Sunday Evening Bible Study

July 23, 1995

Daniel 7:1-28

Introduction

We've been through the first six chapters of Daniel, which all are pretty historical.

Though there is some prophecy (mainly ch.2) in them, they mainly dealt with historical events in the life of Daniel.

We now are moving into a section of Daniel that will now focus on individual prophecies and visions received by Daniel himself.

We are still in the section of Daniel that is written in Aramaic.

1:1 - 2:3 were written in Hebrew.

2:4 - 7:28 were written in Aramaic.

8:1 to end are back in Hebrew.

Principle:

God writes His Word for those who read it

The parts in Hebrew were written primarily with a focus on the Israelites.

The parts in Aramaic, written in the more common language of the day, were aimed at the whole Gentile world.

We're still in that section.

The emphasis is going to be on the whole world, not just Israel.

:1-8  Vision of the Four Beasts

:1  In the first year of Belshazzar

This would be 553 B.C., Daniel is about 68 years old.

Remember that Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, and reigned jointly with his father, Nabonidus.

We read about him in Daniel 5.

This would place this vision before the fall of Babylon (539 B.C.) to Cyrus, emperor of Persia.

It's interesting to think that Daniel had this all in mind before Belshazzar's feast, when he is called upon to interpret the handwriting on the wall.

:1  visions of his head upon his bed

It kind of sounds like he has this vision, and is watching his own head laying on his bed.  NOT!

Better to translate it as:

»Daniel 7:1-NAS ...Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind [as he lay] on his bed

:1  he wrote the dream

After Daniel woke up, he grabbed a pencil and wrote it all down before he forgot it.

:2  the four winds of heaven strove

It's possbily just a reference to all the winds of the earth.

We use the phrase "From the four corners of the earth".

We still use the phrase, even though we know the world isn't flat.

Something similar is found in:

»Revelation 7:1-AV And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

It could refer to angels instead of wind.

ruwach  - 1) spirit, wind

Angels could be stirring things up for mankind, like they often do.

:2  upon the great sea

Usually in the Old Testament, this refers to the Mediterranean Sea.

»Numbers 34:6-AV And [as for] the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.

We'll see much of this prophecy pertain to the area of the Mediterranean Sea.

:3  four great beasts

This is the thrust of the prophecy, these four beasts, which are all different one from another.

There's going to be a parallel between Daniel's vision here, and Nebuchadnezzar's vision in chapter 2.

Nebuchadnezzar's vision was of a statue, with four parts.

Each part was a different empire, starting with Babylon.

We'll see the same pattern here.

:4  the first was like a lion

This is going to be the empire of Babylon

It's interesting to note that both the lion and the eagle were symbols of the Babylonian empire.

:4  wings plucked ... a man's heart was given to it

This seems to be a reference to what has already happened to Nebuchadnezzar.

He went through a time when he was humbled (wings plucked) and started acting like a cow (chapter 4).

God was humbling him to show him who was God.

He finally acknowledged God, and God restored the kingdom to him.

God set him on his feet again, but he had a different heart.

:5  a second ... a bear

This would be the Medo-Persian empire which rose up after Babylon.

Their army was strong and fierce like a bear.

:5  raised up itself on one side

The Persian part of the empire rose later, but became more prominent than the Median portion.

:5  three ribs in the mouth

Who knows?

Maybe referring to Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon which preceded it.

Maybe referring to Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, three nations conquered to form it's empire.

:6  another, like a leopard

This would be the Grecian empire.

Unlike the Medo-Persian empire, which was slow and bulky like a bear, the Grecian empire under Alexander was incredibly quick in it's conquest of the world.

The entire world was conquered by Alexander from 334 b.c. and 330 b.c. - four years!

:6  four heads

After Alexander's death, the Grecian empire was divided into four parts.

:7  a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible

Note that this beast isn't compared to any known animal.

This thing is monstrous, unlike anything else before it.

This is the Roman empire, which conquered Greece.

:7  great iron teeth

In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the fourth part of the statue was made of iron.

:7  it had ten horns

We'll get more into this later.

:8  there came up among them another little horn

As Daniel is looking at these ten horns, another smaller horn appears on the head of this beast.

