2,500 Years of This World's History (continued)
As you will remember, the image had a head of gold, and interpreting the dream to Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel said: "Thou art this head of gold," which of course was Nebuchadnezzar and his empire, the Babylonian empire. And then the image had its chest and arms of silver; you will notice that that is inferior to gold and portrayed an inferior kingdom which would follow that of the Babylonian. It pointed on to the Medo-Persian empire (Daniel 2:38). Then the trunk and thighs were of brass, a still more inferior empire following that, which was fulfilled in the great Macedonian empire. Then the legs of iron and the feet part of iron and part of clay, pointed on to a still more inferior empire, namely, the Roman, the two legs representing the eastern section and the western section of the Roman empire. The feet, the iron speaking of the monarchical aspect of that empire, that government, and the clay speaking of the democratic aspect.
Over the territory covered by that fourth empire today there are monarchics and republics, a literal fulfillment in our own day and many years past of that which was foreshadowed 500 years B.C.. (Before Christ.) Then another thing is said concerning that fourth empire, that in the midst of those kings the God of heaven would set up a kingdom which should never be destroyed, and which would never be in the hands of another people; a stone cut without hands should break those kingdoms in pieces. We have seen a very large fulfillment of that; the God of heaven has set His kingdom in the midst of the kingdoms of that fourth world-empire, the Roman empire. Against that kingdom of the God of the heavens no world power has yet been able to prevail, although they have wielded the full weight of their might against the saints of the Most High: butchered and massacred them and determined with a diabolical determination to wipe them out: it is those kingdoms that have gone to piece, the stone cut without hands has broken them and the kingdoms which have set themselves against the Lord and His Christ are fast becoming stories in history books of glories of past days, and the kingdom of the God of heaven goes on never to be destroyed, and never to be entrusted to the hands of any mere world-power, it is in the hands of the saints of the Most High. There will yet be a greater fulfillment of this: A literal one, and not only a spiritual one. Well, this is the second chapter in brief, so far as Daniel's image is concerned, and then as we said, chapters 7 and 8 are an enlargement of that. In chapter 7 you have the four beasts coming up out of the sea. The sea, as we here know, represents the unorganized mass of mankind. Coming up out of the sea are these four beasts.
The first is like a lion and that again represents Babylon. You remember Jeremiah, in prophesying the overthrow of Israel and Judah, and the coming captivity, spoke in typical language about the one who would come up and carry them away and destroy them. He said: "The lion is come up," and here is the lion coming up out of the sea, Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian empire.
The second was the bear, and that again points to the Medo-Persian empire. On its side (you notice the detail) meaning that Persia was its strong element. It had three ribs in its mouth, speaking of three great provinces of that empire, Syria, Lydia and Asia Minor.
(continued with # 34)