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    THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAST

    For the power that succeeded Grecia the prophet could find nothing in nature, which would answer as a fit symbol. A power so strong, so fierce, so ravenous and destructive, could not be represented by any known beast that this earth produces. Hence the prophet is obliged to introduce a symbol that finds no counterpart in nature - a monster with ten horns, the body of a behemoth, glaring eyes, a lion’s nostrils, great iron teeth and brazen nails. This beast symbolizes the same as the iron legs of the image, opposite which it is placed, namely, Rome, the successor of Grecia. The ten horns on this beast denote the ten kings that arose out of the Roman empire, the same as the ten toes of the image. Daniel 7:24. These kingdoms are enumerated by Machiavelli, Bishop Lloyd, and Dr. Hales, as follows:KPC 14.1

    1. The Huns, A.D.356. 2. The Ostrogoths, A.D.377. 3. The Visigoths, A.D.378. 4. The Franks, A.D.407. 5. The Vandals, A.D.407. 6. The Suevi, A.D.407. 7. The Burgundians, A.D.407. 8. The Heruli and Rugii, or Thuringii, A.D.483. “It is certain that the Roman empire was divided into ten kingdoms; and though they might be sometimes more and sometimes fewer, yet they were still known by the name of the ten kingdoms of the western empire.” - Scott.KPC 14.2

    This beast in the lapse of time assumes a new phase. “I considered the horns,” says Daniel, and behold there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots. In this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Verse 8.KPC 15.1

    This little horn is by all Protestants acknowledged to be a symbol of the Papacy. It was prophesied of this horn that he should subdue three kings. Verse 24. The three kingdoms that were plucked up to make way for the Papacy, were, 1. The Heruli, in 493. 2. The Vandals, in 534, and, 3. The Ostrogoths in 538. (Gibbon’s Decline and Fall.) Into the hands of this power the saints, times, and laws, were to be given for a time, times, and the dividing of time. Verse 25. [1260 years; see Revelation 12:6, 14.] The Papacy was established in A.D.538; for although the decree constituting the bishop of Rome the head of all the churches, was issued by Justinian, emperor of the East, five years previous, in A.D.533, yet that decree would forever have remained ineffectual, could not the three powers that stood in the way of the Papacy have been dislodged, and he really established in his position. Hence we must date the reign of the Papacy from the year (538) when Justinian’s decree was carried into execution, and the saints, time, and laws, in reality given into the hands of the little horn. From 538, when the Papacy was set up, 1260 years extend to 1798; and it is a notable fact of history, that on the 10th of February, 1798, Berthier, a general of Buonaparte’s, at the head of the Republican army of France, entered Rome and took it. The Papal government was abolished, and the Pope died in exile in 1799. (See Croley on the Apocalypse, Their’s History of the Revolution, and Clarke on Daniel 7:25.) The Papacy has never been restored to its former power. We are by this chain of prophecy brought down to within 66 years of the present time. The prophet does not see this beast gradually changing his wild and ferocious nature to the innocence and gentleness of the lamb, to make way for a temporal millennium; but he looks only a step further and says, “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” Daniel 7:11.KPC 15.2

    Rome dates in prophecy from B.C.161. Its continuance down to the time of its complete division into ten kingdoms, A.D.483, was six hundred and forty-four years. The Papacy, which arose soon after, maintained its supremacy for 1260 years. With circumscribed powers it remains to-day; and we still behold this little horn watching with cunning and crafty eyes over the interests of the Catholic Church, and opening his mouth in blasphemy against the Most High. Thus has this wonderful power, in its pagan and papal forms, existed for the almost incredible space of two thousand and fifty-five years. It cannot be long before it will be given to the burning flame.KPC 16.1

    The ground covered by this vision is the same in its main features as that covered by the great image of chapter 2. The question may be asked; then, why this vision was given. Why repeat what had once been so forcibly expressed? We answer, Prophecies are repeated because all the instruction that God wishes to convey, and all the particulars concerning nations and kingdoms, cannot well be embodied in one series of symbols. Thus the head of gold represents the grandeur and glory of the Babylonian kingdom; but it could not represent the fact that that kingdom bore the same relation to other kingdoms that the lion does to other beasts; or, in other words, it could not show its warlike character, its ability to conquer, its bravery and daring, and the rapidity of its conquests; all which plainly appear in the symbol of the lion with eagle’s wings. But while the lion shows these qualities, it does not represent the grandeur and glory shadowed forth by the head of gold. Hence both lines of prophecy are necessary to bring out the whole truth. So with Medo-Persia. The bear raising himself up on one side, does not so well represent the two lines of kings in that empire, as the two arms of the image. But on the other hand, the breast and arms of the image cannot represent the cruel and oppressive nature of that power, shown by the bear with three ribs in his mouth. Likewise Grecia, while it continued a unit, is well represented by the belly and sides of brass; but this portion of the image could not represent its division into four kingdoms, and the rapidity of its aggressive marches, as brought out by the four heads and four wings of the leopard.KPC 17.1

    And so, too, of the different features of the Roman kingdom. The ten kingdoms that arose out of that empire, are represented by the ten toes of the image. But the change that afterward took place in those kingdoms, the rise of the little horn, and the plucking up of three to make way for him, could not be represented on the image, hence the fourth beast, in his second form, is brought upon the stage.KPC 18.1

    A query here arises: As this beast in his last form has only seven horns besides the papal horn, and these horns denote kingdoms, shall we now look for any more than seven kingdoms in the place of the original ten? We answer that the little horn in plucking up the three horns did not absorb them into itself. It simply removed them out of its ambitious path to universal dominion. They were not destroyed, but only compelled to change their territory and location. So the symbol of the image, which retains all its ten toes till the consummation, will remain true, as the ten kingdoms will in reality exist; and the symbol of the beast with its seven horns will also remain true, as showing that three kingdoms were removed to make way for the papacy.KPC 18.2

    Before leaving this prophecy we desire to call the attention of the skeptic to one remarkable feature. The prophet’s stand-point is away back in the kingdom of Babylon about five and a half centuries before Christ. And the farther he comes down from his own time, the more minute he becomes in his predictions and descriptions of events, until, coming down to the rise of the little horn, or Papacy, he even gives the exact time of its supremacy, predicting for it an unparalleled period of triumph for 1260 years, reaching to a point of time more than two thousand years distant from his own day, Human foresight speaks with most minuteness of events that are nearest at hand, and grows more and more indefinite as it goes off into the dim and distant future. And had Daniel dwelt minutely upon the kingdom of Babylon, giving the length of its continuance, but giving no such particulars in the following kingdom, and growing less and less definite and distinct with each succeeding kingdom, there would have been more ground to account for these predictions independent of any divine agency; but the prophecy does just the reverse of this, speaking with most minuteness of the most distant events, as if to shame skepticism out of its shallow claim that these prophecies are but the shrewd conjectures of human foresight and discernment. None but the mind of God could or would have predicted events in this concise and wonderful manner.KPC 18.3

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