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by Dr. John Thomas
The answer is, to illustrate the relations of the Sin-power to "the holy people" in the eastern and western divisions of the Roman empire.
By the holy people is meant the twelve tribes of Israel, and the two witnesses, including also the saints of the holy city among the Gentiles.
The Roman power, under its several constitutions, has been the destroyer of "Judah and his companions," and the slayer of the Christians grafted into the stock of Israel, and of those associated with them for their defence against the Beast.
The ten horns and Little Horn of the Fourth Beast represent the Roman power of the West in its contest with the two witnesses; but there still remained to be represented, the Roman dragonic power of the East, as the desolator of Canaan and the destroyer of the Jews, who are the political subjects of the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up when He demolishes the Image on the mountains of Israel.
To supply this desideratum the symbols of the eighth chapter, and the exposition of them in the ninth and eleventh chapters, were revealed to Daniel.
These may be styled the vision and the prophecy of the East; while the Fourth Beast is the vision of the West; both of which are set forth briefly and unitedly in the image of divers metals.
Having said as much as is necessary to the comprehension of our subject respecting the things which relate to the saints and the Western powers, our attention will henceforth be confined to a brief exposition of the vision and prophecy of the East.
The reader is invited to peruse the eighth chapter of Daniel.
About three years after the vision of the Four Beasts, the prophet saw another vision in which there were only two, namely, a Ram and a He-goat.
The former had two horns of unequal height, and "the higher came up last".
In the twentieth verse we are informed that the horns represent "the kings of Media and Persia".
Hence the Ram symbolizes the Medo-Persian power, with its two dynasties which were not contemporary, but came up one after the other, the Median first, and then the Persian.
Having established itself, the Medo-Persians pushed their conquests westward towards Greece, northward towards Armenia, and southward towards Egypt and Ethiopia; so that no powers could stand before them, nor was there any dominion strong enough to deliver the conquered nations from their yoke.
Things continued thus about two centuries from the death of Belshazzar, when a power arose in the west which was represented to Daniel by a Unicorn, that is, by a goat with one horn.
This was the Macedonian kingdom; and the horn, its first king, or Alexander the Great.
He is styled in the vision "a notable horn"; and in the prophecy "a mighty king, ruling with great dominion, and doing according to his will".
The Ram's dominion is represented by the silver part of the image, and the Goat's by the brazen, "which bare rule over all the earth".
War broke out between these two powers, which ended in the breaking off of the Ram's two horns; so that the hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the Ram, stretching from India to Ethiopia, were transferred to the Macedonian victor.
Now "when he stood up," or "was strong," "his kingdom," or "great horn was broken, and instead of it came up four notable horns towards the four winds (wings) of heaven"; that is, "four kingdoms stood up out of the nation".
These have been enumerated on page 332 in speaking of the four heads of the Leopard, which represent the same things as the four horns.
Of the horns, it is said, "they stood up not in his power," which is interpreted to signify that the power of the kingdoms did not accrue "to the first king's posterity"; for his kingdom was plucked up for others beside them".
Now, in the latter time of these four Macedonian kingdoms, a fifth power made its appearance among them, and subdued them all.
This is represented in the vision by a Little Horn growing up out of one of the four horns; and in the prophecy, as "a king doing according to his will".