Unrolling the Scroll of the Future
Verse 1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 2 And now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
We now enter upon a prophecy of future events, clothed not in figures and symbols, as in the visions of Daniel 2, 7, and 8, but given mostly in plain language. Many of the signal events of the world's history from the days of Daniel to the end of the world, are here brought to view. This prophecy, as Thomas Newton says, may not improperly be said to be a comment on and explanation of Daniel 8, a statement showing how clearly he perceived the connection between that vision and rest of the book of Daniel. 
Daniel's Last Vision Interpreted.--The angel Gabriel, after stating that he had stood in the first year of Darius to confirm and strengthen him, turns his attention to the future. Darius was dead, and Cyrus was now reigning. Three kings would yet stand up, or reign, in Persia, doubtless the immediate successors of Cyrus. These were Cambyses, son of Cyrus; Smerdis, an impostor; and Darius Hystaspes.
Xerxes Invades Greece.--The fourth king after Cyrus was Xerxes, son of Darius Hystaspes. He was famous for his wealth, a direct fulfillment of the prophecy stating that he should be "far richer than they all." He was determined to conquer the Greeks; therefore he set about organizing a mighty army, which Herodotus says numbered 5,283,220 men.
Xerxes was not content to stir up the East alone. He also enlisted the support of Carthage in the West. The Persian king fought Greece successfully at the famous battle of Thermopylae; but the mighty army was able to overrun the country only when the three hundred brave Spartans who held the pass were betrayed by traitors. Xerxes finally suffered disastrous defeat at the battle of Salamis in the year 480 B.C., and the Persian army made its way back again to its own country.
Verse 3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
Xerxes was the last Persian king to invade Greece; and now the prophecy passes over six minor rulers to introduce the "mighty king." Alexander the Great.
After overthrowing the Persian Empire, Alexander "became absolute lord
of that empire in the utmost extent in which it was ever possessed by any of
the Persian kings."  His dominion comprised "the greater portion
of the then-known habitable world." How well he has been described as "a
mighty king,. . . that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his
will"! But he exhausted his energies in rioting and drunkenness, and when
he died in 323 B.C., his vainglorious and ambitious projects when into sudden
and total eclipse. The Grecian Empire did not go to Alexander's sons. Within
a few years after his death, all his posterity had fallen victims to the jealousy
and ambition of his leading generals, who tore the kingdom into four parts.
How short is the transit from the highest pinnacle of earthly glory to the lowest
depths of oblivion and death! Alexander's four leading generals--Cassander,
Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy--took possession of the empire.
"After the death of Antigonus [301 B.C.], the four confederated princes divided his dominions between them; and hereby the whole empire of Alexander became parted, and settled into four kingdoms. Ptolemy had Egypt, Libya, Arabia, Coele-Syria, and Palestine; Cassander, Macedon and Greece; Lysimachus, Thrace Bithynia, and some other of the provinces beyond the Hellespont and the Bosphorus; and Selecus all the rest. And these four were the four horns of the he-goat mentioned in the prophecies of the prophet Daniel, which grew up after the breaking off of the first horn. That first horn was Alexander, king of Grecia, who overthrew the kingdom of the Medes and Persians; and the other four horns were these four kings, who sprung up after him, and divided the empire between them. And these also were the four heads of the leopard, spoken of in another place of the same prophecies. And their four kingdoms were the four parts, into which, according to the same prophet, the 'kingdom of the mighty king (i.e., of Alexander) should be broken, and divided toward (i.e., according to the number of) the four winds of heaven,' among those four kings, 'who should not be of his posterity,' as neither of the four above-mentioned were. And therefore, by this last partition of the empire of Alexander, were all these prophecies exactly fulfilled." 
Verse 5 And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
King of the South.--The king of the north and the king of the south are many times referred to in the rest of this chapter. Therefore it is essential to an understanding of the prophecy to identify these powers clearly. when Alexander's empire was divided, the portions lay toward the four winds of heaven--north, south, east, est. These divisions may well be reckoned from Palestine, the central part of the empire. That division of the empire lying west of Palestine would thus constitute the kingdom of the west; that lying north, the kingdom of the north; that lying east, the kingdom of the east; and that lying south, the kingdom of the south.
During the wars and revolutions which followed for long ages, geographical boundaries were frequently changed or obliterated; old ones were wiped out, and new ones instituted. But whatever changes might occur, these first division of the empire must determine the names which these portions of territory should ever afterward bear, or we have no standard by which to test the application of the prophecy. In other words, whatever power at any time should occupy the territory which at first constituted the kingdom of the north, that power would be king of the north as long as it occupied that territory. Whatever power should occupy that which at first constituted the kingdom of the south, that power would so long be the king of the south. We speak of only these tow, because they are the only ones afterward spoken of in the prophecy, and because, in fact, almost the whole of Alexander's empire finally resolved itself into these two division.
The successors of Cassander were very soon conquered by Lysimachus, and his kingdom, Greece and Macedon, was annexed to Thrace. Lysimachus was in turn conquered by Seleucus, and Macedon and Thrace were annexed to Syria.
These facts prepare the way for an application of the text before us. The king of the south, Egypt, shall be strong. Ptolemy Soter annexed Cyprus, Phoenicia, Caria, Cyrene, and many islands and cities to Egypt. Thus was his kingdom made strong. But another of Alexander's princes is introduced in the expression, "one of his princes." This must refer to Seleucus Nicator, who, as already stated, by annexing Macedon and Thrace to Syria became possessor of three parts out of four of Alexander's dominion, and established a more powerful kingdom than that of Egypt.
Verse 6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
King of the North.--There were frequent wars between the kings of Egypt and of Syria. Especially was this the case with Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt, and Antiochus Theos, third king of Syria. They at length agreed to make peace upon condition that Antiochus should put away his former wife, Laodice, and her two sons, and should marry Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus. Ptolemy accordingly brought his daughter to Antiochus, bestowing with her an immense dowry.
"But she shall not retain the power of the arm;" that is, her interest and power with Antiochus. So it proved; for shortly afterward, Antiochus brought back to the court his former wife Laodice and her children. Then says the prophecy, "Neither shall he [Antiochus] stand, nor his arm," or posterity. Laodice, being restored to favor and power, feared lest in the fickleness of his temper Antiochus should again disgrace her by recalling Berenice. Concluding that nothing short of his death would be an effectual safeguard against such a contingency, she caused him to be poisoned shortly afterward. Neither did his children by Berenice succeed him in the kingdom, for Laodice so managed affairs as to obtain the throne for her eldest son Seleucus Callinicus.
"But she [Berenice] shall be given up." Laodice, not content with poisoning her husband Antiochus, caused Berenice and her infant son to be murdered. "They that brought her." All of her Egyptian women and attendants, in endeavoring to defend her, were slain with her. "He that begat her," margin, "whom she brought forth," that is, her son, who was murdered at the same time by order of Laodice. "He that strengthened her in these times," was doubtless her husband, Antiochus, or those who took her part and defended her.
Verse 7 But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail: 8 and shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. 9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
The branch out of the same root with Berenice was her brother, Ptolemy Euergetes. He had no sooner succeeded his father Ptolemy Philadelphus in the kingdom of Egypt, than, burning to avenge the death of his sister Berenice, he raised an immense army and invaded the territory of the king of the north, Seleucus Callinicus, who with his mother Laodice reigned in Syria. He prevailed against them, even to the conquering of Syria, Cilicia, the upper parts beyond the Euphrates, and eastward to Babylon. But hearing that a sedition was raised in Egypt requiring his return home, he plundered the kingdom of Seleucus by taking forty thousand talents of silver and precious vessels and two thousand five hundred images of gods. Among these were the images which Cambyses had formerly taken from Egypt and carried into Persia. The Egyptians, being wholly given to idolatry, bestowed upon Ptolemy the title Euergetes, or the Benefactor, as a compliment for restoring their captive gods after many years.
"There are authors still extant," says Thomas Newton, "who confirm several of the same particulars. Appian informs us that Laodice having killed Antiochus, and after him both Berenice and her child, Ptolemy the son of Philadelphus to revenge these murders invaded Syria, slew Laodice, and proceeded as far as to Babylon. From Polybius we learn that Ptolemy, surnamed Euergetes, being greatly incensed at the cruel treatment of his sister, Berenice, marched with an army into Syria, and took the city of Seleucia, which was kept for some years afterward by the garrisons of the kings of Egypt. Thus did he 'enter the fortress of the king of the north.' Polyaenus affirms that Ptolemy made himself master of all the country from Mount Taurus as far as to India without war or battle; but he ascribes it by mistake to the father instead of the son. Justin asserts that if Ptolemy had not been recalled by a domestic sedition into Egypt, he would have possessed the whole kingdom of Seleucus. So the king of the south came into the kingdom of the north, and then returned into his own land. He likewise 'continued more years than the king of the north;' for Seleucus Callinicus died in exile of a fall from his horse, and Ptolemy Euergetes survived him about four or five years." 
Verse 10 But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
The first part of this verse speaks of sons, in the plural; the last part, of one, in the singular. The sons of Seleucus Callinicus were Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus Magnus. These both entered with zeal upon the work of vindicating and avenging the cause of their father and their country. The elder of these, Seleucus, first took the throne. He assembled a great multitude to recover his father's dominions; but was poisoned by his generals after a short, inglorious reign. His more capable brother, Antiochus Magnus, was thereupon proclaimed king. He took charge of the army, recovered Seleucia and Syria, and made himself master of some places by treaty and of others by force of arms. Antiochus overcame Nicolas, the Egyptian general, in battle and had thoughts of invading Egypt itself. However, a truce followed, wherein both sides treated for peace, yet prepared for war. Here is the "one" who should certainly "overflow and pass through."
Verse 11 And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
Kings of the North and South in Conflict.--Ptolemy Philopator succeeded his father Euergetes in the kingdom of Egypt, being advanced to the crown not long after Antiochus Magnus had succeeded his brother in the government of Syria. He was an ease-loving and vicious prince, but was at length aroused at the prospect of an invasion of Egypt by Antiochus. He was indeed "moved with choler" because of the losses he had sustained and the danger which threatened him. He marshaled a large army to check the progress of the Syrian king, but the king of the north was also "to set forth a great multitude." The army of Antiochus, according to Polybius, amounted to 62,000 footmen, 6,000 horsemen, and 102 elephants. In this conflict, the Battle of Raphia, Antiochus was defeated, with nearly 14,000 soldiers slain and 4,000 taken prisoner, and his army was given into the hands of the king of the south--a fulfillment of prophecy.
Verse 12 And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.
Ptolemy lacked the prudence to make good use of his victory. Had he followed up his success, he would probably have become master of the whole kingdom of Antiochus; but after making only a few threats, he made peace that he might be able to give himself up to the uninterrupted and uncontrolled indulgence of his brutish passions. Thus having conquered his enemies, he was overcome by his vices, and forgetful of the great name which he might have established, he spent his time in feasting and sensuality.
His heart was lifted up by his success, but he was far from being strengthened by it, for the inglorious use he made of it caused his own subjects to rebel against him. But the lifting up of his heart was especially made manifest in his transactions with the Jews. Coming to Jerusalem, he offered sacrifices, and was desirous of entering into the most holy place of the temple contrary to the law and religion of the Jews. But being restrained with great difficulty, he left the place, burning with anger against the whole nation of the Jews, and immediately began against them a relentless persecution. In Alexandria, where Jews had resided since the days of Alexander, enjoying the privileges of the most favored citizens, forty thousand according to Eusebius, sixty thousand according to Jerome, were slain. The rebellion of the Egyptians and the massacre of the Jews certainly were not calculated to strengthen Ptolemy in his kingdom, but were sufficient rather to ruin it almost totally.
