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Daniel 7:28 – BibleTools.info

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Daniel 7:28

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The end of the matter - So said the expounding angel; and he said so because the purpose of God had determined it. In considering these things, and looking at the evils that shall come upon the world before those auspicious times can take place, I may say with Daniel, My cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I keep the matter of my conjectures and consequent feelings in my own heart.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Hitherto is the end of the matter - That is, the end of what I saw and heard. This is the sum of what was disclosed to the prophet, but he still says that he meditated on it with profound interest, and that he had much solicitude in regard to these great events. The words rendered hitherto, mean, so far, or thus far. The phrase “end of the matter,” means “the close of the saying a thing;” that is, this was all the revelation which was made to him, and he was left to his own meditations respecting it.

As for me Daniel - So far as I was concerned; or so far as this had any effect on me. It was not unnatural, at the close of this remarkable vision, to state the effect that it had on himself.

My cogitations much troubled me - My thoughts in regard to it. It was a subject which he could not avoid reflecting on, and which could not but produce deep solicitude in regard to the events which were to occur. Who could look into the future without anxious and agitating thought? These events were such as to engage the profoundest attention; such as to fix the mind in solemn thought. Compare the notes at Revelation 5:4.

And my countenance changed in me - The effect of these revelations depicted themselves on my countenance. The prophet does not say in what way - whether by making him pale, or careworn, or anxious, but merely that it produced a change in his appearance. The Chaldee is “brightness” - זיו zı̂yv - and the meaning would seem to be, that his bright and cheerful countenance was changed; that is, that his bright looks were changed; either by becoming pale (Gesenius, Lengerke), or by becoming serious and thoughtful.

But I kept the matter in my heart - I communicated to no one the cause of my deep and anxious thoughts. He hid the whole subject in his own mind, until he thought proper to make this record of what he had seen and heard. Perhaps there was no one to whom he could communicate the matter who would credit it; perhaps there was no one at court who would sympathize with him; perhaps he thought that it might savor of vanity if it were known; perhaps he felt that as no one could throw any new light on the subject, there would be no use in making it a subject of conversation; perhaps he felt so overpowered that he could not readily converse on it.

We are prepared now, having gone through with an exposition of this chapter, as to the meaning of the symbols, the words, and the phrases, to endeavor to ascertain what events are referred to in this remarkable prophecy, and to ask what events it was designed should be pourtrayed. And in reference to this there are but two opinions, or two classes of interpretations, that require notice: what refers it primarily and exclusively to Antiochus Epiphanes, and what refers it to the rise and character of the Papal power; what regards the fourth beast as referring to the empire of Alexander, and the little horn to Antiochus, and what regards the fourth beast as referring to the Roman empire, and the little horn to the Papal dominion. In inquiring which of these is the true interpretation, it will be proper, first, to consider whether it is applicable to Antiochus Epiphanes; secondly, whether it in fact finds a fulfillment in the Roman empire and the Papacy; and, thirdly, if such is the proper application, what are we to look for in the future in what remains unfulfilled in regard to the prophecy.

I. The question whether it is applicable to the case of Antiochus Epiphanes. A large class of interpreters, of the most respectable character, among whom are Lengerke, Maurer, Prof. Stuart (Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy, p. 86, following; also Com. on Daniel, pp. 205-211), Eichhorn, Bertholdt, Bleek, and many others, suppose that the allusion to Antiochus is clear, and that the primary, if not the exclusive, reference to the prophecy is to him. Professor Stuart (Hints, p. 86) says, “The passage in Daniel 7:25 is so clear as to leave no reasonable room for doubt.” “In Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:24, the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes is described; for the fourth beast is, beyond all reasonable doubt, the divided Grecian dominion which succeeded the reign of Alexander the Great. From this dynasty springs Antiochus, Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, who is most graphically described in Daniel 7:25 ‹as one who shall speak great words against the most High,‘ etc.”

The facts in regard to Antiochus, so far as they are necessary to be known in the inquiry, are briefly these: Antiochus Epiphanes (the Illustrios, a name taken on himself, Prideaux, iii. 213), was the son of Antiochus the Great, but succeeded his brother, Seleucus Philopator, who died 176 b.c. Antiochus reigned over Syria, the capital of which was Antioch, on the Oronres, from 176 b.c. to 164 b.c. His character, as that of a cruel tyrant, and a most bloodthirsty and bitter enemy of the Jews, is fully detailed in the first and second book of Maccabees. Compare also Prideaux, Con. vol. iii. 213-234. The facts in the case of Antiochus, so far as they are supposed to bear on the application of the prophecy before us, are thus stated by Prof. Stuart (Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy, pp. 89,90): “In the year 168 before Christ, in the month of May, Antiochus Epiphanes was on his way to attack Egypt, and he detached Apollonius, one of his military confidants, with 22,000 soldiers, in order to subdue and plunder Jerusalem. The mission was executed with entire success. A horrible slaughter was made of the men at Jerusalem, and a large portion of the women and children, being made captives, were sold and treated as slaves. The services of the temple were interrupted, and its joyful feasts were turned into mourning, Esther 1:3, Esther 1:18-19; Esther 10:2; Daniel 5:28; Daniel 6:8, Daniel 6:12, Daniel 6:15.

(2) In order to this interpretation, it is necessary to divide the empire founded by Alexander, and instead of regarding it as one, to consider what existed when he reigned as one; and that of Antiochus, one of the successors of Alexander, as another. This opinion is maintained by Bertholdt, who supposes that the first beast represented the Babylonian kingdom; the second, the kingdom of the Medes and Persians; the third, that of Alexander; and the fourth the kingdoms that sprang out of that. In order to this, it is necessary to suppose that the four heads and wings, and the ten horns, equally represent that kingdom, or sprang from it - the four heads, the kingdom when divided at the death of Alexander, and the ten horns, powers that ultimately sprang up from the same dominion. But this is contrary to the whole representation in regard to the Asiatic-Macedonian empire. In Daniel 8:8-9, where there is an undoubted reference to that empire, it is said “the he-goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, etc.” Here is an undoubted allusion to Alexander, and to his followers, and particularly to Antiochus, but no mention of any such division as is necessary to be supposed if the fourth beast represents the power that succeeded Alexander in the East. In no place is the kingdom of the successors of Alexander divided from his in the same sense in which the kingdom of the Medes and Persians is from that of Babylon, or the kingdom of Alexander from that of the Persians. Compare Hengstenberg, as above, pp. 203-205.

