transition here from history to prophecy; the date, the first year of Belshazzar, that is, before the fall of the first of the world-powers about to be described; the form, a dream, - before this Daniel had interpreted others' dreams, he now dreams himself; the fact that it was at once committed to writing, i.e. not set down after fulfilment; and that the prophecy is only an outline, so that we must not expect too much detail. All this in ver. 1. The nature of the prophecy rebukes dogmatism. It may be well to call attention here to the fact that all these expositions and homilies are written independently of each other; there may be, then, possibly some diversity of critical judgment; this, however, will be no disadvantage to the student. For our own homiletic purpose we treat this chapter under three sections - in the first, we have a vision of brute rule; in the second, of Divine sovereignty; in the third, of a great rebellion.
I. ITS CONDITION. "The great sea" is distinguished from all inland seas. The ocean. The image of our troubled world (Isaiah 17:12-14; Revelation 21:1). Out of the commotion and confusion of troubled peoples the four forms of brute rule arose.
II. ITS CAUSE. "The four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea." As the wind plays on ocean, so do supernatural powers (in this case evil) lash into fury the passions of a troubled world; and out of revolutionary confusion emerges oft mute despotism.
III. ITS GENERIC NATURE. "Four beasts." Four great empires. Same as described in ch. 2. Why the different form? That vision gave the external glory; this the inmost nature. They had life in them, but it was a life less than human. Man sinks below the human when the πνεῦμα is no longer animated by the Spirit of God. As with man individually, so collectively, so with nations, governments. Government is of God, but may lose the Divine in it, and so become brutal. A boast may inspire terror; but its look is not heavenward, but earthward; hears no Divine voice; has no conscious relations with God. "Four beasts," but "diverse." All brutal.
IV. SPECIFIC FORMS.
1. The lion-form. The Babylonian empire. Dominant, like the king of the forest; swift and reaching far, like the eagle. Then came deteriorations. The deteriorations developed slowly. "I continued looking" is the sense. Swift energy was crippled. Not even with the speed of a lion walking did the empire advance; but painfully, slowly, as a beast marching on hind legs alone. Then instead of the lion-heart at the centre of government, the timid heart of a man. Here we have the glory of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon, its gradual decay under his successors, until it fell before one mightier than itself. So do governments without God go down.
2. The bear-form. The Persian empire. Less noble than the lion; fierce, heavy, slow. Of these characteristics, the most striking illustration would be the cumbrousness and slow advance of the Persian armies; e.g. the invasion of Greece by Xerxes (see the histories). Note the accessories of the symbol. Raising itself on one side, and perhaps striking out with its right forearm. This indicates the combination of Mode with Persian - the latter the stronger and more aggressive. The three ribs devoured stand for Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, subdued. "Devour much flesh" suggests the awful waste of life incident to Persian progress. How many of the two millions returned from Greece?
3. The leopard-form. The Greek empire, specially under Alexander. Characteristics: insatiable appetite for blood, swiftness, subtlety. "Four wings." "Four heads." The Greek dominion essentially one, but with four centres. Trace the analogy. Alexander's determination to conquer the world. Swift movement, equalled only by Napoleon I. The subtlety of his genius. The division of his empire into four.
4. The nameless form. The Roman empire. So terrible is this power, that no one creature can represent it, nor the combined attributes of many. The eminence and importance of this empire are apparent from:
(a) Its prominence in this chapter.
(b) Daniel's anxiety to "know the truth of the fourth beast."
(c) Its collision with the Divine kingdom.
(d) Its successive historical aspects.
(1) Its first aspect. (See ver. 7.) All this exhibits the utterly destructive energy of Rome. What it did not devour, it destroyed for destruction's sake. A contrast with the other powers. They ravaged, subdued, extorted tribute; "but their connection with the states which they subdued was loose and disjointed." Rome conquered all, kept all, assimilated all
(2) Two developments.
