THE VISIONS OF DANIEL
Daniel -- Chapter Seven
AIM: To show that God knows and has planned the course of world governments and that He will finally destroy them and establish His own rule.
POINT OF CONTACT: How many have heard of the controversy that "God is Dead@? Why do you think, men have come up with such an idea? Discuss. This chapter shows us that God is not dead, that He has a plan and He will one day show the world, He is not dead.
INTRODUCTION: The first six chapters dealt with the life of Daniel as a godly man in an idolatrous land. He interpreted dreams but they were not his dreams. In the last six chapters we will study prophecy as revealed to Daniel in dreams and visions and revelations. Much of the prophecy was prophetic in Daniel's day, but is now history and has already taken place.
Today's lesson deals with much the same lesson as that of chapter two. Chapter two, however, revealed the future kingdoms of the world as man would see them. Chapter seven reveals the future kingdoms of the world as God would be seeing them during the "Times of the Gentiles". The "Times of the Gentiles", represents that period of that began with the Babylonian captivity in 605 BC. It will continue until the end of the seven year Tribulation period, when Jesus will return in power. Revelation 19:11-21.
The visions that Daniel saw as he dreamed fall into three basic scenes which we want to study today.
I. The Four Wild Beasts - Vs. 1-8
Vs. 1 -- This event occurred between Chapters 4 and 5. "Sum" refers to "gist" or the major parts of the visions.
Vs. 2 -- The Sea refers to the nations and peoples of the world. The four winds refer to the "social and political" agitations that were stirring up the nations of the world.
Vs. 3 -- The beasts are future kingdoms. They came up from the restless and changing nations of the world. They were (these four) different one from the other.
Let us note some things about the nations of the World, especially during the "Times of the Gentiles".
1. They are all more or less brutal. The passions of godless politics are low and unspiritual; hence, the need for godly men in office.
2. Governments are often destructive of freedoms, life, property.
3. Governments are only temporary. One succeeds another. But we should do all we can to preserve the American way of life.
4. There is a judgment on nations as well as on individuals - Psalm 9:17. We should do all we can to make our nation godly and mindful of God. What are some ways that we can do this?
Vs. 4 -- The first beast represented the Babylonian kingdom. Cf. Jeremiah 50:17, 44; 49:22; Ezekiel 17:3. "A man's heart" was given to it refers to Nebuchadnezzar.
Vs. 5 -- The second beast represented the Media-Persian Empire. Like a bear. It was larger than Babylon but not as dignified as a lion. "It raised itself up on one side" refers to the fact that Persia was stronger than Media. The three ribs refer to the three kingdoms it conquered, Babylon, Egypt, and Lydia. "Arise, devour much flesh" refers to the fact that Xerxes, their king, took two and one-half million men in an army for conquest.
Vs. 6 -- The third beast represented the Grecian Empire -- The four wings of a fowl refers to the swiftness with which the Grecian armies under Alexander the Great conquered the world. The four heads of the beast refer to the four divisions made in the Grecian Empire under the control of Alexander's four generals after his death.
Vs. 7 -- The fourth beast represented the Roman Empire which was dreadful and terrible. It devoured nations, broke them up, and established its own rule. It received taxes from the conquered nations. Cf. Matthew, the publican, the tax collector. Matthew 9:9.
This beast, though different from the other beasts, did have characteristics of the previous three kingdoms. Revelation 13:13. John saw these kingdoms in reverse order from Daniel. Why? Because he was seeing things from the end back to the beginning of the "Times of the Gentiles".
Vs. 8 -- The 10 horns refer to the ten nations that will rule the world in the time of the end and correspond to the ten toes of the image of Chapter two. The little horn is the Anti-Christ. Revelation 13:1-9. He will be a political and military leader. He will uproot or destroy three of the horns (nations) and then rule over the remaining kingdoms.
Note: God knows all things from the beginning to the end.
II. The Judgment Scene - Vs. 9 and 10.
Vs. 9 -- "Cast down" means "placed". The Ancient of Days is God and is descriptive of God. Cf. Revelation 1:13-16. It is Jesus Christ, whom the Father has committed all judgment into His hands. Acts 17:31; John 5:22.
Vs. 10 -- This doesn't seem to refer to any one particular judgment but possibly:
(1) to the judgment of the Jews at the close of the Tribulation. Ezekiel 20:33-38.
(2) The judgment of the Nations (Gentiles) at the close of the Tribulation. Matthew 25:31-46; Joel 3:1-2, 12.
(3) The judgment Seat of Christ. II Corinthians 5:10; I Corinthians 3:11-15. (The judgment of the saved.)
(4) The Great White Throne Judgment. Revelation 10: 11-15. (The judgment of the unsaved.)
One thing we can ALL look forward to and that is the judgment bar of God. Romans 2:6.
III. The Son of Man Receiving the Kingdom - Vs. 11-14
Vs. 11 -- The horn is the Anti-christ and the beast is the Roman Empire, which the Anti-christ will finally head up in the last day. Revelation 19:20.
Vs. 12 -- The rest of the beasts refer to the previous three kingdoms. When the succeeding kingdoms captured them they were absorbed into the next kingdom and they continued to live for a time, but their tenure of life was fixed and determined.
Vs. 13 -- The Ancient of Days here refers, I think, to God the Father. Why (the Father) here and the Son in Vs. 9? They are eternally and actually the same and interchangeable terms can be used of them. The Son of Man, of course, is Jesus. Luke 2:27.
Vs. 14 -- There will come a time when ALL people shall serve Him. Revelation 11:15.
V. The Angelic Interpretation - Vs. 15-28
Vs. 15 and 16 -- Daniel was perplexed over what he had seen in the dream. While still viewing the scenes, he went to an angelic being and asked him the truth of all this or the interpretation of it.
Vs. 17 and 18 -- The four beasts were four kings or kingdoms which would come forth from the troubled nations. But God's people would one day take (receive) the kingdom of the earth and possess it forever. They will possess it during the Millenium.
Vs. 19 --22 -- The same horn is the Anti-christ who will make war with God's people. He will befriend the Jews during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation and then will make war with them during the last three and one-half years. Then Jesus will come and defeat him and set up the Millenium. Revelation 19:11-20:6.
Vs. 23 and 24 -- The ten kings or kingdoms are those who will rule the world in the end time and during the first part of the tribulation.
Vs. 25 -- This describes the Anti-Christ. Revelation 13:5,6. To change times means to change seasons and sacred feasts, etc. A time is one year. Times is two years and the dividing of time, one-half year; thus, three and one-half years which will be the Great Tribulation.
Vs. 26 -- 27 -- But God will come out the Victor.
Vs. 28 -- "Cogitations" are "thoughts". Daniel, though troubled turned the matter over to God and was thereby content. Isaiah 26:3.
CONCLUSION: During the "Times of the Gentiles" it seems the world has gone mad, that all reason has left men, that God is dethroned, that God is not working, but God IS working. God IS alive. God IS still on the throne. God does have a plan for this world and it is working out perfectly on schedule and as planned. God will be the Victor. God will rule on earth. God will rule for ever and ever.
We are close to the end. Are you saved? Are you ready for His coming? If not you ought to be.