As we continue to look at Daniel we will learn some new insights from chapter 7 that further explain Daniel’s dream about the 4 beasts that coincide with the 4 parts of the statue from King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter 2. In verses 15-22 of chapter 7 we will gain further insight about the kingdoms and what is to come.
“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. “I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. ‘But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’ “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. “I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ (Daniel 7:15-27)
In the last article we saw that the four beasts were the four kingdoms that would dominate Israel, one coming after the other. Here in this text we see the interpretation. In verse 17 the 4 beasts are 4 great kingdoms that arise from the earth. Babylon is in power and Daniel 5 reveals that the Medo-Persian Empire overthrows the Babylonians. So we have passed from the golden head (Babylon) of the statue to the sliver arms and chest (Medes and Persians). There are 2 parts of the statue left. In chapter 7, of all the beasts mentioned, Daniel focuses in on the 4th beast and its actions. Let’s take a look at the details of the 4th beast.
Verse 19 tells us that the 4th beast is different from the others because instead of absorbing the other empires, this empire devoured/crushed/trampled down the other empires with its feet. The Roman Empire was unique because it did not respect the cultures that it dominated but instead it imposed its way of life on them and if the conquered peoples did not comply then they were destroyed with a vengeance. Now, out of the 4th beasts we see another reference to 10. We see 10 horns on its head (coinciding with the 10 horns that we saw in verses 1-15 of chapter 7 and the 10 toes of chapter 2). Then out of those 10 horns comes another horn that uproots 3 of the previous horns. From the description of the final horn we see that it is actually a person, having eyes and a mouth.
Daniel moves to a detailed description of the final horn/person and its action. This horn/person will wage war against the saints. There is much debate on whether the reference to the “saints” is a reference to Christians or not. Keep in mind that during the time Daniel is writing the idea of the church was nonexistent and saints (chosen people set apart from everyone else) is a reference to the Jews (Daniel’s people). This horn/person will be waging war against the Jewish people. For many years scholars laughed at the idea because from 70 A.D. until 1948 the “Jewish” state did not exist so how was the horn/person to wage war against the Jews? But now the Jews have a state and are flocking to the country so eventually there will arise a man from the 4th kingdom (former Roman Empire) that will wage war against the Jewish state.
In verses 24-26 we see the interpretation of the 10 kingdoms. Do you remember when the stone strikes the statue and where? That is right, in the time of the 10 kings and on the feet/toes. The former Roman Empire will be ruled by 10 different kings at the same time. Out of those 10, one will arise and subdue 3 of the 10 kings. He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Most High (the Jews). The Jews will be given into the hands of this person for 3 ½ years. Where do we get this time frame? In the text it says time (1, singular), times (2 times) and ½ time. 2 + 1 + ½ = 3 ½.It is not clear that this represents actual years here in Daniel but as we read another text that parallels this one, we will see that this is a reference to years.
Once again we see the final kingdom being established, God’s kingdom, that will be an everlasting kingdom, a literal, physical kingdom. The Ancient of Days comes and passes judgment in favor of the saints, giving them the kingdom (meaning that He takes it away from the one horn/man). All other dominions will serve this dominion. The logical thing to do would be to serve God now because you will have to bow down to Him one way or another, by force or by choice. Choose to bow down to Him today.
In the next article we will look further into the prophecy of the last days. Up until this point we have seen 4 major kingdoms: The Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Roman, and finally God’s ultimate kingdom. Three of these four have come and gone except for the feet and toes of the Roman Empire. They are still to come (the 10 horns/toes/kings). Out of those 10 will arise the one. Again, this part (feet/toes) is still to come but it is shaping up because the Jews are coming home and the Roman Empire is being revitalized. Will you be prepared?