King Jesus' Everlasting Kingdom
Comments for Study 7
Memory Verse: 7:13-14
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Daniel wrote the first chapter in the Hebrew language. Chapters 2 thru 7 were written in Aramaic, the then common commerce language used throughout the Gentile nations. Chapters 8 thru 12 are written in Hebrew. Daniel was deliberate in writing in these two languages. The Hebrew chapters are about Israel's future (not just Judah), future from Daniel's point of view. The Aramaic chapters are about the Gentiles' future from Daniel's point of view. Jesus called it the time of the Gentiles. (Luke 21:24) Most of the events predicted in this book are history to us. The godless kingdoms referred to are the Gentile nations, and the kingdom of God are those who will partake in the millennial reign of Jesus (Yeshua) Christ (Messiah) centered about Jerusalem and Israel. Many of Jesus' parables explain about the kingdom of God.
I. Four Great Beasts and Horns (1-8)
>1. Who is Belshazzar?
* Daniel 7:1a "In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon"
* "In the first year" -Probably 553 B.C. The events of this chapter preceded those of chapter 5.
* "Belshazzar king of Babylon" -Nebuchadnezzar was the father of Belshazzar according to Daniel 5:2. "Father" there does not necessarily mean Belshazzar was son of Nebuchadnezzar. The word could also mean grandson or descendant. He was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C. Belshazzar's father was Nabonidus, who was son of Nebuchadnezzar. Discoveries of inscriptions in clay have shown that the Nabonidus absented himself in Tema, a Arabia desert oasis while his son, Belshazzar acted as viceroy of his father and regent in the capital, Babylon.
* The events in this chapter took place before Cyrus, king of Persia (to the north-east of Babylon) with the Medes help (north-west of Babylon) routed Babylon. The Babylonians had twenty years of provisions in the city. However, after a two years of siege the city fell.
* Assyria had ruled the Mideast until Babylon defeated them in 612 B.C. a few years before Judea was taken into captivity (605, 597, and 587 B.C.). Babylon's rule over the Mideast ended when the Persian Empire defeated them in 539 B.C. The Persian Empire was larger than Assyria and Babylon's Empires. The Persian Empire was an alliance of the Medes and the Persians. Under their rule the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland.
* See a picture of the clay Nabonidus cylinder to the right, one of several that have been found. The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar is a long text in which Nabonidus describes how he repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin in Harran, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of Šamaš in Sippar. Nabonidus cylinders from Ur are noteworthy because they mention a son named Belshazzar. The cylinders state: "As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a life long of days, and as for Belshazzar, the eldest son -my offspring- instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake, may he be sated with a life of plenitude."
>What happened to Daniel as he lay on his bed?
* Daniel 7:1b "Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream."
* "Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind" -Daniel was asleep and dreaming when visions came. A vision is not a dream nor a trance. Vision is an English word translated from the Hebrew work "hazon". These days vision has many meanings. The use here and in many other places in the Bible has to do with the Lord God's revelation to man. One definition of a vision is, "A prophet's ability to see the revelatory nature in the meaning of a historical event." A vision is a reality displayed in our mind while asleep in a dream or while awake in a manifestation. Most visions in scripture convey revelations from God. Biblical visions concern immediate situations (Genesis 15:11, Acts 12:7) and more distant ones connected with the development of the kingdom of God, as may be seen in the writings of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Micah, Daniel, and John. In the Old Testament false prophets feigned visions and were denounced by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 14:14, 23:16) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 13:7).
* "He wrote down the substance of his dream" -Daniel and John are the only two Biblical authors who state that they recorded the substances of a dream. Other prophets had dreams that revealed God's will, but did not state that they recorded them, though they no doubt did. Jeremiah had a scribe, Baruch write his words. (Jeremiah 36)
>What did the four winds of heaven produce? (2-3)
* Daniel 7:2-3 "Daniel said: "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea."
* "Daniel said" -These words state the end of Daniel's introduction in verse 1.
* "the four winds of heaven" -The exile and post-exile prophets Jeremiah, Daniel, and Zechariah used the phrase "four winds of heaven". (Jeremiah 49:36, Daniel 7:1, 8:8, 11:4; Zechariah 2:6, 6:5) Jesus also used it during the Mount of Olives discourse. (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27) We can take the four winds as the four points of the compass representing all possible wind directions.
