9.—Origin of the Romano-Greek Babylonian Sovereignty
In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, another vision was presented to Daniel, which he has recorded in the eighth chapter of his book. It was communicated for the purpose of exhibiting certain important events in the future history of Judah, characterized by the suppression of their religious polity, the destruction of their commonwealth, and subversion of their power for a long series of ages; but with the consolatory assurance that God would avenge them, and by a Great Deliverer destroy the power that had so long oppressed them.
By studying the symbols of this chapter the power will be found to originate in Babylon, and to be the same as that represented by the four beasts, but without the introduction of the Ten Horns and the Little Horn with its Eyes and Mouth. These signify the Latin or papal governments of the west in their relation to the holy ones: while the Bear and the Ram, the Leopard and the He Goat, the fourth Beast, and the Little Horn of the Goat, are the heraldry of the same dynastic manifestations of the kingdom of Babylon in relation to the people of the holy ones: that is, the Saints’ nation, in its occupancy of the Holy Land.
Daniel saw the vision while residing in Persia at the palace of Shushan, under the government of the Lion-Man, which had but sixteen years to continue over the affairs of the kingdom of Babylon. Hence, the Chaldean sovereignty being about to pass away, and sufficient having been revealed in former visions and signs, it was unnecessary to introduce it again: therefore, in the one before us the symbol presented first is that emblematic of the Babylonish power after it had been transferred to the conjoint dynasty of the Medes and Persians.
The emblem of the Medo-Persian dynasty was a Ram with two horns of considerable and unequal height. It is unnecessary to repeat here what has already been said of the Ram when treating of the Bear. It will be sufficient to add, that Daniel saw the Medo-Persian symbol pushing westward, that is, towards Greece; northward, and southward, towards Egypt; so that no beasts or dominions could stand successfully against it. It, therefore, “did according to its will, and became great”. The reason of this greatness is given in 11:1, from which we learn that it was because the kings of the Ram dynasty were strengthened by an angel-prince devoted to the interests of Judah. In the second verse of this chapter there is a particular mentioned concerning the military operations of the Ram-king which is noted as a cause of the enmity which led in the end to the subversion of their power by the Greeks. There were thirteen Medo-Persian kings; but the revelator takes no notice of any of them after the fourth that reigned after Cyrus. In the third year of Cyrus he said to Daniel, “Behold, there shall yet stand up three kings in Persia”; namely, Cambyses, the Ahasuerus of scripture; Smerdis the Magian, and Darius; “and the fourth shall be far richer than they all”. This was Xerxes: “and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia”; which saying is a prediction of the celebrated invasion of the west, so familiar to the reader of ancient history.
The time of the vision between this reign and the sixth year of the reign of the last of the Ram-kings, a period of about 142 years, was occupied by the prophet in considering. “And as I was considering”, says he, “behold, a He-Goat came from the west over the face of the whole earth”; that is, over the face of the whole Ram-empire; “and nothing upon the earth smote (him), and the Goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes”. The things represented by the Goat and its Horn are then interpreted in the twenty-first verse of the eighth chapter: “And the rough Goat is the kingdom of Grecia; and the Great Horn between his eyes is the first king”: and what is affirmed of them is thus explained in 11:3: “And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will”. The doing of this mighty king of Greece according to his will is thus expressed in chapter 8: “And he came to the Ram, and ran unto him in the fury of his power; and he came close to him, and was moved with anger against him, and smote the Ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the Ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him; and there was none that could deliver the Ram out of his power”. This is highly descriptive of the war between the Greeks and Persians which resulted in the overthrow of the Ram-dynasty, and the transfer of the Kingdom of Babylon to Alexander the Great, the notable horn of the goat nation. All the power of this kingdom was now vested in “the first king”, who “became very great”, and when he had attained to the fulness of his power, “he wept because there were no more worlds for him to conquer”. His dominion extended from Macedonia to beyond the Indus; and from the gulf of Persia to Scythia; and is represented by the belly of brass in Nebuchadnezzar’s Image, and in the interpretation thereof termed “the third kingdom of brass which shall bear rule over all the earth”.
The Ram having disappeared from view, the prophet’s attention was concentrated upon the Goat, and especially upon his Horn. He saw that “when the Goat was strong, the Great Horn was broken”; that is, the power of the kingdom departed from the first king and his family, before any reverses overtook the nation. Alexander died in Babylon from intoxication, leaving his unbroken dominion to be contended for and possessed by the strongest. It was revealed to Daniel that it should be divided into four notable sections, but that no blood-relations of the first king should possess them. The divisions of Alexander’s empire were represented by “four notable horns coming up in the place of the broken horn toward the four winds of heaven”; and in regard to the succession it was added (11:4) “but not to his posterity, nor according to the (extent of the) dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up even for others (for other rulers) beside those” of his posterity. This is the meaning of “four kingdoms standing up out of the nation, but not in his power”.
