This booklet is condensed and revised from a book by one of the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers, Uriah Smith (1832-1903), from his much-used and fruitful book called “Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation” also called “Daniel and the Revelation” (Battle Creek, Michigan: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1882; a digital copy is available at California University Library archives at www.archive.org/details/thoughtscritical00smitrich). We now turn to study the seventh chapter of Daniel.
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed; then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
This is the same Belshazzar mentioned in chapter 5. Chronologically, therefore, this chapter follows chapter 5; but chronological order has been disregarded in order that the historical part of the book might stand by itself, and the prophetic part, on which we now enter, might not be interrupted by writings of that nature.
2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
All Scripture language is to be taken literally, unless there exists some good reason for supposing it to be figurative; and all that is figurative is to be interpreted by that which is literal. That the language here used is symbolic, is evident from verse 17, which reads, “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth.” And to show that kingdoms are intended, and not merely individual kings, the angel continued, “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom.” And further, in the explanation in verse 23, the angel said, “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth.” These beast are therefore symbols of four great kingdoms; and the circumstances under which they arose, and the means by which their elevation was accomplished, as represented in the prophecy, are symbolic also. The symbols introduced are, the four winds, the sea, four great beasts, ten horns, and another horn which had eyes and a mouth, and rose up in war against God and His people. We have to inquire what they denote.
Winds, in symbolic language, denote strife, political commotion, and war. Jeremiah 25:31-33: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth.” Here the prophet speaks of a controversy which the Lord is to have with all nations, when the wicked shall be given to the sword, and the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth to the other; and the strife and commotion which produces all this destruction is called “a great whirlwind”.
That winds denote strife and war is further evident from a consideration of the vision itself; for as the result of the striving of the winds, kingdoms arise and fall; and these events are accomplished through political strife. As to the sea or waters, when used as a symbol, John was told: “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Rev 17:5).
The definition of the symbol of the four beasts is given to Daniel at the close of the vision. Verse 17: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth.” The field of the vision is thus definitely opened before us.
4 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 stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
These beasts do not rise all at once, but consecutively, as they are spoken of as first, second, etc; and the last one is in existence when all earthly scenes are brought to an end by the final Judgment. Now, from the time of Daniel to the end of this world’s history, there were to be but four universal kingdoms, as we learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image in chapter 2. Daniel was still living under the same kingdom which he had declared, in his interpretation of the king’s dream, about sixty-five years before, to be the head of gold. The first beast of this vision must therefore denote the same as the head of gold of the great image, namely, the kingdom of Babylon, and the other beasts the succeeding kingdoms shown by that image. But if this vision covers essentially the same ground as the image of chapter 2, the query may arise why it is given; why was not the vision of chapter 2 sufficient? We answer, The ground is passed over again and again that additional characteristics may be brought out, and additional facts and features may be presented. It is thus that we have “line upon line” (Isaiah 28:10). Here earthly governments are viewed as represented in the light of Heaven. Their true character is shown by the symbol of wild and ravenous beasts.
At first the lion had eagle’s wings, denoting the rapidity with which Babylon extended its conquests under Nebuchadnezzar. At this point in the vision a change had taken place; its wings had been plucked. It no longer flew like an eagle upon its prey. The boldness and spirit of the lion were gone. A man’s heart, weak, timorous, and faint, had taken its place. Such was emphatically the case with the nation during the closing years of its history, when it had become effeminate through wealth and luxury.
