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Protestant expositors, or Theodoret, who needs to give “ attention to the wording of the vision.” The spirit of rash innovation seems to bring the curse upon its disciples of being most confident and censorious when most demonstrably wrong.
(2). A second instance, from another prophet, strengthens and illustrates the first. Jeremiah writes thus of the empire of Babylon (xxv. 9, 12) =
“ I will send for all the families of the north, and Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and bring them against this land...... And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And when seventy years are accomplished, I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord.”
Here we see again how distinctly the unity of the king of Babylon, the head of gold in the former vision, is recognized through the whole course of the seventy years.
(3). A third instance of the same kind, and still more remarkable, occurs in chapter xxvii. of the same prophet :
“ And now have I given these lands into the band of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and the beasts of the field have I given bim also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son and his son's son, until the very time of his land come; and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him."
In this passage not only Nebuchadnezzar is named, but his son and grandson. And yet the final overthrow of Babylon is spoken of as if it were the fall of Nebuchadnezzar himself—" shall serve themselves of hin." The official unity of the king of Babylon swallows up the distinction of the three generations of rulers.
(4). A fourth passage, closely related to these, occurs in Isaiah xxiii. 15:
“ And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, as the days of one king."
The prophet here, like Jeremiah, views the king of Babylon as one, and continuing in his successors.
All these four passages illustrate each other, and fix their common meaning beyond a doubt.
(5). The next instance occurs near the close of the vision of the great image
« And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter's clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided...... And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, the kingdom will be partly strong and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, but they shall not cleave to one another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings," &c.
By the words these kings, the rulers of the divided fourth kingdom seem plainly meant. Now it is observable that at the first mention of them they are called these kings, as if they had been mentioned before. In short, they are first defined as the parts of the divided kingdom, and then receive the title of kings.
The passage yields us, then, a double argument for the official sense of the term. First, the toes of the feet are directly expounded as parts of the kingdom (ver. 42)" the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken." But the toes are clearly the same as the horns of the fourth beast; and these are called ten kings. Therefore, the ten kings are ten parts of the divided kingdom, represented by their rulers, as the head of gold was the first kingdom represented by Nebuchadnezzar, its ruling head.
Again, the toes of the feet are said to be parts of the kingdom, and yet “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men.........and in the days of these
kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom." The two phrases, kings and divisions of the kingdom, are therefore used as convertible, and the former must be employed in its official sense.
In both the passages, therefore, where Mr. Burgh charges the Protestant writers with a want of “attention to the wording," he merely gives a fresh instance of the ready and superficial haste with which the Futurists accuse more exact reasoners of faults which beloog only to themselves.
(6). The sixth instance is in Dan. vii. 17, 23. “ These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth.... ..... Thus he said, the fourth beast will be the fourth kingdom upon earth.”
This passage is so clear, that Dr. Todd himself admits it as an exception to the distinction which he would draw, and that kings are here equivalent to kingdoms. At the same time he suggests to his readers his doubt whether it be the genuine reading. These are three times repeated, but no reason for them is assigned. No authority to which I have access gives a hint of any variation in the text. It is true that Theodotion, the Arabic, and the Vulgate translate the word as kingdoms: but the Syriac agrees with the Chaldee text; and since, by common consent, kingdoms are intended, nothing is more natural than for a translator so to expound it in his version. There is no reason for doubting the genuineness of the reading that can bear a moment's examination. So Rosenmüller annotates—“By kings are here meant whole series of kings succeeding in the same kingdoms in turn, or kingdoms, as appears from verse 23, where it is expressly said that the fourth animal signifies the fourth kingdom." (7). The seventh instance is in Dan. viii. 20.
« The ram which thou sawest having the two horns are the
kings of Media and Persia.” A comparison with Dan. V. 28-31, Isaiah xiii. 17, and the date of the vision, can leave no doubt that the Medo-Persian kingdom, then rising, is the subject of the prophecy. Hence, if the word kings were personal, Darius the Mede, and Cyrus, must be designed. But this is absurd in itself, and refuted by the prophecy, as they both died long before any Grecian invasion. The kings of Media and Persia must therefore denote the two dynasties combined in one, or the Medo-Persian kingdom.
The congruity of the symbols compels us to the same conclusion. The four beasts in the former vision denoted kingdoms; and by parity of reason the ram must denote a kingdom also.
(8). An eighth instance follows in the next verse. “ The rough goat is the king of Grecia.” The former reasons both apply here also. And there is a third, in the evident distinction between the “ king of Grecia and the “first king.” Here again, therefore, a king denotes a ruling power or dynasty, and is nearly equivalent to a kingdom. What, indeed, can be more absurd than to speak of “ four kingdoms” as growing out of the person of an individual monarch? (9). The last passage is in the latter part of the
“ The great horn between his eyes is the first king.” This is an apparent exception, and only apparent. For, first, the principle of an official sense of the term is recognized in this same verse
verse— the rough goat is the king of Grecia.” Next, the expression “first king," being partitive as compared with the former clause, naturally suggests the meaning of an individual monarch. When a succession of kings are spoken of as one king, the term in the former case, by contrast, seems restricted to a succession of personal rulers in the one monarchy. Thirdly, the two meanings
here coincide, because both history and prophecy teach us that Alexander's kingdom was “not for his posterity.” The dynasty really expired in his person. Lastly, Alexander is not viewed merely as an individual, but as the official head and ruler, representing the Macedonian dynasty; for it is said, “four kingdoms stood up for it: for it came up four notable horns." Now certainly four kingdoms may replace an united kingdom with its ruler, but cannot replace merely the person of the ruler, taken alone.
I have thus examined every passage of Scripture which bears directly on the subject, omitting those only (Dan. vii. 24; viii. 23) which are immediately under dispute : and the conclusion I gather is thisthe Protestant acceptation of kings for ruling dynasties, though decried so loudly by the Futurists as an unwarrantable license, is required even by the common laws of language, when applied to events which occupy so wide a range as these visions ; and is confirmed by the undeviating usage of Scripture, as tested in every case by the internal evidence of the prophecies themselves.
4. There remains only the passage in the Apocalypse, which needs a short notice. Mr. Burgh thinks the distinction here “still plainer;" and Mr. Tyso asks triumphantly, “where is the sense of saying, ten kingdoms which have received no kingdom as yet?" The inquiry involves a double misapprehension.
First, Mr. Tyso plainly views the word “kingdom" (xvii. 12) as denoting a country or people ruled over in contrast to the person of the ruler, the individual king. But this is an entire mistake. The word means here “ kingly power," or dominion, in the abstract, as Matt. vi. 13, Luke xix. 15. Otherwise we shall be driven to the absurdity of supposing that the ten kings in person were alive in the time of the apostle ; and,