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This Section - Chapter 7

ch. 7:1-14    ch. 7:15-28

Danielís Dream Of Four Beasts (ch. 7:1-14)

The contents of this chapter are divided into two parts. Danielís vision is part one, while the interpretation is part two.  As usual, I will go through verse by verse, or section by section, yet in this chapter I will reserve some of my comments on certain verses to the end of this chapter.  The reason for this is because in this chapter we have the vision and the interpretation, yet the interpretation itself needs some interpretation.  That I will do from the Futurist prophetic point of view.      

 

Most scholars believe that chapter 7 is chronologically situated before chapter 5 and after Nebuchadnezzarís death.  Daniel was around sixty seven years old at this point.  Nebuchadnezzar would have died six years earlier and the writing on the wall would have taken place about fourt5een years later. 

 

In verse 1 we see that a dream came to Daniel and it was in the first year of Behshazzarís reign as king.

 

In verses 2 and 3 we see Daniel's dream was about the four great winds that blow over the sea and four great beasts.  We see these four great winds a few other places in the Bible, including the book of Revelation.   The sea could be the Mediterranean Sea which is symbolic of Gentile nations, or, the sea could refer to Gentile nations, as it often does in Scripture.  We see the anit-christ come out of the sea in Revelation 13:1 which is important to this dream.  

 

Four winds are often suggestive of Godís sovereignty.  This would suggest what is about to happen in the dream, and in its meaning, is Godís sovereign choice.  Man or the devil has nothing to do with the events described in this dream.  The four winds might also be in relation to four spirits since in Hebrew the word for wind is also the word for spirit.   

 

Restoration Theology believes that end time events, especially the return of Jesus, will come about when the church, as agents of the Kingdom of God, brings great godly influence to the earth.  This influence is so godly that Jesus is compelled to return.  In other words, He has no other logical choice but to return to earth.  If these four winds do suggest Godís sovereignty, then the events that end this age have nothing to do with the churches restoration or its perfection prior to the return of Jesus.  This dream is all about Godís sovereign choice and how He wants this age to end.  

 

There are four beasts seen in this dream.  The first three are similar and the last one is quite different.  I will not get into the details of these beasts, especially the first three, but you should note that how they are described are important because they express in vivid detail that which they symbolize.   That is to say, if you understand who they represent, youíll understand the details of the imagery used.  

 

In verses 4 through 7 we see the first three beasts described.  The first one looked something like a lion, the second one something like a bear, and the third one, something like a leopard.  I say "something like" because their appearance wasnít exactly like a lion, a bear, or a leopard. 

 

In verse 7 and onward Daniel describes the fourth beast and begins with the words "after that", suggesting a possible and slight break in the dream.  This beast was different and distinct from the other three.  This beast was terrifying and powerful with iron teeth that totally demolished everything it wanted to destroy.  In verse 7 Daniel clearly says that it was different than the first three beasts and one difference was that it had ten horns, which appears to be significant due to Daniel mentioning it. 

 

In verse 8 Daniel was contemplating these ten horns and while he was doing so a little horn was seen among these ten.  Then, in front of the little horn, three of the original ten horns were uprooted, leaving seven horns remaining.

 

Verse 9 introduces the Ancient of Days and His throne.  In verse 10 we see tens of thousands seated before the throne while the books were being opened.  In verse 11 we see the little horn speaking blasphemies and were subsequently thrown into blazing fire, yet the other three beasts were allowed to live for a while longer.

 

Verses 13 and 14 end the vision with the appearance of One who looked like the son of man.  He appeared before the Ancient of Days.  This One was given all power, authority, and glory, over the nations.  His Kingdom would last forever and ever. 

 

The contents of this chapter are divided into two parts. Danielís vision is part one, while the interpretation is part two.  As usual, I will go through verse by verse, or section by section, yet in this chapter I will reserve some of my comments on certain verses to the end of this chapter.  The reason for this is because in this chapter we have the vision and the interpretation, yet the interpretation itself needs some interpretation.  That I will do from the Futurist prophetic point of view.      

 

Most scholars believe that chapter 7 is chronologically situated before chapter 5 and after Nebuchadnezzarís death.  Daniel was around sixty seven years old at this point.  Nebuchadnezzar would have died six years earlier and the writing on the wall would have taken place about fourt5een years later. 

 

In verse 1 we see that a dream came to Daniel and it was in the first year of Behshazzarís reign as king.

