11. Unrolling the Scroll of the Future

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Verse l Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 2 And now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.

We now enter upon a prophecy of future events, clothed not in figures and symbols, as in the visions of Daniel 2, 7, and 8, but given mostly in plain language. Many of the signal events of the world's history from the days of Daniel to the end of the world, are here brought to view. This prophecy, as Thomas Newton says, may not improperly be said to be a comment on and explanation of Daniel 8, a statement showing how clearly he perceived the connection between that vision and rest of the book of Daniel. [1]

Daniel's Last Vision Interpreted. The angel Gabriel, after stating that he had stood in the first year of Darius to confirm and strengthen him, turns his attention to the future. Darius was dead, and Cyrus was now reigning. Three kings would yet stand up, or reign, in Persia, doubtless the immediate successors of Cyrus. These were Cambyses, son of Cyrus; Smerdis, an impostor; and Darius Hystaspes.

Xerxes Invades Greece. The fourth king after Cyrus was Xerxes, son of Darius Hystaspes. He was famous for his wealth, a direct fulfillment of the prophecy stating that he should be "far richer than they all." He was determined to conquer the Greeks; therefore he set about organizing a mighty army, which Herodotus says numbered 5,283,220 men.

Xerxes was not content to stir up the East alone. He also enlisted the support of Carthage in the West. The Persian king fought Greece successfully at the famous battle of Thermopylae; but the mighty army was able to overrun the country only when the three hundred brave Spartans who held the pass were betrayed by traitors. Xerxes finally suffered disastrous defeat at the battle of Salamis in the year 480 BC, and the Persian army made its way back again to its own country.

Verse 3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.

Xerxes was the last Persian king to invade Greece; and now the prophecy passes over six minor rulers to introduce the "mighty king." Alexander the Great.

After overthrowing the Persian Empire, Alexander "became absolute lord of that empire in the utmost extent in which it was ever possessed by any of the Persian kings." [2] His dominion comprised "the greater portion of the then-known habitable world." How well he has been described as "a mighty king,. . . that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will"! But he exhausted his energies in rioting and drunkenness, and when he died in 323 BC, his vainglorious and ambitious projects when into sudden and total eclipse. The Grecian Empire did not go to Alexander's sons. Within a few years after his death, all his posterity had fallen victims to the jealousy and ambition of his leading generals, who tore the kingdom into four parts. How short is the transit from the highest pinnacle of earthly glory to the lowest depths of oblivion and death! Alexander's four leading generals Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy took possession of the empire.

"After the death of Antigonus [301 BC], the four confederated princes divided his dominions between them; and hereby the whole empire of Alexander became parted, and settled into four kingdoms. Ptolemy had Egypt, Libya, Arabia, Coele-Syria, and Palestine; Cassander, Macedon and Greece; Lysimachus, Thrace Bithynia, and some other of the provinces beyond the Hellespont and the Bosphorus; and Selecus all the rest. And these four were the four horns of the he-goat mentioned in the prophecies of the prophet Daniel, which grew up after the breaking off of the first horn. That first horn was Alexander, king of Greece, who overthrew the kingdom of the Medes and Persians; and the other four horns were these four kings, who sprung up after him, and divided the empire between them. And these also were the four heads of the leopard, spoken of in another place of the same prophecies. And their four kingdoms were the four parts, into which, according to the same prophet, the 'kingdom of the mighty king (i.e., of

Alexander) should be broken, and divided toward (i.e., according to the number of) the four winds of heaven,' among those four kings, 'who should not be of his posterity,' as neither of the four above-mentioned were. And therefore, by this last partition of the empire of Alexander, were all these prophecies exactly fulfilled." [3]

Verse 5 And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.

King of the South. The king of the north and the king of the south are many times referred to in the rest of this chapter. Therefore it is essential to an understanding of the prophecy to identify these powers clearly. When Alexander's empire was divided, the portions lay toward the four winds of heaven north, south, east, west. These divisions may well be reckoned from Palestine, the central part of the empire. That division of the empire lying west of Palestine would thus constitute the kingdom of the west; that lying north, the kingdom of the north; that lying east, the kingdom of the east; and that lying south, the kingdom of the south.

During the wars and revolutions which followed for long ages, geographical boundaries were frequently changed or obliterated; old ones were wiped out, and new ones instituted. But whatever changes might occur, these first division of the empire must determine the names which these portions of territory should ever afterward bear, or we have no standard by which to test the application of the prophecy. In other words, whatever power at any time should occupy the territory which at first constituted the kingdom of the north, that power would be king of the north as long as it occupied that territory. Whatever power should occupy that which at first constituted the kingdom of the south, that power would so long be the king of the south. We speak of only these tow, because they are the only ones afterward spoken of in the prophecy, and because, in fact, almost the whole of Alexander's empire finally resolved itself into these two division.

The successors of Cassander were very soon conquered by Lysimachus, and his kingdom, Greece and Macedon, was annexed to Thrace. Lysimachus was in turn conquered by Seleucus, and Macedon and Thrace were annexed to Syria.

These facts prepare the way for an application of the text before us. The king of the south, Egypt, shall be strong. Ptolemy Soter annexed Cyprus, Phoenicia, Caria, Cyrene, and many islands and cities to Egypt. Thus was his kingdom made strong. But another of Alexander's princes is introduced in the expression, "one of his princes." This must refer to Seleucus Nicator, who, as already stated, by annexing Macedon and Thrace to Syria became possessor of three parts out of four of Alexander's dominion, and established a more powerful kingdom than that of Egypt.

Verse 6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.