(a) "Ten horns. Horn is the symbol of power. The ten were on the head from the beginning, to manifest the unity of the Roman empire plus the European nations. Their development, however, was not at once.
(b) The one. Small at the beginning. Displaces a third (nearly) of existing powers. A development of the Roman domination. Eyes" for a certain intelligence. Pride and blasphemy out of its "mouth"? What can this be but the papacy?
V. ITS JUDGMENT AND OVERTHROW. Not for ever and for ever shall the brutal reign. How sublime the contrast ushered in by ver. 9! Below, the ocean, lashed by powers of evil; out of it the brutal, its last developments the worst. Now heaven opens. Thrones were set (not "cast down"). A central throne. On it the Eternal The throne the source of all splendour, the fount of energy (Revelation 4:5). Judgment proceeding. Not the last judgment. But the continuous judgment of men and nations. The Roman empire, and all that came of it doomed - annihilated. The other empires long gone, though for a while they lingered. Learn:
1. The eternal supremacy of God.
2. The righteousness of his judgments.
3. The certain doom of all that is alienated from his own Divine life.
Individuals and nations are human and. humane only as they live in him. The reign of the brutal in any form cannot be eternal. Animalism in all its ugly, cruel, sensual forms, must go down; for God in Christ "must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet." - R.
And the kingdom and dominion shall be given to the people of the saints.
1. The doctrine of the text does not require us to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is, at some future time; to return in person to our world and set up a visible and theocratic empire upon all these continents. His kingdom is, and is to be, a spiritual kingdom: an empire that asks and needs no visible manifestation of its Lord, no earthly metropolis, or sceptre, or throne.
2. The Scriptures do not require us to teach or to believe this doctrine even in any absolute, extreme, and unexceptionable sense. The saints as persons, and their great Christian maxims as principles, shall ultimately win such an ascendency over all nations, interests, institutions, and affairs, that this whole world shall become an orderly and well-governed Christian empire.
3. As to the way in which this great conquest is to be achieved. Are the saints of the Most High, after a series of moral victories, wrought with peaceful weapons, and by the aid of the all-conquering Spirit of God, to change their tactics and go forth, in coming times, with their armies, to dislodge the wicked, and settle as victors on all the continents? The Scriptures everywhere discourage such conclusions. We have read history to little purpose if we have not seen that the only revolutions which are permanent and deep are those which take place underneath the surface — penetrating and reconstructing a nation's thoughts. Accordingly, there are, in every community, natural processes and lawful methods by which to effect, first a moral, and then a civil revolution. It is a great law of nature, a law operating among all the orders of the animate creation, that the superior race shall win ultimate ascendency over the inferior. The earth is covered with a vast framework of social institutions, whose present and special office it is to guard, and administer, and conserve the temporal interests of nations. Will the saints of the Most High, as they advance and take possession of the world, overturn this great edifice of social order? Will they set up in their place the one great institution, the Church, making all offices spiritual? The Papist answers "Yes." But the Scriptures hold no such language. Since civil order is as indispensable to social well-being as spiritual thrift, the State is an institution as truly Divine as the Church. The one is Christ's authoritative organisation, for the control and government of things spiritual; the other is His twin organisation, for the management and direction of things temporal.
4. According to all Scriptural intimations, the conquest of the nations for Christ will be a very gradual conquest. Looking into the future, through the prophetic symbols, is like looking over the tops of the mountains to the distant sky. As we gaze we behold one summit behind another, and beyond the farthest the blue heavens. But how far it may be from the first peak to the second, and how far from the last to the firmament beyond, we cannot determine or tell.