5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it; and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
As in the great image of chapter 2, so in this series of symbols, a marked deterioration will be noticed as we descend from one kingdom to another. The silver of the breast and arms was inferior to the gold of the head. The bear was inferior to the lion. Medo-Persia fell short of Babylon in wealth and magnificence, and the brilliancy of its career. And now we come to additional particulars respecting this power. The bear raised itself up on one side. This kingdom was composed of two nationalities, the Medes and the Persians. The same fact is represented by the two horns of the ram of chapter 8. Of these horns it is said that the higher came up last; and of the bear that it raised itself up on one side; and this was fulfilled by the Persian division of the kingdom, which came up last, but attained the higher eminence, becoming the controlling influence in the nation. The three ribs signify the three provinces of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which were especially ground down and oppressed by this power. Their saying unto it, “Arise, devour much flesh,” would naturally refer to the stimulus given to the Medes and Persians, by the overthrow of these provinces, to plan and undertake more extensive conquests. The character of the power is well represented by a bear. The Medes and Persians were cruel and rapacious, robbers and spoilers of the people. This kingdom dated from the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus, BC 538, continued to the Arbela battle, BC 331, a period of 207 years.
6 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 third kingdom, Grecia, is represented by this symbol. If wings upon the lion signified rapidity of conquest, they would signify the same here. The leopard itself is a swift-footed beast, but this was not sufficient to represent the career of the nation which it symbolized in this respect; it must have wings in addition. Two wings, the number the lion had, were not sufficient, it must have four; this would denote unparalleled celerity of movement, which we find to be historically true of Grecian kingdom. Conquests of Grecia under Alexander have no parallel in historic annals for suddenness and rapidity.
“The beast had also four heads.” The Grecian empire maintained its unity but little longer than the lifetime of Alexander. Within fifteen years after his brilliant career ended in a fever induced by a drunken debauch, the empire was divided among his four leading generals. (1) Cassander had Macedon and Greece in the west; (2) Lysimachus had Thrace and the parts of Asia on the Hellespont and Bosporus in the north; (3) Ptolemy received Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria in the south; and (4) Seleucus had Syria and all the rest of Alexander’s dominions in the east. These divisions were denoted by the four heads of leopard, BC 308.
Thus accurately were the words of the prophet fulfilled. As Alexander left no available successor, why did not the huge empire break up info countless petty fragments? Why into just four parts, and no more? — Because the prophecy had said that there should be four. The leopard had four heads, the rough goat four horns, the kingdom was to have four divisions; and thus it was.
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly: and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
Inspiration finds no beast in nature which it can make even the basis of a symbol to represent the power here illustrated. No addition of hoofs, heads, horns, wings, scales, teeth, or nails to any beast found in nature, would answer. This power was diverse from all the others, and the symbol wholly nondescript.
The foundation for a volume is laid in verse 7, just quoted; but we are compelled to treat it the more briefly here, because anything like a full history is entirely beyond the space that can be allowed in this brief exposition. This beast, of course, corresponds to the fourth division of the great image in chapter 2 — the legs of iron. Under chapter 2:40 are given some reasons for supposing this power to be Rome. The same reasons are applicable to the present prophecy. How accurately Rome answered to the iron division of the image! How accurately it answers to the beast before us! In the dread and terror which it inspired, and in its exceeding strength, the world has never seen its equal. It devoured as with iron teeth, and brake in pieces; and it ground the nations into the very dust beneath its brazen feet. It had ten horns, which are explained in verse 24 to be ten kings, or kingdoms, which should arise out of this empire. In chapter 2, Rome was divided into ten kingdoms, enumerated as follows: Huns (Germany), Visigoths (Spain), Franks (France), Suevi (Portugal), Burgundians (Switzerland), Anglo-Saxons (England), Lombards (Italy), Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths. These were the ten kingdoms of the Roman empire.
8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
Daniel considered the horns. Indications of a strange movement appeared among them. A little horn (at first little, but afterward more stout than its fellows) thrust itself up among them. It was not content quietly to find a place of its own, and fill it; it must thrust aside some of the others, and usurp their places. Three kingdoms were plucked up before it. This little horn, as we shall have occasion to notice more fully hereafter, was the papacy. The three horns plucked up before it were the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths. They were plucked up was because they were opposed to the papacy.
And “in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things,” — the eyes, a fit emblem of the shrewdness, penetration, cunning, and foresight of the papal hierarchy; and the mouth speaking great things, a fit symbol of the arrogant claims of the bishops of Rome.