King of the North. There were frequent wars between the kings of Egypt and of Syria. Especially was this the case with Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt, and Antiochus Theos, third king of Syria. They at length agreed to make peace upon condition that Antiochus should put away his former wife, Laodice, and her two sons, and should marry Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus. Ptolemy accordingly brought his daughter to Antiochus, bestowing with her an immense dowry.

"But she shall not retain the power of the arm;" that is, her interest and power with Antiochus. So it proved; for shortly afterward, Antiochus brought back to the court his former wife Laodice and her children. Then says the prophecy, "Neither shall he [Antiochus] stand, nor his arm," or posterity. Laodice, being restored to favor and power, feared lest in the fickleness of his temper Antiochus should again disgrace her by recalling Berenice. Concluding that nothing short of his death would be an effectual safeguard against such a contingency, she caused him to be poisoned shortly afterward. Neither did his children by Berenice succeed him in the kingdom, for Laodice so managed affairs as to obtain the throne for her eldest son Seleucus Callinicus.

"But she [Berenice] shall be given up." Laodice, not content with poisoning her husband Antiochus, caused Berenice and her infant son to be murdered. "They that brought her." All of her

Egyptian women and attendants, in endeavoring to defend her, were slain with her. "He that begat her," margin, "whom she brought forth," that is, her son, who was murdered at the same time by order of Laodice. "He that strengthened her in these times," was doubtless her husband, Antiochus, or those who took her part and defended her.

Verse 7 But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail. 8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. 9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.

The branch out of the same root with Berenice was her brother, Ptolemy Euergetes. He had no sooner succeeded his father Ptolemy Philadelphus in the kingdom of Egypt, than, burning to avenge the death of his sister Berenice, he raised an immense army and invaded the territory of the king of the north, Seleucus Callinicus, who with his mother Laodice reigned in Syria. He prevailed against them, even to the conquering of Syria, Cilicia, the upper parts beyond the Euphrates, and eastward to Babylon. But hearing that a sedition was raised in Egypt requiring his return home, he plundered the kingdom of Seleucus by taking forty thousand talents of silver and precious vessels and two thousand five hundred images of gods. Among these were the images which Cambyses had formerly taken from Egypt and carried into Persia. The Egyptians, being wholly given to idolatry, bestowed upon Ptolemy the title Euergetes, or the Benefactor, as a compliment for restoring their captive gods after many years.

"There are authors still extant," says Thomas Newton, "who confirm several of the same particulars. Appian informs us that Laodice having killed Antiochus, and after him both Berenice and her child, Ptolemy the son of Philadelphus to revenge these murders invaded Syria, slew Laodice, and proceeded as far as to Babylon. From Polybius we learn that Ptolemy, surnamed Euergetes, being greatly incensed at the cruel treatment of his sister, Berenice, marched with an army into Syria, and took the city of Seleucia, which was kept for some years afterward by the garrisons of the kings of Egypt. Thus did he 'enter the fortress of the king of the north.' Polyaenus affirms that Ptolemy made himself master of all the country from Mount Taurus as far as to India without war or battle; but he ascribes it by mistake to the father instead of the son. Justin asserts that if Ptolemy had not been recalled by a domestic sedition into Egypt, he would have possessed the whole kingdom of Seleucus. So the king of the south came into the kingdom of the north, and then returned into his own land. He likewise 'continued more years than the king of the north;' for Seleucus Callinicus died in exile of a fall from his horse, and Ptolemy Euergetes survived him about four or five years." [4]

Verse 10 But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.

The first part of this verse speaks of sons, in the plural; the last part, of one, in the singular. The sons of Seleucus Callinicus were Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus Magnus. These both entered with zeal upon the work of vindicating and avenging the cause of their father and their country. The elder of these, Seleucus, first took the throne. He assembled a great multitude to recover his father's dominions; but was poisoned by his generals after a short, inglorious reign. His more capable brother, Antiochus Magnus, was thereupon proclaimed king. He took charge of the army, recovered Seleucia and Syria, and made himself master of some places by treaty and of others by force of arms. Antiochus overcame Nicolas, the Egyptian general, in battle and had thoughts of invading Egypt itself. However, a truce followed, wherein both sides treated for peace, yet prepared for war. Here is the "one" who should certainly "overflow and pass through."

Verse 11 And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.

Kings of the North and South in Conflict. Ptolemy Philopator succeeded his father Euergetes in the kingdom of Egypt, being advanced to the crown not long after Antiochus Magnus had succeeded his brother in the government of Syria. He was an ease-loving and vicious prince, but was at length aroused at the prospect of an invasion of Egypt by Antiochus. He was indeed "moved with choler" because of the losses he had sustained and the danger which threatened him. He marshaled a large army to check the progress of the Syrian king, but the king of the north was also "to set forth a great multitude." The army of Antiochus, according to Polybius, amounted to 62,000 footmen, 6,000 horsemen, and 102 elephants. In this conflict, the Battle of Raphia, Antiochus was defeated, with nearly 14,000 soldiers slain and 4,000 taken prisoner, and his army was given into the hands of the king of the south a fulfillment of prophecy.

Verse 12 And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.

Ptolemy lacked the prudence to make good use of his victory. Had he followed up his success, he would probably have become master of the whole kingdom of Antiochus; but after making only a few threats, he made peace that he might be able to give himself up to the uninterrupted and uncontrolled indulgence of his brutish passions. Thus having conquered his enemies, he was overcome by his vices, and forgetful of the great name which he might have established, he spent his time in feasting and sensuality.

