The Great Red Dragon L.B. Woolfolk



As I wish to set forth the evidence that the Dragon is the symbol of the London Money Power in regular order, I desire, in the first place, to show the method by which expositors of prophecy prove that the symbols of prophecy symbolize the powers which they set forth .  This can best be done by means of illustrations .

To illustrate the laws of prophetic symbolism, I will take, as examples, the first two beasts of the second vision of Daniel .

In Prophecy, objects in the natural world are employed to symbolize or represent objects which they resemble in the political world .—Thus, an earthquake, which breaks down and destroys objects in the world of nature, is made the symbol of a revolution which breaks down and destroys political institutions .—A storm of lightning and thunder, the effect of conflicting winds and opposite electrical conditions, in the natural world, is made the symbol of a great war arising out of furious opposing elements in the political world .—Thus also, a wild beast, cruel, sanguinary, is a proper symbol of a political empire .

Thus, in the second vision of Daniel, four beasts which rise one after another, are made the symbols of the successive empires of Babylon, Persia, Macedon, and Rome .  Upon this expositors are agreed .

1 .  In identifying these beasts with the powers they symbolize, the first thing to notice is the historical order of succession .  The first Beast that rises, of course symbolizes the empire that rises first in the order of time .  No one would make the first Beast symbolize Persia, the second empire, or make the second Beast symbolize Babylon, the first empire .

Hence, any facts mentioned which enable us to determine the historical order of events may be very important elements in identifying the symbol with the power it symbolizes .—These identifying facts, for want of a better name, I term Historical Marks .

2 .  Furthermore, in prophetic symbolism, symbols are chosen which resemble, in character, the power symbolized .  Thus, a lion is made the symbol of the Babylonian empire, and a bear, of the Persian empire ; because those wild beasts resemble, in character, the empires they symbolize .  These resemblances in character between the symbol and the power symbolized, I term Parallelisms of Character .

But Historical Marks and Parallelisms of Character do not always sufficiently designate the power represented by the symbol .—And hence, in symbolic prophecy another means of identity is; also :  employed certain facts are stated respecting the symbol, which represent corresponding facts that are true of the power symbolized .  These points of resemblance in respect of facts, I term Coincidences of Fact .

Let us now observe the manner in which the Lion is identified with the Babylonian empire,—by Marks—by Parallelisms of Character—and by Coincidences of Fact .

1 . the lion with eagle's wings .

The following is the text :

“And four beasts came up from the Sea, diverse from one another .

“The first was like a lion, and had Eagle’s wings .

“I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked ;

“and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon its feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it .”  Daniel vii : 3, 4.

All expositors are agreed that the Lion is the symbol of the Babylonian empire .  We will, by way of illustration, identify it by Marks, by Parallelisms of Character, and by Coincidences of Fact .

1st. Historical Marks.

First Mark :—There is only one important Mark which aids the expositor in identifying the Lion with Babylon .  But it alone is sufficient .  Babylon was the first of the four great empires which arose in succession ;  and we would naturally expect the first of the four beasts to be the symbol of Babylon .

It is apparent that this Mark alone would not be sufficient to identify Babylon as the power symbolized by the Lion .  The evidence is cumulative .  The Marks, the Parallelisms and the Coincidences, all go to establish the identity .  And when all four of the beasts are thus identified with the powers they symbolize, the force of the Historical Mark becomes intensified .  For we know that, if the other beasts symbolize respectively Persia, Macedon and Rome, then, most certainly, the first beast symbolizes Babylon .

In some of the symbols of prophecy, however, the Historical Marks are quite numerous .

2nd. Parallelisms Of Character.

There are several Parallelisms of Character between the Lion with Eagle’s wings and the Babylonian empire :

First Parallelism of Character :—The Lion is a ferocious carnivorous wild beast .—The Babylonian empire, under its founder Nebuchadnezzar, was a sanguinary conquering empire, ravening and destroying among the nations, like a lion among flocks and herds .

Second Parallelism of Character :—The lion is a magnanimous wild beast .—Unlike the tiger and the leopard, which raven with the mere lust of slaughter, it only destroys to appease hunger .—The Babylonian empire only assailed and conquered the countries which resisted its possession of the great trade between the East and the West, leaving all other nations in peace .  And Nebuchadnezzar sought, first, to treat the subject nations of the West with leniency, and was only provoked to severity by repeated revolts .

