Daniel Chapter 2a | Table of Contents | Daniel Chapter 3

Daniel Chapter 2 continued (b)

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The use of the word “kingdom” here, shows that kingdoms, and not particular kings, are represented by the different parts of this image. Hence when it was said to Nebuchadnezzar, “Thou art this head of gold,” although the personal pronoun was used, the kingdom not the king himself was meant.
      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.
      After a reign of seven years, Cyrus left the kingdom to his son Cambyses, who reigned seven years and five months, to 522 B.C. Eight monarchs reigned between this time and the year 336 B.C. The year 335 B.C. is set down as the first of Darius Codomannus, the last of the line of the old Persian kings. This man, according to Prideaux, was of noble stature, of goodly person, of the greatest personal valor, and of a mild and generous disposition. It was his ill fortune to have to contend
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with one who was an agent in the fulfillment of prophecy, and no qualifications, natural or acquired, could make him successful in the unequal contest. Scarcely was he warm upon the throne, ere he found his formidable enemy, Alexander, at the head of the Greek soldiers, preparing to dismount him from it.
      The cause and the particulars of the contest between the Greeks and the Persians we leave to histories especially devoted to such matters. Suffice it to say that the deciding point was reached on the field of Arbela in 331 B.C., where the Grecians, though only one to twenty in number as compared with the Persians, won a decisive victory. Alexander became absolute lord of the Persian Empire to an extent never attained by any of its own kings.
      Grecian Empire. —“Another third kingdom of brass . . . shall bear rule over all the earth,” the prophet had said. Few and brief are the inspired words which involved in their fulfillment a succession in world rulership. In the ever-changing political kaleidoscope, Grecia came into the field of vision, to be for a time the all-absorbing object of attention, as the third of what are called the universal empires of the earth.
      After the battle which decided the fate of the empire, Darius endeavored to rally the shattered remnants of his army, and make a stand for his kingdom and his rights. But he could not gather out of all the host of his recently so numerous and well-appointed army a force with which he deemed it prudent to hazard another engagement with the victorious Grecians. Alexander pursued him on the wings of the wind. Time after time Darius barely eluded the grasp of his swiftly following foe. At length three traitors, Bessus, Nabarzanes, and Barsaentes, seized the unfortunate prince, shut him up in a close cart, and fled with him as their prisoner toward Bactria. It was their purpose, if Alexander pursued them, to purchase their own safety by delivering up their king. Hereupon Alexander, learning of the dangerous position of Darius in the hands of the traitors, immediately put himself with the lightest part of
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his army upon a forced pursuit. After several days hard march, he came up with the traitors. They urged Darius to mount on horseback for a more speedy flight. Upon his refusing to do this, they gave him several mortal wounds, and left him dying in the cart, while they mounted their steeds and rode away.
      When Alexander arrived, he beheld only the lifeless form of the Persian king, who but a few months before was seated upon the throne of the universal empire. Disaster, overthrow, and desertion had come suddenly upon Darius. His kingdom had been conquered, his treasure seized, and his family reduced to captivity. Now, brutally slain by the hand of traitors, he lay a bloody corpse in a rude cart. The sight of the melancholy spectacle drew tears from the eyes of even Alexander, familiar though he was with all the horrible vicissitudes and bloody scenes of was. Throwing his cloak over the body, he commanded that it be conveyed to the ladies of the Persian royal family who were captives at Susa, and furnished from his own treasury the necessary means for a royal funeral.
      When Darius died, Alexander saw the field cleared of his last formidable foe. Thenceforward he could spend his time in his own manner, now in the enjoyment of rest and pleasure, and again in the prosecution of some minor conquest. He entered upon a pompous campaign into India, because, according to Grecian fable, Bacchus and Hercules, two sons of Jupiter, whose son he also claimed to be, had done the same. With contemptible arrogance, he claimed for himself divine honors. He gave up conquered cities, freely and unprovoked, to the mercy of his bloodthirsty and licentious soldiery. He often murdered his friends and favorites in his drunken frenzies. He encouraged such excessive drinking among his followers that on one occasion twenty of them died as the result of their carousal. At length, having sat through one long drinking spree, he was immediately invited to another, when, after drinking to each of the twenty guests present, he twice drank, says history, incredible as it may seem, the full
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Herculean cup containing six of our quarts. He was seized with a violent fever, of which he died eleven days later, Jun 13, 323 B.C., while yet he stood only at the threshold of mature life, in the thirty-second year of his age.