His heart was lifted up by his success, but he was far from being strengthened by it, for the inglorious use he made of it caused his own subjects to rebel against him. But the lifting up of his heart was especially made manifest in his transactions with the Jews. Coming to Jerusalem, he offered sacrifices, and was desirous of entering into the most holy place of the temple contrary to the law and religion of the Jews. But being restrained with great difficulty, he left the place, burning with anger against the whole nation of the Jews, and immediately began against them a relentless persecution. In Alexandria, where Jews had resided since the days of Alexander, enjoying the privileges of the most favored citizens, forty thousand according to Eusebius, sixty thousand according to Jerome, were slain. The rebellion of the Egyptians and the massacre of the Jews certainly were not calculated to strengthen Ptolemy in his kingdom, but were sufficient rather to ruin it almost totally.

Verse 13 For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.

The events predicted in this verse were to occur "after certain years." The peace concluded between Ptolemy Philopator and Antiochus Magnus lasted fourteen years. Meanwhile Ptolemy died from intemperance and debauchery, and was succeeded by his son Ptolemy Epiphanes, then five years old. Antiochus suppressed rebellion in his kingdom during the same time, and reduced the eastern provinces to obedience. He was then at leisure for any enterprise when young Epiphanes came to the throne of Egypt. Thinking this too good an opportunity for enlarging his dominion to let slip, he raised an immense army, "greater than the former," and set out against Egypt, expecting to have an easy victory over the infant king.

Verse 14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.

Antiochus Magnus was not the only one who rose up against the infant Ptolemy. Agathocles, his prime minister, having possession of the king's person and conducting the affairs of the kingdom in his stead, was so dissolute and proud in the exercise of his power that the provinces which before were subject to Egypt, rebelled. Egypt itself was disturbed by seditions, and the Alexandrians, rising up against Agathocles, caused him, his sister, his mother, and their associates, to be put to death. At the same time, Philip of Macedon entered into a league with Antiochus to divide the dominions of Ptolemy between them, each proposing to take the parts which lay nearest and most convenient to him. Here was a rising up against the king of the south sufficient to fulfill the prophecy, and it resulted, beyond doubt, in the exact events which the prophecy forecast.

A new power is now introduced "the robbers of thy people;" literally, says Thomas Newton, "the sons of the breakers . . . of thy people." [5] Far away on the banks of the Tiber, a kingdom had been nourishing ambitious projects and dark designs. Small and weak at first, it grew in strength and vigor with marvelous rapidity, reaching out cautiously here and there to try its prowess and test its warlike arm, until with consciousness of its power it boldly reared its head among the nations of the earth, and seized with invincible hand the helm of affairs. Henceforth the name of Rome stands upon the page of history, destined for long ages to control the world, and to exert a might influence among the nations even to the end of time.

Rome spoke and Syria and Macedonia soon found a change coming over the aspect of their dream. The Romans interfered in behalf of the young king of Egypt, determined that he should be protected from the ruin devised by Antiochus and Philip. This was 200 BC, and was one of the first important interferences of the Romans in the affairs of Syria and Egypt. Rollin furnishes the following succinct account of this matter:

"Antiochus, king of Syria, and Philip, king of Macedonia, during the reign of Ptolemy Philopator, had discovered the strongest zeal for the interest of that monarch, and were ready to assist him on all occasions. Yet no sooner was he dead, leaving behind him an infant, whom the laws of humanity and justice enjoined them not to disturb in the possession of his father's kingdom, than they immediately join in a criminal alliance, and excite each other to take off the lawful heir, and divide his dominions between them. Philip was to have Caria, Libya, Cyrenaica, and Egypt; and Antiochus, all the rest. With this view, the latter entered Coele-Syria and Palestine, and in less than two campaigns made an entire conquest of those two provinces, with all their cities and dependencies. Their guilt, says Polybius, would not have been quite so glaring, had they, like tyrants, endeavored to gloss over their crimes with some specious pretense; but so far from doing this, their injustice and cruelty were so barefaced, that to them was applied what is generally said of fishes, that the large ones, though of the same species, prey on the lesser. One would be tempted, continues the same author, at seeing the most sacred laws of society so openly violated, to accuse Providence of being indifferent and insensible to the most horrid crimes; but it fully justified its conduct by punishing those two kings according to their deserts; and made such an example of them as ought in all succeeding ages to deter others from following their example. For, whilst they are meditating to dispossess a weak and helpless infant of his kingdom by piecemeal, Providence raised up the Romans against them, who entirely subverted the kingdoms of Philip and Antiochus, and reduced their successors to almost as great calamites as those with which they intended to crush the infant king." [6]

"To establish the vision." The Romans more than any other people are the subject of Daniel's prophecy. Their first interference in the affairs of these kingdoms is here referred to as being the establishment, or demonstration, of the truth of the vision which predicted the existence of such a power.

"But they shall fall" is referred by some to those mentioned in the first part of the verse, who should stand up against the king of the south; others, to the robbers of Daniel's people, the Romans. It is true in either case. If those who combined against Ptolemy are referred to, all that need be said is that they did speedily fall. If it applies to the Romans, the prophecy simply pointed to the period of their final overthrow.

Verse 15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.

The education of the young king of Egypt was entrusted by the Roman Senate to M. Emilius Lepidus, who appointed Aristomenes, an old and experienced minister of that court, to be his guardian. His first act was to provide against the threatened invasion of the two confederated kings, Philip and Antiochus.

To this end he dispatched Scopas, a famous general of Aetolia then in the service of the Egyptians, into his native country to raise reinforcements for the army. After equipping an army, he marched into Palestine and Coele-Syria (Antiochus being engaged in a war with Attalus in Lesser Asia), and reduced all Judea to the authority of Egypt.

