« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
EXPLANATION OF THE PLATE.
First. The great metalic Image,
The great image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, appears to have been a human figure of gigantic dimensions, and as it was designed to represent kingdoms and empires, it is probable it appeared with the ensigns of royalty,—a crown on its head, and a sceptre in its hand, yet “the form thereof was terrible.” Dan. ii. 31.
I. The head of gold was designed to represent the Chaldean or Babylonish monarchy. Gold being the first of precious metals, denotes the excellence, glory and wealth of the kingdom. This dynasty according to various Authors, flourished from about 605 B. C. to 539 B. C. a period of 66 years.
II. The breasts and arms of silver, represent the Medo-Persian kingdom. The silver denotes its excellency and glory, but at the same time its inferiority to the kingdom of Babylon. Daniel when interpreting the hand writing on the wall at Belshazzar's feast said “God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it, and thy kingdom is divided and
given to the Medes and Persians. Accoidingly Cyrus the Persian entered the city with his army, and slew Belshazzar the king of Babylon; and Darius the Median took the kingdom, Dan v. 30, 31. in the year B. C. 539 and this kingdom continued until B. C. 331, a period of 208 years.
III. The belly and thighs of brass, represent the Macedonian or Grecian kingdom. The brass shows its inferiority to the two former. Alexander the Great was the first king. This kingdom continued from B. C. 331 to B. C. 190, a period of 141 years.
IV. The legs of iron, and feet part of iron, and part of clay represent the Roman Empire; the iron denotes its inferiority to the former, yet indicates the strength of this great empire, in breaking to pieces and subduing all other kingdoms. The feet and toes, part of iron and part of clay, indicate that towards the close of this kingdom it would be weaker and disunited, which has come tn pass, and in consequence of its weakness it has been divided into many kingdoms, which are supposed to be represented by the ten toes. From the days of Nebuchadnezzar, to the kingdom of Christ there will be but four universal empires of human origin. These are the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Macedonian, and the Roman.
V. The fifth kingdom is represented by the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and signifies the kingdom of Christ upon earth which is divine in its origin, but terrestrial as to its locality like the others, and mighty in its operation; "it brake in pieces the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, and they became like the chaff of the summer thrashing-floors; and the wind carried them away; so that no place was found for them: and it filled the whole earth,” which circumstance denotes universal empire. This will not take place until the Millennium.
These are the only five universal kingdoms which will exist from the day when Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream, to the dissolution of all things. Three columns will exhibit the kingdoms, their prophetic character and their founders. 1. Babylonish Gold Nebuchadnezzar 2. Medo-Persian Silver Darius 3. Grecian Brass Alexander 4. Roman Iron & Clay Cæsar 5. Celestial Stone. God
When Daniel was about to interpret the mystery of the great image he said, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall come to pass in the latter (or last days.) Dan. ii. 28, 29.
Commentators both ancient and modern, with scarcely any exception agree in the application of the image-prophecy to the four kingdoms mentioned above. The principal thing in which they differ is the time when the stone will smite the image. Some suppose it was at the birth of Christ, when the Roman empire was at the height of its prosperity. This would appear like smiting the image on the legs when the empire was strong as iron. And to suppose that the stone has been smiting it 1800 years is utterly incongruous with the idea of a falling stone. Besides the scripture says that it “smote the image upon his feet,” which necessarily includes the toes, or the Roman empire in its divided state. These ten parts are not "consumed.” Therefore we may infer that though the stone cut out of the mountain has not yet smitten the image, yet this will take place suddenly at the second Advent, when one like the Son of man shall come in the clouds of heaven, to receive the dominion, and glory, and kingdom that all people, nations and languages should serve him. Dan vii. 13, 14. This accords with what shall come to pass in the last days, chap. ii. 28. I believe nonx2 should be rendered last as it is in Gen. xlix. 1. “That I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” Isa. ii. 2. Prov. v. 11. and Mic. iv. 1. And
should have been rendered last in Num. xxiv. 14. Deut. iv. 30. Joel ii. 28, as it is in Acts ii. 17.
2. The second symbol to be explained is the beast like a Lion having eagle's wings, in the column opposite to the head of gold. This as well as the head of the image is designed to represent the Babylonish kingdom, and is the first of a new series of types, representing the same five kingdoms, the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, Roman, and Christian.
The first beast was like a lion, and it had eagle's wings. “I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon its feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.” Dan. vii. 244. The lion is an emblem of courage, power, and victory: the addition of eagle's wings, denotes the rapidity of his marches, and conquests. The plucking of his wings, denotes deprivation of the means of flight, and the humiliating state to which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon was reduced, as described by the prophet. “And he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the due of heaven; till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws." chap. iv. 33. 3. The Tree is another symbol of the king