5. We may say that the predicted conquest and reign of the saints is to be, and in a two-fold- sense, complete and universal. It will include all races, it will embrace all arts, sciences, trades, interests, governments, usages, compacts, relations. That the people of God will one day possess and govern the world might be conclusively argued:(1) From the known nature of their religion. Who are the ultimate heirs of the world's wealth? They who have, and shall continue to have, the qualities that acquire and preserve wealth. And who are these? Not the heathen. For their life is ever a life of idleness, and unthrift, and loss. Not the wicked or worldly, in Christian lands — for though a single generation of these may practice the industries, and observe the moderation, which insure an estate, they can never perpetuate these property-preserving habits. But the religion of the New Testament not only implants the qualities which acquire and retain wealth, it preserves them.(2) From the actual history of the Church, since it has had its place among the nations. When the Saviour left the world, His disciples were indigent and helpless and weak.(3) All the indications of Providence point, as with a prophetic finger, to the same grand consummation, the delivery of the world into the hands of the saints. The old religions of the heathen have become confessedly effete and decrepit. Not one of them can ever spread. What is to come when the various tottering systems reel in the tempest, and go down never again to rise? When Antichrist falls, then comes the reign of the saints.Application.
1. In this great work of possessing and governing the world, the people of God must never allow themselves to confine their endeavours to any single achievement, but must preserve a breadth and amplitude of purpose equal to their universal mission.
2. Neglect or debility in any one department of this great work of saintly conquest and control, enfeebles and endangers the whole enterprise.
(W. Clark, D.D.)
I. In the first place, what will be the attitude of the Church of the future in relation to the PUBLIC WORSHIP? With all confidence may we not say that the Church, come what may, will never cease to worship? The worshipful impulse is as deep as it is universal, as pervasive as it is prevalent. Worshipfulness is a differentiating characteristic of the rightly-constituted soul. And this instinctive worshipful impulse will be more intelligently educated and more reverently developed in the future days of Christianity's evolution. With the developing years shall come to the Church of God clearer visions and broader outlooks, and a deepened sense of righteousness, with profounder awe in the presence of spiritual realities; and along with this there cannot fail to be developed a more noble, God-pleasing, eternity-piercing worship in the hearts of God's children.
II. In the second place, what will be the attitude of the Church of the future in relation to the BIBLE as the final and authoritative revelation of God's will and way to men? Of all the books that fill our libraries and thrill our hearts this is the most wonderful. It is the fullest and richest thesaurus of Divine wisdom and human knowledge. All books, it has been said, are of two classes — books made from other books, and books from which other books are made — and to the latter class, in a pre-eminent degree, belongs this Word of God. And it seems to the truest and most intelligent supporters of the old Book that things are shaping themselves to-day, as never before, for unlimited victories for the Word of God. Certain facts and conditions there are which appear a sure prelude to a superb Biblical renaissance; the publication and distribution of the revised Scriptures, the profound delving and exhaustive research of historical critics, the patient investigation of modern science; the recent discovery and explorations of ancient cities by faithful archaeologists, and, along with all this, the growing intelligence of the modern Christian Church, which is rejecting, as never before, man-made creeds and formulas. Fear not the controversies now raging about the Bible. The ages of theological agitation and discussion have always been the ages of progress and promise. Better the agitations of the days of and and Luther than the tranquility of the Middle Ages.
