This teaching was given by Pastor Barry Forder at Calvary Portsmouth on 6th June 2021.
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
With the historical section of the book now complete, this chapter sees us move back in time to the first year of Belshazzar, which was in about 552 B.C. Thus chronologically this chapter fits about 11 years after chapter 4 and about 12 years before chapter 5. On the surface it may seem that by now Daniel is no longer in a prominent position in Babylon; certainly, Belshazzar needs to be reminded about Daniel in chapter 5; however we will see at the end of chapter 8 that, after the vision recorded there, which we are told occurs in the third year of Belshazzar (two years after this event), Daniel returns to do the kings business. So even as an old man, Daniel was actively involved in the government of Babylon. (NB. At the end of chapter 1 we were told that Daniel served until the 1st year of Cyrus – about 14 years from now). Regardless of what we may have accomplished or what age we may be, God has much work to be done and sadly few who are willing to give Him their all and get on with it. Jesus said: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matt 9:37-38).
Thankfully Daniel had not gone off the boil and as we saw in chapter 6, he prayed 3 times a day. When you are close to God you are far more likely to hear His voice. And so we have Daniel tucked up in bed one night and he starts to dream. As we will see, this is more akin to a nightmare than a dream; in fact, Daniel seems more troubled by this dream than he would be of the lion’s den. However, Daniel, recognising its importance, writes down the ‘sum of the matters’ i.e. the key points.
Daniel spake and said….
Who did he speak to? In the last verse we read that he told the sum of the matters. Thus it may well be that he was relaying this to a scribe. It is certainly conceivable that a man who had been second in charge of Babylon would have had his own personal secretary.
….I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
The four winds are mentioned nine times in scripture: Jer 49:36 / Exek 37:9 / Dan 8:8 / Dan 11:4 / Zech 2:6 / Matt 24:31 / Mark 13:27 / Rev 7:1 and here in Dan 7:2. (As an aside, ‘9’ is the number of Judgment). They are seen either ushering in judgement (as would appear to be the case in this vision) or bringing restoration. In each case it implies a global situation, with the ‘four’ seemingly referring to the four cardinal points of a compass (North, South, East and West). The great sea that Daniel refers to may well have been the Mediterranean, as this was known as the ‘great sea’ at that time; however the sea is also used in scripture as an idiom of the peoples and nations of the world (cf Rev 17:15). Thus, whatever is about to happen, it would appear to have a global impact that will affect the people and nations of the earth.
And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
We will be told in verse 17 that these great beasts represent four kings (or kingdoms – the Aramaic could mean either). In chapter 2 we also had a dream and vision of a statue that was representing world kingdoms. On that occasion Daniel interpreted the golden head of the statue to represent Babylon; the chest and arms of sliver represented the Medo-Persian Empire that succeeded Babylon. Then we had the belly and thighs of brass representing the Greeks under Alexander the Great, and finally the two-stage Roman empire represented by the legs of iron (the old Roman Empire) and the feet of iron mingled with clay representing the ten kings who shall arise out of the revived / revised Roman Empire.
However, regarding the identity of the beasts/kingdoms in chapter 7, scholars are divided: we have essentially two options;
Firstly, the most popular view, often referred to as the classical view, proposes that these four beasts represent Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, mirroring the dream in chapter 2. Whereas in chapter 2 they are seen as an impressive metal image, they are here seen as wild beasts contrasting between man’s view (chapter 2) and God’s perspective of these kingdoms (chapter 7).
The second view suggests that all of these kingdoms are yet to arise at some point in the future, and when they do they will all rise simultaneously.
What is generally agreed upon is that the final phase of the last beast is the same as the ten toes in chapter two and the ten horns / ten kings mentioned in Revelation 17:12.
Because of the following reason, and the subtleties in the text that we will explore as we get there, I am of the opinion that these four beasts do indeed represent Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and then Rome in its two phases.
Quite simply, unless this vision is a re-telling of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter two, we have here presented to us four kingdoms of which history knows nothing and which are not mentioned anywhere else in scripture. If these kingdoms are yet to arise, then they would have to do so before the events of Revelation 6 commence, for from that point there would appear to be no room for them. This would mean that prior to the establishment of the revised Roman Empire as seen by Nebuchadnezzar as the ten toes, seen here as the ten horns, and as seen in Revelation (17:12) as ten kings, there will have to be another four world dominating Empires. Yet such a situation was not mentioned by Jesus in His great ‘end times’ talk in Matthew 24/25, nor is recorded by any other prophet. All of this, combined with the seemingly perfect fit of the description of these beasts to the corresponding Empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, leads I believe, to the inescapable conclusion that in this chapter we have a re-telling of the dream of chapter two but now from God’s perspective.
