Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel/Part I Chap IX

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CHAP. IX.[edit]

Of the kingdoms represented in Daniel by the Ram and He-Goat.[edit]

The second and third Empires, represented by the Bear and Leopard, are again represented by the Ram and He-Goat; but with this difference, that the Ram represents the kingdoms of the Medes and Persians from the beginning of the four Empires, and the Goat represents the kingdom of the Greeks to the end of them. By this means, under the type of the Ram and He-Goat, the times of all the four Empires are again described: I lifted up mine eyes, saith [1] Daniel, and saw, and behold there stood before the river [Ulai] a Ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.—And the Ram having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia: not two persons but two kingdoms, the kingdoms of Media and Persia; and the kingdom of Persia was the higher horn and came up last. The kingdom of Persia rose up, when Cyrus having newly conquered Babylon, revolted from Darius King of the Medes, and beat him at Pasargadæ, and set up the Persians above the Medes. This was the horn which came up last. And the horn which came up first was the kingdom of the Medes, from the time that Cyaxares and Nebuchadnezzar overthrew Nineveh, and shared the Empire of the Assyrians between them. The Empires of Media and Babylon were contemporary, and rose up together by the fall of the Assyrian Empire; and the Prophecy of the four Beasts begins with one of them, and that of the Ram and He-Goat with the other. As the Ram represents the kingdom of Media and Persia from the beginning of the four Empires; so the He-Goat represents the Empire of the Greeks to the end of those Monarchies. In the reign of his great horn, and of the four horns which succeeded it, he represents this Empire during the reign of the Leopard: and in the reign of his little horn, which stood up in the latter time of the kingdom of the four, and after their fall became mighty but not by his own power, he represents it during the reign of the fourth Beast.

The rough Goat, saith Daniel, is the King of Grecia, that is, the kingdom; and the great horn between his eyes is the first King: not the first Monarch, but the first kingdom, that which lasted during the reign of Alexander the great, and his brother Aridæus and two young sons, Alexander and Hercules. [2] Now that [horn] being broken off, whereas four [horns] stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation [of the Greeks], but not in his [the first horn's] power. The four horns are therefore four kingdoms; and by consequence, the first great horn which they succeeded is the first great kingdom of the Greeks, that which was founded by Alexander the great, An. Nabonass. 414, and lasted till the death of his son Hercules, An. Nabonass. 441. And the four are those of Cassander, Lysimachus, Antigonus, and Ptolemy, as above.

[3] And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a King [or new kingdom] of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up: and his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power. This King was the last horn of the Goat, the little horn which came up out of one of the four horns, and waxed exceeding great. The latter time of their kingdom was when the Romans began to conquer them, that is, when they conquered Perseus King of Macedonia, the fundamental kingdom of the Greeks. And at that time the transgressors came to the full: for then the High-priesthood was exposed to sale, the Vessels of the Temple were sold to pay for the purchase; and the High-priest, with some of the Jews, procured a licence from Antiochus Epiphanes to do after the ordinances of the heathen, and set up a school at Jerusalem for teaching those ordinances. Then Antiochus took Jerusalem with an armed force, slew 4000 Jews, took as many prisoners and sold them, spoiled the Temple, interdicted the worship, commanded the Law of Moses to be burnt, and set up the worship of the heathen Gods in all Judea. In the very same year, An. Nabonass. 580, the Romans conquered Macedonia, the chief of the four horns. Hitherto the Goat was mighty by its own power, but henceforward began to be under the Romans. Daniel distinguishes the times, by describing very particularly the actions of the Kings of the north and south, those two of the four horns which bordered upon Judea, until the Romans conquered Macedonia; and thenceforward only touching upon the main revolutions which happened within the compass of the nations represented by the Goat. In this latter period of time the little horn was to stand up and grow mighty, but not by his own power.

The three first of Daniel's Beasts had their dominions taken away, each of them at the rise of the next Beast; but their lives were prolonged, and they are all of them still alive. The third Beast, or Leopard, reigned in his four heads, till the rise of the fourth Beast, or Empire of the Latins; and his life was prolonged under their power. This Leopard reigning in his four heads, signifies the same thing with the He-Goat reigning in his four horns: and therefore the He-Goat reigned in his four horns till the rise of Daniel's fourth Beast, or Empire of the Latins: then its dominion was taken away by the Latins, but its life was prolonged under their power. The Latins are not comprehended among the nations represented by the He-Goat in this Prophecy: their power over the Greeks is only named in it, to distinguish the times in which the He-Goat was mighty by his own power, from the times in which he was mighty but not by his own power. He was mighty by his own power till his dominion was taken away by the Latins; after that, his life was prolonged under their dominion, and this prolonging of his life was in the days of his last horn: for in the days of this horn the Goat became mighty, but not by his own power.

