Daniel Chapter 6 | Table of Contents | Daniel Chapter 7b

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Daniel Chapter 7a

The Struggle for World Dominion

      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 Daniel 5. Chronologically, this chapter precedes the fifth chapter; but chronology is here disregarded in order that the historical part of the book may stand by itself.

      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.
      Daniel Relates His Own Vision. —All Scripture language is to be taken literally, unless there exists some good reason for regarding it as figurative. 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 arise out of the earth.” That kingdoms are intended, and not merely individual kings, is clear from the words, “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom.” In explaining verse 23, the angel said, “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth.” these beasts are therefore symbols of four great kingdoms. The circumstances under which they arose, as represented in the prophecy, are also stated in symbolic language. The symbols introduced are the four winds, the sea, four great beasts, ten horns, and another horn which had eyes and a mouth and which rose up in war against God and His people. We have now to inquire what they denote.
      In symbolic language winds represent strife, political commotion, and war, as we read from the prophet Jeremiah:
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“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.” Jeremiah 25:32, 33. The prophet speaks of a controversy which the Lord is to have with all nations. The strife and commotion which produces all this destruction is called “a great whirlwind.”
      That winds denote strife and war is evident in the vision itself. As the result of the blowing of the winds, kingdoms arise and fall through political strife.
      Seas, or waters, when used as Bible symbol, represent peoples, and nations, and tongues. Said the angel to the prophet John, “The waters which thou sawest . . . are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Revelation 17:15.
      The definition of the symbol of the four beasts is given to Daniel before the close of the vision: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth.” Verse 17. With this explanation of the symbols, the field of the vision is definitely opened before us.
      Since these beasts denote four kings, or kingdoms, we inquire, Where shall we begin and what four empires are represented? These beasts arise consecutively, for they are enumerated from the first to the fourth. The last one is in existence when all earthly scenes are brought to an end by the final judgment. From the time of Daniel to the end of this world’s history, there were to be but four universal kingdoms, as we learned from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image in Daniel 2, interpreted by the prophet sixty-five years before. Daniel was still living under the kingdom denoted by the head of gold.
      The first beast of this vision must therefore denote the same kingdom as the head of gold of the great image, namely, Babylon. The other beasts no doubt represent the succeeding kingdoms portrayed by that image. But if this vision covers
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essentially the same period of history as the image of Daniel 2, the query may arise, Why is it given? Why was not that first vision sufficient? We answer, The history of world empires is passed over again and again in order that additional characteristics may be brought out, and additional facts and features may be presented. It is thus that we have “line upon line” according to the Scriptures. In chapter 2, only the political aspects of world dominion are portrayed. Here earthly governments are introduced in their relationship to God’s truth and God’s people. Their true character is shown by symbols of wild and ravenous beasts.

      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.
      The Lion. —In the vision of Daniel 7, the first beast seen by the prophet was a lion. For the use of the lion as a symbol, read Jeremiah 4:7; 50:17, 43, 44. The lion as first seen in the vision before us had eagle’s wings. The symbolic use of wings is impressively described in Habakkuk 1:6-8, where it is said that the Chaldeans should “fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.”
      From these symbols we may easily deduce that Babylon was a kingdom of great strength, and that under Nebuchadnezzar its conquests were extended with great rapidity. But there came a time when the wings were plucked. It no longer rushed upon tis prey like an eagle. The boldness and spirit of the lion were gone. A man’s heart —weak, timorous, and faint— took the place of a lion’s strength. Such was the case with the nation during the closing years of its history, when it had become enfeebled and effeminate through wealth and luxury.

