Ladies Bible Study
The Book of Daniel
Relevance for Today
We are now beginning another exciting aspect of our study of the Book of Daniel, the prophetic aspect of the book. We just completed the historical section dealing with Danielís life in captivity and now we are beginning our study of his visions and dreams and how they apply to us today.
Before we begin, letís review what we have learned so far. In chapter one, we were introduced to Daniel and his three friends as they were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and transported to Babylon to serve in the Kingís court. We begin here and learn of Daniel as a man of resolution, revelation and reverence. We see resolution and reverence revealed in several ways. We are introduced to Daniel and his 3 friends, in chapter one and the three Hebrew young men alone in chapter three. In both chapters we see resolution in refusal to eat the wrong foods and in refusing to worship the wrong God or man. We see their reverence in continuing to trust in God and His abilities and trusting God to deliver the 3 young men from the fiery furnace and Daniel from the lionís den. We came to realize that deep faith and trust in God had to be present before the trial and that unified faith always brings about the miraculous. We see Danielís revelation knowledge in the interpretation of
Nebuchadnezzarís dreams in chapter 3 and 5, and the writing on the wall in chapter 6. Here we saw the fall of the Babylon Empire and the rise of the Persian Empire.
Letís begin now with our study of Chapter 7.
Daniel 7:1-8: In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.
2. Daniel spoke, saying, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. 3. "And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 4."The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it. 5. "And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: `Arise, devour much flesh!' 6. "After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7. "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
8. "I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.
This chapter is very involved and so we will take this study a few verses at a time.
Daniel has a dream and a vision. In it, he sees four beasts rise from the Great Sea.
Most scholars agree the "great sea" is the Mediterranean Sea and means the nations of the Earth here. We see the four beast rise from the sea and each beast is distinct, yet familiar.
Daniel 7: 4."The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
Letís go back to chapter two and look at the image in Nebuchadnezzarís dream. As you remember it had a head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of clay and iron. Each section of the image represented a specific thing and we will see how it corresponds to Danielís dream as we proceed.
Archeological evidence found in the excavation of ancient Babylon has found statues of lions and reliefs of a lion with wings. This was a symbol for the Babylon Empire. The lion with wings represented the army under Nebuchadnezzar and how swiftly it could cross terrain and capture a city, thus the eagle wings. The plucking of the wings, possibly represent the events in Nebuchadnezzarís live, particularly the seven years of insanity. In the end some believe that Nebuchadnezzar was indeed converted hence "a manís heart was given to it."
This image corresponds to the head of gold, the Babylon Empire.
Daniel 7: 5. "And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: `Arise, devour much flesh!'
The lopsided bear represents the Median-Persian Empire with the Persian Empire eventually becoming the dominant one. The three ribs in its mouth the 3 kingdoms it conquered, The Babylon Empire in 539 BC, Lydia in 546 BC and Egypt in 525 BC. A bear because the Persian Army lumbered over its territory, the army slowly moving from one place to another, with families and personal belonging of all the soldiers in tow. A huge slow beast, with the capabilities of moving quickly if needed.
This image corresponds to the silver arms and chest of the image of Nebuchadnezzar.
The third beast is the leopard with four sets of wings and four heads.
Daniel 7:6: "After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
This is the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great. A leopard with wings because again the swiftness of the conquest of the known world by Alexander. He conquered the
known world in 4 years, between 334 and 330 BC. However, we remember our world history and Alexander died at an early age, probably due to alcoholism and the empire was divided between his four generals, thus the 4 heads.
This image corresponds to the belly and thighs of bronze of Nebuchadnezzarís image.
Letís stop here and compare the dreams, Nebuchadnezzarís of a fine large multi-metal image and Danielís of beasts of nature. Remember that Nebuchadnezzar was given his dream to show the time of the Gentiles, a worldly view, impressive and great and what would happen to these kingdoms. Daniel however, as a man of revelation sees the spiritual side, the beastly side of the kings and kingdoms, the destructive and vicious side. Thus, God uses these beasts to show Daniel things to come.
Before we discuss the fourth beast I want to jump ahead a few verses, as our discussion of the fourth beast will dominate the remainder of this study.
Daniel 7: 9-15. "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;
10. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. a thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. 11. "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12. "As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13. "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. 14. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. 15. "I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
For the purpose of this study we are going to skip verse 8 and go to verses 9-15, we will return to verse 8 during the last part of our study today.
Danielís vision now shifts to Heaven and we get a picture of our Heavenly Father and the Throne Room of Heaven. What a vivid description! In actuality we do not see God as Father here, but as Judge preparing the judgment scene at the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the millennium reign of Christ on the Earth.
I think here is a good time to define some terms we may have all heard.
Millennium refers to a thousand, for our purposes a thousand years. There are several schools of thought regarding Christís reign. Amillennialists believe that the present church age will continue until Christís Second Coming. They believe that Satan is now bound in this present church age which will continue until the Second Coming of Christ and that there will be one resurrection and one final judgment.