There are two verses in particular that are highlighted by those holding to the ‘future fulfilment’ opinion that, at first glance, appear to present a difficulty with our ‘classical view’. These are verses 7 & 17, which will be dealt with when we get there. Again it must be stressed that the onus is on each of us to ‘search the scriptures daily to see whether these things are so’ (Acts 17:11), yet at the same time understand that the Holy Spirit came to ‘teach us all things’ (John 14:26) and ‘guide us into all truth’ (John 16:13). Sometimes, ‘agreeing to disagree’ is simply choosing to avoid the issue or even a polite way of saying that ‘I’m right, you’re wrong!…But I’m not prepared to discuss it’ and hardly fulfils 1 Cor 1:10!
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 stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
As we have mentioned, the classical view sees this beast as being Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, just like the head of gold was in chapter two. The lion was the chief of beasts as Babylon was the chief of kingdoms (cf Dan 2:38-39). Creatures resembling lions with wings were on the walls and gates of Babylon (although some scholars believe that these creatures were meant to depict dragons and not lions). The eagle’s wings suggest swiftness in its ability to conquer, and this is certainly true of Babylon under Nebopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar. When king Neb got proud, his ‘wings were plucked off’ as we saw in chapter 4, but he was ‘made to stand up’ when he had learnt his lesson, at which point he put his trust in the God of Daniel and a ‘new heart’, a mans heart, was given to a man who had been like a beast for seven years.
< Babylonian image of a winged lion with a man’s head. (British Museum, London)
And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
The second beast represents the second kingdom in Daniel’s vision, and so, if our interpretation is correct, we would expect it to correspond to the empire that succeeded Babylon, namely Medo-Persia. A bear is not as swift as a lion nor as majestic, and so it was with Medo-Persia. We are told in Daniel 2:38-39 that Medo-Persia was to be inferior to Babylon and as we noted in chapter 6, the rulers of the Medo-Persian Empire did not wield the power that Nebuchadnezzar enjoyed. We also know from history that Medo-Persia was bear-like in its lumbering strength, conquering many enemies without even a battle; at one point, Xerxes fielded two and a half million men in his army. It is also an historical fact that Medo-Persia was a united empire of the Meads and Persians, yet Persia was the stronger and would seem to be implied by the bear-like-beast raising up on one side. Also from history we know there were three main conquests that really established the Medo-Persian Empire, namely Babylon, Egypt and Lydia. And thus it would seem that this is what the three ribs represent. Opponents of this view tell us that historically, Medo-Persia was never associated with a bear, and that the Medo-Persian Empire conquered more than just three competing kingdoms. In answer to this, all Daniel tells us is that this second beast was like a bear in its characteristics, something that cannot be denied of Medo-Persia. Secondly, Daniel clearly records what was said to this beast: ‘Arise, devour much flesh’, but by the time this instruction was given, it already had the three ribs in its mouth. Therefore it would appear that there is no difficulty in understanding Medo-Persia as the second beast in Daniel’s dream.
After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
Once again, if our interpretation is correct, we would expect the third beast to correspond to the next historical empire, i.e. Greece. And once again we have a matching ‘photo fit’. The beast is like a leopard – one of the swiftest of all creatures – and in addition it has wings on its back implying even greater speed. This is one of the most compelling reasons to accept this interpretation because the empire of Greece under Alexander the Great conquered the known world in lightning speed, unparallel in history. At the age of 29 it is reported that the young Alexander fell on his bed and wept because there were no more lands to conquer. It is also recorded that, on his deathbed (aged almost 33), Alexander was asked: ‘to whom shall the empire be given’, his answer: ‘give it to the strong’.
Within a year his empire had been divided up between his four generals, Antigonus took Babylon, Ptolemy took Egypt, Cassandra took Macedonia and Lysimachus took Asia Minor.
NB: notice that dominion was given – once again we are reminded that it is God who ‘removeth kings, and setteth up kings’ (Dan 2:21), “to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Dan 4:17)
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
Now we come to the fourth beast which should correspond to the Roman Empire in its two phases as revealed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s subsequent interpretation in chapter 2. Once again we find that the ‘shoe fits’, and in fact when we look at the interpretation in verses 23-24, it would appear to vindicate the view here expressed, that the four kingdoms are indeed the same is in chapter 2. What is interesting about this forth beast is that it is so unlike anything else, that Daniel doesn’t even try to compare it to an animal, he just simply tells us that it is ‘dreadful and terrible’.
