CHAPTER 7 | Verses 1 - 12

From this chapter until the end of the book, this book now takes on a very different character. Instead of dealing with principles of how we should live (chapters 1-6) we see that Daniel moves into prophecy – primarily revealing things about the future – especially in regard to the very last days. This chapter would be more easily understood if read in conjunction with Revelation 13.

Verse 1: “In the first year of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head that came to him when he was on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, and the primary things of his head he told.”

Verse 2: “Daniel answered and said: ‘I have seen visions of the night. Behold! The four winds of the heavens were disturbing the Great Sea.’”

Four: Four is a global number – it relates to the world. Although this prophecy has its origins in the Mediterranean area (Europe and Middle East) we need to realise that it is going to have implications for the entire world. All people are going to be impacted by it.

Great Sea: The Mediterranean Sea. This is revealing to us the geographical framework of the area of the world that is going to be of great significance in the last days – the Middle East and parts of Europe (ground zero, so to speak). In Revelation 13:1 we read about a beast who comes out of the Sea. The sea, prophetically, speaks about disturbance, chaos, something that is not in order. This empire that is going to rise up in the last days is not only going to affect the whole world, but it is also going to rise up when the world is in a place of turmoil – the world is going to be full of great instability.

Verse 3: “And four great beasts were rising up from the sea, each one was different from the other.”

Beasts: A beast is an empire. Whenever we see prophetic writings and they speak about some type of animal or primarily this word, beast, we are talking about empires. By understanding these empires, we are going to have a better understanding of what we should be looking forward to in the last days.

Rising up from the sea: Meaning this: they came up out of chaos.

Verse 4: “And the first one was as a lion, but it had wings like an eagle. I was looking, and its feathers were plucked off; and it was lifted  up from the earth and it stood upon the feet of aman, and a human heart was given to it.”

The first one was as a lion: Most Jewish and Christian scholars agree that this first beast represents the empire of Babylon. A lion has authority, it is very intimidating, and (in literature) it represents rulership (Revelation 5:5). “The king of the beasts”.

Eagle: An eagle is a majestic bird. Also called “the king of the birds”.

Plucked…lifted…stood: A transition, a progression of change.

Note: Egypt and Assyria (The first two fallen empires mentioned in Revelation 17:9-10; Babylon being the third) had preceded Babylon and had been simply interested in power and rule. The establishment of the Babylonian Empire was unique. Babylon was interested in also using its power for cultural purposes – the arts, education, the sciences etc.

Verse 5: “Behold, another beast – a second one – and it was similar to a bear standing. It had three ribs that were in its mouth between its teeth. It rose up and ate much flesh.”

Another beast: This second beast represents the empire of the Medes and Persians. They were more powerful than Babylon. Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, (we can read about him in the book of Esther) was one of the kings who ruled over this empire. Esther 1:1 gives us an indication of how massive this empire was, just in terms of land mass. They ruled over 127 provinces.

A bear: A bear is strong, but the way it utilises its strength is with its very large feet. This empire was very destructive, and it ruled with power as well as fear.

Three ribs: As this Empire expanded to its fullness it was going to take over three additional nations.

Verse 6: “Afterwards I was still looking, and behold another beast – this one like a leopard. It had four wings of a bird on its back. Four heads were to this beast, and it was given rule.”

Another beast: This third beast represents the Greek empire. This one was also unique, but for another reason.

Rule: Power

Verse 7: “Afterwards I was looking at the night visions, and behold the fourth beast. He was terrible, strong, and very powerful. It had great teeth of iron that were to it; and it was eating and destroying, and what remained it crushed with its feet. It was different from the beasts that preceded it, and it had ten horns.”

Note: This is the beast/the empire (Rome i.e. Europe) that is of the greatest importance, and it is uniquely related to the last days or final empire.

Terrible: One that is very frightening. His appearance causes great fear.

Crushed: It trampled anything that was left.

Ten horns: The final empire is also known for having these ten horns (Revelation 17:3). These ten horns are ten kings – kings that have never ruled, but who will be given leadership for a very short period of time (Revelation 17:12)

Verse 8: “I was looking at the horns, and behold another horn, a small one, and it sprouted up between them, before whom three of the first horns were uprooted before him. Behold, it had eyes as the eyes of a man, and they were in the horn. And it had a mouth that spoke great things.”

Another horn, a small one: The little horn is not an empire. It is a leader of an empire (most people see him as the antichrist) who is going to take authority over all the world (see Daniel 7:20&24-25 and Revelation 13:11-17).

Before whom three of the first horns were uprooted: The ten kings are down to seven. The number seven speaks about holiness. This empire is going to give an impression of holiness, but it is a false holiness.

Eyes: A source of knowledge. This horn (leader) is going to have great knowledge and understanding – abundant information. He is going to use that information, that knowledge, in order to rule and to enslave people.

Great: Blasphemous things (Revelation 13:5-6)

Verse 9: “I was looking, and behold thrones were established. And the Ancient of Days was seated: He was dressed in white, as snow. His hair upon His head was like clean wool. His throne was as the tongues of fire, its wheels were like blazing fire.”

Note: This verse shows a change that is taking place. So often in prophecy, before the details of the prophecy are given, we get a statement of encouragement. God gives a message of hope before the bad things come. This verse is given to encourage us.

Thrones: Seats. These have to do with government and judgment.

Established: Set in place.

Ancient of Days: A reference to God Himself.

The Ancient of Days was seated: God takes a seat for the purpose of judging, setting things in order. God is going to judge this wicked, evil empire. His throne was as the tongues of fire, its wheels were like blazing fire: This is very similar to
what we see described in Ezekiel 1:26-27

Verse 10: “There was a river of fire that continued out and went before Him. A thousand thousands served Him, and a myriad of myriads stood before Him. The judgement was seated, and the books were opened.”

Myriad: An extremely large number. In classical history: a unit of ten thousand.

The judgement: God’s courthouse.

Books: Books record deeds. God is going to be judging based upon deeds. This empire’s deeds are evil. They are blasphemous. God is going to bring it to an end.

Verse 11: “I was looking because of the voice of those great things that were spoken by the horn; the beast was killed, and I was looking, and its body was destroyed and thrown into the fire.”

Note: The message of hope is that this beast, this empire which has a blasphemous character, is going to be destroyed by God.

Verse 12: “And the rest of the beasts had their government taken away, yet their lives were lengthened for a season and for a time.”

The rest of the beasts: Babylon, the Medes and the Persians, the Greeks and Rome.

Their lives were lengthened for a season: They are going to continue for a dispensation (a measure of time) – the period of time that we are living in right now. They will be allowed to continue until His judgment is manifested in the world (through Messiah).


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