(3) The supposition that the fourth beast represents either the kingdom of Alexander, or, according to Bertholdt and others, the successors of Alexander, by no means agrees with the character of that beast as compared with the others. That beast was far more formidable, and more to be dreaded than either of the others. It had iron teeth and brazen claws; it stamped down all before it, and broke all to pieces, and manifestly represented a far more fearful dominion than either of the others. The same is true in regard to the parallel representation in Daniel 2:33, Daniel 2:40, of the fourth kingdom represented by the legs and feet of iron, as more terrific than either of those denoted by the gold, the silver, or the brass. But this representation by no means agrees with the character of the kingdom of either Alexander or his successors, and in fact would not be true of them. It would agree well, as we shall see, with the Roman power, even as contrasted with that of Babylon, Persia, or Macedon; but it is not the representation which would, with propriety, be given of the empire of Alexander, or his successors, as contrasted with those which preceded them. Compare Hengstenberg, as above, pp. 205-207. Moreover, this does not agree with what is expressly said of this power that should succeed that of Alexander, in a passage undoubtedly referring to it, in Daniel 8:22, where it is said, “Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.”

(4) On this supposition it is impossible to determine who are meant by the “ten horns” of the fourth beast Daniel 7:7, and the “ten kings” Daniel 7:24 that are represented by these. All the statements in Daniel that refer to the Macedonian kingdom Daniel 7:6; Daniel 8:8, Daniel 8:22 imply that the Macedonian empire in the East, when the founder died, would be divided into four great powers or monarchies - in accordance with what is well known to have been the fact. But who are the ten kings or sovereignties that were to exist under this general Macedonian power, on the supposition that the fourth beast represents this? Bertholdt supposes that the ten horns are “ten Syrian kings,” and that the eleventh little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes. The names of these kings, according to Bertholdt (pp. 432,433), are Seleucus Nicator, Antiochus Sorer, Antiochus Theos, Seleucus Callinicus, Seleucus Ceraunus, Antiochus the Great, Seleucus Philopator, Heliodorus, Ptolemy Philometor, and Demetrius. So also Prof. Stuart, Com. on Dan. p. 208. But it is impossible to make out this exact number of Syrian kings from history, to say nothing now of the improbability of supposing that their power was represented by the fourth beast. These kings were not of the same dynasty, of Syria, of Macedonia, or of Egypt, but the list is made up of different kingdoms. Grotius (in loc.) forms the catalogue of ten kings out of the lists of the kings of Syria and Egypt - five out of one, and five out of the other; but this is manifestly contrary to the intention of the prophecy, which is to represent them as springing out of one and the same power. It is a further objection to this view, that these are lists of successive kings - rising up one after the other; whereas the representation of the ten horns would lead us to suppose that they existed simultaneously; or that somehow there were ten powers that sprang out of the one great power represented by the fourth beast.

(5) equally difficult is it, on this supposition, to know who are intended by the “three horns” that were plucked up by the little horn that sprang up among the ten, Daniel 7:8. Grotius, who regards the “little horn” as representing Antiochus Epiphanes, supposes that the three horns were his elder brothers, Seleucus, Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, and Ptolemy Philopator, king of Egypt. But it is an insuperable objection to this that the three kings mentioned by Grotius are not all in his list of ten kings, neither Ptolemy Philometor (if Philometor he meant), nor Demetrius being of the number. - Newton on the Proph. p. 211. Neither were they plucked up by the roots by Antiochus, or by his order. Seieueus was poisoned by his treasurer, Helioderus, whose aim it was to usurp the crown for himself, before Antiochus came from Rome, where he had been detained as a hostage for several years. Demetrius lived to dethrone and murder the son of Antiochus, and succeeded him in the kingdom of Syria. Ptolemy Philopater died king of Egypt almost thirty years before Antiochus came to the throne of Syria; or if Ptolemy Philometer, as is most probable, was meant by Grotius, though he suffered much in the wars with Antiochus, yet he survived him about eighteen years, and died in possession of the crown of Egypt. - Newton, ut supra. Bertlholdt supposes that the three kings were Heliodorus, who poisoned Seleucus Philopater, and sought, by the help of a party, to obtain the throne; Ptolemy Philometor, king of Egypt, who, as sister‘s son to the king, laid claim to the throne; and Demetrius, who, as son of the former king, was legitimate heir to the throne. But there are two objections to this view;

(a) that the representation by the prophet is of actual kings - which these were not; and

(b) that Antiochus ascended the throne peaceably; Demetrius, who would have been regarded as the king of Syria, not being able to make his title good, was detained as a hostage at Rome. Hengstenberg, pp. 207,208. Prof Stuart, Com. on Dan., pp. 208,209, supposes that the three kings referred to were Heliodorus, Ptolemy Philometer, and Demetrius I; but in regard to these it should be observed, that they were mere pretenders to the throne, whereas the text in Daniel supposes that they would be actual kings. Compare Hengstenberg, p. 208.

(6) The time mentioned here, on the supposition that literally three years and a half Daniel 7:25 are intended, does not agree with the actual dominion of Antiochus. In an undoubted reference to him in Daniel 8:13-14, it is said that “the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation,” would be “unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed;” that is, one thousand and forty days, or some two years and ten months more than the time mentioned here. I am aware of the difficulty of explaining this (see Prof. Stuart, Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy, p. 98, following), and the exact menning of the passage in Daniel 8:13-14, will come up for consideration hereafter; but it is an objection of some force to the application of the “time, and times, and dividing of a time” Daniel 7:25 to Antiochus, that it is not the same time which is applied to him elsewhere.