* "the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea" -God is in control of all of the nations and peoples. As the wind moves the waters whipping and subduing it, so God moves the affairs of men. (Psalm 107:23-29) Jesus on more than one occasion calmed the waves and winds on The Sea of Galilee. He also walked on the water. These are great symbols of Jesus control over the nations and peoples.
* "Four great beasts" -Elsewhere both Biblical and extra-Biblical sources depict the nations as being animals. Ancient coins often contained insignia of animals to represent people and countries. Hieroglyphics used images to represent words; nations were often animals. Even today animals are used to symbolize nations; Russia the bear, USA the eagle, England the lion, etc.
* "came up out of the sea" -The four winds brought then up.
* See the Assyrian stone carvings to the right. The prophet Daniel was in the first group to be deported to Israel. In the second group the prophet Ezekiel, who came from an important priestly family was exiled. So was King Jehoiachin and the aristocracy. The Bible does not tell us which route the prisoners took to Babylon, but somewhere on the journey they must have seen in one of the great cities the terrifying monsters-winged oxen with human heads -which the Assyrian monarchs had set up as guardians at their palace gates. As Ezekiel 1:4-5, 10 indicates, they combined in one figure the face of a man, the head of a lion, the body of an ox and the wings of an eagle. The winged ox statue on the left accompanied by his tutelary spirit is from the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)
>What does the great sea refer to? (17; Isa. 17:12)
* Daniel 7:17 "The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth."
* Isaiah 17:12 "Oh, the raging of many nations-- they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples-- they roar like the roaring of great waters!"
* "the great sea" -The world's nations and peoples are elsewhere depicted as the sea and waters. Sea here can be viewed as the oceans of the world.
* The sea is churning and turning in directions and currents that are impossible to take in all at once. Standing long enough on the coast and looking into the ocean from the shore to the horizon a person can eventually figure out the moving of the water before him or her. Then the next day the same person can come to the same spot and notice that over night the ocean currents had changed. A visit the next day might find a storm over the ocean making the ebb and flow furious. Who can predict how the sea will be tomorrow, the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year? No one. Yet God knows and he has revealed to us some of the nations that will rise from it.
>What can we learn about whose in control?
* 2 Kings 19:15 "And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 'O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.'"
* I swam in the ocean several times. Once my teenage son and I decided to swim to the buoy marking the end of the allowed swimming area. While going out eventually I could no longer walk on the bottom. I noticed that I was only half way there. Yet, I kept on going. As I approached the buoy the waves moved me up and down and all over. I started growing tired. I looked back to shore to notice how far away it was. I looked at the buoy no more than ten feet away and saw how slimy the outside was. I began thinking about the ocean floor now so far away and my son as we worked hard to stay afloat. We decided to turn around. Thinking about our experience and my life in this world I realize that they are similar.
Ancient people viewed the sea with fear. They did not know how to swim. Every once in awhile strange large creatures washed up on shore. Those who lived on the coast knew the fiece winds and storms that blow onshore. Ancient sailors had a great reverence for the mystery and power of the wind, waves and water. Jesus' apostles feared for their lives as the winds and water almost caused them to drown. Daniel's vision brought fear into the hearts of the readers. Those who had faith in the Lord could at the same time wonder at his power and control. Take Mark 4:38-41 as a lesson, "Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
>2. What did the first three beasts look like? (4-6)
* Daniel 7:4-6 "The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it. And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!' After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule."
* "The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle" -Jeremiah 49:19-22 describes Nebuchadnezzar as a lion and eagle. The plucked off wings and being stood up like a man are similar to Daniel 4:14, "He called in a loud voice: 'Cut down the tree and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches." Strangely cherubs are stated to be like a lion with wings.
* "it had the wings of an eagle" -Nebuchadnezzar died and his son became king. However, he allowed his son to reign in his place as viceroy as stated earlier.
* "a second beast, which looked like a bear" -The brown Syrian bear may weight up to 250 kilos and has a voracious appetite.
* "raised up on one of its sides" -One side was more inclined to attack than the other. The Persians dominated the Medo-Persian empire.