9 I beheld till the thrones were set up, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool; His throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him; thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
The “Ancient of days,” God the Father, takes the throne of judgment. Mark the description of His person. Those who believe in the impersonality of God are obliged to admit that He is here described as a personal Being; but they console themselves by saying that it is the only description of the kind in the Bible. We do not admit this latter assertion; but granting that it were true, is not one description of this kind as fatal to their theory as though it were repeated a score of times? The thousand thousands who minister unto Him, and the ten thousand times ten thousand who stand before Him, are not sinners arraigned before the judgment-seat, but heavenly beings who wait before Him, attendant on His will.
An understanding of these verses involves an understanding of the subject of the sanctuary. The closing up of the ministration of Christ, our great High Priest, in the heavenly sanctuary, is the work of judgment here introduced. It is an investigative judgment. The books are opened, and the cases of all come up for examination before that great tribunal, that it may be determined beforehand who are to receive eternal life when the Lord shall come to confer it upon his people. John, as recorded in Revelation 5, had a view of this same place, and saw the same number of heavenly attendants engaged with Christ in the work of investigative judgment. Looking into the sanctuary (Revelation 4 shows he was doing so), in Revelation 5:11 he says, “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.”
From the testimony of chapter 8:14, this solemn work is even now transpiring in the sanctuary above.
11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
The fourth terrible beast continues without change of character, and the little horn continues to utter its blasphemies, and hold millions of souls in bonds of blind superstition, till the beast is given to the burning flame; and this is not its conversion, but its destruction (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
The life of the fourth beast is not prolonged after its dominion is gone, as were the lives of the preceding beasts. Their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season. The territory and subjects of the Babylonian kingdom still existed, though made subject to the Persians. So of the Persian kingdom in respect to Grecia, and of Grecia in respect to Rome. But what succeeds the fourth kingdom? — No government or state in which mortals have any part. Its career ends in the lake of fire, and it has no existence beyond. The lion was merged into the bear; the bear into the leopard; the leopard into the fourth beast; and the fourth beast into what? — Not into another beast; but it is cast into the lake of fire, under which destruction it rests till men shall suffer the second death. Then let no one talk of probation after the Lord comes.
The adverb then, in the sentence, “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake,” etc, refers to some particular time. The work of the investigative judgment is introduced in the previous verses; and this verse would imply that while this work is going forward, and just before this power is destroyed and given to the burning flame, the little horn utters its great words against the Most High. Have we not heard them? History testify that on 21 July 1870, in the great Ecumenical Council assembled at Rome, it was deliberately decreed, by a vote of 538 against 2, that the pope was infallible. But infallibility is the prerogative of God. Can anything be more presumptuous and blasphemous?
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. 14 And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
This event takes place in heaven. In the presence of the Ancient of days, a kingdom, dominion, and glory are given to Christ. The Son of man receives His kingdom before His return to this earth (see Luke 19:10-12 and onward). This is a scene, therefore, which transpires in the heavenly temple, and is closely connected with that brought to view in verses 9 and 10. He receives the kingdom at the close of His priestly work in the heavenly sanctuary. People, nations, and languages, that shall serve Him, are the nations of the saved (see Revelation 21:24), not the wicked nations of the earth; for these are dashed in pieces at the second advent. Some out of all the nations, tribes, and kindreds of the earth will find themselves at last in the kingdom of God, to serve Him there with joy and gladness forever and ever.
15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. 17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
No less anxious should we be than was Daniel to understand the truth of all this. And whenever we inquire with equal sincerity of heart, we shall find the Lord no less ready now than in the days of the prophet to lead to a correct knowledge of these important truths. The beasts, and the kingdoms which they represent, have already been explained. We have followed the prophet down through the course of events, even to the complete destruction of the fourth and last beast, the final subversion of all earthly governments. What next? Verse 18 tells us: “The saints shall take the kingdom.” The saints! those of all others held in low esteem in this world, despised, persecuted; those who were considered the least likely of all men ever to realise their hopes; these shall take the kingdom, and possess it forever. The usurpation and misrule of the wicked shall come to an end. The forfeited inheritance shall be redeemed. Peace shall be restored to its distracted borders, and righteousness shall reign over all the fair expanse of the renovated earth.