      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.
      The Bear. —As in the image of Daniel 2, so in this series of symbols a marked deterioration is noticed as we descend from
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one kingdom to another. The silver of the breast and arms is inferior to the gold of the head. The bear is inferior to the lion. Medo-Persia fell short of Babylon in wealth, magnificence, and brilliance. The bear raised itself up on one side. The kingdom was composed of two nationalities, the Medes and the Persians. The same fact is represented by the two horns of the ram in Daniel 8. Of these horns it is said that the higher horn came up last, and of the bear that it raised itself up on one side. This was fulfilled by the Persian division of the kingdom, for although it came up last, it attained the higher eminence, becoming a dominant influence in the nation. (See comments on Daniel 8:3.) The three ribs doubtless signify the three provinces of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which were especially oppressed by Medo-Persia. The command, “Arise, devour much flesh,” would naturally refer to the stimulus given to the Medes and Persians by the overthrow of these provinces. The character of the power is well represented by a bear. The Medes and Persians were cruel and rapacious, robbers and spoilers of the people. This Medo-Persian kingdom continued from the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrust to the battle of Arbela in 331 B.C., 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 Leopard. —The third kingdom, Grecia, is here represented by the symbol of a leopard. 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 here symbolized. It must have wings in addition. Two wings, the number the lion had, were not sufficient; the leopard must have four. This would denote unprecedented celerity of movement, which we find to be a historical fact in the Grecian kingdom. The conquests of Grecia under Alexander had no parallel in ancient times for suddenness and rapidity. His military achievements are summarized by W. W. Tarn:
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      “He was a master in the combination of various arms; he taught the world the advantages of campaigning in winter, the value of pressing pursuit to the utmost, and the principle of ‘march divided, fight united.’ He marched usually in two division, one conducting the impediments and his own [division] traveling light; his speed of movement was extraordinary. It is said that he attributed his military success to ‘never putting anything off.’ . . . The enormous distances traversed in unknown country imply a very high degree of organizing ability; in ten years he had only two serious breakdowns.... Had a lesser man attempted what he achieved, and failed, we should have heard enough of the hopeless military difficulties of the undertaking.” [1]
      “The beast had also four heads” The Grecian Empire maintained its unity but little longer than the lifetime of Alexander. After his brilliant career ended in a fever induced by a drunken debauch, the empire was divided among his four leading generals. Cassander had Macedonia and Greece in the west; Lysimachus had Thrace and the parts of Asia on the Hellespont and the 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. By the year 301 B.C., with the death of Antigonus, the division of the kingdom of Alexander into four parts was completed by his general. [2] These division were denoted by the four heads of the leopard.
      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? —For reasons that the prophecy foresaw and foretold. The leopard had four heads, the rough goat four horns, the kingdom was to have four divisions; and thus it was. (See more fully in comments on Daniel 8.)
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      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.
      A Dreadful Beast. —Inspiration finds no beast in nature to symbolize the power here illustrated. No addition of hoofs, heads, horns, wings, scales, teeth, or nails to any beast found in nature will answer. This power is diverse from all the others, and the symbol is wholly different from anything found in the animal kingdom.
      The foundation for a volume is laid in verse 7, but for lack of space we are compelled to treat it briefly here. This beast corresponds to the fourth division of the great image —the legs of iron. In the comment on Daniel 2:40 are given some reasons for believing this power to be Rome. The same reasons are applicable to the present prophecy. How accurately Rome answered to the iron portion of the image! How accurately it answers to the beast before us! In the dread and terror which it inspired, and in its great strength, it answered admirably to the prophetic description. The world had never seen its equal. It devoured as with iron teeth, and broke in pieces all that stood in its way. It ground the nations into the dust beneath its brazen feet. It had ten horns, which are explained in verse 24 to be ten kings, or kingdoms, which should arise out of this empire. As already noticed in comments on Daniel 2, Rome was divided into ten kingdoms. These divisions have ever since been spoken of as the ten kingdoms of the Roman Empire.

      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. A strange movement appeared among them. Another horn, at first little, but afterward more stout than its fellows, thrust itself up. It was not content quietly to find a place of its own, and fill it; it must
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thrust aside some of the others, and usurp their places. Three kingdoms were thus plucked up.
      A Little Horn Among the Ten. —This little horn, as we shall have occasion to notice more fully hereafter, was the papacy. The three horns plucked up by the roots represented the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Vandals. The reason for their removal was their opposition to the teachings and claims of the papal hierarchy.
      “In this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” —fit emblems of the shrewdness, penetration, and arrogant claims of an apostate religious organization.