:8  three of the first horns plucked up

So, from the first group of ten horns, this little horn plucks out three of them, pulling them out by their roots.

:8  in this horn ... eyes ... mouth

I wonder what kind of pizza Daniel had for dinner that night.

This little oddball horn has it's own eyes and mouth

:8  a mouth speaking great things

or,

»Daniel 7:8-NAS ... and a mouth uttering great [boasts.]

:9-14  The Ancient of Days

:9  the thrones were cast down

lit., "to cast", "to throw"

Better translated,

»Daniel 7:9-NAS ...thrones were set up

These are thrones of judgment that are being set up.

We read in Revelation:

»Revelation 20:4-AV And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

That's us who's reigning with Christ, and will be judging with him. (1Cor.6:2-3)

:9  the Ancient of Days

This is one of the names for God the Father

He is "ancient" because of His great age.

»Psalms 90:2-AV Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou [art] God.

:9  garment white as snow

Referring to God's righteousness.

»Revelation 19:8-AV And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

:9  hair ... pure wool

God has reached an age where He is old enough to sit in judgment.

:9  throne ... fiery flame

Judgment.  Don't get burned.

»Hebrews 12:28-29 AV Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:  29 For our God [is] a consuming fire.

:9  his wheels as burning fire

Does this mean that God has "Hot Wheels"?

It's actually like something we see in Ezekiel:

»Ezekiel 1:15-AV Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.

Just exactly what it is, who knows?

God has one hot wheelchair.

:10  thousand thousands ministered unto him

Millions.

All the angelic, and maybe human beings that are a part of God's throne room.

:10  ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him

The idea is that they are standing before Him, in the courtroom, as witnesses to His justice.

:10  judgment was set

The judge came in and sat down, the bailiff announces, you may all be seated.

Who's going to be judged?

Here we're going to see the fourth beast coming before the judgment seat of God.

:10  the books were opened

It's out of the things that have been recorded that judgment takes place.

In today's words, we might say, "The video recorders started to play back the evidence"

Lesson:

God's judgment is flawless

There isn't going to be a single person who will get a bad rap from the judge.

If you stand accused of blasphemy, and you respond with, "But I never did that sin...", then God's only going to have to say, "Gabriel, cue up the tape and play back the evidence", and there you'll be in front of the whole world, doing your sin.

:11  because of the voice of the great words ...

The picture is this:

In heaven the court has been called to order, and it's time for the trial of this fourth beast, and the little horn in particular.

And as the court is being called to order, there's this noise that everyone hears, the sounds of the blasphemy coming from the horn.

What gall!

:11  the beast was slain ... burning flame

This identifies for us who this horn is, and what the beast was.

The horn is the antichrist, and the beast was his kingdom.

»Revelation 19:20-AV And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Don't be confused by the fact that Revelation is using a slightly different set of symbols, where the "beast" is the antichrist, where in Daniel, the "beast" was the fourth kingdom.

:12  the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away

The rest of the beasts are the other three empires, and the nations and peoples that comprised them.

They are not allowed to rule any more.

:12  yet their lives were prolonged for a season

The identities of the nations, like Babylon, Persia, Greece, will live on into the next period of time.

The next period of time will be the 1000 year reign of Jesus on the earth, where He will rule over the kingdoms of the earth, and Satan will be bound (Rev.20).

At the end of the 1000 years, Satan is loosed, the nations again rebel, and Christ puts all final rebellion to rest, ushering in the period of eternity, the new heavens, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem.

:13  one like the Son of man

Guess who?

Jesus!

:13  came with the clouds of heaven

It could be referring to just old puffer clouds.

It could refer to clouds of people.

»Hebrews 12:1-AV Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

»Revelation 19:14-AV And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

It's possible that we might even be in that number!

:14  given him dominion ...

Jesus is given the throne over the earth.

He will rule and reign.

:15-28  Interpretation of the dream

:15  grieved in my spirit ... troubled

Daniel is pretty moved by what he's seen.

Kara' - to be distressed, be grieved

[email protected] to frighten, alarm, dismay

The things he's seen have been pretty scary.