III. In the third place, what will be the attitude of the Church of the future in relation to JESUS CHRIST, as God's Son and man's Saviour? Here we confront the great problem of Christianity to-day, than which no greater can ever arise — the Lord of Glory; His Miraculous Incarnation, His Spotless Character, His Transcendent Teaching, His Majestic Deeds, His Sacrificial Death, His Glorious Resurrection, His Radiant Ascension, His Position at the Right Hand of the Majesty on High, and His Abiding Presence in human life and history. A truer and more pregnant sentence the great Christlieb never uttered than when he wrote that Christ is Christiania, as Plato was never Platonism, and Mohammed never Mohammedanism, and Buddha never Buddhism. We often speak of Christianity's unparalleled power, and yet let us remember that, since the stream cannot rise higher than its source, Jesus Christ is the Living Personal Force because of whom all ages and races have been agitated and convulsed. Recall the splendid words of Dr. Wace, in his notable controversy with Huxley: "The strength of the Christian Church is not in its creed, but in its Christ. They see Him there; they hear His voice; they listen and they believe in Him. It is not so much that they accept certain doctrines taught by Him as that they accept Himself, their Lord and their God. It is with this living personal force that Agnosticism has to deal; and as long as the Gospels present Him to human hearts, so long will the Christian faith and the Christian Church, in their main characteristics, be vital and permanent forces in the Christian world." Here is and ever shall be Christianity's glory, the Son of God and the Son of Mary — the Christ who on earth matched every sermon with a service and every doctrine with a doing; the Christ who in Heaven is enthroned amid native scenes and clothed with Divine anthority, recognised more and more in the Church and world as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And this Exalted Christ, let us never forget, is the once Crucified Christ. More in the Church of the future, if possible, than in the Church of the past will the Cross be emphasised and glorified. The richest theme of the Church's future will be God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Much of the preaching in our day, even in Evangelical pulpits, is struck to a lower key.
IV. In the fourth place, what will be the attitude of the Church of the future to the problem SOCIOLOGICAL? A most practical and important question this, also peculiarly suited to our day and generation. Ours is preeminently an age of practical benevolence and utilitarian tendencies. We are unlike all of our predecessors. The Roman craved the display of wondrous power and imperial sway. The Greek delighted to lose himself in the abstruse labyrinth of metaphysics. The Hebrew made it part of his religion to bow down before hoary rites and flaming sacrifice. We live in a stern age of fact; an age in which, as a scholarly master of Sociology has well said, Society is coming to itself and emphasising Sociology, Social ethics, Social politics; an age in which religion means the salvation of the soul, but also, as it meant with Jesus, the feeding of the hungry, the clothing of the naked, the healing of the sick, and relief, comfort, and help for the whole being. With the deeper life and broader outlook which the coming century will bring to the children of God there will be felt, with a new power, the truth that there is nothing secular which religion cannot both touch and glorify; that God never meant His saints to have one Gospel for Sunday and another for Monday, one religion for the Church and another for the world, one conscience for Caesar and another for Jehovah, that goodness is not a little island here and there in the great ocean of life, but rather the all-permeating salt that fills every part of the bright, broad sea.
V. In the fifth place, what will be the attitude of the Church of the future in relation to CHRISTIAN UNITY? To this interesting question it may be answered that there never was among God's people, as to-day, such an unity of spirit in the bonds of peace. But the Church may never, should never, become organically one. Men differ too widely in birth and education for this ever to be accomplished. The universal law of God in grace, as in Nature, is unity in diversity. And yet, with absolute fidelity to the great fundamental truths of the Gospel, we shall more and more realise the prayer of the Master, "that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee"; not one in organic union, but one in heart and purpose, in will and work.
VI. In the sixth place, what will be the attitude of the Church of the future in relation to WORLD-WIDE EVANGELISATION? The spirit of missions, which is the Spirit of Christ, is recognised and actualised to-day as perhaps never before. The history of the sacred, self-sacrificing anointing of nineteen hundred years ago repeats itself from time to time. One hundred years ago the Church drew out of its hiding-place, where for centuries it had lain in almost absolute inutility, the glorious commission of its Lord. And to-day everywhere in Christian lands the orders of our Lord are being obeyed and appreciated with something of their far-reaching meaning and transcendent glory. To-day the Bible is within reach of 500,000,000 of the human race, and many things in connection with the missionary cause — the Word of God, the history of the past, the condition of the present, the promises of the future — appear to be hastening "that one Divine, far-off event to which the whole creation moves," the conquest of the world by the King of Glory and the Prince of Peace!
(K. B. Tupper, D.D.).
Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns.
(Joseph A. Seiss, D.D.)