      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 Judgement Scene. —A sublimer description of a more awe-inspiring scene is not to be found in the word of God. Not the grand and lofty imagery alone could arrest our attention; the nature of the scene itself demands most serious consideration. The judgement is here brought to view. Whenever the judgement is mentioned, it ought to take an irresistible hold upon every mind, for all have a deep concern in its eternal issues.
      By an unfortunate translation in verse 9, a wrong idea is almost sure to be conveyed. The phrase “cast down” is from a Chaldee word {Hebrew- uf]w]} remi, which may properly be rendered “hurled by violence,” as is plainly the case where it is used to describe the casting of the three Hebrews into the fiery furnace, and of casting Daniel into the den of lions. But another equally correct translation is “to set or place in order,” as in the placing of the judgement seats mentioned here, as also a like setting or placing in Revelation 4:2, in which the Greek bears out the same meaning. The Revised Version in Daniel 7:9 reads properly, “thrones were places,” as Gesenius defines
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the root remah, with reference to Daniel 7:9 as an example.
      The “Ancient of days,” God the Father, presides at the judgement. 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 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 judgement seat, but heavenly intelligences who wait before Him, attendant on His will. John saw the same heavenly attendants before the throne of God, and he describes the majestic scene in these words: “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.” Revelation 5:11. A fuller understanding of these verses involves an understanding of the sanctuary services.
      The closing up of the ministration of Christ, our great High Priest, in the heavenly sanctuary, is the work of judgement here introduced. It is an investigative judgement. The books are opened, and the cases of all come up for examination before that great tribunal, that it may be decided beforehand who are to receive eternal life when the Lord shall come to confer it upon His people. It will appear from the testimony of Daniel 8:14 that this solemn work is even now going on 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.
      End of the Fourth Beast. —There are those who believe in a thousand years’ reign of righteousness over all the world before
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the coming of Christ. There are others who believe in probation after the Lord comes, during which the immortal righteous still proclaim the gospel to mortal sinners, and lead them into the way of salvation. Neither of these theories can be substantiated from the Bible, as we shall see.
      The fourth terrible beast continues without change of character, and the little horn continues to utter its blasphemies, holding its millions of votaries in the bonds of blind superstition, until the beast is given to the burning flame. This is not its conversion, but its destruction. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:8.)
      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 with the Persian kingdom in respect to Greece, and Greece in respect to Rome. But what succeeds the fourth kingdom? No government or state in which mortals have any part, follows it. Its career ends in the lake of fire, and it has no existence beyond. The lion was merged with the bear, the bear into the leopard, the leopard into the fourth beast. But the fourth beast is not merged into another beast. It is to be cast into the lake of fire.

      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 Son of Man Receives His Kingdom. —The scene here described is not the second coming of Christ to this earth, for the Ancient of days is not on this earth, and the coming here spoken of is to the Ancient of days. There, in the presence of the Father, dominion, and glory, and a kingdom are given to the Son of man. Christ receives His kingdom before His return to this earth. (See Luke 19:10-12.) Therefore, this is a scene
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which takes place in heaven, and is closely connected with that brought to view in verses 9 and 10. Christ receives His kingdom at the close of His priestly work in the sanctuary. The people and nations that shall serve Him are the redeemed (Revelation 21:24), not the wicked nations of the earth, for these are destroyed at the second advent of Christ by the brightness of His coming. (Psalm 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.) Out of all nations, tribes, and kindreds of the earth will come those who server God with joy and gladness. They shall inherit the kingdom of our Lord.

      Verse 15 I 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 for ever, even for ever and ever.
      Vision Interpreted to Daniel. —We should be no less concerned than was Daniel to understand the truth of these things. We have the assurance that when we inquire with sincerity of heart, we shall find the Lord as ready now as in the days of the prophet to lead to a correct understanding of these important truths. The beasts and the kingdoms which they represent, have already been explained. We have followed the prophet through the course of events, even to the destruction of the fourth beast, the final overthrow of all earthly governments. Then the scene changes, for we read, “The saints... shall take the kingdom.” Verse 18. The saints! despised, reproached, persecuted, cast out; looked upon as 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 inheritance forfeited because of sin shall be redeemed. Peace and righteousness shall reign eternally over all the fair expanse of the earth made new.

