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their course be not arrested, to consume, and to destroy his dominion. But following the prophet
into the revelation here made, the destruction of this idolatrous adversary should seem not to be left to the slow, and gradual effect, likely to be produced by the causes just referred to; for Messiah will himself sit in judgment to slay the beast, and to deliver his body to the burning flame; and there shall be given to HIM, dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, may serve Him.
Prophecy of the Ram, and the He-Goat.-
The great image, which was shewn unto king Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, has afforded a general outline of the four great monarchies of the earth, and of the kingdom of Messiah succeeding to them. And in the vision of the four wild beasts, there was a further revelation of things, which should come to pass, in the latter part of the times spoken of in the prophecy of the image. It was shewn further, by the vision of the wild beasts, that an idolatrous persecuting power was to rise up amongst the ten kingdoms, which should be formed from out of the fourth great monarchy, which power should afflict the children of God for the long period of 1260 years, and should at length be destroyed itself at the coming of Messiah in his kingdom.
The fourth great monarchy, however, divided itself into an eastern, and a western branch, and it was from the western branch that the ten kingdoms were formed, about the latter end of the fifth century. The names by which the two branches have been distinguished, are the Latin empire, and the Greek
empire; and the scheme of prophecy might appear incomplete, if, when the western branch, or Latin empire, had been prophesied of, nothing had been said concerning the eastern, or Greek empire; for that, like the Latin empire, continuing to profess Christianity, the events of its last times might seem to be equally a fit subject for revelation. The vision of the Ram, and the He-Goat, was probably added to supply this deficiency: it will be found to contain the history of the Greek empire, down to the end of time; and it will be seen, that in each branch of the Roman empire, a desolating power was foretold, which in the latter days should bring evil upon the transgressors.
The vision of the Ram, and He-Goat, is related in Dan. viii. and commentators seem to agree upon the meaning of the first eight verses. It may therefore be desirable to state these verses in the first instance, as introductory to what follows.
Daniel viii. 1.-" In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar, a vision appeared unto me, even unto me, Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of
Ulai. And I lifted up mine eyes and saw, and behold, there stood before the river, a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward, so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an hegoat came from the west, on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and he ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram: and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him; but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand therefore the he-goat waxed very great. And when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and for it, came up four notable ones, toward the four winds of heaven."
The interpretation of the angel is as follows, in verses 20, 21, 22.
"The ram which thou sawest, having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia; and the great horn that is between his eyes, is the first king.-Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power."
The fulfilment may be thus traced :
The ram, which is the well-known crest or ensign of the Persian monarchs, represents the Medo-Persian empire. The two horns referring to the Medes and to the Persians, point out the latter power as the stronger of the two, and as coming up last. When the Prophet first observed the Medo-Persian ram, he was in the act of pushing, or extending his conquests towards the west, and towards the north, and towards the south, until he became the greatest kingdom upon the earth. At this time, the Macedonian he-goat, (which animal was the ensign of Greece) under the command of Alexander its first king, (who is represented as a notable horn between his eyes) was seen to come up, and to trample upon the Medo-Persian And thus Alexander, with a rapidity of conquest almost unexampled in history, overthrew the