* "it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth" -The victims of a previous hunt that did not satisfy its great appetite. The three major conquests of the Medo-Persian empire was Lydia (546 B.C.), Babylon (539 B.C.), and Egypt (525 B.C.).
* "another beast, one that looked like a leopard" -A leopard is the most dangerous beast of prey. The species' success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequalled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass, and its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch. Its habitat ranges from rainforest to desert terrains. In antiquity, a leopard was believed to be a hybrid of a lion and a panther, as is reflected in its name, which is a Greek compound of "leon" (lion) and "pardos" (male panther).
* "And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird." -A leopard is fastest on the land. Having wings made it even faster. The Greek army of Alexander the Great (334-330) moved quickly in its campaigns and conquests of countries. Greece made the largest empire then known to the world in a matter of four years.
* "This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule" -The third beast was able to look and move in any of the four compass points suddenly and deadly. Having four heads would mean it had four brains. Their ability to hold onto stable power would depend on the four brains agreeing with each other. After Alexander suddenly died his kingdom was divided amongst his four generals. The four generals did not always get along. They were: Antipater and Cassander controlled Macedon and Greece, Lysimachus controlled Thrace and Asia Minor, Seleucid I controlled Syria, and Ptolemy I controlled Palestine and Egypt.
* The beasts are nothing like anything known to ever exist. They are powerful, mysterious, fearful, and fast.
>How did the fourth beast appear to Daniel? (7a)
* Daniel 7:7a "After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful."
* "After that" -Not only was Daniel's dream in sequence, that is only one beast was in the vision at a time, but in history only one will be dominate at a time.
* "a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful" -The previous beast provoked fear, but this one was both terrifying and frightening. The previous beasts were powerful, but this one is very powerful.
>What did the fourth beast look like? (7b)
* Daniel 7:7b "It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns."
* "It had large iron teeth" -The legs and feet in vision of chapter two was made of iron and a mixture of iron and clay respectively.
* "it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left" -The previous beasts only ate to satisfy their hunger as great at it was. This beast trampled what it could not eat, perhaps so that nothing would be left for another. This beast greatly enjoys destroying everything. Some hunters don't just hunt for food, they hunt for pleasure leaving what was killed to rot in the woods and open lands.
* "It was different from all the former beasts" -How was it different? Some ways it is similar is:
1) No animal ever existed like these animals
2) They were all very powerful
3) They all had great appetites
4) They began and they were replaced.
5) They all came from the wind turned sea.
Ways that the fourth is different:
1) It had ten horns
2) A little horn replaced three of them
3) This beast was the only one that could talk, not from its mouth, but from a mouth in the little horn.
4) It was made partly of iron, something not part of living creatures.
* "it had ten horns" -Because this beast is believed to be the same kingdom as the iron legs and iron/clay feet of the statue of chapter 2 people assume the statue had ten toes and they represent ten kingdoms. However, this belief does not conform to what Daniel was later told about the meaning of the ten horns. (Daniel 7:24) See below for more on this.
>What was strange about its horns?
* Daniel 7:8 "While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully."
* "While I was thinking about the horns" -Daniel was trying to comprehend all that he was seeing. The meaning of three earlier beasts must have been rather easy for him to understand because Daniel never is stated to be thinking about them such as he is this one. Daniel reveals more of what he saw concerning this beast in the middle of the angel's interpretation. (Daniel 7:19-22)
* "there before me was another horn, a little one" -Horns are a representation of an animals power and strength. Horns were and still are harvested for many reasons, including male stimulation. The later appearance of a horn shows this one is last. Its small stature shows that it starts out with little power.
* "three of the first horns were uprooted before it" -They lose their holding and place. They could not resist the ability of the small horn.
* "This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man" -This is the only beast that its eyes are mentioned. The eyes perhaps mean it had has the ability to see and understand events as they are before it.
* "a mouth that spoke boastfully" -This is the only of the four beasts that talks. The boasting shows that he is very proud and arrogant.
* More on the fourth beast is below.