 

In verses 2 and 3 we see Daniel's dream was about the four great winds that blow over the sea and four great beasts.  We see these four great winds a few other places in the Bible, including the book of Revelation.   The sea could be the Mediterranean Sea which is symbolic of Gentile nations, or, the sea could refer to Gentile nations, as it often does in Scripture.  We see the anit-christ come out of the sea in Revelation 13:1 which is important to this dream.  

 

Four winds are often suggestive of Godís sovereignty.  This would suggest what is about to happen in the dream, and in its meaning, is Godís sovereign choice.  Man or the devil has nothing to do with the events described in this dream.  The four winds might also be in relation to four spirits since in Hebrew the word for wind is also the word for spirit.   

 

Restoration Theology believes that end time events, especially the return of Jesus, will come about when the church, as agents of the Kingdom of God, brings great godly influence to the earth.  This influence is so godly that Jesus is compelled to return.  In other words, He has no other logical choice but to return to earth.  If these four winds do suggest Godís sovereignty, then the events that end this age have nothing to do with the churches restoration or its perfection prior to the return of Jesus.  This dream is all about Godís sovereign choice and how He wants this age to end.  

 

There are four beasts seen in this dream.  The first three are similar and the last one is quite different.  I will not get into the details of these beasts, especially the first three, but you should note that how they are described are important because they express in vivid detail that which they symbolize.   That is to say, if you understand who they represent, youíll understand the details of the imagery used.  

 

In verses 4 through 7 we see the first three beasts described.  The first one looked something like a lion, the second one something like a bear, and the third one, something like a leopard.  I say "something like" because their appearance wasnít exactly like a lion, a bear, or a leopard. 

 

In verse 7 and onward Daniel describes the fourth beast and begins with the words "after that", suggesting a possible and slight break in the dream.  This beast was different and distinct from the other three.  This beast was terrifying and powerful with iron teeth that totally demolished everything it wanted to destroy.  In verse 7 Daniel clearly says that it was different than the first three beasts and one difference was that it had ten horns, which appears to be significant due to Daniel mentioning it. 

 

In verse 8 Daniel was contemplating these ten horns and while he was doing so a little horn was seen among these ten.  Then, in front of the little horn, three of the original ten horns were uprooted, leaving seven horns remaining.

 

Verse 9 introduces the Ancient of Days and His throne.  In verse 10 we see tens of thousands seated before the throne while the books were being opened.  In verse 11 we see the little horn speaking blasphemies and were subsequently thrown into blazing fire, yet the other three beasts were allowed to live for a while longer.

 

Verses 13 and 14 end the vision with the appearance of One who looked like the son of man.  He appeared before the Ancient of Days.  This One was given all power, authority, and glory, over the nations.  His Kingdom would last forever and ever. 

 

 

The Interpretation Of The Vision (ch. 7:15-28)

We note in verses 15 and 16 that Daniel was very troubled by what he saw and so he asked one standing by in his visions what these things meant.  The life of a true prophet of God is not always fun and games.  It can be sad, even terrifying at times.  If one calls himself a prophet today and there is no evidence of such sadness and pain, I doubt if he is a real prophet of God.

 

In verses 17 and 18 the one standing by said that the four beasts represent four kingdoms, and that the saints of the Most High would inherit a kingdom that would never pass away like other kingdoms do.

 

Danielís attention was fixed on this fourth beast.  He wanted to know all about it, its ten horns, the little horn, and why it killed the saints.  This beast was nothing like the first three because this beast was extremely destructive.

 

So, in verse 23 the one standing by began to tell Daniel about this fourth beast.  It was a kingdom on the earth.  This kingdom is different than all other earthly kingdoms.  It crushes all other nations on the earth and takes control of the whole world.  The ten horns are ten kings that rise out of this terrible kingdom.  After these ten kings are established another king will rise up and put down three of the original ten kings. This king will kill the saints and try to change set times and laws and will oppose the Most High God for a time, times, and a half of times. 

 

In English we have nouns that are singular and nouns that are plural.  The noun "hat" is singular. The noun "hats" is plural.  In Hebrew nouns are singular, double and plural.  Double means two, as in two hats.  The word "time" here is singular.  The word "times" is double, not plural, meaning "two times".  Beyond the times and times, we have a half of time.  Each of these times is normally interpreted by most scholars as one year, thus you have one time or year, two times or years, and a half of a time or year.  These equal three and a half years.