19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
Of the first three beasts of this series, Daniel had so clear an understanding that he had no trouble in reference to them. But he was astonished at this fourth beast, so unnatural and dreadful; for the further we come down the stream of time, the further it is necessary to depart from nature in forming symbols to represent accurately the degenerating governments of this earth. The lion is a production of nature; but it must have the unnatural addition of two wings to represent the kingdom of Babylon. The bear we also find in nature; but as a symbol of Medo-Persia an unnatural ferocity must be denoted by the insertion of three ribs into its mouth. So the leopard is a beast of nature; but fitly to represent Grecia there is a departure from nature in respect to wings, and the number of heads. But nature furnishes no symbol which can fitly illustrate the fourth kingdom. A beast the likeness of which never was seen, is taken; a beast dreadful and terrible, with nails of brass, and teeth of iron, so cruel, rapacious, and fierce, that from mere love of oppression it devoured, and brake in pieces, and trampled its victims beneath its feet.
Wonderful was all this to the prophet; but something still more wonderful appeared. A little horn came up, and, true to the nature of the beast from which it sprang, thrust aside three of its fellows; and lo! the horn had eyes, not the uncultivated eyes of a brute, but the keen, shrewd, intelligent eyes of a man; and, stranger yet, it had a mouth, and with that mouth it uttered proud sayings, and put forth preposterous and arrogant claims. No wonder the prophet made special inquiry respecting this monster, so unearthly in its instincts, and so fiendish in its works and ways. In the following verses some specifications are given respecting the little horn, which enable the student of prophecy to make an application of this symbol without danger of mistake.
21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
The wonderful wrath of this little horn against the saints particularly attracted the attention of Daniel. In chapter 2:41 we notice the rise of the ten horns, or the division of Rome into ten kingdoms, between the years AD 351 and 483. As these horns denote kingdoms, the little horn must denote a kingdom also, but not of the same nature, because it was diverse from the others. They were political kingdoms. And now we have but to inquire if any kingdom has arisen among the ten kingdoms of the Roman empire since AD 483, and yet diverse from them all; and if so, what one. The answer is, Yes; the spiritual kingdom of the papacy. This answers to the symbol in every particular, as is easily proved; and nothing else will do it. See the specifications more particularly mentioned on verse 23.
Daniel beheld this horn making war upon the saints. Has such a war been waged by the papacy? Fifty million martyrs, with a voice like the sound of many waters, answer, Yes. Witness the cruel persecutions of the Waldenses, the Albigenses, and Protestants in general, by the papal power. The history of the Dark Ages testify that the persecutions, massacres, and religious wars excited by the church and bishop of Rome, have occasioned the shedding of far more blood of the saints of the Most High, than all the enmity, hostility, and persecutions of professed heathens from the foundation of the world.
In verse 22 three consecutive events seem to be brought to view. Daniel, looking onward from the time when the little horn was in the height of its power, to the full end of the long contest between the saints and Satan with all his agents, notes three prominent events that stand as mile-posts along the way. (1) The coming of the Ancient of days; that is, the position which Jehovah takes in the opening of the judgment scene described in verses 9 and 10. (2) The judgment that is given to the saints; that is, the time when the saints sit with Christ in judgment a thousand years, following the first resurrection (Revelation 20:1-4), apportioning to the wicked the punishment due to their sins. Then the martyrs will sit in judgment upon the great anti-Christian, persecuting power, which, in the days of their trial, hunted them like the beasts of the desert, and poured out their blood like water. (3) The time that the saints possess the kingdom; that is, the time of their entrance upon the possession of the new earth. Then the last vestige of the curse, of sin, and of sinners, root and branch, will have been wiped away, and the territory so long misruled by the wicked powers of earth, the enemies of God’s people, will be taken by the righteous, to be held by them forever and ever (1 Cor 6:2-3; Matthew 25:34).