Thus affairs were brought about for the fulfillment of the verse before us. Desisting from his war with Attalus at the dictation of the Romans, Antiochus took speedy steps for the recovery of Palestine and Coele-Syria from the hands of the Egyptians. Scopas was sent to oppose him. Near the sources of the Jordan, the two armies met. Scopas was defeated, pursued to Sidon, and there closely besieged. Three of the ablest generals of Egypt, with their best forces, were sent to raise the siege, but without success. At length Scopas, meeting a foe in the specter of famine with which he was unable to cope, was forced to surrender on the dishonorable terms of life only. He and his ten thousand men were permitted to depart stripped and destitute. Here was the taking of the "most fenced cities" by the king of the north, for Sidon was in its situation and defenses one of the strongest cities of those times. Here was the failure of the arms of the south to withstand, and the failure also of the people which the king of the south had chosen;

namely Scopas and his Aetolian forces.

Verse 16 But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.

Rome Conquers Syria and Palestine. Although Egypt had not been able to stand before Antiochus Magnus, the king of the north, Antiochus Asiaticus could not stand before the Romans, who came against him. no kingdoms could resist this rising power. Syria was conquered, and added to the Roman Empire, when Pompey in 65 BC deprived Antiochus Asiaticus of his possessions and reduced Syria to a Roman province.

The same power was also to stand in the Holy Land, and consume it. The Romans became connected with the people of God, the Jews, by alliance in 161 BC From this date Rome held a prominent place in the prophetic calendar. It did not, however, acquire jurisdiction over Judea by actual conquest until 63 BC

On Pompey's return from his expedition against Mithridates Eupator, king of Pontus, two competitors, sons of the high priest of the Jews in Palestine, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, were struggling for the crown of Judea. Their cause came before Pompey, who soon perceived the injustice of the claims of Aristobulus, but he wished to defer decision in the matter until after his long-desired expedition into Arabia. He promised then to return, and settle their affairs as should seem just and proper. Aristobulus, fathoming Pompey's real sentiments, hastened back to Judea, armed his subjects, and prepared for a vigorous defense, determined at all hazards to keep the crown which he foresaw would be adjudicated to another. After his Arabian campaign against King Aretas, Pompey learned of these warlike preparations and marched on Judea. As he approached Jerusalem, Aristobulus, beginning to repent of his course, came out to meet Pompey, and endeavored to arrange matters by promising entire submission and large sums of money. Accepting this offer, Pompey sent Gabinius at the head of a detachment of soldiers, to receive the money. But when that lieutenant arrived at Jerusalem, he found the gates shut against him, and was told from the top of the walls that the city would not stand by the agreement.

Not to be deceived in this way with impunity, Pompey put Aristobulus in irons, and immediately marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. The partisans of Aristobulus were for defending the city; those of Hyrcanus, for opening the gates. The latter, however, being in the majority, prevailed, and Pompey was given free entrance into the city. Whereupon the adherents of Aristobulus retired to the temple fortress, as fully determined to defend that place as Pompey was to reduce it. At the end of three months a breach was made in the wall sufficient for an assault, and the place was carried at the point of the sword. In the terrible slaughter that ensued, twelve thousand persons were slain. It was an affecting sight, observes the historian, to see the priests, engaged at the time in divine service, with calm hand and steady purpose pursue their accustomed work, apparently unconscious of the wild tumult, until their own blood was mingled with that of the sacrifices they were offering.

After putting an end to the war, Pompey demolished the walls of Jerusalem, transferred several cities from the jurisdiction of Judea to that of Syria, and imposed tribute on the Jews. For the first time Jerusalem was by conquest placed in the hands of Rome, that power which was to hold the "glorious land" in its iron grasp till it had utterly consumed it.

Verse 17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.

Thomas Newton furnishes another reading for this verse, which seems to express more clearly the meaning: "He shall also set his face to enter by force the whole kingdom." [7]

Rome Overruns the Kingdom of the South. Verse 16 brought us to the conquest of Syria and Judea by the Romans. Rome had previously conquered Macedon and Thrace. Egypt was now all that remained of the "whole kingdom" of Alexander which had not been brought into subjection to the Roman power. Rome now set her face to enter by force into the land of Egypt.

Ptolemy Auletes died in 51. BC He left the crown and kingdom of Egypt to his eldest surviving daughter, Cleopatra, and his elder son, Ptolemy XII, a lad of nine or ten years. It was provided in his will that they should marry each other and reign jointly. Because they were young, they were placed under the guardianship of the Romans. the Roman people accepted the charge, and appointed Pompey as guardian of the young heirs of Egypt.

Soon a quarrel broke out between Pompey and Julius Caesar, which reached its climax in the famous battle of Pharsalus. Pompey, being defeated, fled into Egypt. Caesar immediately followed him thither; but before his arrival Pompey was basely murdered at the instigation of Ptolemy. Caesar now assumed the guardianship of Ptolemy and Cleopatra. He found Egypt in commotion from internal disturbances, for Ptolemy and Cleopatra had become hostile to each other, since she had been deprived of her share in the government.

The troubles daily increasing, Caesar found his small source insufficient to maintain his position, and being unable to leave Egypt on account of the north wind which blew at that season, he sent into Asia for all the troops he had in that region.

Julius Caesar decreed that Ptolemy and Cleopatra should disband their armies, appear before him for a settlement of their differences, and abide by his decision. Since Egypt was an independent kingdom, this haughty decree was considered an affront to its royal dignity, and the Egyptians, highly incensed, took up arms. Caesar replied that he acted by the authority of the will of their father, Ptolemy Auletes, who had put his children under the guardianship of the senate and people of Rome.

