"And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand." (Daniel 8:24, 25.)
"He shall understand dark sentences," and "his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power." His prosperity is accomplished by peace; then, if by peace, the Scripture can have no reference to ambitious conquests of territory. His power was to be directed against the holy people (the Christians). "He shall also stand against the Prince of princes" (Christ).
In order that a human being may understand dark sentences, he must use supernatural power, and that power cannot be his own. The question arises as to where he was to obtain his mighty power. If his attack is to be against Christ and His people, it would not be hard to recognized the kind of power that he would use. However, John gives us the source of this mysterious strength.
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne." (Rev. 12:1-5.)
Shepherd's Rod book, Vol. 2 127
Shepherd's Rod book, Vol. 2 128
The woman is a symbol of God's church; the crown of twelve stars is her authority or government (the twelve apostles), and the child is Christ. In the ninth verse we are told that the dragon is "the Devil, and Satan." It was under the figure of Herod that the dragon stood before the woman ready to devour her child as soon as it was born.
"And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him." (Matt. 2:13.)
Therefore, the power that Rome used in her cruelty against the "holy people and the Prince of princes" was the old dragon power, and thereby the Roman emperors "understand dark sentences" through which he, the devil, was determined to destroy Christ and his followers. (Follow the chart on page 128).