1. The strength of one evil habit may overcome even the mightiest conqueror. Alexander the Great died as the victim of his own excesses at the early age of thirty-three. He could conquer the world by his armies, yet intemperance was his master and destroyer. How many there are among us who have made similar conquests, and been themselves similarly overcome. Think of Lord Byron and Robert Burns, the two poets. To no purpose shall we gain other crowns if we are our- selves the slaves of appetite. It is easier to acquire a habit than it is to break it off.
2. Conformity to the world is fraught with great danger to the people of God. If we have been right in conjecturing that the evils which came upon the Jews in the days of Anticchus were designed as chastisements for their unfaithfulness to the covenant, the history over which we have come is, in this regard, full of most salutary warning. Nor does it stand alone. The tendency of these days is to minimize the difference between the Christian and other men. So it happens that the Church of Christ is invaded by the unbelieving, and its power to resist and overcome the world is thereby sadly weakened. That which gives salt its value is its saltness, and when that quality is lost by it, men cast it from them and trample it underfoot. Our peculiarities as Christians are the very elements of our power. By these it is that the Church has its aggressive force and purifying influence upon the world.
3. Learn, in conclusion, the limited power of the enemies of God's people. The spoliation of Jerusalem by Antiochus was to be only for a season. The world-tyrant could only go a certain length. God is stronger than the mightiest man; and so to the people of God who continue faithful unto Him there is a limit to calamity. The longest night is followed by the dawn. As the proverb has it, "Time and the hour run through the roughest day." Then be patient, be uncompromising, be courageous.
(William M. Taylor, D.D.)Ezekiel 8). As Elam, which lay to the east of Babylonia, seems to have become a tributary province of the empire in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel as the prime minister would sometimes probably visit Shushan its capital: but as the history of Elam during this period is very obscure, it would be hazardous to affirm that he was actually present in Shushan when he received the vision, although it seems to me that he might. The likelihood seems to be that Cyrus would leave Elam untouched, not only until after the conquest of Media, Lydia, and Persia, but also until after he had made adequate preparations for the more formidable task of conquering the great Babylonian empire. In that case Daniel might be in Shushan in the tenth year of Nabonidus, which we have supposed to be the third year of his son Belshazzar, in connection with the mustering of. the forces of Elam against Cyrus; and his actual presence there for the purposes of defence would give peculiar point and significance to the vision.. The first thing in the vision which met the eye of the ecstatic Daniel was a ram with two horns (v. 3, 4). The river Ulai (the Eulaeus of the Greeks) before which the ram stood, apparently on the opposite side of the stream, seems to have been "a large artificial canal, some nine hundred feet broad, though it is now dry, which left the Choaspes at Pat Pul, about twenty miles north-west of Susa, passed close by the town of Susa on the north or north-east, and afterwards joined the Coprates" (Driver). In connection with the ram there is in the original, the numeral one, to bring into relief the fact that the ram had two horns. The ram is the symbol of the Medo-Persian empire, as the angel Gabriel said to Daniel: "The ram which thou sawest that had two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia." This symbol corresponds with that of the arms and breast of silver in the image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and with that of the bear raised up on one side in the first vision of Daniel. The two horns, which represent the kingdoms of Media and Persia, were both high or conspicuous horns, while the horn which was higher than the other, and which came up after it, represents the kingdom of Persia, which until the time of Cyrus was but a tributary of Media, but which grew and became the more powerful and conspicuous member of the united kingdom. This is seen in the fact that at the first, as in this book, the empire is spoken of as that of the Medes and Persians, but afterwards, as in the book of Esther, as that of the Persians and the Medes (Esther 1:3, 14, 18, 19). As the symbol of the ram with the two horns here represents the Medo-Persian empire, it is strange that anyone should explain the symbol of Nebuchadnezzar's dream and that of Daniel's first vision to mean the Medes alone. The idea of a Median empire succeeding the Babylonian is, as the higher critics admit, a gross historical blunder; but then they ascribe the blunder, which