(7) And, one more objection to this application is, that, in the prophecy, it is said that he who was represented by the “little horn” would continue until “the Ancient of days should sit,” and evidently until the kingdom should be taken by the one in the likeness of the Son of man, Daniel 7:9-10, Daniel 7:13-14, Daniel 7:21-22, Daniel 7:26. But if this refers to Antiochus, then these events must refer to the coming of the Messiah, and to the setting up of his kingdom in the world. Yet, as a matter of fact; Antiochus died about 164 years before the Saviour came, and there is no way of showing that he continued until the Messiah came in the flesh.

These objections to the opinion that this refers to Antiochus Epiphanes seem to me to be insuperable.

II. The question whether it refers to the Roman empire and the Papal power. The fair inquiry is, whether the things referred to in the vision actually find such a correspondence in the Roman empire and the Papacy, that they would fairly represent them if the symbols had been made use of after the events occurred. Are they such as we might properly use now as describing the portions of those events that are past, on the supposition that the reference was to those events? To determine this, it will be proper to refer to the things in the symbol, and to inquire whether events corresponding to them have actually occurred in the Roman empire and the Papacy. Recalling the exposition which has been above given of the explanation furnished by the angel to Daniel, the things there referred to will find an ample and a striking fulfillment in the Roman empire and the Papal power.

(1) The fourth kingdom, symbolized by the fourth beast, is accurately represented by the Roman power. This is true in regard to the place which that power would occupy in the history of the world, on the supposition that the first three referred to the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, and the Macedonian. On this supposition there is no need of regarding the Medo-Persian empire as divided into two, represented by two symbols; or the kingdom founded by Alexander - the Asiatic-Macedonian - as distinct from that of his successors. As the Medo-Persian was in fact one dominion, so was the Macedonian under Alexander, and in the form of the four dynasties into which it was divided on his death, and down to the time when the whole was subverted by the Roman conquests. On this supposition, also, everything in the symbol is fulfilled. The fourth beast - so mighty, so terrific, so powerful, so unlike all the others, armed with iron teeth, and with claws of brass, trampling down and stamping on all the earth - well represents the Roman dominion.

The symbol is such a one as we should now use appropriately to represent that power, and in every respect that empire was well represented by the symbol. It may be added, also, that this supposition corresponds with the obvious interpretation of the parallel place in Daniel 2:33, Daniel 2:40, where the same empire is referred to in the image by the legs and feet of iron. See the note at that passage. It should be added, that this fourth kingdom is to be considered as prolonged through the entire continuance of the Roman power, in the various forms in which that power has been kept up on the earth - alike under the empire, and when broken up into separate sovereignties, and when again concentrated and embodied under the Papacy. That fourth power or dominion was to be continued, according to the prediction here, until the establishment of the kingdom of the saints. Either, then, that kingdom of the saints has come, or has been set up, or the fourth kingdom, in some form, still remains.

The truth is, that in prophecy the entire Roman dominion seems to be contemplated as one - one mighty and formidable power trampling down the liberties of the world; oppressing and persecuting the people of God - the true church; and maintaining an absolute and arbitrary dominion over the souls of men - as a mighty domination standing in the way of the progress of truth, and keeping back the reign of the saints on the earth. In these respects the Papal dominion is, and has been, but a prolongation, in another form, of the influence of pagan Rome, and the entire domination may be represented as one, and might be symbolized by the fourth beast in the vision of Daniel. When that power shall cease, we may, according to the prophecy, look for the time when the “kingdom shall be given to the saints,” or when the true kingdom of God shall be set up all over the world.

(2) Out of this one sovereignty, represented by the fourth beast, ten powers or sovereignties, represented by the ten horns, were to arise. It was shown in the exposition, that these would all spring out of that one dominion, and would wield the power that was wielded by that; that is, that the one great power would be broken up and distributed into the number represented by ten. As the horns all appeared at the same time on the beast, and did not spring up after one another, so these powers would be simultaneous, and would not be a mere succession; and as the horns all sprang from the beast, so these powers would all have the same origin, and be a portion of the same one power now divided into many. The question then is, whether the Roman power was in fact distributed into so many sovereignties at any period such as would be represented by the springing up of the little horn - if that refers to the Papacy. Now, one has only to look into any historical work, to see how in fact the Roman power became distributed and broken up in this way into a large number of kingdoms, or comparatively petty sovereignties, occupying the portions of the world once governed by Rome. In the decline of the empire, and as the new power represented by the “little horn” arose, there was a complete breaking up of the one power that was formerly wielded, and a large number of states and kingdoms sprang out of it.

To see that there is no difficulty in making out the number ten, or that some such distribution and breaking up of the one power is naturally suggested, I cast my eye on the historical chart of Lyman, and found the following kingdoms or sovereignties specified as occupying the same territory which was possessed by the Roman empire, and springing from that - namely, the Vandals, Alans, Suevi, Heruli, Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Burgundians, Lombards, Britons. The Roman empire as such had ceased, and the power was distributed into a large number of comparatively petty sovereignties - well represented at this period by the ten horns on the head of the beast. Even the Romanists themselves admit that the Roman empire was, by means of the incursions of the northern nations, dismembered into ten kingdoms (Calmet on Revelation 13:1; and he refers likewise to Berengaud, Bossuet, and Dupin. See Newton, p. 209); and Machiaveli (Hist. of Flor. 1. i.), with no design of furnishing an illustration of this prophecy, and probably with no recollection of it, has mentioned these names:

1, the Ostrogoths in Moesia;

2, the Visigoths in Pannonia;

3, the Sueves and Alans in Gascoign and Spain;

4, the Vandals in Africa;

5, the Franks in France;

6, the Burgundians in Burgundy;

7, the Heruli and Turingi in Italy;

8, the Saxons and Angles in Britain;

9, the Huns in Hungary;

10, the Lombards at first upon the Danube, afterward in Italy.

