Daniel Chapter Seven
In this chapter we start to move into the more formalized prophetic chapters. Before we get too deep into the study let us review a couple of issues. The purpose of the Book of Daniel is to reveal God to the world. God wants us to see Him as all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and yet He wants us to know that He also is a God of justice and limits. Chapter one states that God delivered Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar because Judah had rebelled so much that there was nothing else that God could do to redeem Judah but to send her into captivity with the hope that punishment would get her attention and that she would seek after God with the intent to reconcile.
In Daniel chapter two God told Nebuchadnezzar that his golden kingdom would end and that another kingdom would replace his kingdom. Then God told Nebuchadnezzar that the silver kingdom would end and be replaced by a Bronze kingdom, and then that one would be replaced and then an Iron kingdom would replace it and that kingdom would stay in existence all the way to the coming of God and God would set up a kingdom that would never be replaced. So God wanted all of mankind to know that He raises up kings and He brings them down. He initiates kingdoms and He ends kingdoms. God wants us to understand that He is able to see these things and that He controls these events. He also wants us to know that even when a powerful king tries to alter His foreknowledge, that God is able to work with those events and even use those events to further publish His power and grace. See Daniel 3, 4, 5, 6.
Another very important factor as we study the book of Daniel is that God wants us to know that He wants His gospel preached to all of the world and that all people of the world can access the gospel by faith. He revealed these facts to Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and to Cyrus. God wants us to know that no one is so high, or so low, that the God of heaven is not interested in their souls. God wants every person in every nation, kingdom, tongue, and people to know and understand that He loves them and wants them to get to know Him, the Everlasting, and Living God.
Finally, in our preamble to Daniel 7, God wants us to know that He ever liveth to make intercession for us. God has special plans as to how to communicate with mankind, and He has special plans for how mankind is to communicate with God. God comes to Daniel to intercede for him in the eyes of his guards to get him the food that He has ordained for us to eat. He blessed Daniel and his friends to be wise, and studious, He elevated them into positions of influence to further display His power and grace. God rescues the wise men from Nebuchadnezzar’s death decree through His intercessions through Daniel. God revealed the future to Nebuchadnezzar. God rescued the three Hebrews worthies by personally coming to walk with them in the fire, and to reveal Himself to Nebuchadnezzar. God personally allows the mental health issue to afflict His child Nebuchadnezzar to get his attention and to get the attention of the whole world who was watching these strange events afflict the most powerful king in the then known world. Then when God was ready He removed the affliction and raised Nebuchadnezzar back to his original status. God then brings down Babylon by special display of power to Belshazzar. Then He confronts Darius and Cyrus through the Christ symbolism of the
Tomb of Christ, and delivers His trusting servant from Satan’s lion like assault and figuratively bringing Daniel back from the dead and out of the sealed tomb. God revealed Himself as the Master of life and death, all to communicate His special interest in mankind and to reveal His power so that all mankind would look to Him and meditate upon His power and grace.
With all of the above in mind let us go on into Daniel 7 and see what God wants to reveal to us about Himself in this chapter. The first thing we see is that God presents to us 4 great beasts that come up out of the sea. The beasts are a Lion, a Bear, a Leopard, and a creature that Hebrew thinking cannot identify. In Revelation 13 Greek and Rome training identify this fourth creature as a Dragon. It is this writer’s opinion that these four beasts are Satan’s counterfeit system for the four “beasts” in the throne room of God. Revelation 4. Satan has tried every way to copy God and then distort these truths into something that works for Satan.
We are told that “beasts” are kings, or kingdoms, in verse 17. We are also told that seas, or waters, are a symbol of peoples or nations. Isaiah 17:12-13; 57:20-21; Psalms 144:7-8; Jeremiah 46:7-8; Revelation 17:15. The four winds striving upon the great sea is a symbol for the warfare between the various kingdoms. Jeremiah 4:11-13; 49:36-37; 51:1, 11, 28. This concept is displayed in the warfare described in Daniel 1:1-2; 5:30-31; 8:3-10. So we can see that the kingdoms came on the scene of history, and then of the scene of history, in their appointed times and that none of the kingdoms voluntarily left but were overthrown by the next kingdom.
The first kingdom was the lion with four wings, and this kingdom was Babylon, according to Daniel 2:37-38. This beast was unique in that it was made to stand on its legs like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. It is my understanding that this was a symbol of Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion story that is reflected in these symbols. See Ezekiel 36:26-27. It is also my understanding that this is why Babylon was the golden kingdom (Isaiah 13:12), because God changed the heart of Babylon’s greatest king – Nebuchadnezzar – and thus gave everyone in the kingdom an opportunity to find God for themselves. This was the positive uniqueness of Babylon. The sad part was that by the time of Belshazzar the lessons of Nebuchadnezzar had been lost sight of and the kingdom’s time of probation was now past. This kingdom lasted from 626 BC to 539 BC.