Premillennialist believe in the rapture of the church, the end of the church age, the Tribulation and then the thousand year reign of Christ at His Second coming. They are subdivided into those who believe the church will go through the tribulation and those who believe the church will be raptured either 31/2 years into the tribulation or immediately before the tribulation. We here at Hope and Life are mostly Premillennialist, believing the rapture will occur before the tribulation. I do sincerely believe that there will be a rapture and that we will be spared the reign of the "man of perdition" as we will discuss below.
Daniel is switching between the heavenly and the earthly letting us know what is happening in both locals.
Letís now look at the fourth beast, starting with verse 7.
Daniel 7:7-8,11-12,15-28: "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8. "I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous wordsÖ. 11. "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12. "As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 15. "I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16. "I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17. `Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. 18. `But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.'
19. "Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; 20. "and about the ten horns that were on its head, and about the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. 21. "I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22. "until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. 23. "Thus he said: `The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. 24. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. 25. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. 26. `But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. 27. 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 obey Him.' 28. "This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.''
This is difficult beast to envision. He is dreadful and terrible, with huge iron teeth, that devoured all it met. On its head is ten horns. This beast is very different from the other beast, in that the other beasts are somewhat recognizable, this one is not. It is something we cannot imagine, because only part of this vision has come true and no animal of this description exists in our world. It does however, exist spiritually!
As you have probably already assumed this beast represents the 4th part of Nebuchadnezzarís image, the legs of iron and the feet of clay and iron. It represents the Roman Empire whose remnants exist today in the form of several European nations. The Roman Empire was not conquered as the other empires were. It deteriorated from within, from sin, vice and moral rottenness. It literally rotted from the inside out. Can you see the parallel to our world today?
Many scholars believe that it was not conquered but lives in nations today and will lead to the rise of the "new roman empire" as depicted by the feet and toes of clay and iron and the ten horns. Some suggest that the rise of the European Union is the beginning of the end.
The Ancient Roman Empire did trample and devour the know world and ruled it for a thousand years. It will rise again and trample and devour in the short time of the tribulation.
Letís look a minute at verse 12. The dominion of these kingdoms was taken away, but their lives were allowed to remain for a period. I believe this is referring to the archeological evidence left of each empire and the historical accounts we have. However, the kingdom of the little horn, will be completely destroyed and a new Heaven and a new Earth will be created! No evidence of it will remain!
There are many reference in the New Testament to the beast with the ten horns and the little horn that destroys three of the horns. (see verses 8 and 24.)
2 Thessalonians 2:1-10: 1. Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2. not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4. who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
8. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10. and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Here he is referred to as the "man of sin". He will be endowed with all power, signs and lying wonders and unrighteous deception, that will lead many to spiritual death.
Revelation 13:1-7: 1. Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3. I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?'' 5. And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7. And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Here he is referred to as the "beast of the sea" who is mortally wounded and healed.
We need to stop and consider the enemy, satan. Letís review what we know about him.
Isaiah 14:12-14: 12. "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13. For you have said in your heart: `I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;
Satanís one goal is to be like God. In his arrogance he wanted to make himself like God.
Since only God can be God, Satanís only option is to imitate the things of God, including the mortal wound and healing, a cheap ungodly imitation of Christ, His death and resurrection.
Back to the "little horn".
1 John 2: 18: Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
Here, he is referred to as "the antichrist", a term we are all very familiar with and will use for the remainder of this study. John tells us that many antichrists have come. I believe that the spirit of antichrist is rampant in our world today waiting to possess the man of sin when events unfold. Remember, Satan knows no more about the plan of God than we do, in fact he knows less. He knows what the Bible has to say about the end times, however, he is not privy to revelation knowledge and therefore can only wait for things to unfold. Nothing takes God by surprise, but all things of God take the enemy by surprise, because he is already defeated! Amen!
1 Corinthians 2:7-8: 7. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8. which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
As you probably noticed in Daniel 7 and in Revelation 13, the beast or the antichrist is given the ability to speak "pompous words", one translation says arrogant words. He is also given the power and authority to rule over, persecute and make war over the people of the Most High. These saints are the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile. Many scholars believe that most of the persecution will be against the Jewish people, others believe it will be both believers and Jews. Either way, there will be horrible persecution for three and one half years. (See Daniel 7:25, Rev.11:2, Rev. 12:6 and Rev.13:5-7.)
How can someone so terrible as this beast come into power you ask? I remember once as a child my mother and I were having a discussion about Adam and Eve. I remember asking her why Eve did what the serpent told her. My mother said something very wise to me and I will never forget it. She said, "the devil always makes sin appealing and attractive. Being a Christian is not always easy and in many ways is unattractive but sin will always be glamorous and attractive or you wouldnít be tempted to sin." My mother was a very wise woman of God! I believe this is how the antichrist will come into power. He will be an attractive, intelligent (no one said the devil was stupid!) and charismatic man. He will appear to be peaceful, wise, kind and generous- all the things the world is looking for now.
He will talk about bringing about world peace and will actually make it appear for a short time to be a reality. He will draw people to him and in the end many will worship Him.
But, that is for another lesson. Can you see how our world now is ripe for all these events to take place? Yes, I do believe we are on the cusp of the end times.
Even so, Lord Come! Amen
Questions Chapter 7
5. Who is the Ancient of Days? Who is the Son of Man?
10. What common characteristic does the antichrist have with satan?