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Pagan and Papal Rome

Ellet J. Waggoner
 
The vision of the eighth chapter of Daniel begins with the supremacy of Medo-Persian dominion, B.C. 538, and covers the remaining portion of the world’s history till the close of time. The 25th verse says that the power represented by the little horn, Rome, “shall be broken without hand.” This evidently refers to the same thing that is mentioned in Dan. 2:34, 44, 45, where the stone cut out without hands is represented as smiting the image on the feet and breaking up the entire image—all the kingdoms of earth—in pieces.
 
Paganism was the prevailing religion during the Medo-Persian and Grecian rule, during the first portion of the Roman Empire. In the vision of the second chapter of Daniel there is no distinction made between pagan Rome and Rome papal, but in every other prophecy the distinction is clearly marked. In the seventh chapter, pagan Rome is represented by the “dreadful and terrible” beast with teeth of iron and nails of brass. Papal Rome is represented by the “little horn” which came out from this beast. In reality, the beast, after the rise of the little horn, is papal Rome, i.e., Rome under the popes.
 
In the 12th and 13th of Revelation the Roman power is brought to view. It is not difficult to identify the red dragon with seven heads and ten horns. It is represented as standing ready to devour a certain child as soon as it was born. This child we know is Jesus, from the fact that he is to “rule all nations with a rod of iron” (verse 5, compared Ps. 2:7-9), and he was “caught up to his throne.” These particulars will apply to no one but Jesus. And Rome, through Herod as its representative, stood ready to slay Jesus when he was born. See Matt. 2. The dragon, represents Rome. The question is, Does it represent the whole of Rome, or only a part? This can be answered when we have identified the next beast.
 
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. ... And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
 
Compare this description with what we are already familiar in Dan. 7, and there will be no difficulty in deciding that it also represents Rome. What! two symbols in succession representing the same thing? The answer must be that they represent two phases of Rome. Now we know that Rome in the time of Christ was pagan; therefore this second phase, represented by the leopard beast, must be papal Rome. Notice its blasphemous words, and its work of persecuting saints, and compare with the description of the little horn of Daniel 7.
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