II. The Ancient of Days and One Like a Son of Man (9-14)
>3. Who is the Ancient of Days and how is he described? (9-10a; 22; Isaiah 43:10-13; Rev. 4:1-5:7)
* Daniel 7:9-10a "As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him."
* Isaiah 43:10-13 "You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed-- I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?"
* Revelation 4:1-5:7 "After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne."
* "thrones were set in place" -The thrones were set in place, but only one is stated to be occupied the time of Daniel's vision. (26) Thrones are for kings. Historic kings lead battles for the kingdom, engaged in building projects for the kingdom, and decided cases according to the law of the land.
* "Ancient of Days" -Ancient of Days describes the everlasting God. Ancient of days literally means one advanced in (of) days and may possibly mean “one who forwards time or rules over it.” Several Biblical passages are related in terms and ideas with Daniel 7 (Genesis 24:1; Job 36:26; Psalm 50:1-6; 55:19; and 1 Kings 22:19-20; Isaiah 26:1-27:1; 44:6; Ezekiel 1; Joel 3:2). It is impossible to determine the origin or original meaning of this term. However, in ancient Ugaritic literature, the god El (Same root word for God in the Bible) is designated as the father of years.” Coupled with the figures of speech in the context of Daniel 7, Ancient of Days suggests age, antiquity, dignity, endurance, judgment, and wisdom. It clearly describes Yahweh, the God of Israel. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* Isaiah 60:19-20 "The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end."
* 2 Corinthians 4:4 "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
* 1 John 1:5 "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
* "His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze" -As Ezekiel saw the Lord. (Ezekiel 1:15-21) Ezekiel was a contemporary of Daniel. The Lord's throne/chariot had wheels so that when his people were exiled from the promised land where God's temple was they would know that he went with them to their new homes.
>What is the court? (10b, 26; Matt. 25:31-32; Rev. 20:4-6, 11-15)
* Daniel 7:10b "The court was seated, and the books were opened."
* Daniel 7:26 "'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.'"
* Matthew 25:31-33 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
* Revelation 20:4-6 "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."
* Revelation 20:11-15 "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
* God has decreed that Jesus will conduct three kinds of judgments; one each for Jesus' bride, the unrighteous, and the nations. (John 5:22) These judgments will not happen at the same time or with the same result.
First, as already mentioned, Jesus' bride will be judged at the mercy (Bema) seat, but not in the sense that we will be condemned. Instead Jesus will hand out rewards to those who believed in him. The saved believers acts committed in this life will be reviewed at the judgment seat of Jesus at the beginning of the Millennium. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10) As stated many times, people are forgiven of sin and saved from death by faith in the blood, death, and resurrection of Jesus. (Eph. 2:9, Tim. 3:5) They are Jesus' bride and will stand before him to give an account of their life works at the beginning of the Millennium. (1 Cor. 3:11-15)
Second, there is a judgment of the nations. This is when Jesus comes when the seventh trumpet is sounded. Matthew 25:31-34 records Jesus saying, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’” Matthew 25:41 continues, “Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” This is also in Isaiah 24.
Third, those who are not Jesus' bride will be judged and condemned. (Pro. 1:20-31) Jesus will be the judge and he will know what is truly in their hearts. (Rom. 2:16) If they did not accept Jesus as their King and Bridegroom, that is accept him into their hearts, then they will be condemned. (Mark 3:28-29) This judgment is after the Millennium and after Satan is released and deceives the nations for a short time. This judgment will not be conducted on the earth.
* The above is from the manuscript "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" found on this site.
>4. What was the fourth beast doing? (11a)
* Daniel 7:11a "Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking."
* "Then I continued to watch" -The horn was still speaking boastfully as the thrones were set in place and as the Ancient of Days took his seat.
* "the boastful words the horn was speaking" -Though the words are not recorded it can be concluded that he was claiming to be greater than the Ancient of Days.
* Daniel seems more interested in describing and thinking about the horn than the throne room perhaps because Ezekiel had described it quite well.
>What happened to him? (11b)
* Daniel 7:11b "I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire."
* "I kept looking until the beast was slain" -The final world power will die. The former three did not end this way.
* "its body destroyed" -The type of kingdom embodied in the fourth beast will be no more.
* "the blazing fire" -Hell is often described as fire.
* Revelation 18:8-9 "Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her."
