1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel, Danielís First Vision (Continued), Daniel 7:1-14 - Lesson 29

 

Daniel 7:1-14,  In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.  Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.  And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.  The first was like a lion, and had eagleís wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a manís heart was given to it.  And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.  After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.  After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.  I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.  A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.  I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.  As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

We have seen in the first six chapters of the book of Daniel, a brief history of the author which includes his experience in interpreting two dreams, during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar

Beginning in chapter seven this book turns from historical to prophetical for in chapter seven Daniel tells us, not of an opportunity to interpret dreams for others, but an experience in which he himself is given a vision, a dream, a revelation, from the Lord.

He receives this revelation, keeps it to himself, but writes out a summary of the prophesy that he receives and that summary is what we are given in Godís word.

Twice in chapter seven we are told that the vision he received caused him to grieve in his spirit and troubled him greatly as he meditated over its message.

Remember he was the one to see the great beasts in action but we simply are given a description of their image.

Perhaps you may recall how horrible and fearful it was for you to experience a nightmare but the telling of it to another never communicated the pain that you experienced.

This seems to be the case with Daniel concerning this revelation.

The first picture in the vision concerns the sea.

It is stirred up by the four winds of the heaven, four winds being the directions from which they came.

All directions were represented, the north, the south, the east, and the west.

The winds are from God.

Men cannot make or control winds so I believe we can conclude that the stirring up of the seas was from God.

Notice what comes from the seas. Four great beasts, diverse one from another.

We learn later that these four beasts represent four kings.

Four kings come out of the seas.

Seas then represent the whole of humanity and this image is also used throughout the book of Revelation to picture the multitude of humanity.

So the picture given to Daniel is God, bringing fourth from the multitudes, four kings.

This is in line with Proverbs 8:15,16 which tell us, By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

Here we see that the four kings are pictured as diverse beasts, very different from one another.

The first was like a lion, and had eagleís wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a manís heart was given to it.

The first beast was like a lion, the mightiest of beasts, the king of beasts, regal in its appearance, but this lion had eagles wings, an indication that this beast was above all others.

Undoubtedly this beast is the best of the beasts to follow.

But the wings are plucked indicating a fall, moving to a position from which it could never recover to the former position.

But in this lower position it was made to stand upon the feet as a man and this beast was given a manís heart.

There is definitely a connection here with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar who was pictured as the head of gold and also a beast of a man, before God gave him a new heart.

Remember the grander of Nebuchadnezzar and his boastful nature before his plunge from power and his period of insanity which preceded his recognition that Danielís God was the true God.

There is no direct statement by Daniel that this beast represents Nebuchadnezzar but the similarities of the kingís dream and Danielís dream seem to indicate that the four kings represented by the statue are the same four kings represented by the four beasts of Danielís dream.

But in Danielís dream we are given additional information about the four kings.

There is in both dreams a declining value in the kings as they come on the scene.

According to Danielís dream they seem to be more beastly as time goes by.

The first was simply a lion, whose eagleís wings are plucked, and made to stand on its feet as a man, but also given a manís heart.

The second, a bear with its prey in its mouth, but its lust not satisfied for it is told to arise and devour much flesh.

The third, a ghastly deformed beast which looked like a leopard, with four wings of a bird, and four heads who was given dominion.

And then the fourth beast which was far above the first three beasts in terror.

Its hideousness was magnified far beyond the first three beasts.

Because of its unique character, Daniel was not able to compare it with any known beast such as he did for the first three, the lion, the bear and the leopard.

It was dreadful and terrible, strong with great iron teeth.

It was ruthless in its treatment of its prey for it devoured and break its prey in pieces.

It was not satisfied with just breaking it in pieces but had to stamp the residue of what was left of its prey to erase any memory of it.

We have had men of the past such as Hitler who was a forerunner of this king and today there are others forerunners on the scene who wish to grind Israel to pieces and push those pieces into the sea.

One of these forerunners is Iranís Akmadinajad (Ak ma din a jad) when he speaks of his desire to rid Israel from the face of the earth.

Not just to destroy Israel, the nation that he calls the stinking corpse, but to annihilate its memory.

This kind of hatred is simply a foretaste of what this fourth beast will bring.

This fourth beast was a beast like no other beast for it began with ten horns, another little horn was added then three of the original horns were plucked up by the roots.

There seems to be a connection between this beast and the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzarís statue, but here in Danielís dream we are given additional information for we are introduced to the little horn that arises from the ten horns, also known as ten kings.

The new little horn is pictured with the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things.

It is easy to see the evolution of these kingdoms.

The first beast bears no resemblance to the fourth beast.

The first beast is the best of the four and the last is the worst of the four by far.

Unable to relate this beast to any other beast on this earth Daniel tells us of a little horn that arises from the beast whose eyes and mouth were the eyes and mouth of a man.

This horn which comes from the beast is a man.

It is a man whose characteristics are simply described as eyes and mouth.

Upon the emergence of this little horn, three of the previous ten horns are plucked up by the roots.

This is an indication of the little hornís supremacy over all the remaining horns, or kings

With his eyes and mouth he moves the men of the earth to do his bidding.

His mouth is used to speak great things against the Most High, his oratory skills are magnificent and men are drawn to him.

Nothing escapes his vision for his numerous eyes are everywhere.

There is no place to hide from him for he is endowed with a vision which sees in all places.

This is the beast that receives most of Danielís attention and this is the beast that the world is presently waiting for, desiring it to come quickly.

Donít we notice the absence of real leaders on the world scene today.

The world is bereft of leadership and this little horn is awaiting the call to come and lead us out of the confusion that becomes more intense as days go by.

Things are falling apart and the call goes out to a man to put things together again.

The vision that Daniel is given is similar to the vision that the Apostle John was given in the thirteenth chapter of Revelation.

Revelation 13:1-10,  And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.  And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.  And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?  And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.  And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  If any man have an ear, let him hear.  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

Now in the midst of this disturbing dream another scene enters the picture.

It is a scene showing the establishment of the thrones on which the Ancient of Days and those with him are to be seated for the purpose of pronouncing judgment upon the kings.

God did not just give Daniel part of the story but gave him the conclusion of the matter and that conclusion was judgment.

This was a comfort to him and is also a comfort to us for Godís word always gives the end of the story and the end of the story is only good for his children.

In Danielís vision of the Ancient of Days the little horn continues his blasphemy while the court is being set up for judgment.

But God only allows this for a time for Daniel tells us the boasting is silenced by the death of the little horn, and his body is cast into the burning fire and his kingdom ends with his demise.

Daniel continues to watch and he is allowed to see one like the Son of Man descending with the clouds of heaven.

He is presented to the Ancient of Days and to Him is given dominion, glory and the eternal kingdom.

He is to rule over all nations forever.

This Son of Man is of course our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God and the Son of Man.

What a wonderful ending, an ending we must always concentrate on.

What though wars may come,
With marching feet and beat of the drum,
For I have Christ in my heart;
What though nations rage,
As we approach the end of the age,
For I have Christ in my heart.
God is still on the throne, Almighty God is He;
And He cares for His own through all eternity.
So let come what may, whatever it is, I only say
That I have Christ in my heart,
I have Christ in my heart.