The arrangement proposed by Sir Isaac Newton is the following:

1, The kingdom of the Vandals and Alans in Spain and Africa;

2, the kingdom of the Suevians in Spain;

3, the kingdom of the Visigoths;

4, the kingdom of the Alans in Gallia;

5, the kingdom of the Burgundians;

6, the kingdom of the Franks;

7, the kingdom of the Britons;

8. the kingdom of the Huns;

9, the kingdom of the Lombards;

10, the kingdom of Ravenna.

Compare also Duffield on the Prophecies, pp. 279,280. For other arrangements constituting the number ten, as embracing the ancient power of the Roman empire, see Newton on the Prophecies, pp. 209,210. There is some slight variation in the arrangements proposed by Mr. Mede, Bishop Lloyd, and Sir Isaac Newton; but still it is remarkable that it is easy to make out that number with so good a degree of certainty, and particularly so, that it should have been suggested by a Romanist himself. Even if it is not practicable to make out the number with strict exactness, or if all writers do not agree in regard to the dynasties constituting the number ten, we should bear in remembrance the fact that these powers arose in the midst of great confusion; that one kingdom arose and another fell in rapid succession; and that there was not that entire certainty of location and boundary which there is in old and established states. One thing is certain, that there never has been a case in which an empire of vast power has been broken up into small sovereignties, to which this description would so well apply as to the rise of the numerous dynasties in the breaking up of the vast Roman power; and another thing is equally certain, that if we were now to seek an appropriate symbol of the mighty Roman power - of its conquests, and of the extent of its dominion, and of the condition of that empire, about the time that the Papacy arose, we could not find a more striking or appropriate symbol than that of the terrible fourth beast with iron teeth and brazen claws - stamping the earth beneath his feet, and with ten horns springing out of his head.

(3) in the midst of these there sprang up a little horn that had remarkable characteristics. The inquiry now is, if this does not represent Antiochus, whether it finds a proper fulfillment in the Papacy. Now, in regard to this inquiry, the slightest acquaintance with the history and claims of the Papal power will show that there was a striking appropriateness in the symbol - such an appropriateness, that if we desired now to find a symbol that would represent this, we could find no one better adapted to it than that employed by Daniel.

(a) The little horn would spring up among the others, and stand among them - as dividing the power with them, or sharing or wielding that power. That is, on the supposition that it refers to the Papacy, the Papal power would spring out of the Roman empire; would be one of the sovereignties among which that vast power would be divided, and share with the other ten in wielding authority. It would be an eleventh power added to the ten. And who can be ignorant that the Papal power at the beginning, when it first asserted civil authority, sustained just such a relation to the crumbled and divided Roman empire as this? It was just one of the powers into which that vast sovereignty passed.

(b) It would not spring up contemporaneously with them, but would arise in their midst, when they already existed. They are seen in vision as actually existing together, and this new power starts up among them. What could be more strikingly descriptive of the Papacy - as a power arising when the great Roman authority was broken to fragments, and distributed into a large number of sovereignties?. Then this new power was seen to rise - small at first, but gradually gaining strength, until it surpassed any one of them in strength, and assumed a position in the world which no one of them had. The representation is exact. It is not a foreign power that invaded them; it starts up in the midst of them - springing out of the head of the same beast, and constituting a part of the same mighty domination that ruled the world.

(c) It would be small at first, but would soon become so powerful as to pluck up and displace three of the others. And could any symbol have been better chosen to describe the Papal power than this? Could we find any now that would better describe it? Any one needs to have but the slightest acquaintance with the history of the Papal power to know that it was small at its beginnings, and that its ascendency over the world was the consequence of slow but steady growth. Indeed, so feeble was it at its commencement, so undefined were its first appearance and form, that one of the most difficult things in history is to know exactly when it did begin, or to determine the exact date of its origin as a distinct power. Different schemes in the interpretation of prophecy turn wholly on this. We see, indeed, that power subsequently strongly marked in its character, and exerting a mighty influence in the world - having subjugated nations to its control; we see causes for a long time at work tending to this, and can trace their gradual operation in producing it, but the exact period when its dominion began, what was the first characteristic act of the Papacy as such, what constituted its precise beginning as a peculiar power blending and combining a peculiar civil and ecclesiastical authority, no one is able with absolute certainty to determine. Who can fix the exact date? Who can tell precisely when it was? It is true that there were several distinct acts, or the exercise of civil authority, in the early history of the Papacy, but what was the precise beginning of that power no one has been able to determine with so much certainty as to leave no room for doubt. Any one can see with what propriety the commencement of such a power would be designated by a little horn springing up among others.

(d) It would grow to be mighty, for the “little horn” thus grew to be so powerful as to pluck up three of the horns of the beast. Of the growth of the power of the Papacy no one can be ignorant who has any acquaintance with history. It held nations in subjection, and claimed and exercised the right of displacing and distributing crowns as it pleased.

(e) It would subdue “three kings;” that is, three of the ten represented by the ten horns. The prophet saw this at some point in its progress when three fell before it, or were overthrown by it. There might have been also other points in its history when it might have been seen as having overthrown more of them - perhaps the whole ten, but the attention was arrested by the fact that, soon after its rise, three of the ten were seen to fall before it. Now, in regard to the application of this, it may be remarked,

(1) That it does not apply, as already shown, to Antiochus Epiphanes - there being no sense in which he overthrew three of the princes that occupied the throne in the succession from Alexander, to say nothing of the fact that these were contemporaneous kings or kingdoms.

(2) there is no other period in history, and there are no other events to which it could be applied except either to Antiochus or the Papacy.

(3) in the confusion that existed on the breaking up of the Roman empire, and the imperfect accounts of the transactions which occurred in the rise of the Papal power, it would not be wonderful if it should be difficult to find events distinctly recorded that would be in all respects an accurate and absolute fulfillment of the vision.