      Verse 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
      Iron Monarchy of Rome. —Thus far in the application of this prophecy there is a general agreement among expositors. That Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece are represented respectively by the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, and the sides of brass, is acknowledged by all. But with as little ground for a diversity of views, there is strangely a difference of opinion as to what kingdom is symbolized by the fourth division of the great image —the legs of iron. What kingdom succeeded Greece in the empire of the world, for the legs of iron denote the fourth kingdom in the series? The testimony of history is full and explicit on this point. One kingdom did this, and one only, and that was Rome. It conquered Grecia; it subdued all things; like iron, it broke in pieces and bruised.
      Says Bishop Newton: “The four different metals must signify four different nations: and as the gold signified the Babylonians, and the silver the Persians, and the brass the Macedonians; so the iron cannot signify the Macedonians again, but must necessarily denote some other nation: and we will venture to say that there is not a nation upon earth, to which this description is applicable, but the Romans.” [7]
      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
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the nations and their kings, were successively broken by the iron monarchy of Rome.” [8]
      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.” [9]
      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.

      Verse 41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 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.
      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
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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.
      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 do not 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 of the 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.
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      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
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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.
      Furthermore, each of the four monarchies had its own particular territory, which was the kingdom proper, and where we are to look for the chief events in its history shadowed forth by the symbol. We are not, therefore, to look for the divisions of the Roman Empire in the territory formerly occupied by Babylon, or Persia, or Grecia, but in the territory proper of the Roman kingdom, which was finally known as the Western Empire. Rome conquered the world, but the kingdom of Rome proper lay west of Grecia. That is what was represented by the legs of iron. There, then, we look for the ten kingdoms, and there we find them. We are not obliged to mutilate or deform the symbol to make it a fit and accurate representation of historical events.
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      Verse 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
      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 tis 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
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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.”[10]
      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.
      Out of the horrors of that titanic struggle was born an ideal expressed by President Woodrow Wilson, who exclaimed, “The world has been made safe for democracy!” With the conviction that a war had been fought which would end war came the announced inherent rights of minorities, and the principles of self-determination, ensured by a world league of nations which would restrain dictators and punish aggressors.
      Yet under the very shadow of the League of Nations’ palace arose leaders who would destroy world peace and shatter
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the ideal of world union, while preaching a new social revolution. They vainly promised the triumph of culture and a union born of racial superiority ensuring the “partly strong” and “partly broken” nations of Europe “a thousand years of tranquility.”
      Out of the welter of confusion, the wreck of nations, the destruction of institutions, the sacrifice of treasure resultant from centuries of frugality, through eyes grief-dimmed by the loss of the flower of its young manhood, the ravishment of its womanhood, the slaughter of infancy and age, through clouds of smoking human blood a distraught world looks anxiously for its signs of surcease. Will the elusive mirage of world peace based upon a trust in European solidarity, the result of wishful thinking, again cause men to forget the counsel of the word of God, “They shall not cleave one to another?”
      Alliances may come, and it may appear that the iron and miry clay of the feet and toes of the great image have finally fused, but God said, “They shall not cleave one to another.” It may seem that old animosities have disappeared and that the “ten kings” have gone the way of all the earth, but “the Scripture cannot be broken.” John 10:35.
      We conclude with a word by William Newton: “And yet if, as the result of these alliances, or of other causes, that number is sometimes disturbed, it need not surprise us. The iron was ‘mixed with clay.’ For a season, in the image, you might not distinguish between them. But they would not remain so. ‘They shall not cleave one to another.’ The nature of the substances forbids them to do so in the one case; the word of prophecy in the other. Yet there was to be the attempt to mingle—nay, more, there was an approach at mingling in both cases. But it was to be abortive. And how marked the emphasis with which history affirms this declaration of the word of God!” [11]
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      Verse 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