>What happened to the first three beasts?
* Daniel 7:12 "(The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)"
* The first three kingdoms will exist during the one thousand year reign of Christ. They will be subjected to Jesus. Yet, even their end will come.
>5. Who approached the Ancient of Days? (13; Matt. 9:6-7)
* Daniel 7:13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence."
* Matthew 9:6-7 "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home."
* "In my vision at night" -Repeatedly Daniel makes it clear that this all happened in one vision during one night.
* "son of man" -Daniel is the first person to use this term both Biblically and extra-Biblically. Extensive search by many have confirmed this. Jesus confirmed he was the son of man through his continual use, referring to himself as the son of man. "Son of Man" refers to the virgin birth. The virgin birth is very important in the redemption of fallen mankind. Without Jesus being born in this way, he could not be without sin and therefore could not have been the perfect spotless sacrifice.
* "He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence." -Not only was he invited, but he is the only one able to approach.
>What is the cloud of heaven? (Mark 14:61-62; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Kings 8:11; Ezekiel 10:3-4)
* Mark 14:61-62 "But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
* Acts 1:9-11 "After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
* 1 Kings 8:11 "And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple."
* Ezekiel 10:3-4 "Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord."
* Jesus told his disciples during the Mount of Olive discourse, "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens." (Mark 13:26-27)
* "one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven" -Jesus will be coming in glory to judge the nations and save Israel and Judah. The cloud of heaven is the bright shining glory of the Lord. Glory is "kabad' in Hebrew meaning a bright sinning cloud surrounding the LORD God. The glory of the Lord came on Mt. Sinai just after the Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt (Ex. 16:7-10, 24:16-17), in desert Tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38; Lev. 9:6, 23; Num. 14:10), and in the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Ki. 8:10-11; and 2 Ch. 5:14, 7:1-3, Isa. 6:1-4). Jesus coming in the glory of the Lord is prophecies by Isaiah (Is. 4:2-6; Isa. 35:1-2; 40:4-5; 59:19-20; 60). Ezekiel also saw the glory of the Lord. (Ez. 1:25-28; 3:12, 22-23; 9:3-4; 10:3-4, 18-22; 11:22-23; 43:1-5; 44:4). Luke 2:9 says the glory of the Lord shown over the shepherds when they angles said Jesus was born. Paul calls Jesus the "Lord of glory" in 1 Cor. 2:8 and the "radiance of God's glory" in Hebrews 1:3.
* Jesus revealed his past glory and future glory while on the mount of transfiguration. (Matt. 17:1-17) John the Apostle stated at the beginning of his gospel, "We have seen his glory..." John also saw Jesus in the glorious resurrected body and recorded it in Rev. 1:7-18 and 4:1-11.
* Luke adds Jesus making a very important statement after his statements as recorded in Mark 13:26-27 and Matthew 24:30-31 (Matthew adds the trumpet sounding). Luke 21:27-28 records, "At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Jesus makes it very clear here that when he appears and a trumpet sounds our redemption (deliverance, salvation, rapture, translation) will follow. Paul records in 1 Corinthians that our redemption is at the last trumpet of the seven as John recorded in Revelation. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 records, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
>How long will his kingdom last?
* Daniel 7:14 "He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."
* "He was given authority, glory and sovereign power" -A contrast to the first coming.
First, weakness. Second, power.
First, humility. Second, ruler.
First, normal birth (though not conception). Second, supernatural entrance.
First, to save his people. Second, to set up his kingdom.
* "all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him" -Jesus' coming will establish a world wide kingdom and religion.
* "everlasting dominion" -Past, present, and future is implied.
