4.—The Bear-Phasis


The impiety of Belshazzar brought ruin upon his family and calamity upon the Kingdom. It was made an accusation against him by Daniel that “the Deity in whose power his breath was, and whose were all his ways, he had not glorified”. Convicted of this, the Lord of heaven pronounced sentence upon him, saying “God hath numbered thy reign, and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians”. The execution of this sentence was prompt; for “on that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom”.

This transfer of the government occurred b.c. 542. Its mission was to restore Judah’s Commonwealth, and to extend the boundary of the Kingdom of Men. “Arise, devour much flesh”, was the policy of its reign. The Bear was the symbol of this government, whose dominion extended from India to Ethiopia, over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces. The reign of the Bear began under a Mede, and in two years passed by inheritance to Cyrus, a Persian. This change of position was represented to Daniel in the saying that “it raised itself on one side”, so that one side became “higher than the other”; but before it raised itself up, the higher side was no higher than the other; therefore the higher side acquired its position last, as appears in the history of the time. The Ram in the eighth chapter with horns of unequal height is another symbol for the same government: the unequal elevation of the sides of the Bear, and the different altitude of the Ram’s horns, are conditions representative of the same dynastic peculiarity—“The higher horn came up last”.

The Bear had also another peculiarity worthy of note. “It had three ribs in the mouth of it between its teeth”. These ribs represented the threefold division of its conquests. The interpretation is found elsewhere in these words of Daniel: “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, who should be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three presidents, of whom Daniel was chief: that the princes might give account to them, and the king (the Bear-Mouth) should have no damage”. The three presidencies, then, of the silver dominion were the ribs in the mouth of the Bear.

In dismissing this symbol, it is worthy of remark, that while the Ram, by which the Persians represented themselves in Daniel’s time, is their symbol in relation to the Macedonians under Alexander, the Deity hath chosen for them the Bear to signify them as an element of the Image in the latter-days. The latter-day symbol then of Persia, is a Bear; and a Bear is at this time her formidable neighbour, and has already taken from her a large portion of her territory. The Russian Bear is destined to supersede her present government as an independent sovereignty, and to grasp Persia between its teeth from near India to Ethiopia, which is to be “at his steps”. This is no mere conjecture, but absolutely certain; for Yahweh has declared by Ezekiel that Persia shall be an element of Gog’s confederacy, and that Gog’s is the Russian power will be seen when I come to treat of the King of the North at the time of the end. The Ram continued 206 years and 9 months.