      The God of Heaven to Set Up a Kingdom. —We here reach the climax of this stupendous prophecy. When Time in his onward flight shall bring us to the sublime scene here predicted, we shall have reached the end of human history. The kingdom of God! Grand provision for a new and glorious dispensation, in which His people shall find a happy terminus of this world’s sad, degenerate, and changing career. Transporting change for all the righteous, from gloom to glory, from strife to peace, from a sinful to a holy world, from death to life, from tyranny and oppression to the happy freedom and blessed privileges of a heavenly kingdom! Glorious transition, from weakness to strength, from the changing and decaying to the immutable and eternal!
      But when is this kingdom to be established? May we hope for an answer to an inquiry of such momentous concern to our race? These are the very questions on which the word of God does not leave us in ignorance, and herein is seen the surpassing value of this heavenly boon.
      The Bible plainly declares that the kingdom of God was still future at the time of our Lord’s last Passover. (Matthew 26:29.) Christ did not set up the kingdom before His ascension. (Acts 1:6.) It states further that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of god. (1 Corinthians 15:50.) It is a matter of promise to the apostles, and to all those who love God. (James 2:5.) It is promised in the future to the little flock. (Luke 12:32.) Through much tribulation the saints are to enter the coming kingdom. (Acts 14:22.) It is to be set up when Christ shall judge the living and the dead. (2 Timothy 4:1.) This is to be when He shall come in
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His glory with all His holy angels. (Matthew 25:31-34.)
      We do not say that the exact time is revealed (we emphasize the fact that it is not) in this prophecy of Daniel 2 or in any other prophecy; but so near an approximation is given that the generation which is to see the establishment of this kingdom may mark its approach unerringly, and make that preparation which will entitle the children of God to share in all its glories.
      Time has fully developed this great image in all its parts. Most accurately does it represent the important political events it was designed to symbolize. It has stood complete for more than fourteen centuries. It waits to be smitten upon the feet by the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, that is, the kingdom of Christ. This is to be accomplished when the Lord shall be revealed in flaming fire, “taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8. (See also Psalm 2:8, 9.) In the days of these kings the God of heaven is to set up a kingdom. We have been in the days of these kings for many centuries, and we are still in their days. So far as this prophecy is concerned, the very next event is the setting up of God’s everlasting kingdom. Other prophecies and innumerable signs show unmistakably that the coming of Christ is near at hand.
      The early Christian church interpreted the prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, and 8 as we do now. Hippolytus, who lived A.D. 160-236, and is thought to have been a disciple of Irenaeus, one of the four greatest theologians of his age, says in his exposition of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7:
      “The golden head of the image and 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 the Romans, who hold the sovereignty at present; the toes of the feet which were part clay and part iron, and the ten horns, were emblems of the
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kingdoms that are yet to rise; the other little horn that grows up among them meant the Antichrist in their midst; the stone that smites the earth and brings judgment upon the world was Christ.” [12]
      “Speak with me, O blessed Daniel. Give me full assurance, I beseech thee. Thou dost prophesy concerning the lioness in Babylon; for thou wast 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 (from ) 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 hath broken his horns in pieces; he hath stamped upon him with his feet. He has 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.
      “After this again thou hast told me of the beast dreadful and terrible. ‘It had iron teeth and claws of brass: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it.’ Already the iron rules; already it subdues and breaks all in pieces; already it brings all the unwilling into subjection; already we see these things ourselves. Now we glorify God, being instructed by thee.” [13]
      The part of the prophecy that had been fulfilled at that time was clear to the early Christians. They saw also that there would develop ten kingdoms out of the Roman Empire, and that the Antichrist would appear among them. They looked forward with hope to the grand consummation, when the second coming of Christ would bring an end to all earthly kingdoms, and the kingdom of righteousness would be set up.
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      The coming kingdom! This ought to be the all-absorbing topic with the present generation. Reader, are you ready for the issue? He who enters this kingdom shall dwell in it not merely for such a lifetime as men live in this present state. He shall not see it degenerate, or be overthrown by a succeeding and more powerful kingdom. No, he enters it to participate in all its privileges and blessings, and to share its glories forever, for this kingdom is not to “be left to other people.”
      Again we ask you, Are you ready? The terms of heirship are most liberal: “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. Are you on terms of friendship with Christ, the coming King? Do you love His character? Are you trying to walk humbly in His footsteps, and obey His teachings? If not, read your fate in the cases of those in the parable, of whom it was said, “But those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me.” Luke 19:27. There is to be no rival kingdom where you can find an asylum if you remain an enemy to this, for God’s kingdom is to occupy all the territory ever possessed by any and all of the kingdoms of this world, past or present. It is to fill the whole earth. Happy they to whom the rightful Sovereign, the all-conquering King, at last can say, “Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:34.

