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by Dr. John Thomas
And the sixth, seventh and eighth, points, are revealed by the verbal declaration, that "the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and there was given him dominion, 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 one which shall not be destroyed".
Again, "the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever"; and again, "the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom"; "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".
This is the dominion of "the great Mountain that fills the whole earth".
There is nothing said about the heads of this Fourth Beast, whether there was one or more.
Hence, the chronology of the symbol must be restricted to the Horns.
The dynasties of the leopard-heads were all superseded by the Fourth Beast before the birth of Christ; but the ten horns, answering to the ten toes of the image, did not make their appearance till the fifth century after Christ.
The life of the Beast is measured by the continuance of the horns; and the duration of these by the time allotted for the Little Horn to prevail against the saints.
It is to prevail "until a time, times, and the dividing of time" shall have elapsed from some determinate epoch.
Nothing is more obvious to one of these saints than that these "times" have not yet run out; because the power still exists and prevails against them.
Upwards of 1,260 years have elapsed since the Horns established themselves on the western Roman territory; so that the chronology of the symbol is not to be calculated from the rise or growth of the horns out of the Dragon's head.
Indeed, if we had no other data than what are furnished us in the vision of the Fourth Beast, we could not tell when "the time, times, and dividing of time" should commence.
The vision only informs us when it shall end, namely, with the casting down of the thrones, or Horn-dynasties; and the destruction of the Beast's dominion in all its parts by the "burning flame"; a process which has been steadily approaching since February, 1848, and thereby indicating that the consummation is at hand.
The fall of three horns before the Little Horn which overthrows them, by which it becomes an eighth power on the Dragon's territory, suggests its identity with "the eighth which goeth into perdition" treated of in the Apocalypse.
Speaking of the signification of the Seven Heads of the Roman Beast, it is stated that they have a double interpretation; that is, they represent the seven mountains on which Rome is situated; and seven heads of government which have prevailed there.
The seventh dynasty had not appeared when John saw the vision.
When it was manifested, it was to continue in the seven-killed city only "a short space".
After this had passed away, and, as history shows, 246 years after its entire destruction, an eighth head appeared in Rome.
This was an outlying dynasty, thrusting itself in among the horns from a country lying beyond the geographical limits of the old Roman territory.
It was a dynasty growing out of a foreign country, and, therefore, styled "another Beast".
Hence, the reason why it is written in the text referred to, "the Beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition".
This is also affirmed of the Ten-horned Beast, as well as of the Two-horned Beast, or Eighth Head; because there is the same intimate connection between these two Beasts, or dominions, as that which exists between the Little Horn and Seven Horns of the Greco-Roman Dragon.
John was favoured with a vision of "the wilderness," or territory of "the Holy Roman Empire" as it is styled.
He saw it as it was in the first century after Christ.