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Christ, as we shall hereafter see, is restored to us in this evening time.
OVER SATAN, THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS. Originally man was a king and reigned over the world. It lay prostrate at his feet. He held dominion. "Thou ... hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou hast set him over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” Psa. 8:5, 6. But through the subtility of the devil, man lost his kingdom and became a servant-was brought under bondage. Satan became prince of this world and held dominion over all mankind. Over four thousand years he held them fast under sin and death. During that time they were never fully delivered from his tyrannical rule. But Christ, the king of heaven, came to earth to restore to man "the first dominion.” He set up the kingdom of heaven in direct opposition to the kingdom of darkness. He began by saving men from their sins and by healing all that were oppressed of the devil.” Thus he spoiled principalities and powers, triumphing over them.” This caused Satan's kingdom to fall “like lightning” (Luke 10:18).
By giving his life on the cross and rising triumphant from the grave, Christ conquered death, sin, and hell, bringing salvation, freedom, life, and liberty to all men. Hear his own words, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” “Wherefore he is able to save them unto the uttermost that come unto God by him." He began to proclaim ‘liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; and to bring out the prisoners from the prison.' He led forth a “multitude of captives” into the glorious freedom of truth.
Thus the prince of the world, Satan, was cast out (John 12:31) and Christ was raised up a Prince, a Savior (Acts 5:31), Prince of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5), Prince of life (Acts 3:15). This same power he gave to the church. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents, and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.” Luke 10:19. Thus we see the prince of darkness dethroned, the god of this world cast down, and Christ and his church reigning over him.
OVER PAGANISM UNDER THE ROMAN POWER.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, marched his armies to Jerusalem, destroyed the city and house of God, took the vessels of the temple and the remaining Jews, and carried them away captive. This occurred B. C. 606. Among the captives previously carried to Babylon was one Daniel, who was especially endued with wisdom from on high. Nebuchadnezzar, in the second year of his reign, had a remarkable dream. In his dream he saw a great image. As he was an idolater, an image was an object that would at once command his attention and respect. But the thing went from him; therefore he called all the magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers. None of these, however, could reveal or interpret the dream. Finally God revealed the matter to Daniel, who made known to the king his dream as follows:
“Thou, o king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." Dan. 2:31-35.
These five short verses open one of the most sublime chapters of human history. It is so comprehensive that the period which it covers, beginning more than twenty-five centuries ago, reaches from that far-distant point past the rise and fall of kingdoms, past epochs and ages, over into the eternal state-yes, to all eternity.
First, in the vision, are brought to view four universal monarchies, which flourished in succession in ancient times. The first of these is represented by the head of gold, interpreted by the prophet as follows: “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. ... Thou art this head of gold.” Verse 37, 38. By this we understand that the Chaldean kingdom is what the head of gold represented. It was a golden kingdom in a golden age. Babylon, its metropolis, lay in the garden of the East. The city lay in a perfect square, fifteen miles on each side. It was surrounded by a wall three hundred and fifty feet high and eighty-seven feet thick. It had one hundred and fifty gates of solid brass. Its hanging gardens were a wonderment. This city contained many things which were wonders of the world, but the city itself was the greatest wonder of its time. It was in this city, by the rivers of Babylon, that the Israelite captives sat down and wept, when they remembered Zion. Said they, “We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" Psa. 137: 1-4. I presume it is safe to say that never before did the earth see a city like this; and since it has never seen its equal. With the earth prostrate at her feet, she sat “the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency.” Such was Babylon, with Nebuchadnezzar, in the prime of life, its ruler,