Verse 13 For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.
The events predicted in this verse were to occur "after certain years." The peace concluded between Ptolemy Philopator and Antiochus Magnus lasted fourteen years. Meanwhile Ptolemy died from intemperance and debauchery, and was succeeded by his son Ptolemy Epiphanes, then five years old. Antiochus suppressed rebellion in his kingdom during the same time, and reduced the eastern provinces to obedience. He was then at leisure for any enterprise when young Epiphanes came to the throne of Egypt. Thinking this too good an opportunity for enlarging his dominion to let slip, he raised an immense army, "greater than the former," and set out against Egypt, expecting to have an easy victory over the infant king.
Verse 14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
Antiochus Magnus was not the only one who rose up against the infant Ptolemy. Agathocles, his prime minister, having possession of the king's person and conducting the affairs of the kingdom in his stead, was so dissolute and proud in the exercise of his power that the provinces which before were subject to Egypt, rebelled. Egypt itself was disturbed by seditions, and the Alexandrians, rising up against Agathocles, caused him, his sister, his mother, and their associates, to be put to death. At the same time, Philip of Macedon entered into a league with Antiochus to divide the dominions of Ptolemy between them, each proposing to take the parts which lay nearest and most convenient to him. Here was a rising up against the king of the south sufficient to fulfill the prophecy, and it resulted, beyond doubt, in the exact events which the prophecy forecast.
A new power is now introduced--"the robbers of thy people;" literally, says Thomas Newton, "the sons of the breakers . . . of thy people."  Far away on the banks of the Tiber, a kingdom had been nourishing ambitious projects and dark designs. Small and weak at first, it grew in strength and vigor with marvelous rapidity, reaching out cautiously here and there to try its prowess and test its warlike arm, until with consciousness of its power it boldly reared its head among the nations of the earth, and seized with invincible hand the helm of affairs. Henceforth the name of Rome stands upon the page of history, destined for long ages to control the world, and to exert a might influence among the nations even to the end of time.
Rome spoke--and Syria and Macedonia soon found a change coming over the aspect of their dream. The Romans interfered in behalf of the young king of Egypt, determined that he should be protected from the ruin devised by Antiochus and Philip. This was 200 B.C., and was one of the first important interferences of the Romans in the affairs of Syria and Egypt. Rollin furnishes the following succinct account of this matter:
"Antiochus, king of Syria, and Philip, king of Macedonia, during the reign of Ptolemy Philopator, had discovered the strongest zeal for the interest of that monarch, and were ready to assist him on all occasions. Yet no sooner was he dead, leaving behind him an infant, whom the laws of humanity and justice enjoined them not to disturb in the possession of his father's kingdom, than they immediately join in a criminal alliance, and excite each other to take off the lawful heir, and divide his dominions between them. Philip was to have Caria, Libya, Cyrenaica, and Egypt; and Antiochus, all the rest. With this view, the latter entered Coele-Syria and Palestine, and in less than two campaigns made an entire conquest of those two provinces, with all their cities and dependencies. Their guilt, says Polybius, would not have been quite so glaring, had they, like tyrants, endeavored to gloss over their crimes with some specious pretense; but so far from doing this, their injustice and cruelty were so barefaced, that to them was applied what is generally said of fishes, that the large ones, though of the same species, prey on the lesser. One would be tempted, continues the same author, at seeing the most sacred laws of society so openly violated, to accuse Providence of being indifferent and insensible to the most horrid crimes; but it fully justified its conduct by punishing those two kings according to their deserts; and made such an example of them as ought in all succeeding ages to deter others from following their example. For, whilst they are meditating to dispossess a weak and helpless infant of his kingdom by piecemeal, Providence raised up the Romans against them, who entirely subverted the kingdoms of Philip and Antiochus, and reduced their successors to almost as great calamites as those with which they intended to crush the infant king." 
"To establish the vision." The Romans more than any other people are the subject of Daniel's prophecy. Their first interference in the affairs of these kingdoms is here referred to as being the establishment, or demonstration, of the truth of the vision which predicted the existence of such a power.
"But they shall fall" is referred by some to those mentioned in the first part of the verse, who should stand up against the king of the south; others, to the robbers of Daniel's people, the Romans. It is true in either case. If those who combined against Ptolemy are referred to, all that need be said is that they did speedily fall. If it applies to the Romans, the prophecy simply pointed to the period of their final overthrow.
Verse 15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
The education of the young king of Egypt was entrusted by the Roman Senate to M. Emilius Lepidus, who appointed Aristomenes, an old and experienced minister of that court, to be his guardian. His first act was to provide against the threatened invasion of the two confederated kings, Philip and Antiochus.
To this end he dispatched Scopas, a famous general of Aetolia then in the service of the Egyptians, into his native country to raise reinforcements for the army. After equipping an army, he marched into Palestine and Coele-Syria (Antiochus being engaged in a war with Attalus in Lesser Asia), and reduced all Judea to the authority of Egypt.
Thus affairs were brought about for the fulfillment of the verse before us. Desisting from his war with Attalus at the dictation of the Romans, Antiochus took speedy steps for the recovery of Palestine and Coele-Syria from the hands of the Egyptians. Scopas was sent to oppose him. Near the sources of the Jordan, the two armies met. Scopas was defeated, pursued to Sidon, and there closely besieged. Three of the ablest generals of Egypt, with their best forces, were sent to raise the siege, but without success. At length Scopas, meeting a foe in the specter of famine with which he was unable to cope, was forced to surrender on the dishonorable terms of life only. He and his ten thousand men were permitted to depart stripped and destitute. Here was the taking of the "most fenced cities" by the king of the north, for Sidon was in its situation and defenses one of the strongest cities of those times. Here was the failure of the arms of the south to withstand, and the failure also of the people which the king of the south had chosen; namely Scopas and his Aetolian forces.
Verse 16 But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.
Rome Conquers Syria and Palestine.--Although Egypt had not been able to stand before Antiochus Magnus, the king of the north, Antiochus Asiaticus could not stand before the Romans, who came against him. no kingdoms could resist this rising power. Syria was conquered, and added to the Roman Empire, when Pompey in 65 B.C. deprived Antiochus Asiaticus of his possessions and reduced Syria to a Roman province.
The same power was also to stand in the Holy Land, and consume it. The Romans became connected with the people of God, the Jews, by alliance in 161 B.C. From this date Rome held a prominent place in the prophetic calendar. It did not, however, acquire jurisdiction over Judea by actual conquest until 63 B.C.
On Pompey's return from his expedition against Mithridates Eupator, king of Pontus, two competitors, sons of the high priest of the Jews in Palestine, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, were struggling for the crown of Judea. Their cause came before Pompey, who soon perceived the injustice of the claims of Aristobulus, but he wished to defer decision in the matter until after his long-desired expedition into Arabia. He promised then to return, and settle their affairs as should seem just and proper. Aristobulus, fathoming Pompey's real sentiments, hastened back to Judea, armed his subjects, and prepared for a vigorous defense, determined at all hazards to keep the crown which he foresaw would be adjudicated to another. After his Arabian campaign against King Aretas, Pompey learned of these warlike preparations and marched on Judea. As he approached Jerusalem, Aristobulus, beginning to repent of his course, came out to meet Pompey, and endeavored to arrange matters by promising entire submission and large sums of money. Accepting this offer, Pompey sent Gabinius at the head of a detachment of soldiers, to receive the money. But when that lieutenant arrived at Jerusalem, he found the gates shut against him, and was told from the top of the walls that the city would not stand by the agreement.
Not to be deceived in this way with impunity, Pompey put Aristobulus in irons, and immediately marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. The partisans of Aristobulus were for defending the city; those of Hyrcanus, for opening the gates. The latter, however, being in the majority, prevailed, and Pompey was given free entrance into the city. Whereupon the adherents of Aristobulus retired to the temple fortress, as fully determined to defend that place as Pompey was to reduce it. At the end of three months a breach was made in the wall sufficient for an assault, and the place was carried at the point of the sword. In the terrible slaughter that ensued, twelve thousand persons were slain. It was an affecting sight, observes the historian, to see the priests, engaged at the time in divine service, with calm hand and steady purpose pursue their accustomed work, apparently unconscious of the wild tumult, until their own blood was mingled with that of the sacrifices they were offering.
After putting an end to the war, Pompey demolished the walls of Jerusalem, transferred several cities from the jurisdiction of Judea to that of Syria, and imposed tribute on the Jews. For the first time Jerusalem was by conquest placed in the hands of Rome, that power which was to hold the "glorious land" in its iron grasp till it had utterly consumed it.
Verse 17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.
Thomas Newton furnishes another reading for this verse, which seems to express more clearly the meaning: "He shall also set his face to enter by force the whole kingdom." 
Rome Overruns the Kingdom of the South.--Verse 16 brought us to the conquest of Syria and Judea by the Romans. Rome had previously conquered Macedon and Thrace. Egypt was now all that remained of the "whole kingdom" of Alexander which had not been brought into subjection to the Roman power. Rome now set her face to enter by force into the land of Egypt.
Ptolemy Auletes died in 51. B.C. He left the crown and kingdom of Egypt to his eldest surviving daughter, Cleopatra, and his elder son, Ptolemy XII, a lad of nine or ten years. It was provided in his will that they should marry each other and reign jointly. Because they were young, they were placed under the guardianship of the Romans. the Roman people accepted the charge, and appointed Pompey as guardian of the young heirs of Egypt.
Soon a quarrel broke out between Pompey and Julius Caesar, which reached its climax in the famous battle of Pharsalus. Pompey, being defeated, fled into Egypt. Caesar immediately followed him thither; but before his arrival Pompey was basely murdered at the instigation of Ptolemy. Caesar now assumed the guardianship of Ptolemy and Cleopatra. He found Egypt in commotion from internal disturbances, for Ptolemy and Cleopatra had become hostile to each other, since she had been deprived of her share in the government.
The troubles daily increasing, Caesar found his small source insufficient to maintain his position, and being unable to leave Egypt on account of the north wind which blew at that season, he sent into Asia for all the troops he had in that region.
Julius Caesar decreed that Ptolemy and Cleopatra should disband their armies, appear before him for a settlement of their differences, and abide by his decision. Since Egypt was an independent kingdom, this haughty decree was considered an affront to its royal dignity, and the Egyptians, highly incensed, took up arms. Caesar replied that he acted by the authority of the will of their father, Ptolemy Auletes, who had put his children under the guardianship of the senate and people of Rome.
The matter was finally brought before him, and advocates were appointed to plead the cause of the respective parties. Cleopatra, aware of the foible of the great Roman general, decided to appear before him in person. To reach his presence undetected, she had recourse to the following stratagem: She laid herself at full length in a carpet, and Appolodorus, her Sicilian servant, wrapped her up in a cloth, tied the bundle with a thong, and raising it upon his Herculean shoulders, sought the apartments of Caesar. Claiming to have a present for the Roman general, he was admitted into the presence of Caesar, and deposited the burden at his feet. When Caesar unbound this animated bundle, the beautiful Cleopatra stood before him.
Of this incident F. E. Adcock writes: "Cleopatra had a right to be heard if Caesar was to be judge, and she contrived to reach the city and to find a boatman to take her to him. She came, saw, and conquered. To the military difficulties of the withdrawal in the face of the Egyptian army was added the fact that Caesar no longer wished to go. He was past fifty, but he retained an imperious susceptibility which evoked the admiration of his soldiers. Cleopatra was twenty-two, as ambitious and high-mettled as Caesar himself, a woman whom he would find it easy to understand and admire as well as to love." 
