rev.20:14), apportioning to the wicked the punishment due for their sins. Then the martyrs will sit in judgment upon the great antichristian, persecuting power, which, in the days of their trial, hunted them like the beasts of the desert, and poured out their blood like water. (3) The time that the saints possess the kingdom; that is, the time of their entrance upon the possession of the new earth. Then the last vestige of the curse of sin, and of sinners, root and branch,
will have been wiped away, and the territory so long misruled by the wicked powers of earth, the enemies of God’s people, will be taken by the righteous, to be held by them forever and ever. 1Cor.6:2,3; Matt.25:34.

“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. 24. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25. 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. 26. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

We have here further particulars respecting the fourth beast and the little horn. Perhaps enough has already been said respecting the fourth beast (Rome) and the ten horns, or ten kingdoms, which arose therefrom. The little horn now more particularly demands attention. As stated on verse 8, we find the fulfilment of the prophecy concerning this horn in the rise and work of the papacy. It is a matter of both interest and importance, therefore, to inquire into the causes which resulted in the development of this antichristian power. The first pastors or bishops of Rome enjoyed a respect proportionate to the rank of the city in which they resided; and for the first few centuries of the Christian era, Rome was the largest, richest, and most powerful city in the world. It was the seat of empire, the capital of the nations. “All the inhabitants of the earth belong to her,” said Julian; and Claudian declared her to be “the fountain of laws.” “If Rome is the queen of cities, why should not her pastor be the king of bishops?” was the reasoning these Roman pastors adopted. “Why should not the Roman Church be the mother of Christendom? Why should not all nations be her children, and her authority their sovereign law? It was easy,” says D’Aubigne, from whom we quote these words (“History of the Reformation,” Vol.I, chap.1), “for the ambitious heart of man to reason thus. Ambitious Rome did so.”
The bishops in the different parts of the Roman empire felt a pleasure in yielding to the bishop of Rome some portion of that honor which Rome, as the queen city, received from the nations of the earth. There was originally no dependence implied in the honor thus paid. “But,” continues D’Aubigne, “usurped power increased like an avalanche. Admonitions, at first simply fraternal, soon became absolute commands in the mouth of the pontiff. The Western bishops favored this encroachment of the Roman pastors, either from jealousy of the Eastern bishops, or because they preferred submitting to the supremacy of a pope rather than to the dominion of a temporal power.” Such were the influences clustering around the bishop of Rome, and thus was everything tending toward his speedy elevation to the supreme spiritual throne of Christendom. But the fourth century was destined to witness an obstacle thrown across the path of this ambitious dream. Arius, parish priest of the ancient and influential church of Alexandria, sprung his doctrine upon the world, occasioning so fierce a controversy in the Christian church that a general council was called at Nicaea, by the emperor Constantine, A.D.325, to consider and adjust it. Arius maintained “that the Son was totally and essentially distinct from the Father; that he was the first and noblest of those beings whom the Father had created out of nothing, the instrument by whose subordinate operation the Almighty Father formed the universe, and therefore inferior to the Father both in nature and dignity.” This opinion was condemned by the council, which decreed that Christ was of one and the same substance with the Father. Hereupon Arius was banished to Illyria, and his followers were compelled to give their assent to the creed composed on that occasion. (Mosheim, cent.4, part 2, chap.4: Stanley, History of the Eastern Church, p.239.) The controversy itself, however, was not to be disposed of in this summary manner, but continued for ages to agitate the Christian world, the Arians everywhere becoming the bitter enemies of the pope and of the Roman Catholic Church. From these facts it is evident that the spread of Arianism would check the influence of the Catholics; and the possession of Rome and Italy by a people of the Arian persuasion, would be fatal to the supremacy of a Catholic bishop.