In chapter two we were told that Rome was “strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.” (Dan 2:40) Here a similar picture is painted which indeed echoes the history of the Roman Empire, which took delight in crushing and destroying their foes. As we will see in verse 24, the ten horns are to arise out of this kingdom, giving us our ‘two phases’ of Rome and Revised Rome.
A point to note that is often overlooked, is that Rome had both the familiar western leg, and the less publicised eastern leg, which actually outlived the western leg by a thousand years (the two legs corresponding to the legs of the statue in chapter 2). Some, who have studied prophecy in the past, seem to have largely focused on the western ‘European’ element and ignored the eastern empire that actually includes Assyria, Babylon and North Africa. We will deal with this more fully later.
NB: the phrase ‘it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it’ at first glance, would seen to be in reference to time, implying that the other beasts had preceded it. However the Aramaic word literally means ‘in the presence of’, thus the other beasts in the vision are said to be in the presence of this forth beast. Those who hold to a ‘yet future’ fulfilment for all of these beasts / kingdoms use this verse to say that all of these beasts will come up at the same time, so this cannot of yet occurred. However, Daniel is seeing a vision, and clearly in the vision one beast comes up first, then another, then another, and finally a forth. Just because Daniel sees them all at the same time in his vision does not mean that the actual fulfilment of these things cannot happen over a period of time. Daniel is seeing a panoramic of world kingdoms, he is seeing things from God’s perspective and God is outside of time. Likewise, in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he saw the whole image at once yet clearly it was representing a succession of kingdoms. So once again there is no difficulty accepting the classical view.
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
In verse 11 we find that this little horn is given a personal pronoun showing him to be an individual. So from this verse we can see that this little horn that is speaking ‘blasphemous’ things, will subdue three of the original ten horns.
In the vision that John sees in Revelation 17 we are told “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” (Rev 17:12)
Thus, here we have introduced the one we commonly label as Antichrist, and he is seen to uproot three of the ten kings that will reign with him during the Great Tribulation.
(For a possible explanation of who these three kings might be, and why they are uprooted by Antichrist, see notes when we get to Daniel 11:40-44).
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
As Daniel is watching he sees thrones ‘set in place’. These are not the thrones of the 10 horns, nor the thrones of the little horn. These are thrones that are placed alongside the Ancient of Days. In Revelation 19 we read: “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.” (Rev 20:4) There are two distinct groups that we are told will reign with Christ during the Millennium, the bride of Christ (the Church) (2 Tim 2:12 / Rev 5:10), and those who were beheaded for their witness during the Tribulation time. Therefore, these thrones would seem to be the thrones that we (that is, Christians) will sit on! “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim 2:11-12)
Who is the Ancient of Days? From John’s description of Jesus in Revelation chapter 1, it would appear to be Jesus: I John….. was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last…..And I turned to see the voice that spake with me….His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Rev 1:9-18)
The similarities between Daniel’s and John’s visions would lead us to conclude that this is none other than Jesus Christ. However in verse 13 we find that Jesus comes to the Ancient of Days, meaning that the Ancient of Days must be God the Father. Why do they look so similar? Remember Jesus’ words to Philip in John 14:9 “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” And in John 10:30 Jesus said: “I and my Father are one”
The reference to wheels is consistent with Ezekiel’s vision of God on His throne in Ezekiel chapter 1 and again suggests that this is God the Father.
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
A fiery stream coming out from before Him would create a left / right divide. Either you would be on one side or the other. This is reminiscent of Matt 25:31-34: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”
What is really interesting about this passage from Matthew is that the deciding factor of who has been good vs. who has been bad, is all down to how they have treated Jesus’ brethren i.e. the Jews!
The ancient systems for counting didn’t go beyond a thousand, so this may imply a countless number, or it may simply mean as it says, ten thousand times ten thousand = one hundred million. If so, it is provocative that this could mean that after the various judgments of the Tribulation period culminating in the battle of Armageddon, one hundred million is all that will be left on the earth! Certainly about one and a half billion people will die under the forth seal in Revelation 6:7-8; and this is only at the beginning of the Tribulation.
How terrifying it would be to be standing in this crowd and see Jesus start to open the books. What information do those books contain? If God has been keeping a list of everything you have ever thought, done and said, and it is all recorded in black and white, what kind of defense could you offer? Praise God that Jesus has nailed to His own cross the handwriting of ordinances that were written against us and paid them in full on our behalf!! (See Col 2:14).