The matter was finally brought before him, and advocates were appointed to plead the cause of the respective parties. Cleopatra, aware of the foible of the great Roman general, decided to appear before him in person. To reach his presence undetected, she had recourse to the following stratagem: She laid herself at full length in a carpet, and Appolodorus, her Sicilian servant, wrapped her up in a cloth, tied the bundle with a thong, and raising it upon his Herculean shoulders, sought the apartments of Caesar. Claiming to have a present for the Roman general, he was admitted into the presence of Caesar, and deposited the burden at his feet. When Caesar unbound this animated bundle, the beautiful Cleopatra stood before him.

Of this incident F. E. Adcock writes: "Cleopatra had a right to be heard if Caesar was to be judge, and she contrived to reach the city and to find a boatman to take her to him. She came, saw, and conquered. To the military difficulties of the withdrawal in the face of the Egyptian army was added the fact that Caesar no longer wished to go. He was past fifty, but he retained an imperious susceptibility which evoked the admiration of his soldiers. Cleopatra was twenty-two, as ambitious and high-mettled as Caesar himself, a woman whom he would find it easy to understand and admire as well as to love." [8]

Caesar at length decreed that the brother and the sister should occupy the throne jointly, according to the intent of the will. Pothinus, the chief minister of state, principally instrumental in expelling Cleopatra from the throne, feared the result of her restoration. He therefore began to excite jealousy and hostility against Caesar by insinuating among the populace that he designed eventually to give Cleopatra the sole power. Open sedition soon followed. The Egyptians undertook to destroy the Roman fleet. Caesar retorted by burning theirs. Some of the burning vessels being driven near the quay, several of the buildings of the city took fire, and the famous Alexandrian library, containing nearly 400,000 volumes, was destroyed. Antipater the Idumean joined him with 3,000 Jews. The Jews, who held the frontier gateways into Egypt, permitted the Roman army to pass without interruption. The arrival of this army of Jews under Antipater helped decide the contest.

A decisive battle was fought near the Nile by the fleets of Egypt and Rome, resulting in a complete victory for Caesar. Ptolemy, attempting to escape, was drowned in the river. Alexandria and all Egypt then submitted to the victor. Rome had now entered into and absorbed the entire original kingdom of Alexander.

By the "upright ones" of the text are doubtless meant the Jews, who gave Caesar the assistance already mentioned. Without this, he must have failed; with it, he completely subdued Egypt in 47 BC

"The daughter of women, corrupting her" was Cleopatra, who had been Caesar's mistress and the mother of his son. His infatuation for the queen kept him much longer in Egypt than his affairs required. He spent whole nights in feasting and carousing with the dissolute queen. "But," said the the prophet, "she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him." Cleopatra afterward joined herself to Antony, the enemy of Augustus Caesar, and exerted her whole power against Rome.

Verse 18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.

War in Syria and Asia Minor against Pharnaces, king of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, drew Julius Caesar away from Egypt. "On his arrival where the enemy was," says Prideaux, "he, without giving any respite either to himself or them, immediately fell on, and gained an absolute victory over them; an account whereof he wrote to a friend of his in these three words: Veni, vidi, vici! 'I came, I saw, I overcame.' " [9] The latter part of this verse is involved in some obscurity, and there is difference of opinion in regard to its application. Some apply it further back in Caesar's life, and think they find a fulfillment in his quarrel with Pompey. But preceding and subsequent events clearly defined in the prophecy, compel us to look for the fulfillment of this part of the prediction between the victory over Pharnaces, and Caesar's death at Rome, as brought to view in the following verse.

Verse 19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

After his conquest of Asia Minor, Caesar defeated the last remaining fragments of Pompey's party, Cato and Scipio in Africa, and Labienus and Varus in Spain. Returning to Rome, the "fort of his own land," he was made dictator for life. Other powers and honors were granted him which made him in fact the absolute sovereign of the empire. But the prophet had said that he should stumble and fall. The language implies that his overthrow would be sudden and unexpected, like a person accidentally stumbling in his walk. So this man, who it is said had fought and won fifty battles, taken one thousand cities, and slain one million one hundred ninety-two thousand men, fell, not in the din of battle and the hour of strife, but when he thought his pathway was smooth and danger far away.

"On the evening before the Ides Caesar dine with Lepidus, and as the guests sat at their wine someone asked the question, 'What is the best death to die?' Caesar who was busy signing letters said, 'A sudden one.' By noon the next day, despite dreams and omens, he sat in his chair in the Senate House, surrounded by men he had cared for, had promoted or spared, and was struck down, struggling, till he fell dead at the foot of Pompey's statue." [10] Thus he suddenly stumbled and fell, and was not found, in 44 BC

Verse 20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.

Augustus the Raiser of Taxes Appears. Octavius succeeded his uncle, Julius, by whom he had been adopted. He publicly announced his adoption by his uncle, and took his name. He joined Mark Antony and Lepidus to avenge the death of Julius Caesar. The three formed what is called the triumvirate form of government. After Octavius was firmly established in the empire, the senate conferred upon him the title "Augustus," and the other members of the triumvirate now being dead, he became supreme ruler.

He was emphatically a raiser of taxes. Luke, speaking of events that took place at the time when Christ was born, says: "It came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." Luke 2: 1. That taxing which embraced all the world was an event worthy of notice, for the person who enforced it has certainly a claim above every other competitor to the title of "a raiser of taxes." During the reign of Augustus "fresh taxation" was imposed, one quarter of the annual income from all citizens and a capital levy of one eighth on all freedmen." [11]

He stood up "in the glory of the kingdom." Rome reached the pinnacle of its greatness and power during the "Augustan Age." The empire never saw a brighter hour. Peace was promoted, justice maintained, luxury curbed, discipline established, and learning encouraged. During his reign, the temple of Janus was shut three times, signifying that all the world was at peace. Since the founding of the Roman Empire this temple had been closed but twice previously. At this auspicious hour our Lord was born in Bethlehem of Judea. In a little less than eighteen years after the taxing brought to view, seeming but a "few days" to distant gaze of the prophet, Augustus died in AD 14, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. His life ended not in anger or battle, but peacefully in his bed, at Nola, whither he had gone to seek repose and health.