* "son of man... his kingdom" -Jesus is the Majestic Prophet Priest King. His kingdom is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God should be no small topic for those who belong to it. The phrase the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven is repeated almost three hundred times in both Old and New Testaments. It is referred to 1,845 times in the Old Testament. Many of Jesus' parables concern the Kingdom of God. Jesus stated that he preached the good news of the Kingdom of God from town to town. (Luke 4:43, 8:1, 9:11) Jesus sent out his disciples to preach about the Kingdom of God. (Luke 9:1) Jesus often told people, “The Kingdom of God is near you,” or at least something similar to it. (Matt. 12:28, Mark 1:15, Mark 12:34, Luke 10:9, 11, 20) When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, the second subject (after honoring God our Father) he told them to pray for was The Kingdom of God. “Thy kingdom come,” he taught his disciples to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The question is often raised, or at least should be raised; what is Jesus asking us to pray about? What was Jesus referring to when he spoke of the Kingdom of God? Is it a real place? Is it in this world? Is it the church (congregation of Jesus)? Is it in heaven or is it heaven itself? Is it something yet to come? Is it some mystical realm in another dimension? Will it be on the moon or some other planet in a galaxy far away? Is it the same as the Kingdom of Heaven? Sadly most today including many modern Christians have either no idea or the wrong idea of the Kingdom of God (aka Kingdom of Heaven) because most, including modern believers seldom take time to think about the Kingdom of God let alone talk about it and study what the Bible has to say about it.
The definition of the Kingdom of God is simple and complex. The simplicity of it is that any kingdom is where a king has complete and unquestionable control and authority. Still, those of us under modern day governments cannot have a complete understanding of this type of kingship. Most modern day governments allow its citizens to have freedom to own land and a home and freedom to choose where we will live and what we will do. This is not so with kingdoms of the past and even some kingdoms today.
* The above is from the manuscript "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" found on this site. More about the meaning of the kingdom of God is in the manuscript.
III. An Everlasting Kingdom (15-28)
>6. When troubled by the visions, what did Daniel do? (15-16)
* Daniel 7:15-16 "I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all this. "So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things:"
* Studying and receiving the world of God can be troubling and disturbing.
* "one of those standing there" -Angles were there with Daniel. He asked one of the thousands that were mentioned earlier. Daniel approached one of them.
* "asked him the true meaning of all this" -Daniel could speculate, but he had many questions about individual aspects. Prophets like Joel before him has been given small glimpses of the future, but not near as detailed as Daniel had just witnessed. Angels knew about these details whereas mankind did not know.
* Angels knew the details of the future. Since Daniel's time much more has been revealed. Jesus especially revealed the future of mankind.
>Who will and will not receive the kingdom forever? (17-18, 22; and 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 15:50-52; James 2:5)
* Daniel 7:17-18 "'The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever--yes, for ever and ever.'"
* Daniel 7:22 "until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom."
* 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
* 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
* James 2:5 "Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?"
* "the saints" -The original here is "qaddish" meaning "sanctified", "holy" and "purified". A saint is someone who has been sancrified, made holy, purified by the Jesus' blood, not because of good conduct. Israelites were called holy, separated, and consecrated. (Exodus 19:6; Deut. 7:6, 14:2, 21; Daniel 7:8, 22) The Christian church has inherited the title and the privileges of the Israelite nation. So are you a saint or a ain't? If the latter, what are you waiting for? Admit your sin and helpless state, turn to God in humble repentance and ask for his forgiveness and for him to become the Lord of your life giving him complete control.
* In the Old Testament two Hebrew words are used for saints: "qaddish" and "chasid". Qaddish comes from the qadosh and means holy. To be holy is to separate oneself from evil and dedicate oneself to God. This separation and union is seen both with things and people. All the items of worship are separated for the Lord's use: altar (Exodus. 29:37), oil (Exodus 30:25), garments (Exodus 31:10), and even the people are to be holy (Exodus 22:31). This separation reflects God's very character, for He is holy (Leviticus 19:2). Holiness is clearly portrayed as an encounter with the living God, which results in a holiness of life-style (Isaiah 6). So holiness is more than a one-time separating and uniting activity. It is a way of life. “Ye shall be holy: for I am holy (Leviticus 19:2). Saints are people who try to live holy lives (Daniel 7:18-28).
Chasid means “to be kind or merciful.” These are qualities of God. Thus, chasid people are godly people because they reflect His character. Saints praise the Lord for His lifelong favor (Psalm 30:4), rejoice in goodness (2 Chronicles 6:41), and know that God keeps their paths (1 Samuel 2:9). God's encounter with His people through the covenant enables them to walk as His saints.