 

In verse 26 we see the little horn destroyed and the kingdoms given to the saints.  This kingdom will last forever. 

 

In verse 28 we see that Daniel was still disturbed because of this vision, especially this fourth beast.  

Daniel was told that "this is the end of the matter", meaning the vision was over.  This might also mean that the end of the age has come, and all things are made new. Or, it might mean both.

 

Daniel received the interpretation of this vision but scholars throughout the centuries have spent much time interpreting the interpretation, especially the part concerning the fourth beast.  Thereís not much controversy over the first three beasts among different end time ways of thinking.  There is controversy concerning the last beast.  The following are some points that prophetic Futurists make concerning this vision.

 

First of all, the first three beasts represent the world Kingdoms that weíve discussed in chapter 2.  The lion is Babylon.  The bear is  Medo-Persia. The leopard is Greece.  As I said, most Bible scholars believe this to be accurate.

 

We see the wind and the sea mentioned here.  As I said earlier, most scholars view the wind as representing Godís sovereignty, meaning He does what He wants to do when He wants to do it, without input from anyone else. Thus these events are purely a matter of Godís will and not manís will or choice.

 

It is also interesting to note that the Greek word in the New Testament that is translated as "spirit" is the Greek word "phnuma: which literally means "wind or breathe".  The same is true in Hebrew.  Jesus, in John 3 equates wind with the Holy Spirit.  The point to be made here is that the winds could also be in reference to spirits or angels, or, at least to the spiritual workings out of God will.   

 

The sea is often symbolic of the Gentile nations.  Israel was not a nation that loved the sea.  They viewed the sea as a bad place to be.  Gentile nations did not have this same thinking when it came to the sea.  Gentile nations would travel the sea, shipping their goods from nation to nation.  This wasn't the case with Israel.

 

So, concerning the wind and sea we interpret this as being a vision of Godís end time will over the nations of the earth.  It is also important to note that this vision seems to be another vision about the same end time prophecies of the vision in chapter 2.  We have two visions describing the same events but in a different format.    

 

The fourth kingdom according to prophetic Futurists is the restored Roman Empire that has fallen into decay over the centuries.  This empire was never overtaking by any other nation, but simply fell apart.  The world is still influenced by this empire, and some might even argue that it has never totally fallen away into non existence.  This empire has an eastern and western component to it as seen in the vision of the stature.  It has two legs and two feet.  The western leg is so-called Christian Europe while the eastern leg is Islamic nations.    

 

Prophetic Futurists believe that the Roman Empire will come back into world prominence.  They point to the present day European Community as the beginning of the re-emergence of the Roman Empire .  They call this the "Revived Roman Empire".  

 

We see ten horns in this kingdom that are ten kings.  We see in Revelation that there are ten kings associated with the anti-Christ who attempts to fight Jesus at the Battle of Armageddon.  The little horn as seen here in Daniel is the anti-Christ according to prophetic Futurists. 

 

In Revelation 13:1 and following we see the anti-Christ pictured as a beast coming out of the sea having ten horns and seven heads.  This is noteworthy because here in Daniel we see ten horns as being ten kings, but the little one, the anti-Christ puts down three kings.  Thus Futurists say that this is why the beast in Revelation 13 has only seven heads and not ten.  Three have been put down.

 

Concerning the seven heads of Revelation 13, some suggest they represent all the world kingdoms in the past.  They say this because these four beasts in Daniel, when totaled up, have seven heads.  

 

In Daniel we see this little horn waging war against the saints and killing them, something we see confirmed in the book of Revelation.  The Ancient of Days, who is the God Most High, ends up confronting the little horn or anti-Christ and throwing him into blazing fire as Daniel sees it.  Revelation calls this blazing fire the Lake of Fire.  At this point in Revelation we see the beginning of the thousand year reign of Jesus and the saints on earth, which is very interesting in light of the fact that in Danielís vision, only the anti-Christ was thrown into the fire.  The other three kingdoms (or nations of the world) were allowed to carry on for a while.  This is interesting because this is exactly what happens during the thousand years.  The anti-Christ is thrown into the Lake of fire along with the false prophet and the devil.  Those left on earth are men and women who have survived the Great Tribulation and the martyred saints that return with Jesus in their glorified bodies to rule over all people of the nations on earth.

 

It is still unclear just how all of these things will unfold because they are in the process of unfolding, or will unfold in the future.  Thus, we have many interpretations of the interpretation Daniel receives.