The Four Heads of the Grecian Leopard, and the Four Horns of the Grecian Goat, both fours pointing toward the four winds, are representative of the same Grecian powers. The reader can refer to what I have said about the Leopard for the signification of the four horns of the Goat. In the eighth chapter nothing more is said about the four horns. They were only introduced into this vision because of the dynasty that was to succeed them as the heir of the Babylonian power, which was to make its appearance in the east “out of one of them”. The eleventh chapter, from the fifth to the thirty-first verse, treats of two of them, the northern and southern horns in their struggles with one another for ascendancy in the Holy Land, and consequent lordship over Judah; and thus the treatise fills up the interval between the foundation of the horn kingdoms and the incipient intervention of “the breakers of Daniel’s people” who should exalt themselves to establish the vision. Besides this, two of the Goat Horns were indispensable to the representation of the solution of the Eastern Question of our day, called “the Time of the End”. They are therefore introduced again in the fortieth verse; and one of them, the northern, is kept in view to the end of the chapter, being inseparable at last from the Little Horn of the Goat which came up out of it and merges again into it; so that the fate of the one becomes the fate of the other, which is to be broken without help.
It will be seen by the countries subjected to the third head or horn, that the Kingdom of Babylon passed from Alexander to Seleucus and his successors of the northern horn. The Babylonish power has been particularly hostile to Judah and the holy ones from Nebuchadnezzar to the present time, and will be to the end. Before Christ it seemed to have reached the climax of hatred in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, who polluted the temple, took away the daily, and set up the abomination of the desolator. This extreme indignation against the temple worship was a type of the violence of the Little Horn that should come up against Jerusalem out of his territory, the effect of which would be far more permanent than his.
In the latter time of the dominion of the northern and southern horns of the Goat the transgressors in Judah were fast arriving at maturity. The Israelites of that tribe had conquered their independence of these two kingdoms by the valour of the Maccabees and “a little help” from heaven; and in alliance with the Romans, the future breakers of their power, they were enabled to maintain it under kings of the Levitical race after they had vanished from the scene. By that time, however, both people and government had become very corrupt; so that in about a hundred years after the establishment of the Asmonean throne, when the transgressors were ripening, the Iron Men of Italy began to appear as a distinct power to the north of Judea by the progressive incorporation of the provinces of the northern horn with their more western empire. This advance of the Roman power eastward was preparatory to the use Yahweh was going to make of them in the crucifixion of Jesus, the punishment of Judah, and the abolition of the Mosaic system, as predicted in the eighth chapter, and the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. The disappearing of the northern horn for a long series of ages, and the substituting of the Roman power in its place, was represented to Daniel by the coming of a Little Horn out of one of the four horns. After it began to appear in Syria, Daniel saw it waxing exceeding great against the south or Egypt, and against the east or Euphrates, and against the glory of the land, or Palestine, until it became dangerously formidable to the army of “the heavens”, or military power of Judah, which it at length subdued, as evinced by the Jews boasting before Pilate, that they had “no other king than Cæsar”.
Thus far the vision of the Ram and Goat was for the purpose of introducing the Roman power in its relation to Judah and the Holy Land to special notice. By the absorption of the northern kingdom into the Roman empire, a union was formed between it and the Græco-Babylonian power of the Seleucidæ; so that as these were heirs of Alexander’s kingdom of Babylon, the Romans inherited it from them. Hence the power peculiar to this territory, styled “the whole earth”, may very properly be called the Romano-Greek Babylonian; or the Latino-Greek Babylonian. This name is descriptive of it in its relation to the Holy Land, in all its future phases until its utter destruction by Messiah the Prince and his holy ones. The Ottoman nation is more Greek than Turkish, with but little of the Latin element; but when the Latins and Greeks come to form a confederacy under Russia as the fragile medium of combination, the Latino-Greek Babylonian power will be in full “blossom”, when the sour grape is ripening for the vintage (Isa. 18:5; Rev. 14:18). If these things be apprehended, the reader will be prepared to read the destiny of Russia and the nations in the solution of the Eastern Question; for, the working of it out is the manifestation of the Gogian Image, or Latino-Greek Babylonian power in consummation for its signal and final overthrow by the hand of Deity.
In this vision of the Ram and Goat the Babylonian power in its Roman manifestations is represented by the Little Horn of the Goat, which is not to be confounded with the Little Horn with Eyes and Mouth. At the time of the end, the powers signified by these are confederated with the Goat’s Little Horn, and with it as their chief invade the Holy Land and besiege Jerusalem, and take it.
The Little Horn of the Goat power is described by Daniel as “a king of fierce countenance, and understanding an intricate tongue; whose power shall be mighty, but not in his own virility: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and work; and shall destroy multitudes, and the people of the holy ones”. Speaking of the same, Moses says to Israel, “Yahweh shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until all thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst throughout all thy land which Yahweh thine Elohim hath given thee” (Deut. 28:49). “And through his policy also”, says Daniel, “he shall cause falsehood to prosper by his power; and because of his heart he shall do proudly, and in prosperity shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Commander of chieftains; but he shall be broken without help”.
Thus in its career it was to be what is said of Daniel’s fourth beast, “dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly”, and the special enemy of all pertaining to Judah. “It waxed great”, says the prophet, “above the army of the heavens, and it cast down of the army and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even against the Commander of the army; and by it the evening-morning sacrifice was taken away; and the foundation of its temple scattered (foundation of its temple or holy place. This rendering accords with the saying, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2). This would be a demolition of the foundation, and therefore utter destruction). And an army was given against the evening-morning sacrifice because of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it wrought and prospered”. This was the beginning of divine indignation against Judah in the first century of our era, which is not quite terminated yet.