      Verse 19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were
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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.
      Truth of the Fourth Beast. —Of the first three beasts in this vision, Daniel had a clear understanding. But he was astonished at the fourth beast, because of its unnatural and dreadful character. It was of this beast and its ten horns, more particularly of the little horn which came up last, “whose look was more stout than his fellows,” that he desired further information. The lion is a production of nature, but it must have the 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 three ribs in its mouth. So the leopard is a beast of nature, yet fitly to represent Grecia, four wings and three more heads must be added. But nature furnishes no symbol which can fitly illustrate the fourth kingdom. The vision therefore introduces a beast the likeness of which was never before seen, 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 broke in pieces, and trampled its victims beneath its feet.
      Astounding as all this was to the prophet, there was something still more remarkable that gripped his attention. A little horn came up, and true to the nature of the beast from which it sprang, thrust aside three of its fellows. Lo, the horn had eyes, not the uncultivated eyes of a brute, but the keen, shrewd, intelligent eyes of a man. 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, 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.
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      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.
      Little Horn to Make War With the Saints. —The amazing wrath of this little horn against the saints particularly attracted the attention of Daniel. The rise of the ten horns, or the division of Rome into ten kingdoms, between A.D. 351 and 476, has already been noticed in comments on Daniel 2:41.
      As these horns denote kingdoms, the little horn must denote a kingdom also, yet not of the same nature, because it was diverse from the others. They were political kingdoms. Now we have but to inquire if, since A.D. 476, any kingdom has risen among the ten division of the Roman Empire which was diverse from them all; and if so, what one? The answer is, Yes, the spiritual kingdom of the papacy. It answers to the symbol in every particular, as we shall see as we proceed.
      Daniel beheld this power making war upon the saints. Has such a war been waged by the papacy? Millions of martyrs answer, Yes. Witness the cruel persecutions of the Waldenses, the Albigenses, and Protestants in general, by the papal power.
      In verse 22 three consecutive events seem to be brought to view. 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, Daniel notes three prominent events that stand as mileposts along the way:
      The coming of the Ancient of days, that is, the position which Jehovah takes in the opening of the judgement scene described in verses 9, 10.
      The judgement 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 (Revelation 20:1-4), apportioning to the wicked the punishment due for their sins. The martyrs will then sit in judgment upon the great persecuting power, which, in the days of their trial, hunted them like the
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beasts of the desert, and poured out their blood like water.
      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 given to the righteous, to be possessed by them forever and ever. (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3; Matthew 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.
      Rise and Work of the Little Horn. —Perhaps enough has already been said respecting the fourth beast (Rome) and the ten horns, or ten kingdoms, which arose out of this power. The little horn now more particularly demands attention. As stated in comments on verse 8, we find the fulfillment 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 arrogant power.
      The first pastors, or bishops, of Rome enjoyed a respect proportionate to the rank of the city in which they resided. 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 here,” 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 put forth. “Why should not the Roman Church be the mother of Christendom?
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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, “for the ambitious heart of man to reason thus. Ambitious Rome did so.” [3]
      The bishops in the different parts of the Roman Empire felt a pleasure in yielding to the bishop of Rome some of that honor which that 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 increases 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.” [4] Such were the influences clustering around the bishop of Rome, and thus was everything tending toward his speedy elevation to the spiritual dominance of Christendom.
      Challenge of Arianism. —But the fourth century was destined to witness an obstacle thrown across the path of this ambitious dream. The prophecy had declared that the power represented by the little horn would “subdue three kings.” In the rise and development of Arianism early in the fourth century and the challenge it presented to papal supremacy, we find the causes leading to the plucking up of three of the kingdoms of Western Rome by the papal power.
      Arius, parish priest of the ancient and influential church of Alexandria, promulgated his doctrine to the world, occasioning so fierce a controversy in the Christian church that a general council was called at Nicaea, by the emperor Constantine in A.D. 325, to consider and rule upon its teaching. Arius maintained “that the Son was totally and essentially distinct from the Father; that He was the first and noblest of those beings
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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. [5]
