The Vicar of Christ
“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.” Dan. 8:1. Where was Daniel at this time?
“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.” Dan. 8:2.What first attracted the prophet’s attention?
“Then 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.” Dan. 8:3.What power was represented by the ram having two horns?
“The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.” Dan. 8:20.
How are the rise and work of this power described?
“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.” Dan. 8:4.
What symbol was next introduced in the vision?
“And as I was considering, behold, an he goat 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.” Dan. 8:5.
What did the goat with the notable horn represent?
“And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.” Dan. 8:21.
How was the conquest of Medo-Persia by Grecia foretold in this symbolic prophecy?
“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.” Dan. 8:7.
When the he goat “was strong,” what occurred? “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.” Dan. 8:8.
Who was represented by ” the great horn,” and what followed when it was broken?
“And the rough goat is the king [kingdom] 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.” Dan. 8:21,22.
NOTES.-From the interpretation given, it is plain that the notable “horn” upon the he goat represented Alexander the Great, who led the Grecian forces in their conquest of Medo-Persia. Upon the death of Alexander at Babylon, B.C. 323, there followed a brief period of confusion in the struggle for the kingdom, but the succession was definitely determined by the battle of Ipsus, B.C. 301. Alexander’s four leading generals- Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus- became his successors.
“The vast empire created by Alexander’s unparalleled conquests was distracted by the wranglings and wars of his successors, and before the close of the fourth century before Christ, had become broken up into many fragments. Besides minor states, four well-defined and important monarchies rose out of the ruins. . . . Their rulers were Lysimachus, Cassander, Seleucus Nicator, and Ptolemy, who had each assumed the title of king. The great horn was broken; and instead of it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.”- Myers’s “History of Greece,” page 457, edition 1902.
What came out of one of the four horns of the goat?
“And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.” Dan. 8:9.
What interpretation is given to this little horn?
“And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” Dan. 8:23.
What did this little horn do to the people of God?
“And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.” Dan. 8:10.
In what literal language is this persecution of the people of God further described?
“And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” Dan. 8:24.
How was this little horn to exalt itself against Christ and His mediatorial work?
“ Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” Dan. 8:11.
In the interpretation of the vision, how is this self-exaltation set forth?
“And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” Dan. 8:25.
What similar language is used by the apostle Paul in describing the “mystery of iniquity,” or “man of sin”?
“That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thess. 2:3,4.
NOTE.-The last two scriptures evidently describe one and the same power,-a power which while religious and professedly Christian, is anti-christian in spirit, and the very “man of sin” himself. Possessed with the selfish ambition of Lucifer (Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:17), he assumes to occupy the very seat and place of Deity in the temple of God. Professing to be Christ’s vicar, or personal representative on earth, he magnifies himself against Christ, and “stands up,” or reigns, in the place of, and “against,” the Prince of princes.
What was given into the hands of the power represented by the little horn?
“ And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression,” Dan. 8:12, first clause.
What did this power do to the truth?
“ and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” Same verse, last clause.
NOTES.-The interpretation already given to this vision shows plainly that the power represented by the little horn is the successor of Medo-Persia and Grecia. In the vision of the seventh chapter of Daniel, which is closely related to this vision, the fourth beast represented the fourth kingdom, or Rome, in its entirety, special attention, however, being given to the “little horn” phase of its history. As shown by the work attributed to it, this little horn, which arose among the ten kingdoms into which Rome was divided, was to be a religio-political power, which was to change the times and law of God, and persecute the people of God. In the vision of the eighth chapter the ecclesiastical features of this fourth world power are especially noticed and emphasized, and hence the only symbol there used to represent it is the “little horn” which waxed “exceeding great.”
The religion of all the four great monarchies mentioned in these prophecies was paganism; but the paganism of ancient Babylon was re-produced in pagan Rome, and then adapted and adopted by papal Rome. The little horn of the eighth chapter represents Rome, both pagan and papal, in its ecclesiastical aspect, with its union of paganism, and later of apostate Christianity, with the secular power; with its antichristian persecutions of the saints of God; with its perversion of the priesthood of Christi and with its assertion of both temporal and spiritual power over all the world. It is evident that pagan Rome is introduced into this prophecy chiefly as a means of locating the place and work of papal Rome, and the ecclesiastical features of pagan Rome as typical of the same features accentuated in papal Rome, and that the emphasis is to be placed upon the fulfillment of the prophecy in the work of papal Rome. A careful comparison of Dan. 7:21,25, with Dan. 8:10-12, R.V., and 2 Thess. 2:3,4, will amply justify this conclusion.
“The Romans could not forget-never did forget-that they had once been masters and rulers of the world. Even after they had become wholly unfit to rule themselves, let alone the ruling of others, they still retained the temper and used the language of masters. . . . In the absence of an emperor in the West the popes rapidly gained influence and power, and soon built up an ecclesiastical empire that in some respects took the place of the old empire and carried on its civilizing work.”-Myers’s “Rome; Its Rise and Fall,” Boston, 1900, pages 398, 399, 442, 443.
The host and the stars of Dan. 8:10 are the same as the saints of the Most High of Dan. 7:25; and the Prince of the host of Dan. 8:11 is the Prince of princes, or Christ. When the same being appeared to Joshua. (Joshua 5:13-15, margin), He applies the same expression to Himself.