Verse 21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

Tiberius Cuts Off the Prince of the Covenant. Tiberius Caesar followed Augustus on the Roman throne. He was raised to the consulate at the age of twenty-nine. It is recorded that as Augustus was about to nominate his successor, his wife, Livia, besought him to nominate Tiberius, her son by a former husband. But the emperor said, "Your son is too vile to wear the purple of Rome." Instead, the nomination was given to Agrippa, a virtuous and much-respected Roman citizen. But the prophecy had foreseen that a vile person should succeed Augustus. Agrippa died; and Augustus was again under the necessity of choosing a successor. Livia renewed her intercessions for Tiberius, and Augustus, weakened by age and sickness, was more easily flattered, and finally he consented to nominate that "vile" young man as his colleague and successor. But the citizens never gave him the love, respect, and "honor the kingdom" due to an upright and faithful sovereign.

How clear a fulfillment is this of the prediction that they should not give him the honor of the kingdom. But he was to come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. A paragraph from the Encyclopaedia Americana shows how this was fulfilled:

"During the remainder of the life of Augustus, he [Tiberius] behaved with great prudence and ability, concluding a war with the Germans in such a manner as to merit a triumph. After the defeat of Varus and his legions, he was sent to check the progress of the victorious Germans, and acted in that was with equal spirit and prudence. On the death of Augustus, he succeeded (AD 14), without opposition, to the sovereignty of the empire; which, however, with his characteristic dissimulation, he affected to decline, until repeatedly solicited by the servile senate." [12]

Dissimulation on his part, flattery on the part of the "servile senate," and a possession of the kingdom without opposition were the circumstances attending his accession to the throne, thus fulfilling the words of the prophecy.

The person brought to view in the text is called "a vile person." Was such the character sustained by Tiberius? Let another paragraph from the Encyclopaedia Americana answer:

"Tacitus records the events of this reign, including the suspicious death of Germanicus, the detestable administration of Sejanus, the poisoning of Drusus, with all the extraordinary mixture of tyranny with occasional wisdom and good sense which distinguished the conduct of Tiberius, until his infamous and dissolute retirement (AD 26), to the isle of Capreae, in the bay of Naples, never to return to Rome. . . . The remainder of the reign of this tyrant is little more than a disgusting narrative of servility on the one hand, and of despotic ferocity on the other. That he himself endured as much misery as he inflicted, is evident from the following commencement of one of his letters to the senate: 'What I shall write to you, conscript fathers, or what I shall not write, or why I should write at all, may the gods and goddesses plague me more than I feel daily that they are doing, if I can tell.' 'What mental torture,' observes Tacitus, in reference to this passage, 'which could extort such a confession!' " [13]

Tyranny, hypocrisy, debauchery, and uninterrupted intoxication if these traits and practices show a man to be vile, Tiberius exhibited that character to perfection.

Verse 22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be over flown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the Prince of the covenant.

Thomas Newton presents the following reading of the text as a more accurate translation of the original: "And the arms of the overflower shall be overflown from before him, and shall be broken." [14] This signifies revolution and violence; and in fulfillment we should look for the arms of Tiberius the over flower to be over flown, or, in other words, for him to suffer a violent death. To show how this was accomplished, we again cite the Encyclopaedia Americana:

"Acting the hypocrite to the last, he disguised his increasing debility as much as he was able, even affecting to join in the sports and exercises of the soldiers of his guard. At length, leaving his favorite island, the scene of the most disgusting debaucheries, he stopped at a country house near the promontory of Micenum, where on the sixteenth of March, 37, he sunk into a lethargy, in which he appeared dead; and Caligula was preparing with a numerous escort to take possession of the empire, when his sudden revival threw them into consternation. At this critical instant, Macro, the pretorian prefect, caused him to be suffocated with pillows. Thus expired the emperor Tiberius, in the seventy-eighth year of his age, and twenty-third of his reign, universally execrated." [15]

After taking us down to the death of Tiberius, the prophet now mentions an event to take place during his reign which is so important that it should not be passed over. It is the cutting off of the "Prince of the covenant," or the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, "the Messiah the Prince," who was to confirm the covenant" one week with His people. (Daniel 9: 25-27.)

According to the Scripture, Christ's death took place in the reign of Tiberius. Luke informs us that in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, John the Baptist began his ministry. (Luke 3: 1-3.) According to Prideaux [16], Dr. Hales [17], and others, the reign of Tiberius is to be reckoned from his elevation to the throne to reign jointly with Augustus, his stepfather, in August, AD 12. His fifteenth year would therefore be from August, AD 26, to August, AD 27. Christ was six months younger than John, and is supposed to have begun His ministry six months later, both, according to the law of the priesthood, entering upon their work when they were thirty years of age. If John began in the spring, in the latter part of the fifteenth year of Tiberius, it would bring the beginning of Christ's ministry in the autumn of AD 27. Right here the best authorities place the baptism of Christ, the exact point where the 483 years from 457 BC, which were to extend to the Messiah the Prince, terminated. Christ then went forth proclaiming that the time was fulfilled. From this point we go forward three years and a half to find the date of the crucifixion, for Christ attended but four Passovers, and was crucified at the last one. Three and a half years from the autumn of AD 27 brings us to the spring of AD 31. The death of Tiberius is placed but six years later, in AD 37. (See comments on Daniel 9: 27-27.)