Third Parallelism of Character :—The Lion had Eagle’s wings .—The lion lies in wait for its prey, and springs upon it from ambush .  To indicate that this was not the case with this symbolic Lion, it was furnished with Eagle’s wings .—These Eagle’s wings show the rapidity of the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar .  At the head of his Chaldean horsemen, the conqueror overran in few campaigns Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa as far as the Straits of Gibraltar .

3rd. Coincidences Of Fact.

Besides the above Parallelisms of Character, there are mentioned two Coincidences of Fact respecting the Lion with Eagle’s Wings, which represent corresponding facts in the history of the Babylonian empire .

First Coincidence of Fact :—I beheld till the Eagle’s wings were plucked .—The plucking of course prevented the Lion from sweeping on any longer in its career of conquest .  Deprived of the Eagle’s wings, the Lion henceforth would be like other lions, and lurk in its habitat, lying in wait for prey .  The plucking of the Eagle’s wings indicates a sudden event which stopped, once for all, the Babylonian career of conquest .  The conquering career of Babylon was terminated by the madness of Nebuchadnezzar .  That event plucked the wings of the lion; and henceforth, Babylon remained content in the enjoyment of the wealth and grandeur derived from its possession of the grand commerce between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, which flowed through the city .

Second Coincidence of Fact :—“It was made to stand on its feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given it .”—In some of the bas reliefs from Niniveh, we see the hunted lion rearing upon its hind feet, confronting the hunters, whose spears are transfixing it .—In its fall, Babylon was like the hunted lion .  For years, it held the conqueror at bay behind its city walls, standing like a lion upreared against the hunters .  During all the siege, Babylon had the man’s heart, afraid to meet the foe in the open field .  But it fell fighting, and hopeful of victory to the end .

Now, by this one Historical Mark, these three Parallelisms of Character, and these two Coincidences of Fact, all expositors agree that the Lion with Eagle’s Wings is sufficiently proved to be the symbol of the London Money Power .

ii. the persian bear.

In the same way, the Bear is proved to be the symbol of the Persian empire .

The following is the text :

“And behold another beast, a second, like unto a bear .

“And it raised up itself on one side .

“And they said thus unto it, ‘Arise, devour much flesh’.”  Daniel vii: 5.

1st. Historical Marks.

There is one Historical Mark which aids in identifying the Bear with the Persian empire :—

Historical Mark :—As the Persian empire was the second empire in the order of succession, we naturally are led to expect that the second beast is its symbol .

2nd. Parralelisms Of Character.

There are two Parallelisms of Character between the Bear and the Persian empire;—

First Parallelism of Character :—The Bear is not an exclusively carnivorous animal :  it subsists largely on vegetables and fruits .—This shows the bear to be less ferocious than the lion and other carnivorous animals .—And the Persian empire was the mildest of all the empires of ancient times .  It treated the conquered nations with greater leniency .  It suffered the people carried into captivity by Babylon, to return to their own countries .  It allowed the Phoenicians to resume their trade by way of the Red Sea .  The countries desolated by Babylon resumed their prosperity under Persian rule .

Second Parallelism of Character :—The Bear is a clumsy, slow moving animal .—So, the Persian empire was slow and clumsy in its military movements .  Great numbers of women and children accompanied its armies; and the officers carried with them all the appliances of luxury .  All military movements were impeded by the vast quantities of baggage which were carried with the armies .

3rd. Coincidences Of Fact.

The Bear is also identified with the Persian empire by three Coincidences of Fact .

First Coincidence of Fact :—“The bear raised up itself on one side .”—Persia was on the Eastern side of the empire, and all the conquests of the Persians, in founding the empire, were made toward the West .  The Persian empire, like the bear, “raised up itself on one side.”

Second Coincidence of Fact :—The Bearhad three ribs in its mouth between its teeth.”—These ribs indicate three victims fallen prey to the Bear .—The Persian empire, in its rise, overthrew three powers,—Lydia, Babylon and Egypt .

Third Coincidence of Fact :—“It was said unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.”—The bear was thus indicated to be an animal very destructive of human life .—The Persian empire conquered many countries not under the Babylonian yoke .  It extended its conquests far to the North, and East and South ;  it subdued all Asia Minor ;  and its invading armies penetrated into Greece, and the plains of Southern Russia .—And, during its entire existence, the Persian empire was convulsed with frequent revolts .  The conquests and revolts occasioned very destructive wars .

By this Historical Mark, these two Parallelisms of Character, and these three Coincidences of Fact all expositors agree that the Bear is proved to be the symbol of the Persian empire .