On to chapter 7v1-12
The second half of the book of Daniel (chap 7-12) moves away from the principles of how to live G-dly lives in a godless society, and begins to focus on prophecy instead – revealing things about the future, primarily the very end of this age, and what is going to happen in order that the Kingdom of G-d might be established.
When we see difficult things happening, we need to be encouraged. Difficult times prove the accuracy and faithfulness of G-d’s Word. Difficult times also point to the transition from this age into the Kingdom of G-d. In Luke 21:28 Yeshua encourages those (us?) who live at the end to be of courage (to take heart), to lift up our heads – our Redemption is near!
v1 Daniel had a dream/visions and wrote down the most important facts about it. We will have a better understanding of this chapter if we read it in conjunction with Revelation 13.
v2 The four winds speak of something that is going to effect the whole world, i.e. four is a global number (north, south, east and west). See Rev 7:1
· The Great Sea: The Mediterranean. This area (the Middle East and Europe) is going to be “ground zero” so to speak. This sets a geographical framework for us of where attention is going to be focused in the last days.
· Although this prophecy has its origin in the Mediterranean area (in the Middle East) we need to see that it’s also going to have implications for the entire world, for all peoples.
· The sea, prophetically, speaks about disturbance, chaos, something that is not in order. In this verse, Daniel is revealing to us that these Empires (beasts) that rise up, are going to do so out of turmoil. The world is going to be in a place of great instability.
v3 A ‘beast’ is an empire/kingdom (‘beasts’ are many empires) – see Daniel 7:23 It is important to understand that whenever Scriptural prophetic writings speak about some type of animal, or primarily this word ‘beast’, we’re talking about empires. By understanding these empires we’re going to have a better understanding of what we should be looking forward to in the last days.
· These empires came out of the sea – out of chaos and turmoil.
· Who are these beasts?
1. The first one is Babylon
2. The second beast is the Medes and Persians
3. The third is Greece
4. The fourth is Rome -uniquely, the final (end time) empire also appears to come out of/be a part of this Roman empire (more on this in a later chapter)
v4 This first empire is Babylon (the head of gold). A lion has authority, rulership, headship.(Yeshua is spoken of as a lion in Rev 5:5)
· An eagle is the king of the birds. Good vision and insight.
· This kingdom was lifted up and set on two feet like a man. It was also given the mind of a man. The empires before Babylon (Egypt and Assyria) were interested in power and rule. Babylon was different in that it wanted to use its ruling power in the arts, education, sciences, culture (humanities)
v5 This empire refers to the Medes and Persians. They were more powerful than Babylon with an incredibly large land mass (Esther 1:1 Their land stretched from India to Cush – which is the Upper Nile region) This empire had three main groups that formed it – Medes, Persians and (conquered) Babylonians. It was an empire that ruled with power and fear.
v6 The Grecian empire. 4 wings, 4 heads (global influence). After Alexander died this kingdom was divided between his 4 generals (4 ‘heads’?) – Note: Although these things happened to these empires in the past, they still have future implications for that final beast empire.
v7 This beast (Rome – based in Europe. Europe is going to be at the very heart of understanding that last Empire) is uniquely related to the last days. Other beasts rise in the last days, but they all have a relationship/connection with this beast.
· Dreadful and terrible: The appearance of this beast is very frightening and causes great fear to the people.
· Ten horns: See Rev 17:12-13. These ten horns are symbolic of ten kings. They are end time leaders who will rule for “one hour” – ie a short period of time.
v8 The little horn is not a kingdom but is a leader/’king’ of an empire (See Dan 7:24, Rev 13:5-6). He is going to take authority over all the world. He is also known as the antichrist.
· Three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots: Three of the 10 end day kings will be disposed, leaving 7 (the number of holiness. This kingdom is going to give an impression of holiness, but it will be false holiness)
· Eyes of a man: Eyes are a source of knowledge. This man has great knowledge, understanding and an abundance of information which will be used to rule and enslave people.
· Speaking pompous words: His empire is going to be blasphemous (Rev 13:5-10)
v9 There is an encouraging change in this verse. The Ancient of Days is a reference to G-d the Father. ‘Thrones’ (See Ez 1:26-28) refer to government or judgement. G-d takes his seat/throne in order to judge that final, wicked empire. Through everything, G-d is on the throne. He is in control, and He sets everything in order. He will judge the wicked empires.
v10 These books record deeds, what each person has done (Rev 20:11-15, Exodus 32:33, Ps 139:16, Phil 4:3). G-d is going to be judging based upon deeds. This empire’s deeds are blasphemous and evil. G-d is going to bring it to an end. This is a good example of G-d giving us a message of hope before the bad things come. He is revealing to us that we, the ones who endure to the end (Matt 24:13), are going to be victorious.
v11 This empire, because of its blasphemous character, is going to be easily destroyed by G-d! (Is 46:9-11, 2 Thess 2:8)
v12 This implies that the rest of the empires had their power stripped from them, but they were allowed to ‘live’ for a little longer – until His judgement is manifested in the world and Yeshua’s enemies are placed under His feet (Heb 1:8, Heb 10:13)