they themselves have created, to the ignorance of the author, and apply to their own workmanship the well-sounding name of scientific criticism. As Daniel .looked at the ram with the two horns on the other side of the Ulai, he saw it pushing or butting westward, and northward and southward, and overthrowing all the beasts which came in its way, and glorying in its crushing and victorious power. This is a striking description of the conquests and spirit of the Medo-Persian empire. In the west it vanquished Babylon and Syria; in the north Lydia, Armenia, and the Scythian nations; and in the south part of Arabia, Egypt, and Ethiopia. It was more of a world-empire than Babylon, and for a time resistless in its conquering career, and became in an eminent degree a despotic and vainglorious power. The next part of the vision relates to the he-goat (v. 5, 8). This is the interpretation given by Gabriel to Daniel: "And the rough he-goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. And as for that which was broken, in the place whereof four stood up, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not with his power." The he-goat with its one great horn at the first, and afterwards with its four notable horns, the symbol of the Graeco-Macedonian empire, corresponds with the belly and thighs of brass of the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and with the four-winged leopard with four heads in Daniel's first vision. There is a likeness of a he-goat with one notable horn between its eyes still to be seen in the sculptures at Persepolis. The first king of the Grace-Macedonian empire, symbolised by the one great horn between the eyes, is . This remarkable man, who at thirteen became for three years the pupil of the famous , was born in , and ascended the throne of Macedonia in , when he was twenty years of age. Within two years after his coronation he had made himself the recognised leader of the Grecian peoples; and in , he crossed the Hellespont to overthrow the Medo-Persian empire with not more perhaps than 30,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry, and began the struggle by completely routing the Persians in battle at the Granicus. He then overran and subdued a large part of Asia Minor, and in dealt a crushing blow to the immense army of Darius at Issus in Cilicia. Instead of pursuing the beaten Darius the youthful conqueror marched southward through Syria and Palestine, taking Tyre after a siege of seven months, and Gaza after a siege of two, and entered Egypt, where he not only overthrew the Persian rule, but founded the city of Alexandria for his new kingdom. In he left Egypt and hastened with all speed through Palestine and Syria to Thapsacus, where he crossed the Euphrates, and then onwards to the Tigris, below Nineveh, which he crossed without opposition. Some days after Alexander encountered the army of Darius, said to be more than a million in number, posted on a broad plain stretching from Guagamela to Arbela, and completely routed it, and thus practically ended the Medo-Persian empire, which had lasted for a period of 218 years. In the following year, , Darius, after he had fled to Susa, then to Persepolis (Pasargadae), and then to Ecbatana, three of the royal residences of the Persian kings, made his escape into Bactria, where he was assassinated. In three years the little king of Macedonia had made himself master of the vast Medo-Persian empire. The rapidity of his movements is aptly likened to that of a four-winged leopard in the first vision, and in this to that of a he-goat bounding along without touching the ground. His attacks on the armies of Darius were like those of the he-goat on the ram with the two horns. Darius, like the ram, had no power to resist him; and Alexander, like the he-goat, "cast him down to the ground, and trampled upon him; and there was none to deliver the ram out of his hand." Alexander, too, like the he-goat, "magnified himself exceedingly." His extraordinary successes impressed him with the idea that he must be more than human; and, to settle the matter, when he was in Egypt, he sent to enquire of the oracle of Ammon, which, knowing what would please the vainglorious conqueror, gave the answer that he was the son, not of Philip, but of Zeus. Hence, to the disgust of many of his followers, he claimed to be divine, and expected to be worshipped with divine honours. And he, like the great horn, was "broken in his strength." He was cut off at Babylon by fever, aggravated by intemperance, when in the midst of his successes, and not yet thirty-three years of age. After the breaking of the great horn the four notable horns, which came up towards the four winds of Heaven, are explained by Gabriel to be four kingdoms that would stand up out of the nation, but not with his power. The four horns of the-he-goat correspond with the four heads of the leopard in the first vision. Alexander the Great died in ; and for twenty-two years after the empire