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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Instead of praising, and extolling, and honouring the God of Israel, he defied Him; and "lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven; and out of the holy vessels of His temple he, and his lords, his wives, and his concubines, drank wine; and he praised the gods of silver and gold, and of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand his breath was, and whose were all his ways, he had not glorified".

This was his offence, on account of which the Lord of heaven passed this sentence upon him: "God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

And thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians".

Nor was the execution of the decree long delayed, for "on that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

And Darius the Median took the kingdom".

OF THE BEAR.

The Lion dominion being overthrown, the dynasty of the Bear took its place when "Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans," in 542 before Christ.

It was a dominion to be extended by the sword, a particular expressed in the words addressed to the Bear, "Arise, devour much flesh".

In the symbolography, or description of the symbol, the prophet saith, that "it raised up itself on one side".

Hence, one side was "higher than the other"; but before it raised itself up the higher side was the lower; therefore, the higher side acquired its more elevated position last.

Compare this characteristic of the Bear with what is said of the horns of the Ram?

The inequality of the sides of the Bear represents the historical fact that the dynasty of the Bear-dominion was mixed; that is, it was first Median and then Persian.

Darius was a Mede, and his successor Cyrus, a Persian.

They were allies in the overthrow of the Chaldean kingdom.

When the crown was to be assumed, the Mede preceded the Persian; but when Darius died, instead of the crown descending to a Mede, it passed to a Persian, whose race continued to wear it until the dominion of the Bear was superseded by the Leopard.

Thus the Persian side of the Bear was raised up last.

But the Bear had also "three ribs in the mouth of it, between the teeth of it".

This indicates that in devouring much flesh, the result was that its prey was reduced to "three ribs," which had become firmly fixed to its head.

In other words, that the Medes and Persians had made extensive conquests, which were reduced to three divisions for the better administration of public affairs.

A rib of the dominion, then, represents an imperial presidency, or as we should say, vice-royalty; each satrapy comprehending a number of principalities.

This organization of the Bear is thus expressed by the prophet: "It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first; that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king (or Bear's head) should have no damage".

By the reign of Ahasuerus, or Artaxerxes the second, the dominion of the Bear extended "from India to Ethiopia over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces".

Though the principalities may have been increased in number, or extent, the presidencies remained the same.