But the prophecy had declared that this horn would rise to supreme power, and that in reaching this position it would subdue three kings. Some difference of opinion has existed in regard to the particular powers which were overthrown in the interest of the papacy, in reference to which the following remark by Albert Barnes seems very pertinent: “In the confusion that existed on the breaking up of the Roman empire, and the imperfect accounts of the transactions which occurred in the rise of the papal power, it would not be wonderful if it should be difficult to find events distinctly recorded that would be in all respects an accurate and absolute fulfilment of the vision. Yet it is possible to make out the fulfilment of this with a good degree of certainty in the history of the papacy.” -Notes on Daniel 7. Mr Mede supposes the three kingdoms plucked up to have been the Greeks, the Lombards, the Franks; and Sir Isaac Newton supposes they were the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Lombards, the Senate and Dukedom of Rome. Bishop Newton (Dissertation on the Prophecies, pp.217,218) states some serious objections to both these schemes. The Franks could not have been one of these kingdoms; for they were never plucked up before the papacy. The Lombards could not have been one; for they were never made subject to the popes. Says Barnes, ” I do not find, indeed, that the kingdom of the Lombards was, as is commonly stated, among the number of the temporal sovereignties that became subject to the authority of the popes.” And the Senate and Dukedom of Rome could not have been one; for they, as such, never constituted one of the ten kingdoms, three of which were to be plucked up before the little horn. But we apprehend that the chief difficulty in the application made by these eminent commentators, lay in the fact that they supposed that the prophecy respecting the exaltation of the papacy had not been fulfilled, and could not have been, till the pope became a temporal prince; and hence they sought
to find an accomplishment of the prophecy in the events which led to the pope’s temporal sovereignty. Whereas, evidently, the prophecy of verses 24,25 refers, not to his civil power, but to his power to domineer over the minds and consciences of men; and the pope reached this position, as will hereafter appear, in A.D. 538; and the plucking up of the three horns took place before this, and to make way for this very exaltation to spiritual dominion. The insuperable difficulty in the way of all attempts to apply the prophecy to the Lombards and the other powers named above is that they come altogether too late in point of time; for the prophecy deals with the arrogant efforts of the Roman pontiff to gain power, not with his endeavors to oppress and humble the nations after he had secured the supremacy. The position is here confidently taken that the three powers, or horns, plucked up before the papacy, were the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths; and this position rests upon the following statements of historians. Odoacer, the leader of the Heruli, was the first of the barbarians who reigned over the Romans. He took the throne of Italy, according to Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol.III, pp.510,515), in 476. Of his religious belief Gibbon (p.516) says: “Like the rest of the barbarians, he had been instructed in the Arian heresy; but he revered the monastic and episcopal characters, and the silence of the Catholics attests the toleration which they enjoyed.” Again he says (p.547): “The Ostrogoths, the Burgundians, the Suevi, and the Vandals, who had listened to the eloquence of the Latin clergy, preferred the more intelligible lessons of their domestic teachers; and Arianism was adopted as the national
faith of the warlike converts who were seated on the ruins of the Western empire. This irreconcilable difference of religion was a perpetual source of jealousy and hatred; and the reproach of barbarian was embittered by the more odious epithet of heretic. The heroes of the North, who had submitted, with some reluctance, to believe that all their ancestors were in hell, were astonished and exasperated to learn