Caesar at length decreed that the brother and the sister should occupy the throne jointly, according to the intent of the will. Pothinus, the chief minister of state, principally instrumental in expelling Cleopatra from the throne, feared the result of her restoration. He therefore began to excite jealousy and hostility against Caesar by insinuating among the populace that he designed eventually to give Cleopatra the sole power. Open sedition soon followed. The Egyptians undertook to destroy the Roman fleet. Caesar retorted by burning theirs. Some of the burning vessels being driven near the quay, several of the buildings of the city took fire, and the famous Alexandrian library, containing nearly 400,000 volumes, was destroyed. Antipater the Idumean joined him with 3,000 Jews. The Jews, who held the frontier gateways into Egypt, permitted the Roman army to pass without interruption. The arrival of this army of Jews under Antipater helped decide the contest.
A decisive battle was fought near the Nile by the fleets of Egypt and Rome, resulting in a complete victory for Caesar. Ptolemy, attempting to escape, was drowned in the river. Alexandria and all Egypt then submitted to the victor. Rome had now entered into and absorbed the entire original kingdom of Alexander.
By the "upright ones" of the text are doubtless meant the Jews, who gave Caesar the assistance already mentioned. Without this, he must have failed; with it, he completely subdued Egypt in 47 B.C.
"The daughter of women, corrupting her" was Cleopatra, who had been Caesar's mistress and the mother of his son. His infatuation for the queen kept him much longer in Egypt than his affairs required. He spent whole nights in feasting and carousing with the dissolute queen. "But," said the the prophet, "she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him." Cleopatra afterward joined herself to Antony, the enemy of Augustus Caesar, and exerted her whole power against Rome.
Verse 18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.
War in Syria and Asia Minor against Pharnaces, king of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, drew Julius Caesar away from Egypt. "On his arrival where the enemy was," says Prideaux, "he, without giving any respite either to himself or them, immediately fell on, and gained an absolute victory over them; an account whereof he wrote to a friend of his in these three words: Veni, vidi, vici! 'I came, I saw, I overcame.' "  The latter part of this verse is involved in some obscurity, and there is difference of opinion in regard to its application. Some apply it further back in Caesar's life, and think they find a fulfillment in his quarrel with Pompey. But preceding and subsequent events clearly defined in the prophecy, compel us to look for the fulfillment of this part of the prediction between the victory over Pharnaces, and Caesar's death at Rome, as brought to view in the following verse.
Verse 19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
After his conquest of Asia Minor, Caesar defeated the last remaining fragments of Pompey's party, Cato and Scipio in Africa, and Labienus and Varus in Spain. Returning to Rome, the "fort of his own land," he was made dictator for life. Other powers and honors were granted him which made him in fact the absolute sovereign of the empire. But the prophet had said that he should stumble and fall. The language implies that his overthrow would be sudden and unexpected, like a person accidentally stumbling in his walk. So this man, who it is said had fought and won fifty battles, taken one thousand cities, and slain one million one hundred ninety-two thousand men, fell, not in the din of battle and the hour of strife, but when he thought his pathway was smooth and danger far away.
"On the evening before the Ides Caesar dine with Lepidus, and as the guests sat at their wine someone asked the question, 'What is the best death to die?' Caesar who was busy signing letters said, 'A sudden one.' By noon the next day, despite dreams and omens, he sat in his chair in the Senate House, surrounded by men he had cared for, had promoted or spared, and was struck down, struggling, till he fell dead at the foot of Pompey's statue."  Thus he suddenly stumbled and fell, and was not found, in 44 B.C.
Verse 20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
Augustus the Raiser of Taxes Appears.--Octavius succeeded his uncle, Julius, by whom he had been adopted. He publicly announced his adoption by his uncle, and took his name. He joined Mark Antony and Lepidus to avenge the death of Julius Caesar. The three formed what is called the triumvirate form of government. After Octavius was firmly established in the empire, the senate conferred upon him the title "Augustus," and the other members of the triumvirate now being dead, he became supreme ruler.
He was emphatically a raiser of taxes. Luke, speaking of events that took place at the time when Christ was born, says: "It came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." Luke 2: 1. That taxing which embraced all the world was an event worthy of notice, for the person who enforced it has certainly a claim above every other competitor to the title of "a raiser of taxes." During the reign of Augustus "fresh taxation" was imposed, one quarter of the annual income from all citizens and a capital levy of one eighth on all freedmen." 
He stood up "in the glory of the kingdom." Rome reached the pinnacle of its greatness and power during the "Augustan Age." The empire never saw a brighter hour. Peace was promoted, justice maintained, luxury curbed, discipline established, and learning encouraged. During his reign, the temple of Janus was shut three times, signifying that all the world was at peace. Since the founding of the Roman Empire this temple had been closed but twice previously. At this auspicious hour our Lord was born in Bethlehem of Judea. In a little less than eighteen years after the taxing brought to view, seeming but a "few days" to distant gaze of the prophet, Augustus died in A.D. 14, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. His life ended not in anger or battle, but peacefully in his bed, at Nola, whither he had gone to seek repose and health.
Verse 21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
Tiberius Cuts Off the Prince of the Covenant.--Tiberius Caesar followed Augustus on the Roman throne. He was raised to the consulate at the age of twenty-nine. It is recorded that as Augustus was about to nominate his successor, his wife, Livia, besought him to nominate Tiberius, her son by a former husband. But the emperor said, "Your son is too vile to wear the purple of Rome." Instead, the nomination was given to Agrippa, a virtuous and much-respected Roman citizen. But the prophecy had foreseen that a vile person should succeed Augustus. Agrippa died; and Augustus was again under the necessity of choosing a successor. Livia renewed her intercessions for Tiberius, and Augustus, weakened by age and sickness, was more easily flattered, and finally he consented to nominate that "vile" young man as his colleague and successor. But the citizens never gave him the love, respect, and "honor the kingdom" due to an upright and faithful sovereign.
How clear a fulfillment is this of the prediction that they should not give him the honor of the kingdom. But he was to come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. A paragraph from the Encyclopaedia Americana shows how this was fulfilled:
"During the remainder of the life of Augustus, he [Tiberius] behaved with great prudence and ability, concluding a war with the Germans in such a manner as to merit a triumph. After the defeat of Varus and his legions, he was sent to check the progress of the victorious Germans, and acted in that was with equal spirit and prudence. On the death of Augustus, he succeeded (A.D. 14), without opposition, to the sovereignty of the empire; which, however, with his characteristic dissimulation, he affected to decline, until repeatedly solicited by the servile senate." 
Dissimulation on his part, flattery on the part of the "servile senate," and a possession of the kingdom without opposition were the circumstances attending his accession to the throne, thus fulfilling the words of the prophecy.
The person brought to view in the text is called "a vile person." Was such the character sustained by Tiberius? Let another paragraph from the Encyclopaedia Americana answer:
"Tacitus records the events of this reign, including the suspicious death of Germanicus, the detestable administration of Sejanus, the poisoning of Drusus, with all the extraordinary mixture of tyranny with occasional wisdom and good sense which distinguished the conduct of Tiberius, until his infamous and dissolute retirement (A.D. 26), to the isle of Capreae, in the bay of Naples, never to return to Rome. . . . The remainder of the reign of this tyrant is little more than a disgusting narrative of servility on the one hand, and of despotic ferocity on the other. That he himself endured as much misery as he inflicted, is evident from the following commencement of one of his letters to the senate: 'What I shall write to you, conscript fathers, or what I shall not write, or why I should write at all, may the gods and goddesses plague me more than I feel daily that they are doing, if I can tell.' 'What mental torture,' observes Tacitus, in reference to this passage, 'which could extort such a confession!' " 
Tyranny, hypocrisy, debauchery, and uninterrupted intoxication--if these traits and practices show a man to be vile, Tiberius exhibited that character to perfection.
Verse 22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the Prince of the covenant.
Thomas Newton presents the following reading of the text as a more accurate translation of the original: "And the arms of the overflower shall be overflown from before him, and shall be broken."  This signifies revolution and violence; and in fulfillment we should look for the arms of Tiberius the overflower to be overflown, or, in other words, for him to suffer a violent death. To show how this was accomplished, we again cite the Encyclopaedia Americana:
"Acting the hypocrite to the last, he disguised his increasing debility as much as he was able, even affecting to join in the sports and exercises of the soldiers of his guard. At length, leaving his favorite island, the scene of the most disgusting debaucheries, he stopped at a country house near the promontory of Micenum, where on the sixteenth of March, 37, he sunk into a lethargy, in which he appeared dead; and Caligula was preparing with a numerous escort to take possession of the empire, when his sudden revival threw them into consternation. At this critical instant, Macro, the pretorian prefect, caused him to be suffocated with pillows. Thus expired the emperor Tiberius, in the seventy-eighth year of his age, and twenty-third of his reign, universally execrated." 
After taking us down to the death of Tiberius, the prophet now mentions an event to take place during his reign which is so important that it should not be passed over. It is the cutting off of the "Prince of the covenant," or the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, "the Messiah the Prince," who was to confirm the covenant" one week with His people. (Daniel 9: 25-27.)
According to the Scripture, Christ's death took place in the reign of Tiberius. Luke informs us that in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, John the Baptist began his ministry. (Luke 3: 1-3.) According to Prideaux , Dr. Hales , and others, the reign of Tiberius is to be reckoned from his elevation to the throne to reign jointly with Augustus, his stepfather, in August, A.D. 12. His fifteenth year would therefore be from August, A.D. 26, to August, A.D. 27. Christ was six months younger than John, and is supposed to have begun His ministry six months later, both, according to the law of the priesthood, entering upon their work when they were thirty years of age. If John began in the spring, in the latter part of the fifteenth year of Tiberius, it would bring the beginning of Christ's ministry in the autumn of A.D. 27. Right here the best authorities place the baptism of Christ, the exact point where the 483 years from 457 B.C., which were to extend to the Messiah the Prince, terminated. Christ then went forth proclaiming that the time was fulfilled. From this point we go forward three years and a half to find the date of the crucifixion, for Christ attended but four Passovers, and was crucified at the last one. Three and a half years from the autumn of A.D. 27 brings us to the spring of A.D. 31. The death of Tiberius is placed but six years later, in A.D. 37. (See comments on Daniel 9: 27-27.)
Verse 23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
Rome Makes a League With the Jews.--The "him" with whom the league is made, must be the same power which has been the subject of the prophecy from the 14th verse, the Roman Empire. That this is true has been shown in the fulfillment of the prophecy in the three individuals who successively ruled over the empire--Julius, Augustus, and Tiberius Caesar.
Now that the prophet has taken us through the secular events of the Roman Empire to the end of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9: 24, he takes us back to the time when the Romans became directly connected with the people of God by the Jewish league in 161 B.C. From this point we are then taken through a direct line of events to the final triumph of the church and the setting up of God's everlasting kingdom. Grievously oppressed by the Syrian kings, the Jews sent an embassy to Rome to solicit the aid of the Romans and to join themselves in "a league of amity and confederacy with them."  The Romans listened to the request of the Jews, and granted them a decree couched in these words:
" 'The decree of the senate concerning a league of assistance and friendship with the nation of the Jews. It shall not be lawful for any that are subject to the Romans to make war with the nation of the Jews, nor to assist those that do so, either by sending them corn, or ships, or money; and if any attack be made upon the Jews, the Romans shall assist them, as far as they are able; and again, if any attack be made upon the Romans, the Jews shall assist them. And if the Jews have a mind to add to, or to take away anything from, this league of assistance, that shall be done with the common consent of the Romans. And whatsoever addition shall thus be made, it shall be of force.' This decree was "written by Eupolemus, the son of John, and by Jason, the son of Eleazer, when Judas was high priest of the nation, and Simon, his brother, was general of the army. And this was the first league that the Romans made with the Jews, and was managed after this manner." 
