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DANIEL'S FIRST PANORAMIC VISION OF THE SIX KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD.
We have remarked that every very important prophetic event is twice repeated, or twice doubled, and that the symbolic prophecies are mostly accompanied additionally with an interpretation. This principle is especially exhibited in the universal prophecies of the political world, recorded by Daniel. For we find that every character of the whole panorama of the political history of the world, exhibited in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, is repeated and enlarged upon by Daniel's vision of the very same field.
Joseph, before Pharaoh, interpreting his double vision of the seven fat, and lean kine, and the seven full, and blasted ears, said the dream was one, and that the dream was "doubled twice," because the dream was established by God. We understand by this, that the second vision was to interpret the first, or throw more light upon it. The seven full ears explain why the kine were fat, and the seven blasted ones why the kine were lean; and the twice doubling of seven emphasizes the periods of seven years. And so we understand one of Daniel's visions to be an exponent of the other, and the emphasizer of the certain realization of its events.
We may therefore anticipate that the second vision of the same great succession of empires, will give us
additional light in determining their characters, and identifying their names.
This second panorama of the six empires is recorded in the seventh chapter of Daniel. It is prefaced with a prophetic introduction, which shows the entire compass of the prophecy. "I saw in my vision by night, and behold the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea, and four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse from one another."
As the four beasts were four empires, and as they came up in different ages of the world, it is plain that the term sea embraces the whole world during their history, or the history of the people. The striving of the winds upon the sea, represents commotions in the political world, and the striving of the four winds represents the universality of these changes and agitations. All of those symbols having the number four added to them, represent universality. Jeremiah explains the term, "four winds," in his forty-ninth chapter,
"I will bring against Elam, four winds,
The universality of agencies, or providence, operating among men, throughout all ages, is, therefore, symbolized by the four winds striving on the great sea.
Vision." And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse from one another."
Interpretation—“These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise."
The term kings, here represents kingdoms, or governments, and would have been as properly translated kingdoms as kings, from the original text. We shall
now find that these four kingdoms coincide with the four of Nebuchadnezzar's vision. We will consider them in order.
THE LION-EMPIRE OF Babylon.
Vision." 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 to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it."
In the fourth chapter of Jeremiah, the Babylonian kingdom is described as a lion. "The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way." This is a passage of Hebrew poetry, and a feature of it is, that every object delineated in it is mentioned twice, the latter statement always explaining or emphasizing the former; so that the lion and the destroyer of the Gentiles are synonymous. Ezekiel said of Babylon, "He shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab."--Ezek. xvii. He also calls it “ great eagle with great wings."
The word wings symbolizes various things, as armies, velocity, protection; but, in all cases, eagle's wings imply power and velocity. The plucking of the wings of the lion will, therefore, represent the diminution of national power.
The lifting up of the lion from the earth, is translated in the septuagint, "it was removed from the earth."
The standing on the feet as a man, and receiving a man's heart after it was lifted up, shows a change of
character in the government, from a beastly to a human character, after the king's conversion. These characteristics are agreed to by all writers, as identifying the winged lion with the first of the four great empires; and it is unnecessary to give a detailed list of the points of
"And behold another beast, a second, like unto a bear, and it raised itself on one side; and it had three ribs in the mouth of it, between the teeth of it; and they said unto it, Arise, devour much flesh."
The points in this empire are as follows:
1. It was the second in the series of the four. 2. It raised itself on one side. 3. It had three ribs in its mouth. 4. It was to be very destructive.
The coincidences between the bear and the MedoPersian empire are plainly seen:
1. The Medo-Persian was the second great universal empire, in the series of universal empires of the world.
2. The double dynasty of Medes and Persians coincides with the two sides of the bear; and the final superiority and ascendency of the Persians over the Medes, coincides with the raising of one side of the bear.
3. The three ribs in the mouth of the bear, finds its coincidence in the three vice-royalties into which this empire was divided, and of which Daniel speaks. He
says, "it pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom, and over these THREE PRESIDENTS.”
4. The conquests of the Medes and Persians were very extensive, and very cruel and destructive; and in this respect they jointly coincide with "the devouring of much flesh."
As complete coincidence is complete fulfillment, it follows that the Persian empire is symbolized by the second beast. The bear with two sides, coincides with the breast and arms of silver, in Nebuchadnezzar's vision.
THE LEOPARD-MACEDONIAN EMPIRE.
"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 points of character by which to identify the third great monarchy, are as follows:
1. It was the third beast, or kingdom.
2. It had four wings. The four corners of the earth signify also the four wings of the earth; and wings signify powers or governments, and velocity. The four wings may, therefore, signify four governments, and also the velocity of their movements.
3. The leopard being a spotted beast, represents a mottled or mixed kingdom.
4. The leopard had four heads. Of course the kingdom was to be divided into four parts. This, with the