      The controversy itself, however, was not to be disposed of in this summary manner. For ages it continued to agitate the Christian world, the Arians everywhere becoming the bitter enemies of the pope and of the Roman Catholic Church. It was evident that the spread of Arianism would check the onward march of Catholicism, and that the possession of Italy and it renowned capital by a people of the Arian persuasion would be fatal to the supremacy of a Catholic bishop. The prophecy, however, had declared that this horn symbolizing the papacy would rise to supreme power, and that in reaching this position it would subdue three kings.
      Little Horn Overthrows Tree Arian Powers. —Some difference of opinion has existed in regard to the particular powers which were overthrown by the papacy in its rise to power. In this connection the remarks of Albert Barnes seem 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 fulfillment of the vision. Yet it is possible to make out the fulfillment of this with a good degree of certainty in the history of the papacy.” [6]
      Joseph Mede supposes the three kingdoms plucked up to have been the Greeks, the Lombards, and the Franks; and Sir
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Issac Newton supposes they were the exarchate of Ravenna, the Lombards, and the senate and dukedom of Rome. Thomas Newton [7] states serious objections to both these suppositions. The Franks could not have been one of these kingdoms, for they were never plucked up. The Lombards could not have been one, for they were never made subject to the popes. Says Albert Barnes further, “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.” [8] The senate and dukedom of Rome could not have been one, for as they never constituted one of the ten kingdoms, three of which were to be plucked up before the little horn.
      But we apprehend 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 until the pope became a temporal prince. Therefore they sought to find an accomplishment of the prophecy in the events which led to the pope’s temporal sovereignty. But 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. The papacy reached this position, A.D. 583, as will hereafter appear.
      The word “before” used in verses 8 and 20 represents the Chaldee {Hebrew- sd*q}} qadam, with the root meaning “front.” Combined with min, meaning “from,” as it is in these two verses, Davidson translates it “from the presence of,” and Gesenius says it is equivalent to the Hebrew {Hebrew- yb~p]l]} lipna, meaning “in the presence of.” It therefore has here the meaning “before” in the sense of “place,” as it does in the same phrase in verse 10, where it is properly translated in the Authorized Version “from before Him.” We have, then, in verse 8 the picture of the
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little horn pressing in among the ten and forcibly plucking up three horns from before it. In verse 20, it is declared that the three horns “fell” from before it, as if overcome by it. In verse 24, we read that another king, representing the little horn, “shall subdue three kings [horns],” evidently by acts of force. While the word qadam is also used in the sense of time, as in the word “before” in verse 7, there can scarcely be a doubt that it is used in the sense of place in the three verses cited above. With this interpretation Edward Elliott clearly agrees. (See page 128.)
      The position is here confidently taken that the three powers, or horns, plucked up by the roots were the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths; and this position rests upon reliable historical data. Odoacer, the leader of the Heruli, was the first of the barbarians who reigned over the Romans. He took the throne of Italy, A.D. 476. Of his religious belief Gibbon 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.” [9]
      The same author says: “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.” [10]
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      The Arian doctrine had a marked influence on the church at that time, as will be observed in the following paragraphs: “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, the first conqueror of Africa, Genseric, were Arians. Theodoric the Great, king of Italy, and hero of the ‘Nibelungenlied,’ 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 on their triumph they tore down the porphyry vase in which his Arian subjects had enshrined his ashes.” [11]
      Ranke states: “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 their patriarchal diocese.” [12]
      Machiavelli 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.” [13]
      The relation which these Arian kings sustained to the pope is shown in the following testimony from Mosheim in his church history:
      “On the other hand, it is certain, from a variety of the most authentic records, that both the emperors and the nations in
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general were far from being disposed to bear with patience the yoke of servitude which the see of Rome was arrogantly imposing upon the Christian church. The Gothic princes set bounds to the power of the bishop of Rome in Italy, permitted none to be raised to the pontificate without their approbation, and reserved to themselves the right of judging concerning the legality of every new election.” [14]
      An instance in proof of this statement occurs in the history of Odoacer, the first Arian king above mentioned. [15] 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.
      Meanwhile, Zeno, the emperor of the East, and friend of the pope, was anxious to drive Odoacer out of Italy, a movement which he soon had the satisfaction of seeing accomplished without trouble to himself. 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 posses. Zeno gave him permission to march against Odoacer and take possession of Italy. Accordingly, after a five 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.

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