Now because this horn was a horn of the Goat, we are to look for it among the nations which composed the body of the Goat. Among those nations he was to rise up and grow mighty: he grew mighty [4] towards the south, and towards the east, and towards the pleasant land; and therefore he was to rise up in the north-west parts of those nations, and extend his dominion towards Egypt, Syria and Judea. In the latter time of the kingdom of the four horns, it was to rise up out of one of them and subdue the rest, but not by its own power. It was to be assisted by a foreign power, a power superior to itself, the power which took away the dominion of the third Beast, the power of the fourth Beast. And such a little horn was the kingdom of Macedonia, from the time that it became subject to the Romans. This kingdom, by the victory of the Romans over Persius King of Macedonia, Anno Nabonass. 580, ceased to be one of the four horns of the Goat, and became a dominion of a new sort: not a horn of the fourth Beast, for Macedonia belonged to the body of the third; but a horn of the third Beast of a new sort, a horn of the Goat which grew mighty but not by his own power, a horn which rose up and grew potent under a foreign power, the power of the Romans.

The Romans, by the legacy of Attalus the last King of Pergamus, An. Nabonass. 615, inherited that kingdom, including all Asia Minor on this side mount Taurus. An. Nabonass. 684 and 685 they conquered Armenia, Syria and Judea; An. Nabonass. 718, they subdued Egypt. And by these conquests the little horn [5] waxed exceeding great towards the south, and towards the east, and towards the pleasant land. And it waxed great even to the host of heaven; and cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them, that is, upon the people and great men of the Jews. [6] Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the Host, the Messiah, the Prince of the Jews, whom he put to death, An. Nabonass. 780. And by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down, viz. in the wars which the armies of the Eastern nations under the conduct of the Romans made against Judea, when Nero and Vespasian were Emperors, An. Nabonass. 816, 817, 818. [7] And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground, and it practised and prospered. This transgression is in the next words called the transgression of desolation; and in Dan. xi. 31. the abomination which maketh desolate; and in Matth. xxiv. 15. the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place. It may relate chiefly to the worship of Jupiter Olympius in his Temple built by the Emperor Hadrian, in the place of the Temple of the Jews, and to the revolt of the Jews under Barchochab occasioned thereby, and to the desolation of Judea which followed thereupon; all the Jews, being thenceforward banished Judea upon pain of death. Then I heard, saith [8] Daniel, one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Daniel's days are years; and these years may perhaps be reckoned either from the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in the reign of Vespasian, or from the pollution of the Sanctuary by the worship of Jupiter Olympius, or from the desolation of Judea made in the end of the Jewish war by the banishment of all the Jews out of their own country, or from some other period which time will discover. Henceforward the last horn of the Goat continued mighty under the Romans, till the reign of Constantine the great and his sons: and then by the division of the Roman Empire between the Greek and Latin Emperors, it separated from the Latins, and became the Greek Empire alone, but yet under the dominion of a Roman family; and at present it is mighty under the dominion of the Turks.

This last horn is by some taken for Antiochus Epiphanes, but not very judiciously. A horn of a Beast is never taken for a single person: it always signifies a new kingdom, and the kingdom of Antiochus was an old one. Antiochus reigned over one of the four horns, and the little horn was a fifth under its proper kings. This horn was at first a little one, and waxed exceeding great, but so did not Antiochus. It is described great above all the former horns, and so was not Antiochus. His kingdom on the contrary was weak, and tributary to the Romans, and he did not enlarge it. The horn was a King of fierce countenance, and destroyed wonderfully, and prospered and practised; that is, he prospered in his practises against the holy people: but Antiochus was frighted out of Egypt by a mere message of the Romans, and afterwards routed and baffled by the Jews. The horn was mighty by another's power, Antiochus acted by his own. The horn stood up against the Prince of the Host of heaven, the Prince of Princes; and this is the character not of Antiochus but of Antichrist. The horn cast down the Sanctuary to the ground, and so did not Antiochus; he left it standing. The Sanctuary and Host were trampled under foot 2300 days; and in Daniel's Prophecies days are put for years: but the profanation of the Temple in the reign of Antiochus did not last so many natural days. These were to last till the time of the end, till the last end of the indignation against the Jews; and this indignation is not yet at an end. They were to last till the Sanctuary which had been cast down should be cleansed, and the Sanctuary is not yet cleansed.