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25 And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. 26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
As stated on verse 8, we find the fulfilment of the prophecy on this little horn in the rise of the papacy.
The first bishops of Rome enjoyed a respect proportionate to the rank of the city in which they resided; and for the first few centuries of the Christian era, Rome was the largest, richest, and most powerful city in the world. It was the seat of empire, the capital of the nations. The bishops in the different parts of the Roman empire felt a pleasure in yielding to the bishop of Rome some portion of that honour that Rome, as the queen city, received from the nations. This influence clustering on the bishop of Rome led to him becoming pope.
The papacy was the result of that great apostasy of which Paul had written (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8), and which culminated in the establishment of the papacy, that “man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” who opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped. The foundation of the papacy is false doctrines. And central to all false doctrines is the trinity, which had to be laid before the papacy would be established. Rome proudly states: “The Mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic Faith. Upon it are built all the other doctrines of the Church” (Handbook for Today's Catholic, 1977, p. 11). The bishop of Rome had to establish the trinity doctrine to fasten upon millions who would be deceived to accept popery.
But the fourth century witnessed an obstacle thrown across the path of establishing the papacy. Arius, parish priest of Alexandria, sprung up his doctrine contracting the trinity and occasioning so fierce a controversy in the Christendom that a general council was called at Nicea, by the Emperor Constantine, in AD 325, to consider and adjust it. On the relationship between the Father and His Son, Arius taught that “there was a time when the Son was not.” The council settled ‘Questions on Doctrine’ and described God as a trinity, articulating this faith in the Nicene Creed of AD 325. The sting of the trinity is to deny that God is the Father of Christ. The Bible declares: “he is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). For denying the trinity, Arius was exiled by emperor Justinian, paving way for the papacy. Arius said: “We are persecuted because we say that the Son had a beginning, but that God was without beginning” (AT Jones, The Two Republicans, Review and Herald, 1891, p. 333).
The trinity controversy continued, with Arians everywhere becoming the bitter enemies of the bishop of Rome and of the Catholic Church. The spread of Arianism would check the influence of the Catholics and be fatal to the establishment of the papacy. The reason why the three Arian powers were uprooted by the little horn was because their religion was openly opposed to the trinity. But the unfavourable stain on these Arian powers was the accusation that the Arians also believed that Jesus was a created Being. Most of the history on Arians is written or edited or revised by trinitarians, and there is no conclusive evidence that all Arians really believed Jesus was created, most likely they were falsely accused simply because they were opposed to the trinity. Today, whoever believes “Christ the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24) had a beginning (Prov. 8:22-30) and opposes the trinity is branded Arian, a stigma attached to the wrong belief that Jesus was created. Arians were hated for rejecting the trinity.
Catholics waged wars against the Arian horns. Wishing to secure the influence of the Catholics, in AD 533 emperor Justinian issued a decree that was to constitute the pope the head of all the churches, and from the carrying out of which, in 538, the period of papal supremacy is to be dated. In the Catholic wars, Catholics everywhere hailed as deliverers the army of Justinian. But no decree could be carried into effect until Arian horns which stood in its way, were plucked up. The Heruli had already fallen in 493. The Vandals fell in 534; and the Goths, retiring in 538, left the pope in undisputed hold of Rome.
“He shall speak great words against the Most High.” Has the papacy done this? Yes, they claim: “The pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ, Himself, hidden under the veil of flesh” (Catholic National, July 1895).
“And shall wear out the saints of the Most High.” Has the papacy done this? Yes, as the Dark Ages testify: wars, crusades, massacres, inquisitions, and persecutions — were their weapons of extinction.