(4) yet it is possible to make out the fulfillment of this with a good degree of certainty in the history of the Papacy. If applicable to the Papal power, what seems to be demanded is, that three of these ten kingdoms, or sovereignties should be rooted up by that power; that they should cease to exist as separate sovereignties; that they should be added to the sovereignty that should spring up; and that, as distinct kingdoms, they should cease to play a part in the history of the world. The three sovereignties thus transplanted, or rooted up, are supposed by Mr. Mede to have been the Greeks, the Longobards, and the Franks. Sir Isaac Newton supposes they were the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Lombards, and the senate and dukedom of Rome. The objections which may be made to these suppositions may be seen in Newton on the Prophecies, pp. 216,217. The kingdoms which he supposes are to be referred to were the following:

First. The Exarchate of Ravenna. This of right belonged to the Greek emperors. This was the capital of their dominions in Italy. It revolted at the instigation of the Pope, and was seized by Astolphus, king of the Lombards, who thought to make himself master of Italy. The Pope in his exigency applied for aid to Pepin, king of France, who marched into Italy, besieged the Lombards in Pavia, and forced them to surrender the Exarchate and other territories in Italy. These were not restored to the Greek emperor, as they in justice should have been, but, at the solicitation of the Pope, were given to Peter and his successors for perpetual possession. “And so,” says Platina, “the name of the Exarchate, which had continued from the time of Narses to the taking of Ravenna, one hundred and seventy years, was extinguished.” - Lives of the Popes. This, according to Sigonius, was effected in the year 755. See Gibbon, Dec. and Fall, vol. ii. 224; iii. 332,334,338. From this period, says Bp. Newton, the Popes being now become temporal princes, no longer date their epistles and bulls by the years of the emperor‘s reign, but by the years of their own advancement to the Papal chair.

Secondly. The kingdom of the Lombards. This kingdom was troublesome to the Popes. The dominions of the Pope were invaded by Desiderius, in the time of Pope Adrian I. Application was again made to the king of France, and Charles the Great, the son and successor of Pepin, invaded the Lombards; and desirous of enlarging his own dominions, conquered the Lombards, put an end to their kingdom, and gave a great part of their territory to the Pope. This was the end of the kingdom of the Lombards, in the 206th year after their obtaining possessions in Italy, and in the year of our Lord 774. See Gibbon, Dec. and Fall, vol. iii. 335.

Thirdly. The Roman States subjected to the Popes in a civil sense. Though subjected to the Pope spiritually, yet for a long time the Roman people were governed by a senate, and retained many of their old privileges, and elected both the Western Emperors and the Popes. This power, however, as is well known, passed into the hands of the Popes, and has been retained by them to the present time, the Pope having continued to be the civil as well as the ecclesiastical head. See Bp. Newton, pp. 319,320. All semblance of the freedom of ancient Rome passed away, and this Roman dominion, as such, ceased to be, being completely absorbed in the Papacy. The Saxons, the Franks, etc., continued their independence as civil powers; these states passed entirely into the dominion of the Pope, and as independent kingdoms or sovereignties ceased to be. This is the solution in regard to the “three horns” that were to be plucked up, as given by Bp. Newton. Absolute certainly in a case of this kind is not to be expected in the confusion and indefiniteness of that portion of history, nor can it be reasonably demanded.

If there were three of these powers planted in regions that became subject to the Papal power, and that disappeared or were absorbed in that one dominion constituting the peculiarity of the Papal dominion, or which entered into the Roman Papal state, considered as a sovereignty by itself among the nations of the earth, this is all that is required. Mr. Faber supposes the three to have been these; the Herulo-Turingic, the Ostrogothic, and the Lombardie, and says of them, that they “were necessarily eradicated in the immediate presence of the Papacy, before which they were geographically standing - and that the temporal principality which bears the name of Peter‘s patrimony, was carved out of the mass of their subjugated dominions.” - Sacred Calendar, vol. ii. p. 102. Prof. Gaussen (Discourse on Popery: Geneva, 1844) supposes that the three kings or kingdoms here referred to were the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Lombards. According to Bower (Lives of the Popes, vol. ii. 108, Dr. Cox‘s edition, note), the temporal dominions granted by Pepin to the Pope, or of which the Pope became possessed in consequence of the intervention of the kings of France, were the following:

(1) The Exarchate of Ravenna, which comprised, according to Sigonius, the following cities: Ravenna, Bologna, Imola, Fienza, Forlimpoli, Forli, Cesena, Bobbio, Ferrara, Commachio. Adria, Servia, and Secchia

(2) The Pentapolis, comprehending Rimini, Pesaro, Coneha, Fano, Sinigalia, Ancono, Osimo, Umono, Jesi, Fossombrone, Monteferetro, Urbino, Cagli, Lucoli, and Eugubio.

(3) the city and dukedom of Rome, containing several cities of note, which had withdrawn themselves from all subjection to the emperor, had submitted to Peter ever since the time of Pope Gregory II. See also Bower, ii. 134, where he says, “The Pope had, by Charlemagne, been put in possession of the Exarchate, the Pentapolis, and the dukedom of Spoleti” (embracing the city and dukedom of Rome). And again, on the same page (note): “The Pope possessed the Exarchate, the Pentapolis, and the dukedom of Spoleti, with the city and dukedom of Rome.” It should be remembered that these statements are made by historians with no reference to any supposed fulfillment of this prophecy, and no allusion to it, but as matters of simple historical fact, occurring in the regular course of history. The material fact to be made out in order to show that this description of the “little horn” is applicable to the Papacy is, that at the - commencement of what was properly the Papacy - that is, as I suppose, the union of the spiritual and temporal power, or the assumption, of temporal authority by him who was Bishop of Rome, and who had been before regarded as a mere spiritual or ecclesiastical ruler, there was a triple jurisdiction assumed or conceded, a threefold domination; or a union under himself of what had been three sovereignties, that now disappeared as independent administrations, and whose distinct governments were now merged in the one single sovereignty of the Pope. Now, that there was, just at this time, or at the beginning of the Papacy, or when it had so increased that it could be recognized as having a place among the temporal sovereignties of the earth, such a united domination, or such a union of three separate powers under one, will be apparent from an extract from Mr. Gibbon. He is speaking of the rewards conferred on the Pope by the Carlovingian race of kings, on account of the favor shown to them in his conferring the crown of France on Pepin, the mayor of the palace - directing in his favor over Childeric, the descendant of Clovis. Of this transaction, Mr. Gibbon observes, in general (iii. 336), that “the mutual obligations of the Popes and the Carlovingian family form the important link of ancient and modern, of civil and ecclesiastical history.” He then proceeds

