Daniel's Vision


(At the Nottingham Conference, May, 1894.)

Taken from Things to Come Magazine, 1894)

NOW, will you turn to the 8th chapter of Daniel, and there see the last representation made to the prophet of those things which were to come to pass. This vision appears to him in the land of Persia. The golden head, which represents Nebuchadnezzar, the lion, which represents the same Babylonian dynasty, disappear now. It is near its consummation, and Daniel is occupied with the three other kingdoms out of the four. He begins now with the second: "And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai., Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before, the river 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."

That is a symbolic representation of the rest of the second great world empire, the one that succeeded the Babylonian. It was the Medo-Persian, and the Persian came up last, and was higher than the other. Then you see (in the 4th verse) the ram pushes "westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of hi$ hand; but be did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran into, him in the fury of his power." That is Alexander the Great who came from the west. One horn alone represents him, because he stood alone, and died without any posterity. He overthrew the Persian Empire, in three pitched battles, and took the sovereignty of the known world, or so much of it as he chose to attack. "And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler 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 hand." He becomes very great, and when he has become very great, Alexander dies of fever at about the age of thirty, at Babylon, and from him comes out four notable ones. That is a perfect historical fact. Every student of history knows that the kingdom of Alexander the Great was divided amongst the four generals. The kingdom was continued under these four generals until the Roman Empire sprang up and took its place. In prophecy, commas, conjunctions, full stops, often divide centuries. Out of one of those four kingdoms which formed the Grecian Empire comes up a little horn, the eleventh power which is to come up when the old Roman Empire shall be divided into ten kingdoms, corresponding with the ten toes of the male, and the ten horns that we saw on the beast.

Here you have again one little horn coming up, probably from one of the small kingdoms which now lie just outside the Turkish empire, and are still, or till lately were, nominally under its control. That is the probable place where this little horn arises. It may seem strange that such a power should arise in such a small place, but you have only to remember the life and career of Napoleon the Great to see how possible it is. He almost conquered the world, and nearly fulfilled this prophecy, but just stopped short. So too with Antiochus Epiphanes; he nearly fulfilled this prophecy; and yet that it was not fulfilled by Antiochus is clear from our Lord's words in Matthew xxiv. 15. He says, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place"; so that in Christ's time this abomination of desolation had not yet been set up, and I venture to say it is not come yet, but I think we are not far from the time when he will be seen. Oh, brethren, bear that in mind, when the awful man, the man of sin, comes in the light of the success which he will secure in this world, Christianity will seem to many a failure, for we are told that the world will run after him. What has this man, this King to do? You get the answer in the nth verse, "Yea, he magnified himself, even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away." But there is no temple now in Jerusalem, some may say. Yes, but it does not follow that there will never be one again. The temple will be built again. In the 13th verse, one saint asks another how long these things will be, and the reply was, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days." But I will not enter into this subject of dates; it would take us away from the' questions which I am anxious to impress upon you. When Daniel had seen this vision, he is very desirous to know its meaning.. Look at the 20th and succeeding verses of the 9th chapter. The events now spoken of are to happen at the end of this dispensation. "At the time appointed the end shall be." God knows all that is coming. None of these things can take him by surprise. The ram with the two horns is the kings of Media and Persia. The rough goat is the king of Grecia, and the horn between his eyes is the first king. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up, and his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and, shall prosper and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. Then a little later, in the 26th verse, we read: "Wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days." In the second epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians, he warns them to let no man deceive them by any means, for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, etc, When the hindrance has been removed which has held. him back, then the wicked one shall come, whom the' Lord shall consume by the spirit of his mouth, "even he whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." It is of the greatest importance that our hope "is built on nothing less than Jesus and His righteousness." If you are not built upon Christ man will lead you astray, and you will believe he is one sent by God, and accept him as your king.

Now turn to the 12th chapter of Revelation. You will see that the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed. In the Bible a woman is a symbol of a religious system, true or false, with this distinction, that when it is true it is simply a woman, when it is false it is a harlot. All prophecy circulates around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and as the seer stood upon the shores of the sea he saw a beast rise out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns; and here my mind goes back to the ten toes on the image in Daniel, and the ten horns, and it looks very like the same thing, does it not? Yes, the identification becomes more complete. "Upon his horns there are ten crowns, and upon his head the name' of blasphemy." The beast is the fourth 'empire, the monster, and it is like a leopard, the Grecian Empire; he has also the marks of the bear, the Medo-Persian Empire. So you see he comprises the four Greek Empires. Who gives him his power? Nebuchadnezzar received his power from God, but* this monster receives his power from the devil. "The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority."; The whole history is fraught with the most momentous consequences. And, dear brothers and sisters, to be ignorant of these things is to expose us to great perils.

Now let us turn to a more pleasant subject. Look at the 19th chapter of Revelation. When this beast is apparently just about to consummate all his purposes, what happens? Read the 11th verse, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth, judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself." That beast had ten crowns, but on Christ's head are many crowns. "And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God," etc..

I want, in conclusion, to point out the remarkable condition of the world at this moment. Can you tell roe, either in the army or the navy, or the State, in poetry, in art, in science or in literature, a man that stands head and shoulders above his peers? Bismarck and Gladstone are virtually gone. These were two men who did stand head and shoulders above all, others. But the world at this moment does not possess a single man who can take the lead. Never did the world want j a man more than it does to-day. Let a man come who. will solve those problems that are puzzling the minds of statesmen, the social questions of the day; let a man come who will show a way by which all nations can be bound together in one common bond of brotherhood, based on commercial and social union, and that man will carry the world with him. Hear this quotation from the Times: "What is it that all Europe is. looking for? It is 'the king of men.' The man who can challenge for his own the shield of Agamemnon, now waiting for the challenge, is the true emperor of the east, and the easiest escape from our present difficulties."

And hear also what Dean Alford says, " In proportion as the general standard of mental cultivation is raised, and man made equal with, man, the ordinary power of genius is diminished, but its extraordinary power is increased, its reach deepened, its hold rendered more firm. As men become familiar with the achievements and the exercise of talent they learn to despise and disregard its daily examples, and to be more independent of mere men of ability; but they only become the more completely in the power of gigantic intellect, the slaves of pre-eminent and unapproachable talent." (Alford's Greek Testament, 2 Thess.) The world is on the lip-toe of expectation for this great one.

Finally, let me remind you that God's purposes cannot be frustrated. He made the world for His glory, made man for His glory, and what He purposed for Adam and Eve must be fulfilled in the human race, when every foe shall be conquered, and Christ alone shall reign.