At this time the Romans were a small people, and began to work deceitfully, or with cunning, as the word signifies. But from this time they rose steadily and rapidly to the height of power.
Verse 24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
Before the days of Rome, nations entered upon valuable provinces and rich territory by war and conquest. Rome was now to do what had not been done by the fathers of the fathers' fathers, namely, receive these acquisitions through peaceful means. The custom was now inaugurated of kings' leaving their kingdoms to the Romans by legacy. Rome came into possession of large provinces in this manner.
Those who thus came under the dominion of Rome derived no small advantage. They were treated with kindness and leniency. It was like have the prey and spoil distributed among them. They were protected from their enemies, and they rested in peace and safety under the aegis of the Roman power.
To the latter part of this verse, Thomas Newton gives the thought of forecasting devices from strongholds, instead of against them. This the Romans did from the strong fortress of their seven-hilled city. "Even for a time" doubtless refers to a prophetic time, 360 years. From what point are these years to be dated? Probably from the event brought to view in the following verse.
Verse 25 And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.
Rome Contends With the King of the South.--By verses 23 and 24 we are brought down this side of the league made between the Jews and the Romans, in 161 B.C., to the time when Rome had acquired universal dominion. The verse now before us brings to view a vigorous campaign against the king of the south, Egypt, and a notable battle between mighty armies. Did such events as these take place in the history of Rome about this time?--They did. The war was the war between Egypt and Rome, and the battle was the battle of Actium. Let us consider briefly the circumstances leading to this conflict.
Mark Antony, Augustus Caesar, and Lepidus constituted the triumvirate which had sworn to avenge the death of Julius Caesar. Antony became the brother-in-law of Augustus by marrying his sister Octavia. Antony was sent into Egypt on government business, but fell a victim to the charms of Cleopatra, Egypt's dissolute queen. So strong was the passion he conceived for her that he finally espoused the Egyptian interest, rejected his wife Octavia to please Cleopatra, and bestowed province after province upon her. He celebrated triumphs at Alexandria instead of at Rome, and otherwise so affronted the Roman people that Augustus had no difficulty in leading them to engage heartily in a war against Egypt. This was was ostensibly against Egypt and Cleopatra, but it was really against Antony, who now stood at the head of Egyptian affairs. The true cause of their controversy, says Prideaux, was that neither of them could be content with only half of the Roman Empire. Lepidus had been deposed from the triumvirate, and the rule of the empire now lay between the other two. Each being determined to possess the whole, they cast the die of war for its possession.
Antony assembled his fleet at Samos. Five hundred ships of war of extraordinary size and structure, having several decks one above another, with towers upon the head and stern, made an imposing and formidable array. These ships carried about one hundred twenty-five thousand soldiers. The kings of Libya, Cilicia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Comagena, and Thrace were there in person, and those of Pontus, Judea, Lycaonia, Galatia, and Media, had sent their troops. A more splendid military spectacle than this fleet of war ships as they spread their sails and moved out to sea, the world has rarely seen. Surpassing all in magnificence came the galley of Cleopatra, floating like a palace of gold beneath a cloud of purple sails. Its flags and streamers fluttered in the wind, and trumpets and other musical instruments of war made the heavens resound with notes of joy and triumph. Antony followed close behind her in a galley of almost equal magnificence.
Augustus, on the other hand, displayed less pomp but more utility. He had but half as many ships as Antony, and only eighty thousand foot soldiers. But all his troops were chosen men, and on board his fleet were none but experienced seamen; whereas Antony, not finding sufficient mariners, had been obliged to man his vessels with artisans of every class, men inexperienced and better calculated to cause trouble than to do real service in time of battle. The season being far consumed in these preparations, Augustus made his rendezvous at Brundusium, and Antony at Corcyra, till the following year.
The next spring, both armies were put in motion on land and sea. The fleets at length entered the Ambracian Gulf in Epirus, and the land forces were drawn up on either shore in plain view. Antony's most experienced generals advised him not to hazard a battle by with his inexperienced mariners, but send Cleopatra back to Egypt, and hasten at once into Thrace or Macedonia, and trust the issue to his land forces, who were composed of veteran troops. But illustrating the old adage, Quem Deus perdere vult, prius dementat ("Him whom God wishes to destroy He first makes made"), and infatuated by Cleopatra, he seemed desirous only of pleasing her; while she, trusting to appearances only, deemed her fleet invincible, and advised immediate action.
The battle was fought September 2, 31 B.C., at the mouth of the gulf of Ambracia, near the city of Actium. The world was the stake for which these stern warriors, Antony and Augustus, now played. The contest, long doubtful, was at length decided by the course which Cleopatra pursued. Frightened at the din of battle, she took to flight when there was no danger, and drew after her the Egyptian squadron numbering sixty ships. Antony, beholding this movement, and lost to everything but his blind passion for her, precipitately followed, and yielded a victory to Augustus, which, had his Egyptian forces proved true to him, and had he proved true to his own manhood, he might had gained.
This battle doubtless makes the beginning of the "time" mentioned in verse 24. As during this "time" devices were to be forecast from the stronghold, or Rome, we should conclude that at the end of that period western supremacy would cease, or such a change take place in the empire that that city would no longer be considered the seat of government. From 31 B.C., a prophetic "time," or 360 years, would bring us to A.D. 330. Hence it becomes a noteworthy fact that the seat of empire was removed from Rome to Constantinople by Constantine the Great in that very year. 
Verse 26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
Antony was deserted by his allies and friends, those that fed "of the portion of his meat." Cleopatra as already described suddenly withdrew from the battle, taking sixty ships of the line with her. The land army, disgusted with the infatuation of Antony, went over to Augustus, who received the soldiers with open arms. When Antony arrived arrived at Libya, he found that the forces which he had left there under Scarpus to guard the frontier, had declared for Augustus, and in Egypt his forces surrendered. In rage and despair, Antony then took his own life.
Verse 27 And both of these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
Antony and Augustus were formerly in alliance. Yet under the garb of friendship, they were both aspiring and intriguing for universal dominion. Their protestations of friendship for each other were the utterances of hypocrites. They spoke lies at one table. Octavia, the wife of Antony and sister of Augustus, declared to the people of Rome at the time Antony divorced her, that she had consented to marry him solely with the hope that it would prove a pledge of union between Augustus and Antony. But that counsel did not prosper. The rupture came, and in the conflict that ensued Augustus was entirely victorious.
Verse 28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
Two returnings from foreign conquest are here brought to view. The first was after the events narrated in verses 26, 27, and the second, after this power had had indignation against the holy covenant, and had performed exploits. The first was fulfilled in the return of Augustus after his expedition against Egypt and Antony. He arrived in Rome with abundant honor and riches, for "at this time such vast riches were brought to Rome from Egypt on the reducing of that country, and on the return of Octavianus [Augustus] and his army from thence, that the value of money fell one half, and the prices of provisions and all vendible wares were doubled thereon." 
Augustus celebrated his victories in a three-days' triumph--a triumph which Cleopatra herself would have graced as one of the royal captives, had she not artfully caused herself to be bitten fatally by an asp.
Rome Destroys Jerusalem.--The next great enterprise of the Romans after the overthrow of Egypt, was the expedition against Judea and the capture and destruction of Jerusalem. The holy covenant is doubtless the covenant which God has maintained whit his people under different forms in different ages of the world. The Jews rejected Christ, and according to the prophecy that all who would not hear that Prophet should be cut off, they were destroyed out of their own land and scattered to every nation under heaven. While Jews and Christians alike suffered under the oppressive hand of the Romans, it was doubtless in the reduction of Judea especially that the exploits which are mentioned in the sacred text were exhibited.
Under Vespasian the Romans invaded Judea, and took the cities of Galilee, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, where Christ had been rejected. They destroyed the inhabitants, and left nothing but ruin and desolation. Titus besieged Jerusalem, and drew a trench around it, according to the prediction of the Saviour. A terrible famine ensued. Moses had predicted that appalling calamities would come upon the Jews if they departed from God. It had been prophesied that even the tender and delicate woman would eat her own children in the straitness of the siege. (Deuteronomy 28: 52-55.) Under the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, a literal fulfillment of this prediction occurred. Hearing of the inhuman deeds, but forgetting that he was the one who was driving the people to such direful extremities, he swore the eternal extirpation of the accursed city and people.
Jerusalem fell in A.D. 70. As an honor to himself, the Roman commander had determined to save the temple, but the Lord had said, "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 24: 2. A Roman soldier seized a brand of fire, and climbing upon the shoulders of his comrades, thrust it into one of the windows of the beautiful structure. It was soon ablaze, and the frantic efforts of the Jews to extinguish the flames, seconded by Titus himself, were all in vain. Seeing that the temple would be destroyed, Titus rushed in and bore away the golden candlestick, the table of shewbread, and the volume of the law, wrapped in gold tissue. The candlestick was afterward deposited in Vespasian's Temple of Peace and copied on the triumphal arch of Titus, where its mutilated image is yet to be seen.
The siege of Jerusalem lasted five months. In that siege eleven hundred thousand Jews perished, and ninety-seven thousand were taken prisoners. The city was so amazingly strong that Titus exclaimed when viewing the ruins, "We have fought with the assistance of God." It was completely leveled, and the foundations of the temple were plowed up by Tarentius Rufus. The duration of the whole war was seven years, and almost a million and a half persons are said to have fallen victims to its awful horrors.
Thus this power performed great exploits, and again returned to his own land.
Verse 29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
The time appointed is probably the prophetic time of verse 24, which has been previously mentioned. It closed, as already shown, in A.D. 330, at which time this power was to return and come again toward the south, but not as on the former occasion, when it went to Egypt, nor as the latter, when it went to Judea. Those were expeditions which resulted in conquest and glory. This one led to demoralization and ruin. The removal of the seat of empire to Constantinople was the signal for the downfall of the empire. Rome then lost its prestige. The western division was exposed to the incursions of foreign enemies. On the death of Constantine, the Roman Empire was divided among his three sons, Constantius, Constantine II, and Constans. Constantine II and Constans quarreled, and the victorious Constans gained the supremacy of the entire West. The barbarians of the North soon began their incursions and extended their conquests until the imperial power of the West expired in A.D. 476.
Verse 30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
Rome Pillaged by Barbarians.--The prophetic narrative still has reference to the power which has been the subject of the prophecy from the sixteenth verse; namely, Rome. What were the ships of Chittim that came against this power, and when was this movement made? What country or power is meant by Chittim? Adam Clarke has this note on Isaiah 23: 1, "From the land of Chittim it is revealed to them:" "The news of the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar is said to be brought to them from Chittim, the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean; 'for the Tyrians,' says Jerome on verse 6, 'when they saw they had no other means of escaping, fled in their ships, and took refuge in Carthage and in the islands of the Ionian and AEgean sea.' . . . So also Jarchi on the same same place."  Kitto  gives the same locality to Chittim, the coast and islands of the Mediterranean; and the mind is carried by the testimony of Jerome to a definite and celebrated city situated in that region, that is, Carthage.