that they themselves had only changed the mode of their eternal condemnation.” The reader is requested to consider carefully a few more historical statements which throw some light on the situation at this time. Stanley (History of the Eastern Church, p. 151) says: “The whole of the vast Gothic population which descended on the Roman empire, so far as it was Christian at all, held to the faith of the Alexandrian heretic. Our first Teutonic version of the Scriptures was by an Arian missionary, Ulfilas. The first conqueror of Rome, Alaric, and the first conqueror of Africa, Genseric, were Arians. Theodoric, the great king of Italy, and hero of the ‘Nibelungen Lied,’ was an Arian. The vacant place in his massive tomb at Ravenna is a witness of the vengeance which the Orthodox took on his memory, when, in their triumph, they tore down the porphyry vase in which his Arian subjects had enshrined his ashes.” Ranke, in his History of the Popes (London, edition of 1871), Vol.I, p.9, says: “But she [the church] fell, as was inevitable, into many embarrassments, and found herself in an entirely altered condition. A pagan people took possession of Britain; Arian kings seized the greater part of the remaining West; while the Lombards, long attached to Arianism, and as neighbors most dangerous and hostile, established a powerful sovereignty before the very gates of Rome. The Roman bishops, meanwhile, beset on all sides, exerted themselves with all the prudence and pertinacity which have remained their peculiar attributes, to regain the mastery, at least in the patriarchal diocese.” Machiavelli, in his History of Florence, p. 14, says: “Nearly all the wars which the northern barbarians carried on in Italy, it may be here remarked, were occasioned by the pontiffs; and the hordes with which the country was inundated, were generally called in by them.” These extracts give us a general view of the state of affairs at this time, and show us that though the hands of the Roman pontiffs might not be visibly manifest in the movements upon the political board, they constituted the power working assiduously behind the scenes to secure their own purposes. The
relation which these Arian kings sustained to the pope, from which we can see the necessity of their being overthrown to make way for papal supremacy, is shown in the following testimony from Mosheim, given in his History of the Church, cent.6, part 2, chap.2, sec.2:- “On the other hand, it is certain, from a variety of the most authentic records, that both the emperors and the nations in general were far from being disposed to bear with patience the yoke of servitude which the popes were imposing upon the Christian church. The Gothic princes set bounds to the power of these arrogant prelates in Italy, permitted none to be raised to the pontificate without their approbation, and reserved to themselves the right of judging of the legality of every new election.” An instance in proof of this statement occurs in the history of Odoacer, the first Arian king above mentioned, as related by Bower in his History of the Popes, Vol.I, p.271. When, on the death of Pope Simplicius, A.D.483, the clergy and people had assembled for the election of a new pope, suddenly Basilius, lieutenant of King Odoacer, appeared in the assembly, expressed his surprise that any such work as appointing a successor to the deceased pope should be undertaken without him, in the name of the king declared all that had been done null and void, and ordered the election to be begun anew. Certainly the horn which exercised such a restrictive power over the papal pontiff must be taken away before the pope could reach the predicted supremacy. Meanwhile, Zeno, the emperor of the East, and friend of the pope, was anxious to drive Odoacer out of Italy (Machiavelli, p.6), a movement which he soon had the satisfaction of seeing accomplished without trouble to himself, in the following manner. Theodoric had come to the throne of the Ostrogothic kingdom in Moesia and Pannonia. Being on friendly terms with Zeno, he wrote him, stating that it was impossible for him to restrain his Goths within the impoverished province of Pannonia, and asking his permission to lead them to some more favorable region, which they might conquer and possess. Zeno gave him permission to march against Odoacer, and take
possession of Italy. Accordingly, after a three years’ war, the Herulian kingdom in Italy was overthrown, Odoacer was treacherously slain, and Theodoric established his Ostrogoths in the Italian peninsula. As already stated, he was an Arian, and the law of Odoacer subjecting the election of the pope to the approval of the king, was still retained. The following incident will show how completely the papacy was in subjection to his power. The Catholics in the East, having commenced a persecution against the Arians in 523, Theodoric summoned Pope John into his presence, and thus addressed him: “If the emperor [Justin, the predecessor of Justinian] does not think fit to revoke the edict which he has lately issued against those of my persuasion [that is, the Arians], it is my firm resolution to issue the like edict against those of his [that is, the Catholics]; and to see it everywhere