I saw the ram pushing westward - The Persians, who are signified by the ram, as well as their founder Cyrus, pushed their conquests west, north and south. The principal theater of their wars, says Calmet, was against the Scythians, northward; against the Greeks, westward; and against the Egyptians, southward.
He did according to his will - There was no other nation at that time that could stay the progress of the Persian arms.
I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward - Denoting the conquests of the united kingdom. The east is not mentioned, for none of the conquests of the Medo-Persian empire extended in that direction: Yet nothing could better express the conquests actually made by the Medo-Persian empire than this representation. On the west the conquests embraced Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Asia Minor; on the north, Colchis, Armenia, Iberia, and the regions around the Caspian Sea; and on the south, Palestine, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Lybia. - Lengerke. This Medo-Persian power is represented as coming from the east. Isaiah 41:2: “who raised up the righteous man from the east, etc.” Isaiah 46:11: “calling a ravenous bird from the east, etc.”
He did according to his will, and became great - This expresses well also the character of the Medo-Persian empire. It extended over a great part of the known world, subduing to itself a large portion of the earth. In its early conquests it met with no successful opposition, nor was it stayed until it was subdued by Greece - as at Leuctra and Marathon, and then as it was finally overthrown by Alexander the Great.
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 548.1Read in context »