Was a naval warfare with Carthage as a base of operations ever waged against the Roman Empire? We think of the terrible onslaught of the Vandals upon Rome under the fierce Genseric, and answer readily in the affirmative. Every spring he sallied forth from the port of Carthage at the head of his large and well-disciplined naval forces, spreading consternation through all the maritime provinces of the empire. That this is the work brought to view is further evident when we consider that we are brought down in the prophecy to this very time. In verse 29, the transfer of empire to Constantinople we understood to be mentioned. Following in due course of time as the next remarkable revolution, came the irruptions of the barbarians of the North, prominent among which was the Vandal war already mentioned. The years A.D. 428-477 mark the career of Genseric.
"He shall be grieved, and return" may have reference to the desperate efforts which were made to dispossess Genseric of the sovereignty of the seas, the first by Majorian, the second by Pope Leo I, both of which were utter failures. Rome was obliged to submit to the humiliation of seeing its provinces ravaged, and its "eternal city" pillaged by the enemy. (See comments on Revelation 8: 8.)
"Indignation against the holy covenant." This doubtless refers to attempts to destroy God's covenant by attacking the Holy Scriptures, the book of the covenant. A revolution of this nature was accomplished in Rome. The Heruli, Goths, and Vandals, who conquered Rome, embraced the Arian faith, and became enemies of the Catholic Church. It was especially for the purpose of exterminating this heresy that Justinian decreed the pope to be the head of the church and the corrector of heretics. The Bible soon came to be regarded as a dangerous book that should not be read by the common people, but all questions in dispute were to be submitted to the pope. Thus was indignity heaped upon God's word.
Says the historian, in commenting upon the attitude of the Catholic Church toward the Scriptures:
"One would have thought that the Church of Rome had removed her people to a safe distance from the Scriptures. She has placed the gulf of tradition between them and the Word of God. She has removed them still farther from the sphere of danger, by providing an infallible interpreter, whose duty it is to take care that the Bible shall express no sense hostile to Rome. But, as if this were not enough, she has laboured by all means in her power to prevent the Scriptures coming in any shape into the hands of her people. Before the Reformation she kept the bible locked up in a dead language, and severe laws were enacted against the reading of it. The Reformation unsealed the precious volume. Tyndale and Luther, the one from his retreat at Vildorfe in the Low Countries, and the other from amid the deep shades of the Thuringian forest, sent forth the Bible to the nations in the vernacular tongues of England and Germany. A thirst was thus awakened for the Scriptures, which the Church of Rome deemed it imprudent openly to oppose. The Council of Trent enacted ten rules regarding prohibited books, which, while they appeared to gratify, were insidiously framed to check, the growing desire for the Word of God. In the fourth rule, the Council prohibits any one from reading the Bible without a license from his bishop or inquisitor; that license to be founded on a certificate from his confessor that he is in no danger of receiving injury from so doing. The Council adds these emphatic words:--'That if any one shall dare to read or keep in his possession that book, without such a license, he shall not receive absolution till he has given it up to his ordinary.' These rules are followed by the bull of Pius IV., in which he declares that those who shall violate them shall be held guilty of mortal sin. Thus did the Church of Rome attempt to regulate what she found it impossible wholly to prevent. The fact that no Papist is allowed to read the Bible without a license does not appear in the catechisms and other books in common use among Roman Catholics in this country; but it is incontrovertible that it forms the law of that Church. And, in accordance therewith, we find that the uniform practice of the priests of Rome, from the popes downwards, is to prevent the circulation of the Bible,--to prevent it wholly in those countries, such as Italy and Spain, where they have the power, and in other countries, such as our own, to all the extent to which their power enables them. Their uniform policy is to discourage the reading of the Scriptures in every possible way; and when they dare not employ force to effect this object, they scruple not to press into their service the ghostly power of their Church, by declaring that those who presume to contravene the will of Rome in this matter are guilty of mortal sin." 
The emperors of Rome, the eastern division of which still continued, had intelligence, or connived, with the church of Rome, which had forsaken the covenant and constituted the great apostasy, for the purpose of putting down "heresy." The man of sin was raised to his presumptuous throne by the defeat of the Arian Goths, who then held possession of Rome, in A.D. 538.
Verse 31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
"They shall pollute the sanctuary of strength," or Rome. If this applies to the barbarians, it was literally fulfilled; for Rome was sacked by the Goths and Vandals, and the imperial power of the West ceased through the conquest of Rome by Odoacer. Or if it refers to those rulers of the empire who were working in behalf of the papacy against the pagan and all other opposing religions, it would signify the removal of the seat of empire from Rome to Constantinople, which contributed its measure of influence to the downfall of Rome. The passage would then be parallel to Daniel 8: 11 and Revelation 13: 2.
Papacy Takes Away "the Daily."--It was shown in comments on Daniel 8: 13, that "sacrifice" is a word erroneously supplied. It should be "desolation." The expression denotes a desolating power, of which the abomination of desolation is but the counterpart, and to which it succeeds in point of time. It seems clear therefore that the "daily" desolation was paganism, and the "abomination of desolation" is the papacy. But it may be asked, How can this be the papacy since Christ spoke of it in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem? The answer is, Christ evidently referred to Daniel 9, which predicts the destruction of Jerusalem, and not to this verse in Daniel 11, which does not refer to that event. In the ninth chapter, Daniel speaks of desolations and abominations in the plural. More than one abomination, therefore, treads down the church; that is, as far as the church is concerned, both paganism and the papacy are abominations. But as distinguished from each other, the language is restricted. One is the "daily" desolation, and the other is pre-eminently the transgression of "abomination" of desolation.
How was the "daily," or paganism, taken away? As this is spoken of in connection with the placing or setting up of the abomination of desolation, or the papacy, it must denote, not merely the nominal change of the religion of the empire from paganism to Christianity, as on the so-called conversion of Constantine, but to such an eradication of paganism from all the elements of the empire that the way would be entirely open for the papal abomination to arise and assert its arrogant claims. Such a revolution as this was accomplished, but not for nearly two hundred years after the death of Constantine.
As we approach the year A.D. 508, we behold a mighty crisis ripening between Catholicism and the pagan influences still existing in the empire. Up to the time of the conversion of Clovis, king of France, in A.D. 496, the French and other nations of Western Rome were pagan; but following that event, the efforts to convert idolaters to Romanism were crowned with great success. The conversion of Clovis is said to have been the occasion of bestowing upon the French monarch the titles "Most Christian Majesty" and "Eldest Son of the Church." Between that time and A.D. 508, by alliances, capitulations, and conquests, the Arborici, the Roman garrisons in the West, Brittany, the Burgundians, and the Visigoths, were brought into subjects.
From the time when these successes were fully accomplished, in A.D. 508, the papacy was triumphant so far as paganism was concerned; for though the latter doubtless retarded the progress of the Catholic faith, yet it had not the power, if it had the disposition, to suppress the faith, and hinder the encroachments of the Roman pontiff. When the prominent powers of Europe gave up their attachment to paganism, it was only to perpetuate its abominations in another form; for Christianity as exhibited in the Roman Catholic Church was, and is, only paganism baptized.
The status of the see of Rome was also peculiar at this time. In 498, Symmachus ascended the pontifical throne as a recent convert from paganism. He found his way to the papal chair by striving with his competitor even unto blood. He received adulation as the successor of St. Peter, and struck the keynote of papal assumption by presuming to excommunicate the Emperor Anastasius.  The most servile flatterers of the pope now began to maintain that he was constituted judge in the place of God, and that he was the vicegerent of the Most High.
Such was the direction in which events were tending in the West. In what state were affairs at the same time in the East? A strong papal party now existed in all parts of the empire. The adherents of this cause in Constantinople, encouraged by the success of their brethren in the West, deemed it safe to begin open hostilities in behalf of their master at Rome.
Let it be marked that soon after the year 508, paganism had so far declined, and Catholicism had so far relatively increased in strength, that the Catholic Church for the first time was able to wage a successful war against both the civil authority of the empire and the church of the East, which had for the most part embraced the Monophysite doctrine, which Rome counted heresy. Partisan zeal culminated in a whirlwind of fanaticism and civil war, which swept in fire and blood through Constantinople. That such a war took place a few years later will be seen in the following quotation from Gibbon in his account of events under the years 508-518:
"The statues of the emperor were broken, and his person was concealed in a suburb, till, at the end of three days, he dared to implore the mercy of his subjects. Without his diadem, and in the posture of a suppliant, Anastasius appeared on the throne of the circus. The Catholics, before his face, rehearsed their genuine Trisagion; they exulted in the offer, which he proclaimed by the voice of a herald, of abdicating the purple; they listened to the admonition, that since all could not reign, they should previously agree in the choice of a sovereign; and they accepted the blood of two unpopular ministers, whom their master, without hesitation, condemned to the lions. These furious but transient seditions were encouraged by the success of Vitalian, who, with an army of Huns and Bulgarians, for the most part idolaters, declared himself the champion of the Catholic faith. In this pious rebellion he depopulated Thrace, besieged Constantinople, exterminated sixty-five thousand of his fellow Christians, till he obtained the recall of the bishops, the satisfaction of the pope, and the establishment of the Council of Chalcedon, an orthodox treaty, reluctantly signed by the dying Anastasius, and more faithfully performed by the uncle of Justinian. And such was the event of the first of the religious wars which have been waged in the name, and by the disciples, of the God of Peace." 
We think it clear that the daily was taken away by A.D. 508. This was preparatory to the setting up, or establishment, of the papacy, which was a separate and subsequent event. Of this the prophetic narrative now leads us to speak.
Papacy Sets Up an Abomination.--"They shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." Having shown quite fully what we think constitutes the taking away of the daily, or paganism, we now inquire, When was the abomination that maketh desolate, or the papacy, placed, or set up? The little horn that had eyes like the eyes of man was not slow to see when the way was open for his advancement and elevation. from the year 508 his progress toward universal supremacy was without a parallel.
When Justinian was about to begin the Vandal war in A.D. 533, an enterprise of no small magnitude and difficulty, he wished to secure the influence of the bishop of Rome, who had then attained a position in which his opinion had great weight throughout a large part of Christendom. Justinian therefore took it upon himself to decide the contest which had long existed between the sees of Rome and Constantinople as to which should have the precedence, by giving the preference to Rome in an official letter to the pope, declaring in the fullest and most unequivocal terms that the bishop of that city should be chief of the whole ecclesiastical body of the empire.
Justinian's letter reads: "Justinian, victor, pious, fortunate, famous, triumphant, ever Augustus, to John, the most holy Archbishop and Patriarch of the noble city of Rome. Paying honor to the Apostolic See and to Your Holiness, as always has been and is our desire, and honoring your blessedness as a father, we hasten to bring to the knowledge of Your Holiness all that pertains to the condition of the churches, since it has always been our great aim to safeguard the unity of your Apostolic See and the position of the holy churches of God which now prevails and abides securely without any disturbing trouble. Therefore we have been sedulous to subject and unite all the priests of the Orient throughout its whole extent to the see of Your Holiness. Whatever questions happen to be mooted at present, we have thought necessary to be brought to Your Holiness's knowledge, however clear and unquestionable they may be, and though firmly held and taught by all the clergy in accordance with the doctrine of your Apostolic See; for we do not suffer that anything which is mooted, however clear and unquestionable, pertaining to the state of the churches, should fail to be made known to Your Holiness, as being the head of the churches. For, as we have said before, we are zealous for the increase of the honor and authority of your see in all respects." 