The second beast, Medo-Persia, was symbolized by a bear. This beast rose up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth and it was told to rise up and devour much flesh. Historically, the combined kingdom of the Medes and Persians functioned best when in the latter part of its time as a kingdom that the Persian portion of the kingdom developed and took over the majority of activities thus the raising up of the one side of the kingdom, and the raising up of the latter end “higher” in the last. Daniel 8:3, 20 There is also some unanimity of historians that the three ribs were the kingdoms of Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt. This kingdom lasted from 539 BC to 331 BC.
The third beast was symbolized by the leopard. This beast was given four wings, indicating speed of movement, and then it had four heads, a symbol of the eventual division of the kingdom into four sub-kingdoms, after the death of its great leader Alexander the Great. This kingdom shows as a dominant kingdom by the predominance of the leopard form in the composite beast of Revelation 13:2. The major impact of Greece was the influence of its philosophy and art on the minds of men. God speaks of a steady warfare between God’s people Israel and the people of Greece. Zechariah 9:13. This kingdom lasted from 331 BC to 190 BC.
The fourth beast was something that apparently Daniel had never seen the likes of to even attempt a comparison. All Daniel could see was how violent and powerful this beast was. But Daniel did notice a couple of interesting qualities of this beast in that it was different from the other beasts. This beast developed a number of horns, and then after the coming up of the horns a little horn comes up and plucks up three of the original horns and develops a mouth and speaks great words against the Most High God and against God’s people and against God’s laws and times. Daniel had never seen anything like this happen in the three earlier beasts and he also must have noticed that no man’s heart was given to the little horn to go along with its man’s mouth and eyes. This conveys that there were some human attributes about this beast but that that heart was not one of them. This beast lasts from 190 BC all the way to the time of the Second Coming of Christ. Daniel 2:33-34
Once the four beasts are presented God switches the scenery. Instead of focusing on the rising of the four beasts from the great sea, God wants us now to look at a scene in heaven. Somewhere in the flow of time God wants us to be aware that a judgment scene will start. We know that as of Daniel this scene had not started because in Acts 24:25 the Prophet and Apostle Paul still perceived that Judgment was yet to come. But somewhere in the future after the time of the first coming of Christ the time of the judgment would have come according to Revelation 14:7.
Going back to the judgment scene in Daniel 7 God wants us to be aware of several facts. God wants us to know that there will come a time when the Ancient of Days would come the judgment. Daniel 7:22. In order to come to the judgment scene it would mean that He was not always there. In addition, when the Ancient of Days comes to the judgment scene there needs to be thrones set up in the judgment place. Daniel 7:9 It would appear then that when this place of judgment is set up, and the Ancient of Days comes and sits down, and all of His helpers are in place, then the books would be opened. The plurality of books is mentioned again in Revelation 20:12. The books were opened and then the book of life was opened. So there appear to be at least three books and the books contain records of our different actions and works. Then in Malachi 3:16 there appears to be a book of remembrance of some of the good things we have done. See Spiritual Dictionary on “Books” at www.the1844way.com for a fuller study on the different books of the Bible involved with judgment.
During the judgment scene we find out the judgment on the beasts in Daniel 7:11-12. The words spoken by the Little Horn appear to be of great significance to the judgment participants. As a result of these words, the Little Horn, and his beast body, was slain, and his body destroyed and cast into the burning flame that comes from God and His throne. The rest of the beasts had their dominions taken away but their lives as nations continued for a season and a time.
After the beast question was solved there appears to be another great movement in the judgment scene. Daniel 7:13 shows that there is a “Coming” of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days. This would indicate that the Ancient of Days is not Jesus but is the Father in heaven. Jesus “Comes” to the Father in the judgment area and comes with many angels – the clouds. Psalms 104:3 and Psalms 68:17. It appears that when Jesus comes, He is going to be judged not as the Son of God, but as the Son of man. This would indicate that the “Words” of the Little Horn were accusations against Jesus, and that the judgment would settle the issue that the Little Horn was accusing Jesus about.
As so often happens in Bible prophecy the conclusion is given first and then we find out what happened to bring about the conclusion. So in Daniel 7:13-14 we find that the Son of man is brought before the Ancient of Days after the Little Horn is judged, and a judgment is pronounced upon the Son of man. The judgment is that He is granted the dominion of the everlasting kingdom, and that all people, who desire to, will serve Him and that His kingdom, in contrast with the kingdom of the Little Horn, will not end, nor be destroyed. This is one of the good news issues that make up the gospel of Jesus.