executed with the same rigor. Those who do not profess the faith of Nicaea are heretics to him, and those who do are heretics to me. Whatever can excuse or justify his severity to the former, will excuse the justify mine to the latter. But the emperor,” continued the king, “has none about him who dare freely and openly speak what they think, or to whom he would hearken if they did. But the great veneration which he professes for your See, leaves no room to doubt but he would hearken to you. I will therefore have you to repair forthwith to Constantinople, and there to remonstrate, both in my name and your own, against the violent measures in which that court has so rashly engaged. It is in your power to divert the emperor from them; and till you have, nay, till the Catholics [this name Theodoric applies to the Arians] are restored to the free exercise of their religion, and to all the churches from which they have been driven, you must not think of returning to Italy.” – Bower’s History of the Popes, Vol.I, p.325. The pope who was thus peremptorily ordered not to set his foot again upon Italian soil until he had carried out the will of the king, certainly could not hope for much advancement toward any kind of supremacy till that power was taken out of the way. Baronius, according to Bower, will have it that the pope sacrificed himself on this occasion, and advised the
emperor not by any means to comply with the demand the king had sent him. But Mr. Bower thinks this inconsistent, since he could not, he says, “sacrifice himself without sacrificing, at the same time, the far greater part of the innocent Catholics in the West, who were either subject to King Theodoric, or to other Arian princes in alliance with him.” It is certain that the pope and the other ambassadors were treated with severity on their return,which Bower explains on this wise: “Others arraign them all of high treason; and truly the chief men of Rome were suspected at this very time of carrying on a treasonable correspondence with the court of Constantinople, and machinating the ruin of the Gothic empire in Italy.” – Id.,p.326. The feelings of the papal party toward Theodoric may be accurately estimated, according to a quotation already given, by the vengeance which they took on his memory, when they tore from his massive tomb in Ravenna the porphyry vase in which his Arian subjects had enshrined his ashes. But these feelings are put into language by Baronius, who inveighs “against Theodoric as a cruel barbarian, as a barbarous tyrant, as an impious Arian.” But “having exaggerated with all his eloquence, and bewailed the deplorable condition of the Roman Church reduced by that heretic to a state of slavery, he comforts himself in the end, and dries up his tears, with the pious thought that the author of such a calamity died soon after, and was eternally damned!” – Bower, Vol.I, p.328; Compare Baronius’ Annals, A.D.526, p.116. While the Catholics were thus feeling the restraining power of an Arian king in Italy, they were suffering a violent persecution from the Arian Vandals in Africa. (Gibbon, chap.,37, sec.2.) Elliott, in his Horae Apocalypticae, Vol.III, p.152, note 3, says: “The Vandal kings were not only Arians, but persecutors of the Catholics: in Sardinia and Corsica, under the Roman Episcopate, we may presume, as well as in Africa.” Such was the position of affairs, when, in 533, Justinian entered upon his Vandal and Gothic wars. Wishing to secure the influence of the pope and the Catholic party, he issued that memorable decree which was to constitute the pope the head of all the churches, and from the carrying out of which, in 538, the period of papal supremacy is to be dated. And whoever will read the history of the African campaign, 533-534, and the Italian campaign, 534-538, will notice that the Catholics everywhere hailed as deliverers the army of Belisarius, the general of Justinian. The testimony of D’Aubigne (Reformation, book 1, chap.1) also throws light upon the undercurrents which gave shape to outward movements in these eventful times. He says: “Princes whom these stormy times often shook upon their thrones, offered their protection if Rome would in its turn support them. They conceded to her the spiritual authority, provided she would make a return in secular power. They were lavish of the souls of men, in the hope that she would aid them against their enemies. The power of the hierarchy, which was ascending, and the imperial power, which was declining, leaned thus one upon the other, and by this alliance accelerated their twofold destiny. Rome could not lose by it. An edict of Theodosius II and of Valerian III proclaimed the Roman bishop ‘rector of the whole church.’ Justinian published a similar decree.” But no decree of this nature could be carried into effect until the Arian horns which stood in its way were overthrown. The Vandals fell before the victorious arms of Belisarius in 534; and the Goths received a crushing blow in connection with their unsuccessful siege of Rome in 538. (Gibbon, chap.41.) Procopius relates that the African war was undertaken by Justinian for the relief of the Christians (Catholics) in that quarter; and that when he expressed his intention in this respect, the prefect of the palace came very near dissuading him from his purpose; but a dream appeared to him in which he was bidden “not to shrink from the execution of his design; for by assisting the Christians he would overthrow the power of the Vandals.” – Evagrius’ Eccl.Hist., book 4, chap.16. Listen again to Mosheim: “It is true that the Greeks who had received the decrees of the Council of Nicaea [that is, the Catholics], persecuted and oppressed the Arians wherever their
influence and authority could reach; but the Nicenians, in their turn, were not less rigorously treated by their adversaries [the Arians], particularly in Africa and Italy, where they felt, in a very severe manner, the weight of the Arian power, and the bitterness of hostile resentment. The triumphs of Arianism were, however, transitory, and its prosperous days were entirely eclipsed when the Vandals were driven out of Africa, and the Goths out of Italy, by the arms of Justinian.” – Mosheim’s Church History, cent.6, part 2, chap.5, sec.3. Elliot, in his Horae Apocalypticae, makes two enumerations of the ten kingdoms which rose out of the Roman empire, varying the second list from the first according to the changes which had taken place at the later period to which the second list applies. His first list differs from that mentioned in remarks on chap.2:42, only in that he put the Alemanni in place of the Huns, and the Bavarians in place of the Lombards, a variation which can be easily accounted for. But out of this list he names the three that were plucked up before the papacy in these words: “I might cite three that were eradicated from before the pope out of the list first given; namely, the Heruli under Odoacer, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths.” – Vol.III, p.152, note 1. Although he prefers the second list, in which he puts the Lombards instead of the Heruli, the foregoing is good testimony that if we make the enumeration of the ten kingdoms while the Heruli were a ruling power, they were one of the horns which were plucked up. From the historical testimony above cited, we think it clearly established that the three horns plucked up were the powers named; viz., the Heruli in A.D.493, the Vandals in 534, and the Ostrogoths in 553. The effective opposition of the Ostrogoths to the decree of Justinian, however, it is to be noted, ceased when they were driven from Rome by Belisarius in 538. 1. “He shall speak great words against the Most High.” Has the papacy done this? Look at such self-approved titles of the pope as “Vicegerent of the Son of God,” and “Lord God, the Pope.” – See gloss on the Extravagantes of Pope John
XXII, title 14, ch.4, “Declaramus.” Said Pope Nicholas to Emperor Michael, “The pope can never be bound or loosed by the secular power, since it is plain that he was called God by the pious prince Constantine; . . . and it is manifest that God can not be judged by man.” – Decreti Prima Pars. Distinctio XCVI, Caput 8. Is there need of bolder blasphemy than this? Note also the adulation the popes have received from their followers without rebuke. Lord Anthony Pucci, in the fifth Lateran, said to the pope, “The sight of thy divine majesty does not a little terrify me; for I am not ignorant that all power both in heaven and in earth is given unto you; that the prophetic saying is fulfilled in you, ‘All the kings of the earth shall worship him, and nations shall serve him.'” (See Oswald’s Kingdom Which Shall Not Be Destroyed, pp.97-99.) Again, Dr. Clarke, on verse 25, says: “‘He shall speak as if he were God.’ So St. Jerome quotes from Symmachus. To none can this apply so well or so fully as to the popes of Rome. They have assumed infallibility, which belongs only to God. They profess to forgive sins, which belongs only to God. They profess to open and shut heaven, which belongs only to God. They profess to be higher than all the kings of the earth, which belongs only to God. And they go beyond God in pretending to loose whole nations from their oath of allegiance to their kings, when such kings do not please them. And they go against God when they give indulgences for sin. This is the worst of all blasphemies.”
