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Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 5
“I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was
seated: His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was
like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire.”
The 7th chapter of Daniel’s oracle is one of the most amazing and important prophetic passages in all of the Bible. Even the truths of the book of Revelation are built upon this eschatological platform in Daniel. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to state that, if you understand Daniel 7 then you will be able to tie together all end time truth. So, having noted this, let us begin our study together.
The all encompassing vision
Daniel, in the time of Belshazzar, the King of Babylon, receives a vision of the remarkable purpose of God through the centuries, right up until the the consummation of the age. It is important to note that God speaks to His people when they are upon their beds sleeping. This gives Him the opportunity to invade their minds with remarkable dreams and visions foretelling His purpose (Daniel 7:1). So, all of history is embraced in this vision that entered the mind of Daniel, particularly as it refers to Israel and the Middle East region. We are told that, “Four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea”, a reference to the Mediterranean Sea. This chapter then constitutes the saga of evil and its ultimate defeat at the hands of the God of Israel, and those of the human race, who have elected to join Him in this battle by surrendering their lives to the “One who is like unto the Son of Man”(Daniel 7:13).
The setting of the stage
In his vision Daniel sees three animals and one monster beast. This is much the same as the vision that Nebuchadnezzar had that is recorded in Daniel 2 in that the animals and the final beast represent the four great Gentile nations that will arise in the earth and resist Israel and her message of salvation for the world. In both dreams the final global empire or Beast Empire, as we have it Daniel 7, is extraordinarily powerful and wicked. This final entity will embrace every nation and tribe and it will ruthlessly attack Israel and persecute the Church of the Living God (Daniel 7:23-25). Again, it is this evil entity that demands our attention and, as we have already seen, it is spoken of again in the book of Revelation. Jesus also referred to it as recorded by Matthew in his twenty-fourth chapter (Matthew 24: 15). The Holy Spirit thereby is seeking to prepare the people of God for what lies ahead. We must listen carefully to what He is saying.
So, in this chapter three animals being a lion, a bear and a leopard are seen by Daniel. The Lion represents the Babylonian Empire in that, for all its wickedness, it had a majestic element to it that was quite amazing and upon its walls were engraved lions of great beauty. I have seen the original of these in the Berlin Museum of Antiquities. It was followed by the Bear of the Media-Persian Empire, that was ruthless and wicked as it tore nations apart in a most savage manner (Daniel 7:5). Thirdly, Daniel saw the rise of the Grecian Empire under Alexander the Great and it is typified as a Leopard, since with great speed it went forth to conquer and destroy the Media-Persian Empire and then unexpectedly, at a very young age, Alexander died and his Empire was divided up between his four generals (Daniel 7:6). Two of these, Ptolemy and Seleucid, took control of the Middle East region. These generals and their offspring fought with each for control of the coastal highway which was in the land of Israel, these battles are recorded in Daniel 11.
Alexander’s Empire hellenized the regions it conquered and therefore the culture of Greece with its language and gods was imposed upon the people. This struggle is reflected in Zechariah nine and verse 13. The extent of this hellenization process is seen in the fact that the New Testament was actually written in Greek. Antiochus Epiphanies was the prevailing Seleucid that invaded the Temple in Jerusalem and committed the Abomination of Desolation in 168 BC. He is the proto-type of the Antichrist! Meaning that what he did will happen again in AD 70 and at the consumption of the age, when the Son of Man comes again to take up His glorious throne (Daniel 7:11; Revelation 19:20).
The fourth Empire, here represented as a terrible Beast, is Rome. We are told that it holds within it all the strength and wickedness of the three that have gone before it and that it is, “dreadful and terrible and exceedingly strong”(Daniel 7:7). See also Revelation 14:2. In Daniel 2 it is represented as iron which is the strongest of metals. This Beast Empire has longevity as it finally mutates into ten regions covering the whole world, here represented as Ten Horns, (in Daniel 2 it is ten toes), three of which are toppled and a sinister most wicked individual, the last Antichrist, will emerge from them ( Daniel 7:8). It is this Antichrist that is destroyed by Christ at His second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
The Beast kingdom
In Daniel seven we are told then that the coming Beast global Empire will:
1. Be different from all the Empires that have gone before it (V23).
2. Devour the whole earth and break it in pieces (V23).
3. Have ten horns or Governors who will rule the world (V24). That is, the world will be divided up into ten regions. My friends this is just around the corner! Note also Revelation 17:3.
4. Three regions will fall to one seemingly insignificant person (V8) and thus, in the end, there will only be eight governors over the ten regions counting him (V24).
5. Birth the rise of the final Antichrist or Beast. This insignificant individual, who subdues three regional governors, is the person to watch for. It is he who will attack the God of Israel, the Saints and the Church and no doubt do so by, vilifying the Bible and Israel. He will initially dupe Israel into signing a seven year peace agreement that he will break after three years and a half years (V25). It is important to note that while the Beast signs a seven year peace pact with Israel the Great Tribulation is only three and a half years and not seven (Revelation 13:5).
All of this is approaching and the Church, I fear is not prepared. John in his Revelation oracle warns, as does Daniel, that this Beast is coming for the Church (Revelation 13:7,10).
The triumph of Christ and His kingdom
As with John’s revelation, here in Daniel 7, the absolute sovereignty of God is asserted together with the glory of the Son of Man. Nothing will happen on the earth that is outside of the sovereignty of God and He will use the coming troubles of the final Beast kingdom to purify His Church and save Israel (Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14). The Son of Man will bring in the everlasting kingdom on earth and this kingdom, having triumphed over all that is evil and wicked and the Beast himself, will be given to those who have loved Him, stood fast and faithfully served Him. Daniel describes this glorious day this in these terms:
“Then the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under
the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and
The saints of all history are the Jewish believers from Abraham onwards and the Gentiles who have been grafted into Israel’s Olive Tree of salvation. This according to scripture is one body (Ephesians 3:6), one commonwealth (Ephesians 2:12), one flock (John 10:16) and one tree (Romans 11:17). See the note below.
Even so, Lord Jesus come!
The Bible nowhere teaches that anybody would be saved by keeping the Law. The Law was always the out working of salvation and the Torah affirms this by stating that obedience was based on faith in God’s power in one’s life (Deuteronomy 30:11-14). Paul quotes this same passage when defending faith as being the basis of being saved (Romans 10:6-9). Salvation then has always been based on faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. Those living before His death were saved by looking forward to His atoning work, mirrored in the sacrificial system of the Temple and those, like us, by looking back at His historical atoning death. (Hebrews 11:13, Hebrews 12:1-2). So, Paul underlines this in his Roman letter where he strongly asserts that Abraham and David were saved by faith alone (Romans 4:5-12). The writer of the book of Hebrews also confirms this when he refers to the many great Old Testament saints, in chapter eleven of his great oracle, who triumphed through faith It is this vast company of saved Jews that we have been made a part of. This why Paul affirms that the mystery that God gave Him was that Gentiles are now part of the same body of those who have already been saved (Ephesians 3:6). That is, there is only one Olive Tree of salvation and Gentiles are grafted into it (Romans 11:17). This is precisely why, when Daniel speaks of the saints being persecuted by the coming Beast, he is talking about all those who by faith are in the Olive Tree through Christ or, as he puts it, the Son of Man. The same is true of the book of Revelation.