I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
Revelation 13 is full of this beast speaking blasphemous things (Rev 13:1,5,6,11); finally this beast – who we know better as Antichrist – will get what’s coming! 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says: And then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” And in Revelation 19 John records: “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.” (Rev 19:20)
As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
So the last beast of the four is destroyed; that’s easy enough to understand; but as regarding the other beasts…? What this really means we may not find out until we get there, but a plausible answer is that the spiritual powers behind these kingdoms are ‘removed from office’ yet not destroyed until after the Millennium. Certainly the legacy of these kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece) are prevalent in the world today. Babylon’s current influence was addressed in our study of chapter 4; Greece’s thirst for learning and ‘wisdom’ rejected the simplicity of the gospel and continues to this day in our education systems (see 1 Cor 1:22-23). Medo-Persia has spawned false religions such as Zoroastrianism and modern-day Persia (i.e. Iran) is an area today associated with a passionate hatred of Israel. Thus this verse may mean that this power and influence will be removed, which we would certainly expect as we enter a period of Theocracy (God’s reign) on planet earth.
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
It is amazing that the Preterists believe that all of this was fulfilled in AD70! Are we really expected to believe that lightning flashing across the sky, the moon being darkened and the stars falling from heaven, with the powers of the heavens shaken and the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, all occurred in AD70, and yet not a single account of this ‘world shaking’ event was recorded and persevered in history? (See Matt 24:27-30). Would the Preterists also have us believe that all would empires and dominions have now ended? – someone forgot to inform our present governments if that’s the case! Preterism is heresy! Jesus said ‘do not be deceived’ (Matt 24:4-5)!
Then we have the Amillennialists. Amillennialism is possibly the most widely held belief in the church regarding the end times. It is believed by both Roman Catholic and Reformation/Denominational churches. They believe that there will not be a time when Christ rules on earth (hence A = not, Millennium = thousand years, i.e. ‘no thousand years’ (cf Rev 20:1-7)). It is proposed that after the church has ‘won the world for Christ’ (something that Jesus neglected to explain to the disciples) Christ will wrap it all up and we go straight to Judgment Day! (It’s more like Monopoly than theology.) This puts all the emphasis on the church, and more specifically, on those who elevate themselves as the leaders of this ‘world takeover bid’ by the church. (NB: The Roman Catholic Church as already tried this with disastrous consequences).
This is also the underlying position of the ‘Emerging Church’ and a subtle undertone of some of the recent popular ‘church growth’ manuals.
Proponents of these things say that the church will unite with our Catholic (and even Muslim) brothers and sisters, and we will become world conquering. A recent ‘emerging church’ author explained that apparently we have all misinterpreted the Bible and actually there is a ‘secret message of Jesus’, which the author reveals is that the kingdom of God will be established on earth by the church. The thought of Jesus coming back and taking us to a place He has prepared for us in Heaven (as He clearly said in John 14:3), and then coming back to establish His kingdom on earth, is scoffed at by this ‘new wave’ of all-embracing, post-modern, emerging-driven scholars.
Paul said to Timothy: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim 4:1-4)
I don’t want to attack any sincere brothers and sisters in Christ who hold different views, but let’s get serious; verses like this (Daniel 7:13-14) are not ambiguous! Jesus is coming back to establish his kingdom and reign on earth as abundant scriptures, such as this one, make absolutely clear! It is not the church that will usher in this new kingdom but Christ Himself. When He does, His kingdom will be everlasting; man’s government will be ended.
I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
It is important to understand that Daniel, at this time, was looking for the reestablishment of Israel, as their 70 years in Babylon was drawing to a close. This must have been quite a shocker to see that all of these beasts would come first.
I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
Who Daniel speaks to here we are not told, presumably an angel.
Please notice Daniel’s attitude here: he is grieved and troubled but he doesn’t ‘kick back’ and say ‘this is all too confusing for me’. No. He sets his heart on finding out the truth.
These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
As the ‘one who stood by him’ starts to interpret these things, it is easy to picture Daniel listening intently.
The first thing he is told is, as we mentioned earlier, that the four beasts represent four kings or kingdoms.
The ‘yet future’ view of these four beasts would draw our attention to the fact that we are told that these four beasts are four beasts that shall – future tense – arise. By the time Daniel is receiving this vision, king Nebuchadnezzar has been dead for almost 10 years. So, it is argued, this cannot be referring to Babylon of the past.”
However, as we have already mentioned, the vision is from God’s perspective and God is outside of time. The Aramaic word translated ‘which shall arise’ is ‘qum’ (pronounced ‘koom’) and means ‘to arise from’ ‘to come on the scene’ or even (and most fitting in this case) ‘to be made to stand’; which is indeed the case as we were reminded back in Daniel chapter 2: “he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Dan 2:21)
So this verse literally reads: These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall be made to stand out of the earth.