 

In verse 10 you see a river of fire that come from the thrown of God.  In the book of Revelation you see a Lake of Fire.  Revelation does not say this, but we learn it here, that the Lake of Fire is fed by the River of Fire, and this river of fire comes from God Himself.  Itís not something that He has made and placed far away from Himself.  Whether the fire is literal or symbolic of Godís wrath, it constantly flows directly from God throughout all of eternity.

 

Also in verse 10 you see that thousands attended to God on the throne, and ten thousand time ten thousand stood before the throne.  The vision pictures this throne as in a court room where the books are opened.  We see these books open in the Book of Revelation at what has been called the White Throne Judgment.  So, although it is not called the White Throne Judgement here, we can be certain it is.

 

As I said earlier, also in verse 10 we see that the other

nations, the other beasts were stripped of their
authority but were allowed to live for a period of time.
The anti-Christ beast was thrown into the Lake of Fire but the rest of the wicked were not thrown into the Lake of Fire at this time. That comes after the thousand year rule of Christ on earth.  These people and nations are allowed to live, but with no power.  They had no power because this is the thousand year period where Jesus has all the power. They have also no power or authority because their source of power, the devil, has been tied up for a thousand years.  Both Psalm 2 and Revelation state that Jesus will rule with a rod or scepter of iron and that the nations will be given to Him as an inheritance.  This is that time. Also, the reason why Jesus has to rule with a rod of iron, that is, exercise His authority with great power, is because these people who are left still have the capacity to revolt.  They still have free will, and their freedom to choose will lead them back to the devil once he is released for a short time, as seen in the book of Revelation.   

 

In verse 13 we see the phrase, "one like the son of man coming in the clouds".  We know who this is.  It is Jesus.  He left this earth and He told His followers that Heíd return in the same way He left, that is, in the clouds.  Both Revelation and Daniel picture Jesusí return as being seen in the clouds of the sky.  Jesus looks like the "Son of Man", meaning, although being God, He looks like a man.

 

In verse 19 we see the kingdom of the anti-Christ as one conquering viciously, very similar to its predecessor, the first Roman Empire .

 

In verses 19 through 22 we see the ten horns and the little horn that emerge in the midst of these tem horns.  The horns are kings.  The little horn is the anti-Christ.  It appears that the ten kings have already been established or mostly established by the time the little horn or anti-Christ appears on the scene.  The anti-Christ will depose three of these kings.  Though the anti-Christ and his kingdom will be a world dominion, it is fairly clear that some people who arenít saints may be opposed to him.  It is thus possible that he kills three  kings who oppose him in the process of rising to the top. 

 

In verse 22, after the anti-Christ is cast in the Lake of Fire, his kingdom is given to the saints.  We noted this a couple paragraphs back.  This is the fulfillment of Psalm 2 and is the millennial reign of Jesus and His saints.

 

Verse 24 says that the ten horns are ten kings "that will come from this kingdom".  This might be interpreted a couple of ways.  One interpretation is that the kingdom is established and there are ten sub-kings under the anti-Christ.  The other interpretation by be that there are ten kings that come together who first make this new kingdom, after which the anti-Christ appears among these then kings and takes over.

 

I think the second of the above two interpretations might be more tenable.  This verse goes on to say that the new king, that is the anti-Christ, will come after these ten kings.  We see the anti-Christ subduing the ten kings and getting rid of three of them.  The word "subduing" probably means getting control over, not killing them. You can see these ten kings in Rev. 17:12 and following.

 

In verse 25 we see that the little horn, the anti-Christ wants to change "the times and the laws".  I feel that the times and laws spoken of here are actually Godís times and laws.  I do believe that God has a time table of events that only He decides upon.  I think the devil who is incarnate in the anti-Christ wants to be God and so this is his attempt to usurp this time table from God.  The laws I believe are natural laws that God has set in place in the universe.  The laws might also mean God's moral laws.  The devil wants to be in charge of these which in effect would make him God.  The devilís fight is not really with us.  Itís with God and we are only tools in the battle.  

 

The "time, times and half a times" spoken of in verse 27 represent either the last half of the seven year Great Tribulation or all of the Tribulation itself.  Some think the tribulation period lasts for seven years, while others think it lasts for three and a half.  Some donít count the first half of the seven years as actually the Great Tribulation, but only a period of time leading up to the Great Tribulation.  To continue the logic of time, times, and half a time, I'd suggest this would mean three and a half years.

 

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