Table of Contents
Four Great Monarchies
1. AT what time was Daniel's second vision given?
"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon
Daniel had a dream and
visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the
matters." Dan. 7:1.
NOTE.-That is, in the first year of Belshazzar's office as associate king with his
father Nabonadius, or 540 B.C.
2. What effect did this dream have upon Daniel?
"I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions
of my head troubled me." Verse 15.
NOTE.-The effect of Daniel's dream upon him, it will be noticed was similar to the
effect of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams upon him; it troubled him. See Dan. 2:1.
3. What did Daniel ask of one of the heavenly attendants who stood by him in his
"I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all
this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things." Verse
4. What did the prophet see in this vision?
"Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four
winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea." Verse 2.
5. What was the result of this strife?
"And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from
another." Verse 3.
6. What did these four beasts represent?
"These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of
the earth." Verse 17.
NOTE.-The word kings here, 88 in Dan. 2:44, denotes kingdoms, as explained in verses 23
and 24 of the seventh chapter, the two words being used interchangeably in this prophecy.
7. In symbolic language, what is represented by winds?
Strife, war, commotion. See Jer. 25:31-33; 49:36,37.
NOTE.-That winds denote strife and war is evident from the vision itself. As a result
of the striving of the winds, kingdoms rise and fall.
8. What, in prophecy, is symbolized by waters?
"And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest . . . are peoples, and multitudes,
and nations, and tongues." Rev. 17:15.
NOTE.-In the second chapter of Daniel, under the figure of an image of man, the mere
political outline of the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms is given, preceding the setting
up of God's everlasting kingdom. In the seventh chapter, earthly governments are
represented as viewed in the light of Heaven,- under the symbols of wild and ferocious
beasts,- the last, in particular, oppressing and persecuting the saints of the Most High.
Hence the change in the symbols used to represent these kingdoms.
9. What was the first beast like?
"The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings
thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as
a man, and a man's heart was given to it." Dan. 7:4.
NOTE.-The lion, the first of these four great beasts, like the golden head of
Nebuchadnezzar's dream, represents the Babylonian monarchy; the lion, the king of beasts,
standing at the head of his kind, as gold does of metals. The eagle's wings doubtless
denote the rapidity with which Babylon extended its conquests under Nebuchadnezzar, who
reigned from B.C. 604 to B.C. 561. This kingdom was overthrown by the Medes and Persians
in B.C. 538.
10. By what was the second kingdom symbolized?
"And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up
itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and
they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh." Verse 5.
NOTE.-"This was the Medo-Persian Empire, represented here under the symbol
of a bear. . . . The Medes and Persians are compared to a bear on account of their cruelty
and thirst after blood, a bear being a most voracious and cruel animal."- Adam
Clarke, on Dan. 7:5.
11. By what was the third universal empire symbolized?
"After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the
back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to
it." Verse 6.
NOTES.-If the wings of an eagle on the back of a lion denoted rapidity of movement in
the Babylonian, or Assyrian, Empire (see Hab. 1:6-8), four wings on the leopard must
denote unparalleled celerity of movement in the Grecian Empire. This we find to be
"The rapidity of Alexander's conquests in Asia was marvelous: he burst like a torrent
on the expiring Persian Empire, and all opposition was useless. The gigantic armies
collected to oppose him melted like snow in the sunshine. The battles of Granicus, B.C.
334, Issus in the following year, and Arbela in B.C. 331, settled the fate of the Persian
Empire, and established the wide dominion of the Greeks."-"The Divine Program
of the World's History," by H. Grattan Guinness, page 308.
"The beast had also four heads." The Grecian Empire maintained its unity but
a short time after the death of Alexander, which occurred in B.C. 323. Within twenty-two
years after the close of his brilliant career, or by B.C. 301, the empire was divided
among his four leading generals. Cassander took Macedonia and Greece in the west;
Lysimachus had Thrace and the parts of Asia on the Hellespont and Bosporus in the north;
Ptolemy received Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria in the south; and
Seleucus had all the rest of Alexander's dominions in the east.
12. How was the fourth kingdom represented?
"After this I saw in the night-visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and
terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake
in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the
beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns." Verse 7.
13. What was the fourth beast declared to be?
"Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which
shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it
down, and break it in pieces." Verse 23.
NOTES.-"This is allowed on all hands to be the Roman Empire. It was dreadful,
terrible, and exceeding strong; . . . and became, in effect, what the Roman
writers delight to call it, the empire of the whole world." -Adam Clarke, on Dan.
The final overthrow of the Greeks, by the Romans, was at the battle of Pydna, in 168 B.C.
14. What was denoted by the ten horns?
"And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise." Verse
NOTES.-The Roman Empire was broken up into ten kingdoms between the years 351 A.D. and
"The historian Machiavelli, without the slightest reference to this prophecy, gives
the following list of the nations which occupied the territory of the Western Empire at
the time of the fall of Romulus Augustulus (476 A.D.), the last emperor of Rome: The
Lombards the Franks, the Burgundians, the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, the Vandals, the
Heruli, the Suevi, the Huns, and the Saxons: ten in all.
"Amidst unceasing and almost countless fluctuations, the kingdoms of modern Europe
have from their birth to the present day averaged ten in number. They have never
since the breaking up of old Rome been united into one single empire; they have never
formed one whole even like the United States. No scheme of proud ambition seeking
to reunite the broken fragments has ever succeeded; when such have arisen, they have been
invariably dashed to pieces.
"And the division is as apparent now as ever. Plainly and palpably inscribed on the
map of Europe this day, it confronts the skeptic with its silent but conclusive testimony
to the fulfillment of this great prophecy. Who can alter or add to this tenfold list of
the kingdoms now occupying the sphere of old Rome? Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France,
Germany, England, Holland, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal - ten, and no more; ten, and
no less."-"The Divine Program of the World's History," by H. Grattan
Guinness, pages 318-321.
15. What change did Daniel see take place in these horns?
"I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little
horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and,
behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great
things." Verse 8.
16. What inquiry on the part of Daniel shows that the fourth beast, and especially
the little horn phase of it, constitutes the leading feature of this vision?
"Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from
all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass;
which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten
horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom
three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things,
whose look was more stout than his fellows." Verses 19,20.
17. When was the little horn to arise?
"And another shall rise after them." Verse 24.
NOTE.-The ten horns, as already shown, arose when Rome, the fourth kingdom, was divided
into ten kingdoms. This division was completed in A. D. 476. The little-horn power was to
arise after them.
18. What was to be the character of the little horn?
"And he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three
kings." Same verse, last part.
NOTES.- That power which arose in the Roman Empire after the fall of Rome in A.D. 476,
which was entirely different from all the ten kingdoms into which Rome was divided (for it
demanded and exercised spiritual power over the other kingdoms), and before whom three of
the other kings -the Heruli the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths -fell, was the Papacy.
Having located the place and the time of the kingdom of the little horn, the study of its
character and work will be considered in the readings which follow.
Previous Chapter l Table
Contents l Next Chapter