(1) to specify the gifts or favors which the Popes conferred on the Carlovingian race; and

(2) those which, in return, Pepin and Charlemagne bestowed on the Popes. In reference to the latter, he makes the following statement (iii. 338): “The gratitude of the Carlovingians was adequate to these obligations, and their names are consecrated as the saviours and benefactors of the Roman church. Her ancient patrimony of farms and houses was transformed by their bounty into the temporal dominion of cities and provinces, and the donation of the Exarchate was the first-fruits of the conquests of Pepin. Astolphus (king of the Lombards) with a sigh relinquished his prey; the keys and the hostages of the principal cities were delivered to the French ambassador; and in his master‘s name he presented them before the tomb of Peter. The ample measure of the Exarchate might comprise all the provinces of Italy which had obeyed the emperor or his vicegerent; but its strict and proper limits were included in the territories of Ravenna, Bologna, and Ferrara; its inseparable dependency was the Pentapolis, which stretched along the Adriatic from Rimini to Ancona, and advanced into the midland country as far as the ridge of the Apennines. In this transaction, the ambition and avarice of the Popes have been severely condemned.

Perhaps the humility of a Christian priest should have rejected an earthly kingdom, which it was not easy for him to govern without renouncing the virtues of his profession. Perhaps a faithful subject, or even a generous enemy, would have been less impatient to divide the spoils of the barbarian; and if the emperor had entrusted Stephen to solicit in his name the restitution of the Exarchate, I will not absolve the Pope from the reproach of treachery and falsehood. But, in the rigid interpretation of the laws, every one may accept, without inquiry, whatever his benefactor may bestow without injustice. The Greek emperor had abdicated or forfeited his right to the Exarctiate; and the sword of Astolphus was broken by the stronger sword of the Carlovingian. It was not in the cause of the Iconoclast that Pepin had exposed his person and army in a double expedition beyond the Alps; he possessed, and he might lawfully alienate his conquests: and to the importunities of the Greeks he piously replied, that no human consideration should tempt him to resume the gift which he had conferred on the Roman pontiff for the remission of his sins and the salvation of his soul.

The splendid donation was granted in supreme and absolute dominion, and the world beheld for the first time a Cristian bishop invested with the prerogatives of a temporal prince, the choice of magistrates, the exercise of justice, the imposition of taxes, and the wealth of the palace of Ravenna. In the dissolution of the Lombard kingdom, the inhabitants of the duchy of Spoleti sought a refuge from the storm, shaved their heads after the Ravenna fashion, declared themselves the servants and subjects of Peter, and completed, by this voluntary surrender, the present circle of the Ecclesiastical State.” The following things are apparent from this extract:

(a) That here, according to Mr. Gibbon, was the beginning of the temporal power of the Pope.

(b) That this was properly, in the view above taken, the commencement of the Papacy as a distinct and peculiar dominion.

(c) That in this there was a threefold government, or three temporal sovereignties united under him, and constituting at that time, in the language of Mr. Gibbon, “the present circle of the ecclesiastical state.” There was, first, the Exarchate of Ravenna; secondly, the Pentapolis, “which,” he says, was its inseparable dependency; and, thirdly, the “duchy of Spoleti,” which, he says, “completed the present circle of the ecclesiastical state.” This was afterward, Mr. Gibbon goes on to say, greatly “enlarged;” but this was the form in which the Papal power first made its appearance among the temporal sovereignties of Europe. I do not find, indeed, that the kingdom of the Lombards was, as is commonly stated, among the number of the temporal sovereignties that became subject to the authority of the Popes, but I do find that there were three distinct temporal sovereignties that lost their independent existence, and that were united under that one temporal authority - constituting by the union of the spiritual and temporal power that one peculiar kingdom. In Lombardy the power remained in the possession of the kings of the Lombards themselves, until that kingdom was subdued by the arms of Pepin and Charlemagne, and then it became subject to the crown of France, though for a time under the nominal reign of its own kings. See Gibbon, iii. 334,335,338. If it should be said, that in the interpretation of this passage respecting the “three horns” that were plucked up, or the three kingdoms that were thus destroyed, it would be proper to look for them among the ten, into which the one great kingdom was divided, and that the three above referred to - the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Pentapolis, and the dukedom of Spoleti and Rome - were not properly of that number, according to the list above given, it is necessary, in reply to this, to advert only to the two main facts in the case:

(1) that the great Roman power was actually divided into a large number of sovereignties that sprang up on its ruins - usually, but not in fact exactly, represented by ten; and

(2) that the Papacy began its career with a conceded dominion over the three territories above referred to - a part, in fact, of the one great dominion constituting the Roman power, and in the same territory. It is a remarkable fact that the popes to this day wear a triple crown - a fact that exists in regard to no other monarchs - as if they had absorbed under themselves three separate and distinct sovereignties; or as if they represented three separate forms of dominion. The sum of what is said in the exposition of these verses may be thus expressed:

(1) That there was originally one great sovereignty represented here by the “fourth beast” - the Roman empire.