In the New Testament, one word, hagios, (Greek) is used for saints. This word, like qadosh, means holy. Consequently, saints are the holy ones. There is only one reference to saints in the Gospels (Matthew 27:52). In this verse, dead saints are resurrected at the Lord's crucifixion. The death of the Holy One provides life for those who believe in God. In Acts, three of the four references occur in chapter 9 (Acts 9:13, 32, 41). First Ananias and then Peter talks of the saints as simply believers in Christ. Paul continues this use in his Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, and Philemon. In each case, saints seem simply to be people who name Jesus as Lord. In the Book of Revelation, however, where the word saints, occurs more times than in any other single book (13 times), the meaning is further defined. Saints not only name Jesus as Lord, but they are faithful and true witnesses for Jesus.
Little wonder then that the early church considered witnesses who were martyred for their testimonies to be saints. In fact, soon these saints were accorded special honor and then even worship. Unfortunately, the term saints came to be applied only to such special people.
Biblically, though, the term saint is correctly applied to anyone who believes Jesus Christ is Lord. To believe in Jesus demands obedience and conformity to His will. A saint bears true and faithful witness to Christ in speech and life-style. To be a saint is a present reality when a believer seeks to let the Spirit form Christ within (Romans 8:29; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 4:13). (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "of the Most High" -The original here "Elyon" is not used much in the Bible. It refers to a hierarchy him God's kingdom. God is the Most High and his Son Jesus is at his right hand. Once in a Bible study I stated that there is and will be a hierarchy for the saints in heaven. One lady in the study God very mad at me when I mentioned this. I don't know why she was so upset. Perhaps she thought heaven is some kind of democracy or communist state. It is not. God's kingdom is a theocracy. G. N. H. Peters wrote in his book Theocratic Kingdom, the theocracy embraces in itself the elements both of a monarchy and of a republic; a monarchy in that the absolute sovereignty is lodged in the person of the One great King; to which all the rest are subordinated, but republican in this, that it embraces a republican element in preserving the right of every individual, from the lowest to the highest.”
>7. What did Daniel want to know about the fourth beast and the horns? (19-20)
* Daniel 7:19-22 "Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws--the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell--the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully."
* "with its iron teeth and bronze claws" -The bronze claws were not part of the earlier description.
* "the horn that looked more imposing than the others" -The imposing appearance of the small horn was not part of the earlier description.
* Daniel had paid great attention to the fourth beast, more than the other three and more than what he saw concerning the thrones and the Ancient of Days. Daniel was concern about his beast because of the pain and trouble this beast would cause the saints to undergo. Babylon, it was accepted by the exiles to be God's judgment for their sins. The Persians allowed the Jews to return to the promise land. They did not give the Jews political freedom. They did not let them break away from their kingom, but the Jews were allowed to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. They even occupied places of authority in their kingdom. Alexander did not attack Jerusalem. The Jews even allowed his troops to freely enter Jerusalem and showed him the prophecies he fulfilled including Daniel's prophecies. After Alexander died the Jews experienced trouble due to wars between two of the kingdoms that came from Greece. The fourth beast was very different in their treatment of the Jews than the first three. The cruelty experienced under Rome was far greater than the saints, including Jesus' church had ever experienced under the first three beasts. So Daniel was very interested in the fourth beast. He wanted to know how long and why they would endure so much pain from the fourth beast just like we do even today.
>What was the boastful horn doing? (21)
* Daniel 7:21 "As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them,"
* "As I watched" -Daniel had asked about the meaning of the fourth beast. What he mentions here is something that he had already watched but did not mention earlier.
* "waging war against the saints" -The little horn represents what would be called by the apostle John as the antichrist. John revealed there are many antichrists and one final major antichrist. (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3, and 2 John 1:7) Thus this prophecy of the little horn has multiple fulfillment. Many since Daniel's time have waged war against God's people. The worst is still to come.
* "defeating them" -Throughout history many of God's saints have been on the bloody side of a beating stick. Persecution of God's people continues to this day. Many have been martyred for our faith in Jesus. We are in a spiritual war. We will loose battles, but Jesus won the war.
* John 12:30-33 "Jesus said, 'This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.' He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."
* John 16:11 "and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned."