This Prophecy of the Ram and He-Goat is repeated in the last Prophecy of Daniel. There the Angel tells Daniel, that [9] he stood up to strengthen Darius the Mede, and that there should stand up yet three kings in Persia, [Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius Hystaspis] and the fourth [Xerxes] should be far richer than they all; and by his wealth thro' his riches he should stir up all against the realm of Grecia. This relates to the Ram, whose two horns were the kingdoms of Media and Persia. Then he goes on to describe the horns of the Goat by the [10] standing up of a mighty king, which should rule with great dominion, and do according to his will; and by the breaking of his kingdom into four smaller kingdoms, and not descending to his own posterity. Then he describes the actions of two of those kingdoms which bordered on Judea, viz. Egypt and Syria, calling them the Kings of the South and North, that is, in respect of Judea; and he carries on the description till the latter end of the kingdoms of the four, and till the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, when transgressors were come to the full. In the eighth year of Antiochus, the year in which he profaned the Temple and set up the heathen Gods in all Judea, and the Romans conquered the kingdom of Macedon; the prophetic Angel leaves off describing the affairs of the kings of the South and North, and begins to describe those of the Greeks under the dominion of the Romans, in these words: [11] And after him Arms [the Romans] shall stand up, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength. As ממלך signifies after the king, Dan. xi. 8; so here ממנו may signify after him: and so מן־האחת may signify after one of them, Dan. viii. 9. Arms are every where in these Prophecies of Daniel put for the military power of a kingdom, and they stand up when they conquer and grow powerful. The Romans conquered Illyricum, Epirus and Macedonia, in the year of Nabonassar 580; and thirty five years after, by the last will and testament of Attalus the last King of Pergamus, they inherited that rich and flourishing kingdom, that is, all Asia on this side mount Taurus: and sixty nine years after, they conquered the kingdom of Syria, and reduced it into a Province: and thirty four years after they did the like to Egypt. By all these steps the Roman arms stood up over the Greeks. And after 95 years more, by making war upon the Jews, they polluted the sanctuary of strength, and took away the daily sacrifice, and, in its room soon after, placed the abomination which made the Land desolate: for this abomination was placed after the days of Christ, Matth. xxiv. 15. In the 16th year of the Emperor Hadrian, A. C. 132, they placed this abomination by building a Temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, where the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stood. Thereupon the Jews under the conduct of Barchochab rose up in arms against the Romans, and in that war had 50 cities demolished, 985 of their best towns destroyed, and 580000 men slain by the sword: and in the end of the war, A.C. 136, they were all banished Judea upon pain or death; and that time the land hath remained desolate of its old inhabitants.

Now that the prophetic Angel passes in this manner from the four kingdoms of the Greeks to the Romans reigning over the Greeks, is confirmed from hence, that in the next place he describes the affairs of the Christians unto the time of the end, in these words: [12] And they that understand among the people shall instruct many, yet they shall fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by spoil many days. Now when they shall fall they shall be holpen with a little help, viz. in the reign of Constantine the great; but many shall cleave to them with dissimulation. And some of them of understanding there shall fall to try them, and to purge them from the dissemblers; and to make them white even to the time of the end. And a little after, the time of the end is said to be a time, times, and half a time: which is the duration of the reign of the last horn of Daniel's fourth Beast, and of the Woman and her Beast in the Apocalyps.

Notes to Chap. IX.[edit]

1 ^  Chap. viii. 3.

2 ^  Ver. 22.

3 ^  Ver. 23.

4 ^  Chap. viii. 9.

5 ^  Chap. viii. 9, 10.

6 ^  Ver. 11.

7 ^  Ver. 12.

8 ^  Ver. 13, 14.

9 ^  Dan. xi. 1, 2.

10 ^  Ver. 3.

11 ^  Dan xi. 31.

12 ^  Chap. xi. 33, &c.