Thus, this verse presents no problem to the view expressed thus far.
But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
Now Daniel is given some great news! But the question for us is: ‘who is meant by ‘the saints’?
Clue: Who would Daniel have understood it to be in 552 B.C.?
Often when we hear the title ‘saints’ we are prone to think of ‘super-Christians’; but according to the New Testament, all who follow Christ are referred to as saints (See 2 Cor 3:13 / Eph 1:1 / Phil 1:1 / 2 Thess 1:10). However, Christians are not the only group in the Bible to be referred to as ‘saints’. Indeed if we were to take this verse as referring to Christians, we have a real problem when we get to verse 21, for there the ‘horn’ prevails over the saints – something that Jesus said not even the gates of hell would do against the Church (Matt 16:18).
This therefore leaves us only one option: as Daniel would have understood, the ones referred to in this verse are Israel, who throughout the Old Testament (of which Daniel is obviously part), are called ‘saints’. (See Deut 33:2-3 / 2 Chron 6:41 / Psalm 132:16 / etc).
So, as is consistent with numerous Old Testament prophecies, and in fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:7, 13:14-17 & 15:18, Daniel is told that Israel will take the kingdom that God promised to Abraham’s seed as a possession for ever.
Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
Now Daniel goes back to look more closely at the fourth beast, which we have already identified as Rome, which did indeed devour and break in pieces, stamping the residue of those whom it conquered.
And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
In particular Daniel wants to know about the ten horns, (whom we know to be the ten kings of Rev 17) and about the ‘other horn’ (whom we know to be Antichrist).
I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
(See notes for verse 18).
Daniel watches and, no doubt to his surprise, sees Antichrist making war with the Jews and prevailing against them. So great will be this time of persecution for the Jews that Jeremiah labelled it ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’ “For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jer 30:5-7)
Zechariah goes even further and explains that only one third of the Jews will survive this ‘holocaust’, but the result will be that they turn to the Lord and repent.
“And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” (Zech 13:8-9)
Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
To Daniel’s (and the Jews) relief there is an ‘until’. God will not let this persecution go on one moment longer than is necessary to accomplish His plans. And at that moment ‘judgment was given’ – God ruled in favour – of the Jews, and they will be given the kingdom. See: Gen 15:18 / Gen 17:1-8 / Psalm 89 / Psalm 105 / 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16, 24-26, 29 / Luke 1:32-33 / Acts 15:14-16
Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
Now, after the brief summary we have just had, Daniel is taken back to the forth beast and given more information.
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
Once again we have it confirmed that the ten horns (ten kings) will come out of the forth beast (Rome), and Antichrist will himself come out after them and subdue three of them.
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Both here and in Revelation 13 we find that Antichrist has a real speech problem! Again we are told he will ‘wear out’ the Jews as we have already noted, but here we are given the duration: time (singular) = 1 year, times (plural) = 2 years, and half a time = half a year. Therefore Antichrist’s oppression of the Jews will last for three and a half years (of 360 day prophetic years – see chapter 9 notes for more on this). This period of time is the same as the Great Tribulation that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24.
But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
Who is doing this judging? Christ and His bride – the Church.
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (1 Cor 6:2-3)
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
So far we have concluded that the Jews will posses the kingdom (verses 18 & 22) in fulfilment of the unconditional promise made to Abraham. To this point the vision has all been about these ungodly earthly kingdoms, all of whom ‘unlawfully’ possessed the land that was given to Abraham by God. Therefore it follows that it is now given to whom it rightly belongs, i.e. the Jews. However this verse now refers to the ‘kingdom under the whole heaven’ and says that the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness under the whole heaven shall be given, not to the saints, but to the people of the saints of the Most High. Could this be a subtle reference to the Church? Could it be said that the Church are the ‘people of the Jews’? Romans 11 tells us that we have been grafted in to olive tree of Israel, Israel being the ‘natural branches’. It is also true in one sense that Israel birthed the Church; all the Apostles were Jews, to the Jews were ‘committed the oracles (words) of God’ (Rom 3:2), i.e. we get our Bible from the Jews. Given the fact that the Church is to reign over the ‘whole heaven’ with Christ: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” (Rev 2:26-27) “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev 3:21) – Surely therefore the ‘people of the saints’ are indeed Christians and therefore the Church!?
What we do know without question is that the ‘him’ whom ‘all dominions shall serve and obey’ is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.
Praise God for the faithfulness of Daniel.
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study!