"The emperor's letter must have been sent before the 25th of March, 533. For, in his letter of that date to Epiphanius he speaks of its having been already dispatched, and repeats his decision that all affairs touching the church shall be referred to the pope, 'head of all bishops, and the true and effective corrector of heretics.' " 
"In the same month of the following year, 534, the pope returned an answer repeating the language of the emperor, applauding his homage to the see, and adopting the titles of the imperial mandate. He observes that, among the virtues of Justinian, 'one shines as a star, his reverence for the Apostolic chair, to which he has subjected and united all the churches, it being truly the Head of all; as was testified by the rules of the Fathers, the laws of the Princes, and the declarations of the Emperor's piety.'
"The authenticity of the title receives unanswerable proof from the edicts in the 'Novellae' of the Justinian code. The preamble of the 9th states that 'as the elder Rome was the founder of the laws; so was it not to be questioned that in her was the supremacy of the pontificate.' The 131st, On the ecclesiastical titles and privileges, chapter ii, states: 'We therefore decree that the most holy Pope of the elder Rome is the first of all the priesthood, and that the most blessed Archbishop of Constantinople, the new Rome, shall hold the second rank after the holy Apostolic chair of the elder Rome.' " 
Toward the close of the sixth century, John of Constantinople denied the Roman supremacy, and assumed for himself the title of universal bishop; whereupon Gregory the Great, indignant at the usurpation, denounced John and declared, without being aware of the truth of his statement, that he who would assume the title of universal bishop was the Antichrist. In 606, Phocas suppressed the claim of the bishop of Constantinople, and vindicated that of the bishop of Rome. But Phocas was not the founder of papal supremacy. "That Phocas repressed the claim of the bishop of Constantinople is beyond a doubt. But the highest authorities among the civilians and annalists of Rome spurn the idea that Phocas was the founder of the supremacy of Rome; they ascend to Justinian as the only legitimate source, and rightly date the title from the memorable year 533." 
George Croly makes this further statement: "On reference to Baronius, the established authority among the Roman Catholic annalists, I found Justinian's grant of supremacy to the pope formally fixed to that period. . . . The entire transaction was of the most authentic and regular kind, and suitable to the importance of the transfer." 
Such were the circumstances attending the decree of Justinian. But the provisions of this decree would not at once be carried into effect; for Rome and Italy were held by the Ostrogoths, who were Arians in faith, and strongly opposed to the religion of Justinian and the pope. It was therefore evident that the Ostrogoths must be rooted out of Rome before the pope could exercise the power with which he had been clothed. To accomplish this object, the Italian was began in 534. The management of the campaign was entrusted to Belisarius. On his approach toward Rome, several cities forsook Vitiges, their Gothic and heretical sovereign, and joined the armies of the Catholic emperor. The Goths, deciding to delay offensive operations until spring, allowed Belisarius to enter Rome without opposition. The deputies of the pope and the clergy, of the senate and the people, invited the lieutenant of Justinian to accept their voluntary allegiance.
Belisarius entered Rome on December 10, 536. But this was not an end of the struggle, for the Goths rallied their forces and resolved to dispute his possession of the city by a regular siege, which they began in March, 537. Belisarius feared despair and treachery on the part of the people. Several senators, and Pope Silverius, on proof or suspicion of treason, were sent into exile. The emperor commanded the clergy to elect a new bishop. After solemnly invoking the Holy Ghost they elected the deacon Vigilius, who, by a bribe of two hundred pounds of gold, had purchased the honor. 
The whole nation of the Ostrogoths had been assembled for the siege of Rome, but success did not attend their efforts. Their hosts melted away in frequent and bloody combats under the city walls, and the year and nine days during which the siege lasted, witnessed almost the entire destruction of the nation. In the month of March, 538, dangers beginning to threaten them from other quarters, they raised the siege, burned their tents, and retired in tumult and confusion from the city, with numbers scarcely sufficient to preserve their existence as a nation or their identity as a people.
Thus the Gothic horn, the last of the three, was plucked up before the little horn of Daniel 7. Nothing now stood in the way of the pope to prevent his exercising the power conferred upon him by Justinian five years before. The saints, times, and laws were now in his hands, not in purpose only, but in fact. This must therefore be taken as the year when this abomination was placed, or set up, and as the point from which to date the beginning of the prophetic period of 1260 years of papal supremacy.
Verse 32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
A People Who "Know Their God."--Those who forsake the book of the covenant, the Holy Scriptures, who think more of the decree of popes and the decisions of councils than they do of the word of God--these shall he, the pope, corrupt by flatteries. That is, they shall be led on in their partisan zeal for the pope by the bestowment of wealth, position, and honors.
At the same time a people shall exist who know their God, and these shall be strong, and do exploits. These were Christians who kept pure religion alive in the earth during the Dark Ages of papal tyranny, and performed marvelous acts of self-sacrifice and religious heroism in behalf of their faith. Prominent among these stand the Waldenses, the Albigenses, and the Huguenots.
Verse 33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
The long period of papal persecution against those who were struggling to maintain the truth and instruct their fellow men in ways of righteousness, is here brought to view. The number of the days during which they were thus to fall is given in Daniel 7: 25; 12: 7; Revelation 12: 6, 14; 13: 5. The period is called "a time, and times, and the dividing of time;" "a time, times, and a half;" "a thousand two hundred and threescore days;" and "forty and two months." All these expressions are various ways of denoting the same 1260 years of papal supremacy.
Verse 34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
In Revelation 12, where this same papal persecution is brought to view, we read that the earth helped the woman by opening her mouth and swallowing up the flood which the dragon cast out after her. The Protestant Reformation let by Martin Luther and his co-workers furnished the help here foretold. The German states espoused the Protestant cause, protected the reformers, and restrained the work of persecution carried on by the papal church. But when the Protestants were helped, and when their cause began to be popular, many were to cleave unto them with flatteries, or embrace the faith from unworthy motives.
Verse 35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
Though restrained, the spirit of persecution was not destroyed. It broke whenever there was opportunity.
Especially was this the case in England. The religious state of that kingdom was fluctuating, it being sometimes under Protestant and sometimes under papal jurisdiction, according to the religion of the ruling monarch. "Bloody Queen Mary" was a mortal enemy to the Protestant cause, and multitudes fell victims to her relentless persecutions. This condition of affairs was to last more or less "to the time of the end." The natural conclusion would be that when the time of the end should come, this power which the Church of Rome had possessed to punish heretics, which had been the cause of so much persecution, and which for a time had been restrained, would now be taken entirely away. The conclusion would be equally evident that this taking away of papal supremacy would mark the beginning of the period here called the "time of the end." If this application is correct, the time of the end began in 1798; for then, as already noticed, the papacy was overthrown by the French, and has never since been able to wield all the power it before possessed. The oppression of the church by the papacy is evidently referred to here because that is the only one, with the possible exception of Revelation 2: 10, connected with "a time appointed," or a prophetic period.
Verse 36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
A King Magnifies Himself Above Every God.--The king here introduced cannot denote the same power that was last noticed, namely, the papal power; for the specifications will not hold good if applied to that power.
Take a declaration in the next verse: "Nor regard any god." This has never been true of the papacy. God and Christ, though often placed in a false position, have never been professedly set aside and rejected from that system of religion.
Three peculiar features must appear in the power which fulfills this prophecy: It must assume the character here delineated near the beginning of the time of the end, to which we were brought down in the preceding verse. It must be a willful power. It must be an atheistical power. Perhaps the two latter specifications might be united by saying that its willfulness would be manifested in the direction of atheism.
France Fulfils the Prophecy.--A revolution exactly answering to this description did take place in France at the time indicated in the prophecy. Atheists sowed the seeds which bore their logical and baleful fruit. Voltaire, in his pompous but impotent self-conceit, had said, "I am weary of hearing people repeat that twelve men established the Christian religion. I will prove that one man may suffice to overthrow it." Associating with himself such men as rousseau, D'Alembert, Diderot, and others, he undertook to accomplish his threat. They sowed to the wind, and reaped the whirlwind. Then, too, the Roman Catholic Church was notoriously corrupt in France during this period, and the people were anxious to break the yoke of ecclesiastical oppression. their efforts culminated in the "reign of terror" of 1793, when France discarded the Bible and denied the existence of the Deity.
A modern historian thus describes this great religious change:
"Certain members of the Convention, too, had been the first to attempt to replace Christian worship in the provinces by civic ceremonial, in the autumn of 1793. At Abbeville, Dumont, having informed the populace that the priests were 'harlequins and clowns in black garments, who showed off marionettes,' had set up the Worship of Reason, and, with a not uncommon inconsistency, organized a 'marionette show' of his own of a most imposing description, with dances in the cathedral every decadi, and civic festivals on the 'observance' of which he greatly insisted. Fouche was the next to abolish Christian worship; speaking from the pulpit of the cathedral at Nevers he formally erased all spiritualism from the republican programme, promulgated the famous order which declared 'death an eternal slumber,' and thus turned the key on heaven and hell alike. . . . In his congratulatory address to the ex-bishop, the President declared that as the Supreme Being 'desired no worship other than the worship of Reason, that should in future be the national religion!' " 
But there are other and still more striking specifications which were fulfilled by France.
Verse 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
The Hebrew word for woman is also translated wife; and Thomas Newton observes that this passage would be more properly rendered "the desire of wives."  This would seem to indicate that this government, at the same time it declared that God did not exist, would trample underfoot the law which God had given to regulate the marriage institution. And we find that the historian has, unconsciously perhaps, and if so all the more significantly, coupled together the atheism and licentiousness of this government in the same order in which they are presented in the prophecy. He says:
"The family had been destroyed. Under the old regime it had been the very foundation of society. . . . The decree of September 20, 1792 which established divorce, and was carried still further by the Convention in 1794, had borne fruit within four years of which the Legislature itself had never dreamt: an immediate divorce could be pronounced on the score of incompatibility of temper, to come into force within a year at farthest, if either of the couple should refuse to separate before that period elapsed.
"There had been a rush for divorce; by the end of 1793--fifteen months after the passing of the decree--5,994 divorces had been granted in Paris. . . . Under the Directory we see women passed from hand to hand by a legal process. What was the fate of the children born of these successive unions? Some people got rid of them: the number of foundlings in the Year V rose to 4,000 in Paris and to 44,000 in other departments. When the parents kept the children a tragi-comical confusion was the result. A man would marry several sisters, one after the other: one citizen presented a petition to the Five Hundred for leave to marry the mother of the two wives he had already possessed. . . . The family was dissolved." 
"Nor regard any god." In addition to the testimony already presented to show the utter atheism of the nation at this time, we present the following:
The "constitutional bishop of Paris was brought forward to play the principal part in the most impudent and scandalous farce ever acted in the face of a national representation. . . . He was brought forward in full procession, to declare to the Convention that the religion which he had taught so many years was, in every respect, a piece of priestcraft, which had no foundation either in history or sacred truth. He disowned, in solemn and explicit terms, the existence of Deity to whose worship he had been consecrated, and devoted himself in future to the homage of liberty, equality, virtue, and morality. He then laid on the table his episcopal decorations, and received a fraternal embrace from the president of the Convention. Several apostate priests followed the example of this prelate." 