Verse 23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.

Rome Makes a League With the Jews. The "him" with whom the league is made, must be the same power which has been the subject of the prophecy from the 14th verse, the Roman Empire. That this is true has been shown in the fulfillment of the prophecy in the three individuals who successively ruled over the empire Julius, Augustus, and Tiberius Caesar.

Now that the prophet has taken us through the secular events of the Roman Empire to the end of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9: 24, he takes us back to the time when the Romans became directly connected with the people of God by the Jewish league in 161 BC From this point we are then taken through a direct line of events to the final triumph of the church and the setting up of God's everlasting kingdom. Grievously oppressed by the Syrian kings, the Jews sent an embassy to Rome to solicit the aid of the Romans and to join themselves in "a league of amity and confederacy with them." [18] The Romans listened to the request of the Jews, and granted them a decree couched in these words:

" 'The decree of the senate concerning a league of assistance and friendship with the nation of the Jews. It shall not be lawful for any that are subject to the Romans to make war with the nation of the Jews, nor to assist those that do so, either by sending them corn, or ships, or money; and if any attack be made upon the Jews, the Romans shall assist them, as far as they are able; and again, if any attack be made upon the Romans, the Jews shall assist them. And if the Jews have a mind to add to, or to take away anything from, this league of assistance, that shall be done with the common consent of the Romans. And whatsoever addition shall thus be made, it shall be of force.' This decree was "written by Eupolemus, the son of John, and by Jason, the son of Eleazer, when Judas was high priest of the nation, and Simon, his brother, was general of the army. And this was the first league that the Romans made with the Jews, and was managed after this manner." [19]

At this time the Romans were a small people, and began to work deceitfully, or with cunning, as the word signifies. But from this time they rose steadily and rapidly to the height of power.

Verse 24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.

Before the days of Rome, nations entered upon valuable provinces and rich territory by war and conquest. Rome was now to do what had not been done by the fathers of the fathers' fathers, namely, receive these acquisitions through peaceful means. The custom was now inaugurated of kings' leaving their kingdoms to the Romans by legacy. Rome came into possession of large provinces in this manner.

Those who thus came under the dominion of Rome derived no small advantage. They were treated with kindness and leniency. It was like have the prey and spoil distributed among them. They were protected from their enemies, and they rested in peace and safety under the aegis of the Roman power.

To the latter part of this verse, Thomas Newton gives the thought of forecasting devices from strongholds, instead of against them. This the Romans did from the strong fortress of their seven-hilled city. "Even for a time" doubtless refers to a prophetic time, 360 years. From what point are these years to be dated? Probably from the event brought to view in the following verse.

Verse 25 And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.

Rome Contends With the King of the South. By verses 23 and 24 we are brought down this side of the league made between the Jews and the Romans, in 161 BC, to the time when Rome had acquired universal dominion. The verse now before us brings to view a vigorous campaign against the king of the south, Egypt, and a notable battle between mighty armies. Did such events as these take place in the history of Rome about this time? They did. The war was the war between Egypt and Rome, and the battle was the battle of Actium. Let us consider briefly the circumstances leading to this conflict.

Mark Antony, Augustus Caesar, and Lepidus constituted the triumvirate which had sworn to avenge the death of Julius Caesar. Antony became the brother-in-law of Augustus by marrying his sister Octavia. Antony was sent into Egypt on government business, but fell a victim to the charms of Cleopatra, Egypt's dissolute queen. So strong was the passion he conceived for her that he finally espoused the Egyptian interest, rejected his wife Octavia to please Cleopatra, and bestowed province after province upon her. He celebrated triumphs at Alexandria instead of at Rome, and otherwise so affronted the Roman people that Augustus had no difficulty in leading them to engage heartily in a war against Egypt. This was was ostensibly against Egypt and Cleopatra, but it was really against Antony, who now stood at the head of Egyptian affairs. The true cause of their controversy, says Prideaux, was that neither of them could be content with only half of the Roman Empire. Lepidus had been deposed from the triumvirate, and the rule of the empire now lay between the other two. Each being determined to possess the whole, they cast the die of war for its possession.

Antony assembled his fleet at Samos. Five hundred ships of war of extraordinary size and structure, having several decks one above another, with towers upon the head and stern, made an imposing and formidable array. These ships carried about one hundred twenty-five thousand soldiers. The kings of Libya, Cilicia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Comagena, and Thrace were there in person, and those of Pontus, Judea, Lycaonia, Galatia, and Media, had sent their troops. A more splendid military spectacle than this fleet of war ships as they spread their sails and moved out to sea, the world has rarely seen. Surpassing all in magnificence came the galley of Cleopatra, floating like a palace of gold beneath a cloud of purple sails. Its flags and streamers fluttered in the wind, and trumpets and other musical instruments of war made the heavens resound with notes of joy and triumph. Antony followed close behind her in a galley of almost equal magnificence.

Augustus, on the other hand, displayed less pomp but more utility. He had but half as many ships as Antony, and only eighty thousand foot soldiers. But all his troops were chosen men, and on board his fleet were none but experienced seamen; whereas Antony, not finding sufficient mariners, had been obliged to man his vessels with artisans of every class, men inexperienced and better calculated to cause trouble than to do real service in time of battle. The season being far consumed in these preparations, Augustus made his rendezvous at Brundusium, and Antony at Corcyra, till the following year.