:16  I came near unto one of them that stood by

Unlike the typical male, Daniel decides to ask for help.

How come us men don't like to ask for directions?

Daniel walks up to a person, probably an angel.

:16  he told me

This angelic person gives some understanding to Daniel about what he's seen.

:17  beasts ... four kings

And these four kings are representative of their kingdoms.

:18  the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom

In the end, WE WIN!

Lesson:

Hold on, it ain't over yet!

We get discouraged, but just remember how the story is going to end.

We aren't to the end of the book yet.

:21  the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed ...

The Antichrist will persecute the saints.

Who are the saints?

It could be Christians who are on the earth at that time.

If you hold to a pre-trib view, it will be those who have come to Christ after the Rapture.

If you hold to a post-trib view, it could even be us.

It will also include the nation of Israel.

In Revelation 12, Israel is pictured as a woman who brings forth a man child who will rule the nations.

»Revelation 12:5-AV 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.

That woman is then persecuted by the dragon, which is Satan, and hides for 3 1/2 years.

»Revelation 12:13-14AV And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child].  14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Lesson:

Be careful about thinking we'll always win the near term battles.

Instead, prepare to endure.

As Christians we kind of get into this mode of thinking that we're always going to win every battle we're in, because after all, we're on Jesus side!

But the truth is, we're going to face persecution and hard times every once in a while.

We need to learn to endure hard times, not try to escape them.

»2Timothy 2:3-AV Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

»2Timothy 4:5-AV But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

:22  until the Ancient of days came

We'll have to endure hard times until the final end comes, then it'll all be over!

:24  ten horns ... ten kings that shall arise

We've talked about this before, but it appears in Scripture that the Roman empire will have some kind of a latter day form.

In Daniel 2, the fourth kingdom was both legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay.  There were two parts.

In Daniel 9:26-27, it's the people of the prince that is to come that destroy Jerusalem (the Romans).  This makes us think that the antichrist (the prince to come) would be somehow connected with the old Roman empire.

These ten kings don't fit into the early Roman empire.

They are around in the time of the antichrist, who is destroyed at Jesus' coming.

Again, remember the parallel with Nebuchadnezzar's dream:

The stone (Jesus) strikes the fourth kingdom, which had feet (with ten toes!!!???)

So ...

There will be some kind of confederacy of ten kings in the last days, based on the old Roman empire, out of which the antichrist will carve his world empire.

This is why we used to be so excited about the Common Market countries, back in the 70's, when there were 9 countries, and the tenth was about to join.

Now, I think there are 14 countries in the ECC.

Could it be that this empire will come out of the G7 countries, if three more join?

The G7 is a group of countries that are trying to set up a world of trade, etc.

:24  another shall arise after them

Being the antichrist.

Apparently he comes to power after the ten are ruling.

:24  he shall be diverse from the first

The antichrist will be different in some way from the first ten kings.

:24  he shall subdue three kings

This is why we think the ten kings are ten who will rule at the same time, rather than successively.

The antichrist will somehow take out three of the ten kings, leaving seven plus himself.

:25  great words against the most High

We have an idea of this:

»Revelation 13:5-6 AV 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.  6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

»2Thessalonians 2:4-AV Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

:25  wear out the saints

Persecution.

»Revelation 13:7-AV 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. 

»Revelation 13:17-AV And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

:25  think to change times and laws

It could refer to setting up a whole new system of laws to govern by.

It could refer to changing the times of the feast days for Israel, as Jeroboam did.

»1Kings 12:32-AV And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that [is] in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

:25  they shall be given into his hand ... time ...

He will prevail over the believers for three and a half years.

His persecution will start at the mid-point in the tribulation period, 3 1/2 years into it.  Then it will last until the end, for 3 1/2 years.

Notice the parallel in Revelation.

»Revelation 13:5-6 AV 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.  6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

:28  my cogitations much troubled me

»Daniel 7:28-NAS "At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself."

Daniel is incredibly disturbed by what he's seen.

It deeply bothers him.

Lesson:

Does prophecy bother you?

It should.

It should stir you up.

It should motivate you to action as you notice just how late it's getting.

»2Peter 3:11-12 AV [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,  12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?