In Dan. 8:11-13, in the Revised Version, the words “burnt offering” have been supplied by the translators after the word “continual,” but this rendering seems to place too restricted a meaning upon the word “continual.” The fact that no word is connected with “continual” in the original text, although in the typical service of the sanctuary it is used with “burnt offering” (Ex. 29:42), with “incense” (Ex. 30:8, here rendered perpetual), and with “showbread” (Num. 4:7), indicates that that which is continual represents the continual service or mediation of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, in which an that was continual in the typical service found its antitype and fulfillment. See Heb. 6:19,20; 7:1-3, 14-16, 23-25. The action which made the Pope the vicar of God and the high priest of the apostasy, really took away from Christ, as far as human intent and power were concerned, his place and work as the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), and this took away from Him, as far as man could take it away, the continual mediation, according to the prediction in this prophecy.
The prophecies of Daniel are cumulative and widening in their view, each carrying matters farther than the preceding one, and bringing out more explicitly and more in detail important features down the stream of time. In Daniel 2, under the fourth universal kingdom, the Papacy is not represented under any direct symbol or figure at all,-simply Rome in its united and divided state; In Daniel 7 Rome is symbolized by the “little horn” coming up among the ten horns representing the divided state of Rome; while in Daniel 8 the only figure used to represent the fourth world power is the “little horn” which waxed “exceeding great.”
In each of these last two chapters the little horn is introduced to tell especially of the workings of the same terrible power-Rome papal. Both chapters deal with the same great apostasy. In the seventh chapter, the little horn takes away the law of God. In the eighth chapter, it takes away the gospel. Had it taken away only the law, this would have vitiated the gospel; for, with the law of God gone, even the true gospel could not save, because the law is needed to convict and give a knowledge of sin. And had the Papacy taken away only the gospel, and left the law, salvation through such a system would still have been impossible, for there is no salvation for sinners through even the law of God itself apart from Christ and the gospel. But to make apostasy doubly sure, this power changes, vitiates, and takes away both the law and the gospel.
In changing the Sabbath, the Papacy struck directly at the very heart and seal of the law of God, just as in substituting its own mediatorial system for that of Christ’s it struck directly at the heavenly sanctuary and its service, which, in his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul shows to be the very heart and essence of the gospel.
What question was asked in the hearing of the prophet?
“Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden underfoot?” Dan. 8:13.
What answer was addressed to Daniel?
“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Dan. 8:14.
NOTE.-In verse 13, R.V., the vision is clearly defined. It is “the vision concerning the continual burnt offering [or continual mediation], and the transgression that maketh desolate,” which results in giving both the sanctuary and the people of God to be trodden underfoot. The time when the vision was to have its special application is stated in verse 17 to be “at the time of the end,” or in the last days. This is additional proof that this prophecy was to find its complete fulfillment in papal Rome only, as pagan Rome passed away many centuries ago. The sanctuary and the twenty-three-hundred-day period here referred to are considered at length in succeeding readings.
What prophetic period begins at the time when the continual mediation of Christ was taken away by the Papacy?
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Dan. 12:11.
NOTES.-lnasmuch as the taking away of the continual mediation of Christ is made the beginning of a prophetic period, there must be some definite act at some definite time which, in form and intent, takes from Christ His priestly work in the heavenly sanctuary. This act was the official decree of an ecclesiastical council held at Rome in 503 A.D., by which it was declared “that the Pope was judge as God’s vicar, and could himself be judged by no one.” See Hardouins “Councils,” Vol. II, page 983; Labbe and Cossart’s “Councils,” Vol. IV, col. 1364; and Bower’s “History of the Popes” (three-volume edition), Vol. I, pages 304, 305. The work of Clovis king of the Franks, who earned for himself the title of “the eldest son of the church” by his campaigns to subdue the kingdoms hostile to the Papacy, contributed much toward putting into practical effect this claim of the Papacy, which finally resulted in establishing the Pope as the head of the Roman priesthood which has usurped the priestly work of Christ, and has established another system of mediation in its place. This work of Clovis came to its climax in the period 503-508, and this period therefore becomes the natural one from which to date the 1290 years of Dan. 12:11, which would accordingly end in the period 1793-98, at the same time as the 1260 years of Dan. 7:25.
“With Rome would have fallen her bishop, had he not, as if by anticipation of the crisis, reserved till this hour the master-stroke of his policy, He now boldly cast himself upon an element of much greater strength than that of which the political convulsions of the time had deprived him; namely, that the bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, and, in virtue of being so, is Christ’s vicar on earth. In making this claim, the Roman pontiffs vaulted at once over the throne of kings to the seat of gods: Rome became once more the mistress of the world, and her popes the rulers of the earth.”-” The Papacy,” by J. A. Wylie, page 34.
What assurance was given to Daniel concerning the period of time mentioned in verse 14?
“And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true; wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.” Dan. 8:26.
NOTES.-By the expression “the vision of the evening and the morning” reference is made to the vision concerning the twenty-three hundred days, as may be seen by referring to the marginal readings of Dan. 8:14.
The interpretation of the vision of chapter 8 closes without making any explanation of the long period of time which was mentioned to Daniel in the answer to the question, “How long shall be the vision?” This important feature was left to be interpreted later.