And shall “think to change times and laws.” What laws? and whose? They are the laws of the Most High. And has the papacy attempted this? — Yes, even this. It has, in its catechisms, expunged the second commandment of the decalogue to make way for its adoration of images. It has divided the tenth commandment to make up the number ten. And, more audacious than all! it has taken hold of the fourth commandment, torn from its place the Sabbath of Jehovah, the only memorial of the great God ever given to man, and erected in its place a rival institution to serve the papacy – they Church acknowledge changing Sabbath to Sunday.
Catholics claim to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday: “Q. Which is the Sabbath day? A. Saturday is the Sabbath day. Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday” (Peter Geiermann, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, 1930, p. 50). Catholics claim that Sunday is dedicated in honour of their trinity god: “Q. What is Sunday, or the Lord’s Day in general? A. It is a day dedicated by the Apostles to the honor of the most holy Trinity” (The Douay Catechism of 1649, by Henry Tuberville, p 143). The truth is, the apostles had nothing to do with the trinity: “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him” (1 Corinthians 8:6).
“And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” How long a time were saints to be given into the hands of this power? A time, as seen from chapter 4:23, is one year; two times, the least that could be denoted by the plural, two years, and the dividing of time, or half a time, is half a year. We thus have three years and a half for the continuance of this power. We must now consider that we are in the midst of symbolic prophecy; hence in this measurement the time is not literal, but symbolic also. The inquiry then arises, How long a period is denoted by the three years and a half of prophetic time? The rule given us in the Bible is, that when a day is used as a symbol, it stands for a year (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34). The ordinary Jewish year, which must be used as the basis of reckoning, contained three hundred and sixty days. Three years and a half contained twelve hundred and sixty days. As each day stands for a year, we have twelve hundred and sixty years for the continuation of the supremacy of this horn.
Did the papacy possess dominion that length of time? The answer again is, Yes. The edict of the emperor Justinian, dated AD 533, made the bishop of Rome the head of all the churches. But this edict could not go into effect until the Arian Ostrogoths, the last of the three horns that were plucked up to make room for the papacy, were driven from Rome; and this was not accomplished, as already shown, till AD 538. Hence from this latter year we are to reckon, as this was the earliest point where the saints were in reality in the hand of this power. From this point did the papacy hold supremacy for 1260 years? — Yes. For 538 + 1260 = 1798; and in the year 1798, Berthier, with a French army, entered Rome, proclaimed a republic, took the pope prisoner, and for a time abolished the papacy. It has never since enjoyed the privileges it had before. This power fulfils to the letter of the prophecy, and proves beyond question that the application is correct.
After describing the terrible career of the little horn, and stating that the saints should be given into his hand for 1260 years, bringing us down to 1798, verse 26 declares: “But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” In verse 10 of the same chapter we have substantially the same expression relative to the judgment: “The judgment was set.” It is the opening of the investigative Judgment in the sanctuary in heaven (see Daniel 8:14 and 9:25-27). The opening of this judgment scene is located by the prophecy at the close of the great prophetic period of 2300 years, which terminated in 1844. Four years after this, in 1848, the great revolution which shook so many thrones in Europe, drove the pope also from his dominions. His restoration shortly after was through the force of foreign bayonets, by which alone he was upheld till his final loss of temporal power over the Papal States in 1870. The overthrow of the papacy in 1798, marked the conclusion of the prophetic period of 1260 years, and constituted the “deadly wound” prophesied in Revelation 13:3, to come upon this power; but this deadly wound was to be “healed.” On 14 March 1800 another pope was elected – the wound started to heal, for this power “had the wound by a sword, and did live” (verse 14).
27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. 28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.
After beholding the dark and desolate picture of papal oppression upon the church, the prophet is permitted once more to turn his eyes upon the glorious period of the saints’ rest, when they shall have the kingdom, free from all oppressive powers, in everlasting possession. How could the children of God keep heart in this present evil world, amid the misrule and oppression of the governments of earth, and the abominations that are done in the land, if they could not look forward to the kingdom of God and the return of Christ, with full assurance that the promises concerning them both shall certainly be fulfilled, and that speedily? The end of the matter! The matchless love of Christ, who can understand?