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The Shepherd's Rod vol. 2
The example made of the Babylonian monarchs should have an object lesson to all successive kings. The godly influence of Cyrus might also have been retained, but the kings of Medo-Persia, like the Chaldeans, were looking forward to worldly glory without fear of Him who can set up Kingdoms, and depose kings.
The priceless lesson taught by the punishment of the Chaldean kings, should have been a blessing to them, but in their vain imagination they departed from the source of true wisdom and from power that is never failing. Thus that which was intended as a blessing became a condemnation. Therefore, the kings of Medo-Persia grew worse than the kings of Grecia whose idols were their gods, and perverse appetite their only rule of life. Thus again the time had come for the ribs in the mouth of the bear to speak, "Arise and devour much flesh." Therefore, the arm of Omnipotence was withdrawn from the Persian king, and Alexander, with the swiftness of an eagle marched upon his prey. So, Medo-Persia opened the gateway for the bloodiest wars in our world's history. In this manner the words, "Arise, devour much flesh," met their fulfillment.
Says Daniel: "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. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran into him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and he 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.... The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia; and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king." (Dan. 8:5-7, 20, 21.) Therefore, Alexander, whose love for conquest knew no bounds, was the first to successfully lead the west against the east.
But no sooner had Alexander conquered the empire, than he engaged in a drunken debauch and passed away while yet in his youth. Thus the horn of the "he goat" was broken off from between his eyes, "And for it came up four notable ones towards
Shepherd's Rod book, Vol. 2
Shepherd's Rod book, Vol. 2 51, 52
the four winds of heaven." Alexander not having a successor to inherit the throne, the kingdom was divided between his four generals; namely, Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus. Thus time and providence brought about the four-headed leopard beast.
The entire conflict between the nations is symbolized by the ram and the goat, with various horns coming up and breaking off. Why a ram and a goat? Why not some other species of animals? Jesus gives the answer: "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." (Matt. 25:32, 33.)
By these domestic beasts inspiration conveys the thought that the inhabitants of earth are but sheep and goats -- true and false religion. It also signifies that wars are a strife between good and evil. But why Medo-Persia by a ram, and Grecia by a goat? Why not the reverse? The kings of the Medo-Persian empire became believers in the true God as previously explained; thus having principle is contrary to those of Grecia. For that reason Medo-Persia was represented by a ram and Grecia by a goat. Wonderful it is to note how perfect and thoughtful was the great wisdom and care of the Infinite One, as exercised to devise these symbols. Only omnipotence can invent such perfect prophetic art, foretelling historical events.
It has been previously explained that the lion, the bear, and the leopard beasts are divinely numbered. The leopard being the fourth empire from creation, and as the numbers in that fashion stop with him, naturally the question would arise: Why not continue the numerical order with the beasts that followed the leopard? There are several reasons for the change with that particular beast. As Rome was slowly rising from within the Grecian empire she finally absorbed the last Grecian division and the Ptolemy dynasty became a province of the Roman state about 27 B.C. Thus the Old Testament closed with Grecia and with Rome the New began. Therefore, between Grecia and Rome lies the dividing line. It also noted that the beasts representing the Old Testament are hornless, but the ones in the New are with horns. All of which signifying the close of the typical and the commencement of the anti-typical period.
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The numerals of the Bible are like rich veins of metal beneath the surface of the earth. Thousands walk over these unknown treasures until some unseen power brings them to the surface. We know that the Trinity is best expressed by the use of the terms, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Likewise we express God's attributes in three terms, namely, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. This feature could be greatly enlarged upon.
If three is the symbol of the Triune Jehovah, four must designate that which proceeds from Him, as revealed in creation. The cherubims consist of four living creatures, each having the face of a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle, respectively. There are four regions of the earth: East, North, South and West, which is expressive of the completeness of direction; likewise: winter, spring, summer and autumn covers a complete circle of the seasons. We have already observed that there were four universal empires in the history of the world from creation to the crucifixion. We may also note the fact in connection with this subject that there is a combination of the three-fold with the four-fold as clearly seen in the work of creation in which the first four days were employed in forming the sphere, and the remaining three in the creation of the living creatures and culminating in a Sabbath rest. The fourth day saw the material substance of creation finished, and on the fifth and sixth days, was the peopling of the earth. In the book of Revelation under the head of the seven seals, we observe that the first four seals were clearly separated from the last three by the symbols of four horses. Thus it appears that the four-fold measure in each case precedes the three-fold, just as in creation order: each division culminating in the seven of perfection. For this reason there are four sections in the great image of Daniel Two, four beast's in Daniel's vision, four wings and four heads on the leopard with whom the numbers in that fashion ceased. Thus it is evident that the Old Testament closed with a symbolic number -- four (the leopard-beast). Showing that all the necessary provision for the salvation of the human family was completed under the dispensation of this prominent number, "four," as it terminated about the time of the crucifixion. Thus this number is used in connection with incidences to signify earthwide.
Shepherd's Rod book, Vol. 2