was in a condition of conflict and confusion; but in it was divided into four kingdoms, all of which were weaker than the original empire. Seleucus got what may be called the eastern kingdom of Syria, Babylonia, and the countries as far as India; Cassander, the western kingdom of Macedonia and Greece; Lysimachus, the northern kingdom of Thrace and Bithynia; and Ptolemy, the southern kingdom of Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia Petrea. These four kingdoms were towards the four winds of Heaven. The little horn is admitted on all hands to be Antiochus Epiphanes, who seized the throne of Syria in , in the absence of his nephew Demetrius, the rightful heir. He might be called a little horn, partly from the depressed state of the kingdom of Syria at the time, and partly from his own depressed state, as he had been hostage at Rome for the seven preceding years. In the eyes of the world such a king would be very insignificant. The period in which he would arise is said to be "in the latter time of the kingdom (the Graeco-Macedonian empire), when the transgressors are come to the full," that is, when the Jewish people had filled up the cup of their iniquity. Many of the Jews with their high priest apostatised in the early days of Antiochus, and adopted the heathen customs of the Greeks. The period of the little horn is also said to belong to the time of the end. Gabriel said to Daniel 5:17: "Understand O son of man; for the vision belongeth to the time of the end"; and again, v.19: "Behold I will make thee know what shall be in the latter time of the indignation; for it belongeth to the appointed time of the end." The time of the end seems to refer to the end of the present age, as distinguished from the future age of the Messiah. The appearance of the little horn, which would be in the latter time of God's indignation against His chosen people, would show that men were living in the last stage of the old order of things, and that a new order of things was about to arise. Antiochus Epiphanes, the little horn which was to arise in the time of the end, is minutely and accurately described. He was "a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences," noted for his hard-hearted cruelty and crafty dissimulation. Though a little horn at the first, "he waxed exceeding great toward the glorious land." The south refers to Egypt, against which he undertook several campaigns, and would have made a complete conquest of it, had it not been for the interference of the Romans; the east refers to his military expeditions into Armenia, Bactria, and Elymais; and the glorious land, "the glory of all lands" in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:6), refers to Palestine which he so grievously oppressed. His success was due, not so much to inherent ability as to the favouring providence of God and the practice of dissimulation. The one cause is pointed out in the words, "And his power shall be mighty; but not by his own power"; and the other in the words, "And through his policy he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand." And in his successful career, "he shall destroy the mighty ones and the holy people," that is, powerful foes in the world and the chosen people of Israel. The destructive power of the little horn is especially noted in reference to the holy people. We read: "And it waxed great even to the host of heaven: and some of the host and of the stars it cast down to the ground and trampled upon them." The host of Heaven and the stars refer to the same, and not to different persons; and the stars here symbolise, not the angels but the chosen people, partly because the seed of Abraham had been likened to the stars for multitude (Genesis 15:5), but mainly because they are sometimes called the Lord's host (Exodus 7:4; Exodus 12:41). This was fulfilled in his two captures of Jerusalem, when many of the inhabitants were slain, and in his persecution of those who refused to abandon their religion (Jos. Ant. 12:03, 4). "Yes," continues Daniel, "it magnified itself, oven to the prince of the host; and it took away from him the continual burnt offering and the pines of his sanctuary was cut down. And the host was given over to it, together with the continual burnt offering through transgression; and it cast down truth to the ground, and it did its pleasure and prospered." This describes the attempt of Antiochus to extinguish the religion of the Jews. The arch-persecutor was opposed not only to the host but to the prince of the host. His aim was to blast the glory, and overthrow the power of the Most High. He plundered His temple, and caused the daily sacrifice to cease, and transformed the altar of Jehovah into an altar dedicated to the worship of idols. And because of the transgressions of the host Antiochus, like Nebuchadnezzar in reference to the destruction of Solomon's temple, was permitted to do his pleasure and prosper.
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