2. “And shall wear out the saints of the Most High.” Has the papacy done this? For the mere information of any student of church history, no answer need here be given. All know that for long years the papal church has pursued its relentless work against the true followers of God. Chapter after chapter might be given, would our limited space permit. Wars, crusades, massacres, inquisitions, and persecutions of all kinds, – these were their weapons of extinction. Scott’s Church History says: “No computation can reach the numbers who have been put to death, in different ways, on account of their maintaining the profession of the gospel, and opposing the corruptions of the Church of Rome. A million of poor Waldenses perished in France; nine hundred thousand orthodox Christians were slain in less than thirty years after the institution of the order of the Jesuits. The Duke of Alva boasted of having put to death in the Netherlands thirty-six thousand by the hand of the common executioner during the space of a few years. The Inquisition destroyed, by various tortures, one hundred and fifty thousand within thirty years. These are a few specimens, and but a few, of those which history has recorded. But the total amount will never be known till the earth shall disclose her blood, and no more cover her slain.” Commenting on the prophecy that the little horn should “wear out the saints of the Most High,” Barnes, in his Notes on Dan.7:25, says: “Can any one doubt that this is true of the papacy? The Inquisition, the persecutions of the Waldenses, the ravages of the Duke of Alva, the fires of Smithfield, the tortures of Goa, – indeed, the whole history of the papacy, may be appealed to in proof that this is applicable to that power. If anything could have worn out the saints of the Most High, – could have cut them off from the earth so that evangelical religion would have become extinct, – it would have been the persecutions of the papal power. In year 1208 a crusade was proclaimed by Pope Innocent III against the Waldenses and Albigenses, in which a million men perished. From the beginning of the order of Jesuits in the year 1540 to 1580, nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred and fifty thousand perished by the Inquisition in thirty years. In the Low Countries fifty thousand persons were hanged, beheaded, burned, or buried alive, for the crime of heresy, within the space of thirty-eight years from the edict of Charles V against the Protestants to the peace of Chateau Cambresis in 1559. Eighteen thousand suffered by the hand of the executioner in the space of five years and a half, during the administration of the Duke of Alva. Indeed, the slightest acquaintance with the history of the papacy will convince any one that what is here said of ‘making war with the saints’ (verse 21), and ‘wearing out the saints of the Most High’ (verse 25), is strictly applicable to that power, and will accurately
describe its history.” (See Buck’s Theological Dictionary, art., Persecutions: Oswald’s Kingdom, etc., pp.107-133; Dowling’s History of Romanism; Fox’s Book of Martyrs: Charlotte Elizabeth’s Martyrology; The Wars of the Huguenots; The Great Red Dragon, by Anthony Gavin, formerly one of the Roman Catholic priests of Saragossa, Spain; Histories of the Reformation, etc.) To parry the force of this damaging testimony from all history, papists deny that the church has ever persecuted any one; it has been the secular power; the church has only passed decision upon the question of heresy, and then turned the offenders over to the civil power, to be dealt with according to the pleasure of the secular court. The impious hypocrisy of this claim is transparent enough to make it an absolute insult to common sense. In those days of persecution, what was the secular power? – Simply a tool in the hand of the church, and under its control, to do its bloody bidding. And when the church delivered its prisoners to the executioners to be destroyed, with fiendish mockery it made use of the following formula: “And we do leave thee to the secular arm, and to the power of the secular court; but at the same time do most earnestly beseech that court so to moderate its sentence as not to touch thy blood, nor to put thy life in any sort of danger.” And then, as intended, the unfortunate victims of popish hate were immediately executed. (Geddes’s Tracts on Popery; View of the Court of Inquisition in Portugal, p.446; Limborch, Vol.II, p.289.) But the false claims of papists in this respect have been flatly denied and disproved by one of their own standard writers, Cardinal Bellarmine, who was born in Tuscany in 1542, and who, after his death in 1621, came very near being placed in the calendar of saints on account of his great services in behalf of popery. This man, on one occasion, under the spur of controversy, betrayed himself into an admission of the real facts in the case. Luther having said that the church (meaning the true church) never burned heretics, Bellarmine, understanding it of the Romish Church, made answer: “This argument proves not the sentiment, but the ignorance or impudence
of Luther; for as almost an infinite number were either burned or otherwise put to death, Luther either did not know it, and was therefore ignorant; or if he knew it, he was convicted of impudence and falsehood; for that heretics were often burned by the church, may be proved by adducing a few from many examples.” To show the relation of the secular power to the church, as held by Romanists, we quote the answer of the same writer to the argument that the only weapon committed to the church is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” To this he replied: “As the church has ecclesiastical and secular princes, who are her twoarms, so she has two swords, the spiritual and material; and therefore when her right hand is unable to convert a heretic with the sword of the Spirit, she invokes the aid of the left hand, and coerces heretics with the material sword.” In answer to the argument that the apostles never invoked the secular arm against heretics, he says, “The apostles did it not, because there was no Christian prince whom they could call on for aid. But afterward, in Constantine’s time, . . . the church called in the aid of the secular arm.” – Dowling’s History of Romanism, pp.547,548. In corroboration of these facts, fifty million martyrs – this is the lowest computation made by any historian – will rise up in the judgment as witnesses against that church’s bloody work. Pagan Rome persecuted relentlessly the Christian church, and it is estimated that three million Christians perished in the first three centuries, yet it is said that the primitive Christians prayed for the continuance of imperial Rome; for they knew that when this form of government should cease, another far worse persecuting power would arise, which would literally, as this prophecy declares, “wear out the saints of the Most High.” Pagan Rome could slay the infants, but spare the mothers; but papal Rome slew both mothers and infants together. No age, no sex, no condition in life, was exempt from her relentless rage. “When Herod died,” says a forcible writer, “he went down to the grave with infamy; and earth had one murderer, one persecutor, less, and hell one victim
more. O Rome! what will not be thy hell, and that of thy votaries, when thy judgment shall have come!” 3. And shall “think to change times and laws.” What laws and whose? Not the laws of other earthly governments; for it was nothing marvelous or strange for one power to change the laws of another, whenever it could bring such power under its dominion.