(2) that, in fact, as is abundantly confirmed by history, this one great and united power was broken up into a large number of separate and independent sovereignties - most naturally and obviously described by ten, or such as would appear in a prophetic vision to be ten, and such as is actually so represented by historians having no interest in the fulfillment of the prophecy, and no designed reference to what may be symbolized by the “ten horns.”

(3) that there was another peculiar and distinct power that sprang out of them, and that grew to be mighty - a power unlike the others, and unlike anything that had before appeared in the world - combining qualities to be found in no other sovereignty - having a peculiar relation at the same time to the one original sovereignty, and to the ten into which that was divided - the prolongation, in an important sense, of the power of the one, and springing up in a peculiar manner among the others - that peculiar ecclesiastical and civil power - the Papacy - well represented by the “little horn.”

(4) that, in fact, this one power absorbed into itself three of these sovereignties - annihilating them as independent powers, and combining them into one most peculiar dominion - properly represented by “plucking them up.”

(5) that as a proper symbol, or emblem of some such domination, a crown or diadem is still worn, most naturally and obviously suggesting such a threefold absorption of dominion.

(6) that all this is actually prefigured by the symbols employed by the prophet, or that the symbols are such as would be naturally employed on the supposition that these events were designed to be referred to.

(7) and that there have been no other historical events to which these remarkable symbols could be naturally and obviously applied. And if these things are so, how are they to be explained except on the supposition that Daniel was inspired? Has man any natural sagacity by which such symbols representing the future could be suggested?

(d) It would be arrogant and proud, “speaking great words against the Most High.” No Protestant will doubt that this is true of the Papacy; no one acquainted with history will presume to call it in question. The arrogant pretensions of the Papacy have been manifested in all the history of that power, and no one can doubt that its assumptions have been, in fact, by fair construction, “a speaking of great words against God.” The Pope has claimed, or allowed to be conferred on him, names and prerogatives which can belong only to God. See this fully shown in the notes at 2 Thessalonians 2:4. The facts there referred to are all that is necessary to illustrate this passage, on the supposition that it refers to the Papacy. Compare also the Literalist, vol. i. pp. 24-27.

(e) This would be a persecuting power - “making war with the saints,” and “wearing out the saints of the Most High.” Can anyone doubt that this is true of the Papacy? The Inquisition; the “persecutions of the Waldenses;” the ravages of the Duke of Alva; the fires of Smithfield; the tortures at Goa - indeed, the whole history of the Papacy may be appealed to in proof that this is applicable to that power. If anything could have “worn out the saints of the Most High” - could have cut them off from the earth so that evangelical religion would have become extinct, it would have been the persecutions of the Papal power. In the year 1208, a crusade was proclaimed by Pope Innocent III against the Waldenses and Albigenses, in which a million of men perished. From the beginning of the order of the Jesuits, in the year 1540 to 1580, nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred and fifty thousand perished by the Inquisition in thirty years. In the Low Countries fifty thousand persons were hanged, beheaded, burned, or buried alive, for the crime of heresy, within the space of thirty-eight years from the edict of Charles V, against the Protestants, to the peace of Chateau Cambresis in 1559. Eighteen thousand suffered by the hands of the executioner, in the space of five years and a half, during the administration of the Duke of Alva. Indeed, the slightest acquaintance with the history of the Papacy, will convince anyone that what is here said of “making war with the saints” Daniel 7:21, and “wearing out the saints of the Most High” Daniel 7:25, is strictly applicable to that power, and will accurately describe its history. There have been, indeed, other persecuting powers, but none to which this language would be so applicable, and none which it would so naturally suggest. In proof of this, it is only necessary to refer to the history of the Papacy, and to what it has done to extirpate those who have professed a different faith. Let anyone recall:

(1) the persecution of the Waldenses;

(2) the acts of the Duke of Alva in the Low Countries;

(3) the persecution in England under Mary;

(4) the Inquisition;

(5) the attempts, too successful, to extinguish all the efforts at reformation in Italy and Spain in the time of Luther and Calvin (see McCrie), and

(6) the attempts to put down the Reformation in Germany and Switzerland - all which were either directly originated or sanctioned by the Papacy, and all for the same end, and he will see no reason to doubt that the language here is strictly applicable to that power, and that there has been no government on earth which would be so naturally suggested by it. - Cunninghame, in the Literalist, i. 27,28. Indeed, who can number up all that have perished in the Inquisition alone?

(h) It would claim legislative power - “thinking to change times and laws.” The original Chaldee here may be rendered, as is done by Gesenius and DeWette, set times, stated times, or festival seasons. The word here, says Gesenius (Lexicon), is “spoken of sacred seasons, festivals,” and there can be no doubt that in this place it refers to religious institutions. The meaning is, that he would claim control over such institutions or festivals, and that he would appoint or change them at his pleasure. He would abolish or modify existing institutions of that kind, or he would institute new ones, as should seem good to him. This would be applicable, then, to some power that should claim authority to prescribe religious institutions, and to change the laws of God. No one, also, can fail to see a fulfillment of this in the claims of the Papacy, in setting up a jurisdiction over seasons of festival and fast; and in demanding that the laws of kingdoms should be so modelled as to sustain its claims, and modifying the laws of God as revealed in the Bible. The right of deposing and setting up kings; of fixing the boundaries of nations; of giving away crowns and scepters; and of exercising dominion over the sacred seasons, the customs, the amusements of nations - all these, as illustrated under the Papacy, will leave no doubt that all this would find an ample fulfillment in the history of that power. The Pope has claimed to be the head of the church, and has asserted and exercised the right of appointing sacred seasons; of abolishing ancient institutions; of introducing numberless new festival occasions, practically abrogating the laws of God on a great variety of subjects. We need only refer, in illustration of this,

(a) to the claim of infallibility, by which an absolute jurisdiction is asserted that covers the whole ground;

(b) to all the laws pertaining to image-worship, so directly in the face of the laws of God;

(c) to the celibacy of the clergy, rendering void one of the laws of heaven in relation to marriage;

(d) to the whole doctrine respecting purgatory;

(e) to the doctrine of transubstantiation;

(f) to the practical abolition of the Christian Sabbath by appointing numerous saints‘ days to be observed as equally sacred;

(g) to the law withholding the cup from the laity - contrary to the commandment of the Saviour; and

(h) in general to the absolute control claimed by the Papacy over the whole subject of religion.