In Daniel 7:18, 21-22; 26-27 the Ancient of Days also grants a favorable judgment on the saints of Jesus as well. They have been accosted by the Little Horn, and they have been accused of many things. But when the Ancient of Days sits in judgment He grants the Saints of the Most High possession of the same kingdom that Jesus has. It appears that Jesus, and His saints, are united in their victory over the Little Horn and their receiving of the kingdom and dominion forever.
Then the vision switches back to Daniel and is continued inquiries about the Little Horn and the other beasts. In verse 17 of Daniel 7, an angel informs Daniel that the beasts are kingdoms. It appears that Daniel grasps this concept readily but his real interest is the Little Horn. He saw that the Little Horn made war on the saints of the Most High, and it prevailed against them. Apparently this apparent victory was the stressful point for Daniel. Yet he was assured over and over again that when all was said and done the Saints of the Most High would have the final victory granted as a result of the judgment.
The angel then goes on to focus on the Little Horn. The beast arises and has great victories in its life. At some point in the development of the beast there is a change, and then ten horns come up, and then after a time, the Little Horn comes up and is able to pluck up three horns. This Little Horn will be different from the other horns and it will do many interesting things. Among the things it will do is to make war with God’s saints and prevail against them. Daniel 7:21. Then this horn will come up after the time of the growth of the beast, and after the time of the ten horns. This horn will speak great words against the Most High, and will think to change God’s times, and God’s laws. Then we are given a unique time phase of a time, times, and the dividing of time. Daniel 7:25. So with the list above let’s see if we can identify this beast/kingdom.
The first and essential point of Daniel 7 is that all of the beasts have specific times of existence as kingdoms. Babylon was in power from 626 BC to 539 BC. Medo-Persia was in power from 539 BC to 331 BC. Then Greece came up from 331 BC to 190 BC. The next kingdom that came up to take over from Greece was Rome. Rome effectively broke the Grecian power in 190 BC when Rome defeated King Antiochus III. This victory was over the strongest of the Grecian kings. There were many other battles fought farther in history between Greece and Rome but this battle displayed the power of Rome over the power of Greece. The authority of the kingdoms had passed to Rome. This was the development of the Iron beast phase of Rome.
After Rome defeated Antiochus III it mopped up the rest of the smaller kingdoms over the next 100 years until it controlled the whole “civilized” world. God used Rome to accomplish many things but one of the major things that Rome did was to initiate a tax law which effectively moved Jesus from Nazareth to Bethlehem so that God’s prophecy would be fulfilled as to where Jesus would be born at. Micah 5:2; Daniel 11:20; Luke 2:1-3. Then God used Rome as the weapon to kill His son Jesus. Daniel 11:22; John 19:1-20. God also used Rome as the peace keeping kingdom to allow the spread of the good news about Jesus throughout the world. So the first point of clarity is that the Little Horn is attached to and comes up out of the fourth Beast – Rome. The Little Horn is a Roman power, and thus we can look to Western Europe to see if we can find the rest of the verifying issues mentioned in Daniel 7.
Another facet of truth that comes about as a result of Daniel 2 and 7 is that the mingling of iron - Rome, and clay – church (Jeremiah 18:1-10) phase of Daniel 2, and the Little Horn phase of Daniel 7 comes about in the fourth kingdom. Thus the Little Horn, according to historical time, cannot be a part of Babylon, Medo-Persia, or of Greece. The Little Horn can only be attached to Rome. This should remove much of the confusion as to whom the Little Horn actually is.
The next phase is that ten horns come up on the fourth beast. This appears to be the time of the division of pagan Rome about 475 AD when the Rome as a pagan nation began to fracture from internal dissent and it fractured into 10 fragments. Prophecy states that the Little Horn must come up some time after 475 AD, not before it, thus again prophecy protects us from incorrect conclusions. So the Little Horn must be a part of Rome, and it must come up after 475 AD.
Then history indicates that the Little Horn must be involved with the plucking up of three of the ten horns that come out of Pagan Rome. There was indeed a kingdom that came up that encouraged the powers that be to remove at least three kingdoms – the kingdoms of the Heruli – 493 AD; the Vandals 534 AD; and the Ostrogoths around 553 AD. When these three kingdoms were effectively removed then the instigating kingdom had more freedom and security to develop into the most powerful phase of the Roman power.
The next phase of identification is that this Roman power began to persecute God’s saints. We know that there was an unusual Roman power that had the power of the state to use to persecute anyone who disagreed with what she spoke – legislated. This Western European Roman power had many millions of people who claimed to serve Christ, killed in all kinds of horrible ways. This power did not so much kill the people of God directly but had them killed by the power of the state, thus making them state criminals so that the state could then try them and then harm them.