Not human laws of any kind; for the little horn had power to change these so far as its jurisdiction extended; but the times and laws in question were such as this power should only think to change, but not be able to change. They are the laws of the same Being to whom the saints belong who are worn out by this power; namely, the laws of the Most High. And has the papacy attempted this? – Yes, even this. It has, in its catechisms, expunged the second commandment of the decalogue to make way for its adoration of images. It has divided the tenth commandment to make up the number ten. And, more audacious than all! it has taken hold of the fourth commandment, torn from its place the sabbath of Jehovah, the only memorial of the great God ever given to man, and erected in its place a rival institution to serve another purpose.1 4. “And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” The pronoun they embraces the saints, the times, and the laws just mentioned. How long a time were they to be given into the hands of this power? A time, as we have seen from the chapter 4:23, is one year; two times, the least that could be denoted by the plural, two years, and the dividing of time, or half a time (Sept., ,) half a year. Gesenius also gives “…., Chald., a half. Dan.7:25,” We thus have three years and a half for the continuance of this power. the Hebrew, or rather the Chaldaic, word for time in the text before us, is , iddan, which Gesenius defines thus: “Time. Spec. in prophetic language for a year. Dan.7:25 for a year, also two years and half a year; i.e., for three years and a half; comp. Jos.B.J.1.1.1.” We must now consider that we are in the ———- 1 See Catholic catechims and the work entitled, “Who Changed the Sabbath?” and works on the Sabbath and Law published by the publishers of this book.
midst of symbolic prophecy; hence in this measurement the time is not literal, but symbolic also. The inquiry then arises, How long a period is denoted by the three years and a half of prophetic time? The rule given us in the Bible is, that when a day is used as a symbol, it stands for a year. Eze.4:6; Num.14:34. Under the Hebrew word for day, (yom), Gesenius has this remark: “3. Sometimes [Yamim] marks a definite space of time; viz., a year; as also Syr. and Chald. [iddan] denotes both time and year; and as in English several words signifying time, weight, measure, are likewise used to denote certain specified times, weights, and measures.” The ordinary Jewish year, which must be used as the basis of reckoning, contained three hundred and sixty days. Three years and a half contained twelve hundred and sixty days. As each day stands for a year, we have twelve hundred and sixty years for the continuation of the supremacy of this horn. Did the papacy possess dominion that length of time/ The answer again is, Yes. The edict of the emperor Justinian, dated A.D.533, made the bishop of Rome the head of all the churches. But this edict could not go into effect until the Arian Ostrogoths, the last of the three horns that were plucked up to make room for the papacy, were driven from Rome; and this was not accomplished, as already shown, till A.D.538. The edict would have been of no effect had this latter event not been accomplished; hence from this latter year we are to reckon, as this was the earliest point where the saints were in reality in the hand of this power. From this point did the papacy hold supremacy for twelve hundred and sixty years? – Exactly. For 538 + 1260 = 1798; and in the year 1798, Berthier, with a French army, entered Rome, proclaimed a republic, took the pope prisoner, and for a time abolished the papacy. It has never since enjoyed the privileges and immunities which it possessed before. Thus again this power fulfils to the very letter the specifications of the prophecy, which proves beyond question that the application is correct. After describing the terrible career of the little horn, and stating that the saints should be given into his hand for 1260 years, bringing us down to 1798, verse 26 declares: “But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” In verse 10 of the same chapter we have substantially the same expression relative to the judgment: “The judgment was set.” It would seem consistent to suppose that the same judgment is referred to in both instances. But the sublime scene described in verse 10 is the opening of the investigative Judgment in the sanctuary in heaven, as will appear in remarks on Dan.8:14 and 9:25-27. The opening of this judgment scene is located by the prophecy at the close of the great