      Verse 46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors unto him. 47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. 48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
      We must return to the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, and to Daniel, as he stands in the presence of the king. He has made
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known to the monarch the dream and its interpretation, while the courtiers and the baffled soothsayers and astrologers waited in silent awe and wonder.
      Nebuchadnezzar Exalts Daniel. —In fulfillment of his promise of rewards the king made Daniel a great man. There are two things which in this life are specially supposed to make a man great, and both these Daniel received from the king: A man is considered great if he is a man of wealth; and we read that the king gave him many and great gifts. If in conjunction with riches a man has power, certainly in popular estimation he is considered a great man; and power was bestowed upon Daniel in abundant measure. He was made ruler over the province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Thus speedily and abundantly did Daniel begin to be rewarded for his fidelity to his own conscience and requirements of God.
      Daniel did not become bewildered or intoxicated by his signal victory and his wonderful advancement. He first remembered the three who were companions with him in anxiety respecting the king’s matter. As they had helped him with their prayers, he determined that they should share his honors. At his request they were placed over the affairs of Babylon, while Daniel himself sat in the gate of the king. The gate was the place where councils were held and where matters of chief moment were considered. The record is a simple declaration that Daniel became chief counselor to the king.

      [1] See Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Old Testatment, Vol. IV, pp. 564, 567, notes on Daniel 1:1; 2:1; Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Vol. I, p. 231; Albert Barnes, Notes on Daniel, pp. 111, 112, comment on Daniel 2:1.
      [2] The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. III, p. 212. By permission of the Macmillan Company, publishers in the United States.
      [3] Ibid., p. 217.
      [4] George Rawlinson, The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World, Vol. II, p. 610, Note 202.
      [5] See Herodotus, pp. 67-71; George Rawlinson, The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World, Vol. II, pp. 254-259; Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. I, pp. 136, 137.
      [6] Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. I, p. 137.
      [7] Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Vol. I, p. 240.
      [8] Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. III, general observations following chap. 38, p. 634. There are many editions of Gibbon’s work beside the one used in the preparation of this book. For the student who has a different edition, the chapter is included in all references to facilitate the finding of the quotations.
      [9] Ibid., Vol. I, chap. 3, pp. 99, 100.
      [10] William Newton, Lectures on the First Two Visions of the Book of Daniel, pp. 34-36.
      [11] Ibid., p. 36.
      [12] Hippolytus, “Treatise on Christ and Antichrist,” Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V, p. 210, par 28.
      [13] Ibid., pars. 32, 33.
      [*] In harmony with seven leading commentators, the author includes the Huns as one of the ten kingdoms. Others, however, with historical precedent, name the Alamanni, or Germans, instead of the Huns. —Editors.

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