The next identifying mark used by God through Daniel to identify this power is that it sought to change God’s times and laws. So far I have not attempted to name the Little Horn but to present a number of facts about this kingdom. Now for clarities sake I will state that there is only one kingdom in the history of the Earth that has met the identifying marks God has presented so far. The Roman power that came up after 475 AD that had three nations removed so that it could develop, and that persecuted Christians, is the Roman Catholic Church. No other kingdom in history fits the data so far. But God wants us to be even more clearly solidified on who the Little Horn is for this kingdom is mentioned all through Scriptures as a mighty player in spiritual things and will show up in Revelation 13-20 as a mighty player in last day events.
But going back to the identification marks of changing times and laws, the greatest change in the things of God that the Roman Catholic Church claims to have done in history is to change the Sabbath day from the 7th day of the week to the 1st day of the week. I will quote a couple of statements by the Roman Catholic Church making the claim to have changed God’s laws and His times.
192. What is the third Commandment?
The third Commandment is, "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day."
193. What are we commanded by the third Commandment?
By the third Commandment we are commanded to keep Sunday holy.
The Jews' Sabbath Day was Saturday; we Christians keep Sunday holy. The Church, by the power our Lord gave her, changed the observance of Saturday to Sunday.
A word about Sunday. God said, "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day." The Sabbath was Saturday, not Sunday; why, then, do we keep Sunday holy instead of Saturday? The Church altered the observance of the Sabbath to the observance of Sunday in commemoration of our Lord having risen from the dead on Easter Sunday, and of the Holy Ghost having descended upon the apostles on Whit Sunday. Protestants who say that they go by the Bible and the Bible only, and that they do not believe anything that is not in the Bible, must be rather puzzled by the keeping of Sunday when God distinctly said, "Keep holy the Sabbath Day." The word Sunday does not come anywhere in the Bible, so without knowing it, they are obeying the authority of the Catholic Church.
Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. "The Day of the Lord" (dies Dominica) was chosen, not from any directions noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church's sense of its own power. The day of resurrection, the day of Pentecost, fifty days later, came on the first day of the week. So this would be the new Sabbath. People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become 7th Day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy.
For more examples of this claim please explore at:
Another example of the Roman Catholic Church claiming to have the ability to change God’s law is that of venerating idols in the church. God clearly forbids the bowing down to or worshipping any image or any likeness of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath. Exodus 20:4-5 and I Corinthians 10:14; Galatians 5:20. Then there is also the concept of celibacy of the priesthood. God did not pronounce such a concept but encourages that the elder/priest have one wife and to be faithful to her. Titus 1:6-7; I Timothy 3:1-2.
So far the Roman Catholic Church has been an exact fit with all of the identifying marks of God’s prophecy. The Roman Catholic Church is a mixture of church and state. She is in the direct lineage of pagan Rome and in fact pagan Rome blessed the Roman Catholic Church with her power, seat, and great authority. The Roman Catholic Church is headquartered in Rome. She has a history of persecuting people who claim to be Christians. She claims the power to change God’s times and laws. And she has been around for a long time and gained the most of her power after 475 AD. The last marker is that of the time, times, and dividing of time. This is one of those time issues where it is clearly not referring to regular time. This is a prophetic time period referring to the 1260 days/42 months of Daniel 12:7; Revelation 11:2; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5. Another way of calculating this time is that a prophetic year is 360 days. Therefore we would have a time – 1 prophetic year consisting of 360 years a day for a year. Times would be two prophetic years or 720 prophetic days for years, and one half of 360 day years, and that would be 180 days/years. That totals out to be 360 + 720 + 180 = 1260 years. The Roman Catholic Church was established officially in 508 AD when Clovis King of the Franks chose to put his sword behind the Roman Catholic Church. In 538 AD the Roman Catholic Church started to legislate on spiritual issues and passed her first Sunday law at the Third Synod at Orleans France thus signifying her power to pass and enforce spiritual laws apart from God and the Bible. The Bible declares that the Little Horn would be in power for 1260 years and in 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte sent his general Berthier to take the pope captive thus ending the 1260 years of power of the Roman Catholic Church. Napoleon had given the Little Horn a death wound, but God says that the death wound would be healed and when the Roman Catholic Church has a state suitor to give her authority to persecute non-believers again she will return from the dead and repeat her persecutions of the past. The Roman Catholic Church will again ride the power of the state beast as stated in Revelation 17.
In conclusion God wants us to know who the Little Horn was and who it currently is. This power will be used by Satan to accomplish His purposes again in the very near future. Daniel 8-12 tells us many more things about this Little Horn power, and the various things it does to obscure the power of God for the salvation of mankind. It is our job to reveal the truths that the Little Horn wants to obscure so that each person will have an opportunity to receive the gift of salvation from God. We must know God’s Word, and we must live it out and reveal these things to all who will listen so that the truths of Jesus will have their rightful opportunity to bring people to Him to be saved. Let us join Him on the platform of truth to accomplish His holy will.