The next spring, both armies were put in motion on land and sea. The fleets at length entered the Ambracian Gulf in Epirus, and the land forces were drawn up on either shore in plain view. Antony's most experienced generals advised him not to hazard a battle by with his inexperienced mariners, but send Cleopatra back to Egypt, and hasten at once into Thrace or Macedonia, and trust the issue to his land forces, who were composed of veteran troops. But illustrating the old adage, Quem Deus perdere vult, prius dementat ("Him whom God wishes to destroy He first makes made"), and infatuated by Cleopatra, he seemed desirous only of pleasing her; while she, trusting to appearances only, deemed her fleet invincible, and advised immediate action.

The battle was fought September 2, 31 BC, at the mouth of the gulf of Ambracia, near the city of Actium. The world was the stake for which these stern warriors, Antony and Augustus, now played. The contest, long doubtful, was at length decided by the course which Cleopatra pursued. Frightened at the din of battle, she took to flight when there was no danger, and drew after her the Egyptian squadron numbering sixty ships. Antony, beholding this movement, and lost to everything but his blind passion for her, precipitately followed, and yielded a victory to Augustus, which, had his Egyptian forces proved true to him, and had he proved true to his own manhood, he might had gained.

This battle doubtless makes the beginning of the "time" mentioned in verse 24. As during this "time" devices were to be forecast from the stronghold, or Rome, we should conclude that at the end of that period western supremacy would cease, or such a change take place in the empire that that city would no longer be considered the seat of government. From 31 BC, a prophetic "time," or 360 years, would bring us to AD 330. Hence it becomes a noteworthy fact that the seat of empire was removed from Rome to Constantinople by Constantine the Great in that very year. [20]

Verse 26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.

Antony was deserted by his allies and friends, those that fed "of the portion of his meat." Cleopatra as already described suddenly withdrew from the battle, taking sixty ships of the line with her. The land army, disgusted with the infatuation of Antony, went over to Augustus, who received the soldiers with open arms. When Antony arrived arrived at Libya, he found that the forces which he had left there under Scarpus to guard the frontier, had declared for Augustus, and in Egypt his forces surrendered. In rage and despair, Antony then took his own life.

Verse 27 And both of these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.

Antony and Augustus were formerly in alliance. Yet under the garb of friendship, they were both aspiring and intriguing for universal dominion. Their protestations of friendship for each other were the utterances of hypocrites. They spoke lies at one table. Octavia, the wife of Antony and sister of Augustus, declared to the people of Rome at the time Antony divorced her, that she had consented to marry him solely with the hope that it would prove a pledge of union between Augustus and Antony. But that counsel did not prosper. The rupture came, and in the conflict that ensued Augustus was entirely victorious.

Verse 28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.

Two returnings from foreign conquest are here brought to view. The first was after the events narrated in verses 26, 27, and the second, after this power had had indignation against the holy covenant, and had performed exploits. The first was fulfilled in the return of Augustus after his expedition against Egypt and Antony. He arrived in Rome with abundant honor and riches, for "at this time such vast riches were brought to Rome from Egypt on the reducing of that country, and on the return of Octavianus [Augustus] and his army from thence, that the value of money fell one half, and the prices of provisions and all vendible wares were doubled thereon." [21]

Augustus celebrated his victories in a three-days' triumph a triumph which Cleopatra herself would have graced as one of the royal captives, had she not artfully caused herself to be bitten fatally by an asp.

Rome Destroys Jerusalem. The next great enterprise of the Romans after the overthrow of Egypt, was the expedition against Judea and the capture and destruction of Jerusalem. The holy covenant is doubtless the covenant which God has maintained whit his people under different forms in different ages of the world. The Jews rejected Christ, and according to the prophecy that all who would not hear that Prophet should be cut off, they were destroyed out of their own land and scattered to every nation under heaven. While Jews and Christians alike suffered under the oppressive hand of the Romans, it was doubtless in the reduction of Judea especially that the exploits which are mentioned in the sacred text were exhibited.

Under Vespasian the Romans invaded Judea, and took the cities of Galilee, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, where Christ had been rejected. They destroyed the inhabitants, and left nothing but ruin and desolation. Titus besieged Jerusalem, and drew a trench around it, according to the prediction of the Savior. A terrible famine ensued. Moses had predicted that appalling calamities would come upon the Jews if they departed from God. It had been prophesied that even the tender and delicate woman would eat her own children in the straitness of the siege. (Deuteronomy 28: 52-55.) Under the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, a literal fulfillment of this prediction occurred. Hearing of the inhuman deeds, but forgetting that he was the one who was driving the people to such direful extremities, he swore the eternal extirpation of the accursed city and people.

Jerusalem fell in AD 70. As an honor to himself, the Roman commander had determined to save the temple, but the Lord had said, "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 24: 2. A Roman soldier seized a brand of fire, and climbing upon the shoulders of his comrades, thrust it into one of the windows of the beautiful structure. It was soon ablaze, and the frantic efforts of the Jews to extinguish the flames, seconded by Titus himself, were all in vain. Seeing that the temple would be destroyed, Titus rushed in and bore away the golden candlestick, the table of show bread, and the volume of the law, wrapped in gold tissue. The candlestick was afterward deposited in Vespasian's Temple of Peace and copied on the triumphal arch of Titus, where its mutilated image is yet to be seen.

The siege of Jerusalem lasted five months. In that siege eleven hundred thousand Jews perished, and ninety-seven thousand were taken prisoners. The city was so amazingly strong that Titus exclaimed when viewing the ruins, "We have fought with the assistance of God." It was completely leveled, and the foundations of the temple were plowed up by Tarentius Rufus. The duration of the whole war was seven years, and almost a million and a half persons are said to have fallen victims to its awful horrors. Thus this power p


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