"Hebert, Chaumette, and their associates appeared at the bar, and declared that 'God did not exist.' " 
The fear of God was said to be so far from the beginning of wisdom that it was the beginning of folly. All worship was prohibited except that of liberty and the country. The gold and silver plate of the churches were seized and desecrated. The churches were closed. The bells were broken and cast into cannon. The Bible was publicly burned. The sacramental vessels were paraded through the streets on an ass, in token of contempt. A week of ten days instead of seven was established, and death was declared, in conspicuous letters posted over burial places, to be an eternal sleep. But the crowning blasphemy, if these orgies of hell admit of degrees, remained to be performed by the comedian Monvel, who, as a priest of Illuminism, said:
" 'God! if you exist, . . . avenge your injured name. I bid you defiance. You remain silent; you dare not launch your thunders; who, after this, will believe in your existence? ' " 
Behold what man is when left to himself, and what infidelity is when the restraints of law are thrown off, and it has the power in its own hands! Can it be doubted that these scenes are what the Omniscient One foresaw and noted on the sacred page, when He pointed out a kingdom to arise which should exalt itself above every god, and disregard them all?
Verse 38 But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
We meet a seeming contradiction in this verse. How can a nation disregard every god, and yet honor the god of forces? It could not at one and the same time hold both these positions, but it might for a time disregard all gods, and then subsequently introduce another worship and regard the god of forces. Did such a change occur in France at this time?--It did. The attempt to make France a godless nation produced such anarchy that the rulers feared the power would pass entirely out of their hands, and therefore perceived that as a political necessity, some kind of worship must be introduced. But they did not intend to introduce any movement which would increase devotion, or develop any true spiritual character among the people, but only such as would keep themselves in power, and give them control of the national forces. A few extracts from history will show this. Liberty and country were at first the objects of adoration. "Liberty, equality, virtue, and morality," the very opposites of anything the possessed in fact or exhibited in practice, were words which they set forth as describing the deity of the nation. In 1793 the worship of the Goddess of Reason was introduced, and is thus described by the historian:
"One of the ceremonies of this insane time stands unrivaled for absurdity combined with impiety. The doors of the Convention were thrown open to a band of musicians, preceded by whom, the members of the Municipal Body entered in solemn procession, singing a hymn in praise of liberty, and escorting, as the object of their future worship, a veiled female, whom they termed the Goddess of Reason. Being brought within the bar, she was unveiled with great form, and placed on the right hand of the president; when she was generally recognized as a dancing girl of the opera, with whose charms most of the persons present were acquainted from her appearance on the stage, while the experience of individuals was farther extended. To this person, as the fittest representative of of that Reason whom they worshiped, the National Convention of France rendered public homage. This impious and ridiculous mummery had a certain fashion; and the installation of the Goddess of Reason was renewed and imitated throughout the nation, in such places where the inhabitants desired to show themselves equal to all the heights of the Revolution." 
The modern French historian, Louis Madelin, writes:
"The Assembly having excused itself from attendance on the score of business, a procession (of a very mixed description) attended the goddess to the Tuileries, and in her presence forced the deputies to decree the transformation of Notre Dame into the Temple of Reason. This not being deemed sufficient, another goddess of Reason, the wife of Momoro, a member of the Convention, was installed at Saint-Sulpice on the following decadi. Before long these Liberties and Reasons were swarming all over France: wantons, only too often, with here and there a goddess of good family and decent behaviour.
If it be true that the brow of one of these Liberties was bound with a fillet bearing the words 'Turn me not into License!' the suggestion, we may say, would hardly have been superfluous in any part of France: for saturnalia of the most repulsive kind were the invariable rule: at Lyons, we are told, an ass was given drink out of a chalice. . . . Payan cried out upon 'these goddesses, more degraded than those of fable.' " 
During the time while the fantastic worship of reason was the national craze, the leaders of the revolution are known to history as "the atheists." But it was soon perceived that a religion with more powerful sanctions than the one then in vogue must be instituted to hold the people. A form of worship therefore followed in which the object of adoration was the "Supreme Being." It was equally hollow so far as any reformation of life and vital godliness were concerned, but it took hold upon the supernatural. And the Goddess of Reason was indeed a "strange god," the statement in regard to honoring the "God of forces," may perhaps more appropriately be referred to this latter phase.
Verse 39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
The system of paganism which had been introduced into France, as exemplified in the worship of the idol set up in the person of the Goddess of Reason, and regulated by a heathen ritual which had been enacted by the National Assembly for the use of the French people, continued in force till the appointment of Napoleon to the provisional consulate of France in 1799. The adherents of this strange religion occupied the fortified places, the strongholds of the nation, as expressed in this verse.
But that which serves to identify the application of this prophecy to France perhaps as clearly as any other particular, is the statement made in the last clause of the verse, that they should "divide the land for gain." Previous to the Revolution, the landed property of France was owned by the Catholic Church and by a few landlords in immense estates. These estates were required by the law to remain undivided, so that no heirs or creditors could partition them. But revolution knows no law, and in the anarchy that now reigned, as noted also in Revelation 11, the titles of the nobility were abolished, and their lands disposed of in small parcels for the benefit of the public exchequer. The government was in need of funds, and these large landed estates were confiscated, and sold at auction in parcels to suit purchasers. The historian thus records this unique transaction:
"The confiscation of two thirds of the landed property in the kingdom, which arose from the decrees of the Convention against the emigrants, clergy, and persons convicted at the Revolutionary Tribunals . . . placed funds worth above £700,000,000 sterling at the disposal of the government." 
When did ever an event take place and in what country, fulfilling a prophecy more completely than this?
As the nation began to come to itself, a more rational religion was demanded, and the heathen ritual was abolished. The historian thus describes that event:
"A third and a bolder measure was the discarding of the heathen ritual, and reopening the churches for Christian worship; and of this the credit was wholly Napoleon's, who had to oppose the philosophic prejudices of almost all his colleagues. He, in his conversations with them, made no attempt to represent himself as a believer in Christianity; but stood only on the necessity of providing the people with the regular means of worship wherever it meant to have a state of tranquillity. The priests who chose to take the oath of fidelity to government were readmitted to their functions; and this wise measure was followed by the adherence of not less than 20,000 of these ministers of religion, who had hitherto languished in the prisons of France." 
Thus terminated the Reign of Terror and the French Revolution. Out of the ruins rose Bonaparte, to guide the tumult to his own elevation, place himself at the head of the French government, and strike terror to the hearts of nations.
Verse 40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
Kings of South and North Again in Conflict.--After a long interval, the king of the south and the king of the north again appear on the stage of action. We have met with nothing to indicate that we are to look to any locations for these powers other than those which shortly after the death of Alexander constituted respectively the southern and the northern divisions of his empire. The king of the south was at that time Egypt, and the king of the north was Syria, including Thrace and Asia Minor. Egypt continued to rule in the territory designated as belonging to the king of the south, and Turkey for more than four hundred years ruled over the territory which first constituted the domain of the king of the north.
This application of the prophecy calls for a conflict to spring up between Egypt and France, and between Turkey and France, in 17983, which year, as we have seen, marked the beginning of the time of the end. If history testifies that such a triangular war did break out in that year, it will be conclusive proof of the correctness of the application.
We inquire, therefore, Is it a fact that at the time of the end, Egypt did "push," or make a comparatively feeble resistance, while Turkey did come like a resistless "whirlwind," against "him," that is, the government of France? We have already produced some evidence that the time of the end began in 1798; and no reader of history need be informed that in that year a state of open hostility between France and Egypt was developed.
To what extent this conflict owed its origin to the dreams of glory deliriously cherished in the ambitious brain of Napoleon Bonaparte, the historian will form his own opinion; but the French, or Napoleon at least, contrived to make Egypt the aggressor. "In a skillfully worded proclamation he [Napoleon] assured the peoples of Egypt that he had come to chastise only the governing caste of Mamelukes for their depredations on French merchants; that, far from wishing to destroy the religion of the Muslim, he had more respect for God, Mohammed, and the Koran than the Mamelukes had shown; that the French had destroyed the Pope and the Knights of Malta who levied war on the Muslim; thrice blessed, therefore, would be those who sided with the French, blessed even those who remained neutral, and thrice unhappy those who fought against them." 
The beginning of the year 1798 found the French indulging in immense projects against the English. The Directory desired Bonaparte to undertake at once the crossing of the Channel and an attack upon England; but he saw that no direct operations of that kind could be judiciously undertaken before the autumn, and he was unwilling to hazard this growing reputation by spending his summer in idleness. "But," says the historian, "he saw a far-off land, where glory was to be won which would gain a new charm in the eyes of his countrymen by the romance and mystery which hung upon the scene. Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs and Ptolemies, would be a noble field for new triumphs." 
But while still broader visions of glory opened before the eyes of Bonaparte in those Eastern historic lands, covering not Egypt only, but Syria, Persia, Hindustan, even to the Ganges itself, he had no difficulty in persuading the Directory that Egypt was the vulnerable point through which to strike at England by intercepting her Eastern trade. Hence on the pretext above mentioned, the Egyptian campaign was undertaken.
The downfall of the papacy, which marked the termination of the 1260 years, and according to verse 35 showed the beginning of the time of the end, occurred in February, 1798, when Rome fell into the hands of Berthier, the general of the French. On the 5th of March following, Bonaparte received the decree of the Directory relative to the expedition against Egypt. He left Paris May 3, and set sail from Toulon the 19th, with a large naval armament consisting of "thirteen ships-of-the-line, fourteen frigates (some of them unarmed), a large number of smaller vessels of war, and about 300 transports. Upwards of 35,000 troops were on board, along with 1230 horses. If we include the crews, the commission of savants sent to explore the wonders of Egypt, and the attendants, the total number of persons aboard was about 50,000; it has even been placed as high as 54,000." 
July 2, Alexandria was taken, and immediately fortified. On the 21st the decisive Battle of the Pyramids was fought, in which the Mamelukes contested the field with valor and desperation, but were no match for the disciplined legions of the French. Murad Bey lost all his cannon, 400 camels, and 3,000 men. The loss of the French was comparatively slight. On the 25th, Bonaparte entered Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and only waited the subsidence of the floods of the Nile to pursue Murad Bey to Upper Egypt, whither he had retired with his shattered calvary, and so make a conquest of the whole country. Thus the king of the south was able to make but a feeble resistance.
At this juncture, however, the situation of Napoleon began to grow precarious. The French fleet, which was his only channel of communication with France, was destroyed by the English under Nelson at Aboukir. On September 11, 1798, the sultan of Turkey, under feeling of jealousy against France, artfully fostered by the English ambassadors at Constantinople, and exasperated that Egypt, so long a semi-dependency of the Ottoman Empire, should be transformed into a French province, declared war against France. Thus the king of the north (Turkey) came against him (France) in the same year that the king of the south (Egypt) "pushed," and both "at the time of the end." This is another conclusive proof that the year 1798 is the year which begins that period--all of which is a demonstration that this application of the prophecy is correct. So many events meeting accurately the specifications of the prophecy could not take place together and not constitute a fulfillment of the prophecy.
Was the coming of the king of the north, or Turkey, like a whirlwind in comparison with the pushing of Egypt? Napoleon had crushed the armies of Egypt, and essayed to do the same thing with the armies of the sultan which were threatening an attack from the side of Asia. He began his march from Cairo to Syria, February 27, 1799, with 18,000 men. He first took the Fort El-Arish in the desert, then Jaffa (the Joppa of the Bible), conquered the inhabitants of Naplous at Zeta, and was again victorious at Jafet. Meanwhile, a strong body of Turks had intrenched themselves at St. Jean d'Acre, while swarms of Mussulmans gathered in the mountains of Samaria, ready to swoop down upon the French when they should besiege Acre. Sir Sidney Smith at the same time appeared before St. Jean d'Acre with two English ships, reinforced the Turkish garrison of that place, and captured the apparatus for the siege which Napoleon had sent across by sea from Alexandria. A Turkish fleet soon appeared in the offing, which with the Russian and English vessels then co-operating with them constituted the "many ships" of the king of the north.