prophetic period of 2300 years, which terminated in 1844. (See under chapter 9:25-27.) Four years after this, in 1848, the great revolution which shook so many thrones in Europe, drove the pope also from his dominions. His restoration shortly after was through the force of foreign bayonets, by which alone he was upheld till his final loss of temporal power in 1870. The overthrow of the papacy in 1798 marked the conclusion of the prophetic period of 1260 years, and constituted the “deadly wound” prophesied in Rev.13:3, to come upon this power; but this deadly wound was to be “healed.” In 1800 another pope was elected; his palace and temporal dominion were restored, and every prerogative except, as Mr. Croly says, that of a systematic persecutor, was again under his control; and thus the wound was healed. But since 1870, he has enjoyed no prestige as a temporal prince, among the nations of the earth. “VERSE 27. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. 28. 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.” After beholding the dark and desolate picture of papal oppression upon the church, the prophet is permitted once more to turn his eyes upon the glorious period of the saints’ rest, when they shall have the kingdom, free from all oppressive powers, in everlasting possession. How could the children of God keep heart in this present evil world, amid the misrule and oppression of the governments of earth, and the abominations that are done in the land, if they could not look forward to the kingdom of God and the return of their Lord, with full assurance that the promises concerning them both shall certainly be fulfilled, and that speedily? *NOTE. – Some startling events relative to the papacy, filling up the prophecies uttered in this chapter concerning that power, have taken place within a few years of the present time. Commencing in 1798, where the first great blow fell upon the papacy, what have been the chief characteristics of its history? Answer: The rapid defection of its natural supporters, and greater assumptions on its own part. In 1844, the judgment of verse 10 began to sit; namely, the investigative judgment, in the heavenly sanctuary, preparatory to the coming of Christ. Dec.8, 1854, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was decreed by the pope. July 21, 1870, in the great Ecumenical Council assembled at Rome, it was deliberately decreed, by a vote of 538 against 2, that the pope was infallible. In the same year, France, by whose bayonets the pope was kept upon his throne, was crushed by Prussia, and the last prop was taken from under the papacy. Then Victor Emmanuel, seeing his opportunity to carry out the long-cherished dream of a united Italy, seized Rome to make it the capital of his kingdom. To his troops, under General Cadorna, Rome surrendered, Sept.20, 1870. The pope’s temporal power was thus wholly taken away, nevermore, said Victor Emmanuel, to be restored; and since that time, the popes, shutting themselves up in the Vatican, have styled themselves “prisoners.” Because
of the great words which the horn uttered, Daniel saw the beast destroyed, and given to the burning flame. This destruction is to take place at the second coming of Christ and by means of that event; for the man of sin is to be consumed by the spirit of Christ’s mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his coming. 2Thess.2:8. What words could be more arrogant, presumptuous, blasphemous, or insulting to high Heaven, than the deliberate adoption of the dogma of infallibility, thus clothing a mortal man with a prerogative of the Deity? And this was accomplished by papal intrigue and influence, July 21, 1870. Following in swift succession, the last vestige of temporal power was wrenched from his grasp. It was because of these words, and as if in almost immediate connection with them, that the prophet saw this power given to the burning flame. His dominion was to be consumed unto the end, implying that when his power as a civil ruler should be wholly destroyed, the end would not be far off. And the prophet immediately adds: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” All in this line of prophecy has now been fully accomplished except the closing scene. Next comes the last, crowning act in the drama, when the beast will be given to the burning flame, and the saints of the Most High will take the kingdom. We must be, now, upon the very threshold of this glorious event.**

(Chapter taken from the book Thoughts on Daniel and Revelation by U.Smith)

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