Indeed, nothing would better characterize this power than to say that it asserted the right to “change times and laws.” And to all this should be added another characteristic Daniel 7:8, that “it would have the eyes of a man;” that is, would be distinguished for a far-seeing sagacity. Could this be so appropriately applied to anything else as to the deep, the artful, and the far-reaching diplomacy of the court of Rome; to the sagacity of the Jesuit; to the skillful policy which subdued the world to itself?

These illustrations will leave no doubt, it seems to me, that all that is here said will find an ample fulfillment in the Papacy, and that it is to be regarded as having a reference to that power. If so, it only remains,

III. To inquire what, according to his interpretation, we are to expect will yet occur, or what light this passage throws on events that are yet future. The origin, the growth, the general character and influence of this power up to a distant period are illustrated by this interpretation. What remains is the inquiry, from the passage before us, how long this is to continue, and what we are to anticipate in regard to its fall. The following points, then, would seem to be clear, on the supposition that this refers to the Papal power:

It is to continue a definite period from its establishment, Daniel 7:25. This duration is mentioned as “a time, and times, and the dividing of a time” - three years and a half - twelve hundred and sixty days - twelve hundred and sixty years. See the note at that verse. The only difficulty in regard to this, if that interpretation is correct, is to determine the time when the Papacy actually began - the terminus a quo - and this has given rise to all the diversity of explanation among Protestants. Assuming any one time as the period when the Papal power arose, as a date from which to calculate, it is easy to compute from that date, and to fix some period - terminus ad quem - to which this refers, and which may be looked to as the time of the overthrow of that power. But there is nothing more difficult in history than the determination of the exact time when the Papacy properly began: that is, when the peculiar domination which is fairly understood by that system commenced in the world; or what were its first distinguishing acts. History has not so marked that period that there is no room for doubt. It has not affixed definite dates to it; and to this day it is not easy to make out the time when that power commenced, or to designate any one event at a certain period that will surely mark it. It seems to have been a gradual growth, and its commencement has not been so definitely characterized as to enable us to demonstrate with absolute certainty the time to which the twelve hundred and sixty years will extend.

Different writers have assigned different periods for the rise of the Papacy, and different acts as the first act of that power; and all the prophecies as to its termination depend on the period which is fixed on as the time of its rise. It is this which has led to so much that is conjectural, and which has been the occasion of so much disappointment, and which throws so much obscurity now over all calculations as to the termination of that power. In nothing is

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is desirable to obtain the right and full sense of what we see and hear from God; and those that would know, must ask by faithful and fervent prayer. The angel told Daniel plainly. He especially desired to know respecting the little horn, which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Here is foretold the rage of papal Rome against true Christians. St. John, in his visions and prophecies, which point in the first place at Rome, has plain reference to these visions. Daniel had a joyful prospect of the prevalence of God's kingdom among men. This refers to the second coming of our blessed Lord, when the saints shall triumph in the complete fall of Satan's kingdom. The saints of the Most High shall possess the kingdom for ever. Far be it from us to infer from hence, that dominion is founded on grace. It promises that the gospel kingdom shall be set up; a kingdom of light, holiness, and love; a kingdom of grace, the privileges and comforts of which shall be the earnest and first-fruits of the kingdom of glory. But the full accomplishment will be in the everlasting happiness of the saints, the kingdom that cannot be moved. The gathering together the whole family of God will be a blessedness of Christ's coming.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 553-4

Often had Daniel and his companions gone over these and similar prophecies outlining God's purpose for His people. And now, as the rapid course of events betokened the mighty hand of God at work among the nations, Daniel gave special thought to the promises made to Israel. His faith in the prophetic word led him to enter into experiences foretold by the sacred writers. “After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon,” the Lord had declared, “I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return.... I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Verses 10-13. PK 553.1

Shortly before the fall of Babylon, when Daniel was meditating on these prophecies and seeking God for an understanding of the times, a series of visions was given him concerning the rise and fall of kingdoms. With the first vision, as recorded in the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, an interpretation was given; yet not all was made clear to the prophet. “My cogitations much troubled me,” he wrote of his experience at the time, “and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.” Daniel 7:28. PK 553.2

Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard “one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?” Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God's sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, “The vision ... shall be for many days,” he fainted away. “I Daniel fainted,” he records of his experience, “and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Verses 26, 27. PK 554.1

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 547

Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that “at the end of the days”—in the closing period of this world's history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. “Shut up the words, and seal the book,” he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed “even to the time of the end.” “Go thy way, Daniel,” the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.... Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:4, 9, 13. PK 547.1

As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. “The wise shall understand” (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. PK 547.2

From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. PK 548.1

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 553-4

Often had Daniel and his companions gone over these and similar prophecies outlining God's purpose for His people. And now, as the rapid course of events betokened the mighty hand of God at work among the nations, Daniel gave special thought to the promises made to Israel. His faith in the prophetic word led him to enter into experiences foretold by the sacred writers. “After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon,” the Lord had declared, “I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return.... I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Verses 10-13. PK 553.1

Shortly before the fall of Babylon, when Daniel was meditating on these prophecies and seeking God for an understanding of the times, a series of visions was given him concerning the rise and fall of kingdoms. With the first vision, as recorded in the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, an interpretation was given; yet not all was made clear to the prophet. “My cogitations much troubled me,” he wrote of his experience at the time, “and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.” Daniel 7:28. PK 553.2

Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard “one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?” Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God's sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, “The vision ... shall be for many days,” he fainted away. “I Daniel fainted,” he records of his experience, “and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Verses 26, 27. PK 554.1

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