On the 18th of March the siege began. Napoleon was twice called away to save some French divisions from falling into the hands of the Mussulman hordes that filled the country. Twice also a breach was made in the wall of the city, but the assailants were met with such fury by the garrison that they were obliged, despite their best efforts, to give over the struggle. After a continuance of sixty days, Napoleon raised the siege, sounded the note of retreat, for the first time in his career, and on the 21st of May, 1799, began to retrace his steps to Egypt.
"He . . . shall overflow and pass over." We have found events which furnish a very striking fulfillment of the pushing of the king of the south, and the whirlwind onset of the king of the north against the French power. Thus far there is quite a general agreement in the application of the prophecy. We now reach a point where the views of expositors begin to diverge. To whom do the words he "shall overflow and pass over," refer--to France or to the king of the north? The application of the remainder of this chapter depends upon the answer to this question. From this point two lines of interpretation are maintained. Some apply the words to France, and endeavor to find a fulfillment in the career of Napoleon. Others apply them to the king of the north, and accordingly point for a fulfillment to events in the history of Turkey. We speak of these two positions only, as the attempt which some make to bring in the papacy here is so evidently wide of the mark that it need not be considered. If neither of these positions is free from difficulty, as we presume no one will claim that it is absolutely, it only remains that we take that one which has weight of evidence in its favor. We shall find one in favor of which the evidence does so greatly preponderate to the exclusion of all others, as scarcely to leave any room for doubt in regard to the view here mentioned.
Turkey Becomes King of the North.--Respecting the application of this portion of the prophecy to Napoleon or to France under his leadership, we do not find events which we can urge with any degree of assurance as the fulfillment of the remaining part of this chapter. Hence we do see how it can be thus applied. It must, then, be fulfilled by Turkey, unless it can be shown that the expression "king of the north" does not apply to Turkey, or that there is some other power besides either France or the king of the north which fulfilled this part of the prediction. But if Turkey, now occupying the territory which constituted the northern division of Alexander's empire, is not the king of the north of this prophecy, then we are left without any principle to guide us in the interpretation. We presume all will agree that there is no room for the introduction of any other power here. France and the king of the north are the only ones to whom the prediction can apply. The fulfillment must lie between them.
Some considerations certainly favor the idea that there is in the latter part part of verse 40 a transfer of the burden of the prophecy from the French power to the king of the north. The latter is introduced just before as coming forth like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and many ships. The collision between this power and the French we have already noticed. The king of the north with the aid of his allies gained the day in this contest; and the French, foiled in their efforts, were driven back into Egypt. Now it would seem to be the more natural application to refer the "overflowing and passing over" to that power which emerged in triumph from that struggle, and that power was Turkey.
Verse 41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
Abandoning a campaign in which one third of the army had fallen victims to war and the plague, the French retired from St. Jean d'Acre, and after a fatiguing march of twenty-six days re-entered Cairo in Egypt. They thus abandoned all the conquests they had made in Judea, and the "glorious land," Palestine, with all its provinces, here called "countries," fell back again under the oppressive rule of the Turk, Edom, Moab, and Ammon (lying outside the limits of Palestine, south and east of the Dead Sea and Jordan, were out of the line of march of the Turks from Syria to Egypt, and so escaped the ravages of that campaign. On this passage, Adam Clarke has the following note: "These and other Arabians, they [the Turks] have never been able to subdue. They still occupy the deserts, and receive a yearly pension of forty thousand crowns of gold from the Ottoman emperors to permit the caravans with the pilgrims for Mecca to have a free passage." 
Verse 42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
On the retreat of the French to Egypt, a Turkish fleet landed 10,000 men at Aboukir. Napoleon immediately attacked the place, completely routing the Turks, and re-establishing his authority in Egypt. But at this point, severe reverses to the French arms in Europe called Napoleon home to look after the interests of his own country. The command of the troops in Egypt was left with General Kleber, who, after a period of untiring activity for the benefit of the army, was murdered by a Turk in Cairo, and the command was left with Abdallah Menou. With an army which could not be recruited, every loss was serious.
Meanwhile, the English government, as the ally of the Turks, had resolved to wrest Egypt from the French. March 13, 1801, and English fleet disembarked a body of troops at Aboukir. The French gave battle the next day, but were forced to retire. On the 18th Aboukir surrendered. On the 28th reinforcements were brought by a Turkish fleet and the grand vizier approached from Syria with a large army. On the 19th, Rosetta surrendered to the combined forces of the English and the Turks. At Ramanieh a French corps of 4,000 men was defeated by 8,000 English and 6,000 Turks. At Elmenayer 5,000 French were obliged to retreat, May 16, by the vizier, who was pressing forward to Cairo with 20,000 men. The whole French army was now shut up in Cairo and Alexandria. Cairo capitulated June 27, and Alexandria, September 2. Four weeks afterward, October 1, 1801, the preliminaries of peace were signed in London.
"Egypt shall not escape" were the words of the prophecy. This language seems to imply that Egypt would be brought into subjection to some power from whose dominion it would desire to be released. As between the French and the Turks, how did this question stand with the Egyptians?--they preferred French rule. In R. R. Madden's Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia, and Palestine it is stated that the French were much regarded by the Egyptians, and extolled as benefactors; that for the short period they remained, they left traces of amelioration; and that, if they could have established their power, Egypt, would now be comparatively civilized.  In view of this testimony, the language of the Scripture would not be appropriate if applied to the French, for the Egyptians did not desire to escape out of their hands. They did desire to escape from the hands of the Turks, but could not.
Verse 43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
In illustration of this verse we quote the following statement from the historian concerning Mehemet Ali, the Turkish governor of Egypt who rose to power after the defeat of the French:
"The new Pasha set about strengthening himself in his position so as to insure a permanent hold upon the government of Egypt for himself and his family. First, he saw that he must exact a large revenue from his subjects, in order to send such sums of tribute to Constantinople as would propitiate the Sultan, and make it clearly for his interest to sustain the power of the Egyptian governor. Acting upon this principle he used many unjust means to obtain possession of large estates; he denied the legitimacy of many successions; he burned title deeds, and seized properties; in short, he set at defiance all universally acknowledged rights of landholders. Great disturbances followed, but Mohammed Ali was prepared for these, and, by his wonderful firmness he made it appear that the bare assertion of claims was an aggression on the part of the Sheikhs. The taxes were constantly increased, and their collection put into the hands of the military governors; by this means the peasantry were ground to the very lowest point." 
Verse 44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
King of the North in Trouble.--On this verse Adam Clarke has a note which is worthy of mention. He say: "This part of the prophecy is allowed to be yet unfulfilled."  His note was printed in 1825. In another part of his comment, he says: "If the Turkish power be understood, as in the preceding verses, it may mean that the Persians on the east, and the Russians on the north, will at some time greatly embarrass the Ottoman government."
Between this conjecture by Adam Clarke, written in 1825, and the Crimean War of 1853-1856, there is certainly a striking coincidence, inasmuch as the very powers he mentions, the Persians on the east, and the Russians on the north, were the ones which instigated the conflict. Tidings from these powers troubled him (Turkey). Their attitude and movements incited the sultan to anger and revenge. Russia, being the more aggressive party, was the object of attack. Turkey declared war on her powerful northern neighbor in 1853. The world looked on in amazement to see a government which had long been called "the Sick Man of the East," a government whose army was dispirited and demoralized, whose treasuries were empty, who rulers were vile and imbecile, and whose subjects were rebellious and threatening secession, rush with such impetuosity into the conflict. The prophecy said that they should go forth with "great fury," and when they thus went forth in the war aforesaid, they were described, in the profane vernacular of an American writer, as "fighting like devils." England and France, it is true, soon came to the help of Turkey; but she went forth in the manner described, and as reported, gained important victories before receiving the assistance of these powers.
Verse 45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
King of the North to Come to His End.--We have now traced the prophecy of the 11th chapter of Daniel step by step to this last verse. As we see the divine predictions meeting their fulfillment in history, our faith is strengthened in the final accomplishment of God's prophetic word.
The prophecy of verse 45 centers in that power known as the king of the north. It is the power that shall hold the territory possessed originally by the king of the north (See pages 235, 236.)
It is predicted of the king of the north that "he shall come to his end, and none shall help him." Just how and when and where his end will come, we may watch with solemn interest, knowing that the hand of Providence guides the destiny of nations.
Time will soon determine this matter. When this even takes place, what follows?--events
of the most momentous interest to all the inhabitants of this world, as the
next chapter immediately shows.
 Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Vol. I, p. 335.
 Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. I, p. 378.
 Ibid., p. 415.
 Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Vol. I, pp. 345, 346.
 Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Vol. I, pp. 352.
 Charles Rollin, Ancient History, Vol. V, pp. 305, 306.
 Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Vol. I, pp. 356.
 The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. IX, p. 670. By permission of the Macmillan Company, publishers in the United States.
 Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. II, p. 312.
 The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. IX, p. 738. By permission of the Macmillan Company, publishers in the United States.
 Ibid., Vol. X, pp. 96, 97.
 Encyclopaedia Americana, 1849 ed., Vol. XII, p. 251, art. "Tiberius."
 Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Vol. I, p. 363.
 Encyclopaedia Americana, 1849 ed., Vol. XII, p. 251, 252 art. "Tiberius."
 Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. II, p. 423.
 William Hales, A New Analysis of Chronology, Vol. III, p. 1.
 See 1 Maccabees 8; Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. II, p. 166.
 Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews," book 12, chap. 10, sec. 6, The Works of Flavius Josephus, p. 374.
 See Encyclopaedia Americana, 11th edition, Vol. VII, p. 3, art. "Constantinople."
 Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews, Vol. II, p. 380.
 Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. IV, pp. 109, 110, note on Isaiah 23: 1.
 See John Kitto, Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature, art. "Chittim," p. 196.
 J. A. Wylie, The Papacy, pp. 180, 181.
 See Louis E. Dupin, A New History of Ecclesiastical Writers, Vol. V, pp. 1-3, "Pope Symmachus."
 Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. IV, chap. 47, p. 526.
 Codex Justiniani, lib. 1, tit. 1; translation as given by R. F. Littledale The Petrine Claims, p. 293.
 George Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John, p. 170.
 Ibid., pp. 170, 171.
 Ibid., pp. 172, 173.
 Ibid., pp. 12, 13.
 Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. IV, chap. 41, pp. 168, 169.
 Louis Madelin, The French Revolution, pp. 387, 388.
 Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Vol. I, pp. 388-390.
 Louis Madelin, The French Revolution, pp. 552, 553.
 Sir Walter Scott, The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, Vol. 1, p. 239.
 Archibald Alison, History of Europe, Vol. III, p. 22.
 Ibid., p. 24.
 Sir Walter Scott, The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, Vol. 1, p. 239, 240.
 Louis Madelin, The French Revolution, p. 389.
 Archibald Alison, History of Europe, Vol. III, pp. 25, 26.
 John Gibson Lockhart, The History of Napoleon Buonaparte, Vol. I, p. 154.
 The Cambridge Modern History, Vol. VIII, p. 599. By permission of the Macmillan Company, publishers in the United States.
 James White, History of France, p. 469
 The Cambridge Modern History, Vol. VIII, pp. 597, 598. By permission of the Macmillan Company, publishers in the United States.
 Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. IV, p. 618, note on Daniel 11: 41.
 Richard Robert Madden, Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia, and Palestine , Vol. I, p. 231.
 Clara Erskine Clement, Egypt, pp. 389, 390.
 Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. IV, p. 618, note on Daniel 11: 44.