>How might this be possible? (Luke 18:7-8)
* Luke 18:7-8 "And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
* Romans 8:17 "Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
* 2 Corinthians 1:5-7 "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."
* Philippians 1:29-30 "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have."
* Philippians 3:10-11 "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
* 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 "For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."
* 1 Peter 4:13-17 "But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"
* 1 Peter 5:10-11 "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."
>8. What is the nature of the fourth kingdom? (23)
* Daniel 7:23 "He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it."
* "that will appear on earth" -Four Daniel this beast was in the future. For us this kingdom is past, present, and future. We are in the midst of this last kingdom.
* "will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it" -The Roman empire controlled what was considered by the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans all that was worth conquering. The scattered tribes to the cold north and dry hot south weren't worth conquering. The peoples to the extreme east were unknown, as was North and South America. So in part this was fulfilled just before Jesus' birth.
The political structure, military prowess, religious system, and monetary dominance of the Roman world is still with us through the western culture. The final fulfillment of this beast will be revealed when the antichrist signs a seven year treaty with Israel. (Daniel 9:27)
>What do the horns represent? (24a)
* Daniel 7:24a "The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom."
* Daniel seems to be stating one of two possibilities. Either this one kingdom will have ten sequential kings, three of which is where the antichrist will come from; or in modern years people have believed that this one kingdom will have ten kings ruling at one time. (However, the next verse starts out "after this".) If the former is a correct understanding of this verse, then it would be possible to pick out ten rulers who have united the many fragmented parts of the Roman Empire. (See below for some possibilities.) If the later, then some believe that the European Union is the final fulfillment. However, there are more than ten countries in the European union. And what of the east part of what use to be the Roman Empire; the area consisting of modern world countries Turkey, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Libya?
* The Roman Republic (508-26 B.C.) followed by the Roman Empire has consisted of many nations, tribes, and peoples. After Jesus' ascension the Roman Empire split in half several times only to rejoin again. In 395 A.D. the Roman Empire split in two and later splintered into many shifting and changing pieces. Yet, its basic political, financial, and ideological structure has remained until today. The first three; the Vandals, the Heruli, and the Ostrogoths were removed by Justinian in 554 A.D. at the behest of the pope. After Justinian’s “Imperial Restoration came Charlemagne (800 A.D.), Otto the Great (962 A.D.), Charles the Great (1520 A.D.), Napoleon (1812 A.D.), Hitler and Mussolini (1939 A.D.). These men reunited the many pieces for short times. Now one final uniting of most of the nations of the western leg has joined together in the works of the European Union (started in 1958 AD). Most of Jesus' followers believe that this is the feet and toes made of iron and clay. However, what of the eastern leg of the statue, the area Israel is in? Many are trying to join these nations together under the flag of Arab interests, some calling themselves the new Ottoman empire (1299-1923 AD).
>What does the boastful king do? (24b-25)
* Daniel 7:24b "After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings."
* "After them" -The little horn will come after the ten horns. The uprooting of three could mean he gains and grows in power by controlling first a part of what use to be this kingdom.
* "another king will arise" -The horns are kings arising from one kingdom. The little horn is a king.
* "different from the earlier one" -See above for some of the differences.
* "he will subdue three kings" -This would seem to indicate that at least three of the ten horns are in existence when the antichrist appears and gains power of their kingdoms.
>What does the fact that the times are set mean to you?
* Daniel 7:25 "He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time."
* "try to change the set times and the law" -The antichrist tries to change God's plan and order. The original for "set times" is "zeman". The original for "law" here is "dat".
* "a time, times and half a time." -The original for "time" is "iddan". "Time" is considered to be one year. So "a time" is one year, "times" is two years, and "half a time" is half a year. Total this is three and a half years. During this time the saints will be greatly persecuted. Many believe this is the last half of the seven years in Revelation (aka Jacob's Trouble and The Great Tribulation).
* Even though there are different views of what is and/or will be the fulfillment of the feet of clay-iron and the ten, three, and one horn all of Jesus' people accept that God is in control and Jesus will come again physically and rule the world. Repeatedly Jesus and the apostles tell us to keep reminding each other and ourselves of this fact.
>9. What area will be given to the saints? (26-27)
* Daniel 7:26-27 "'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'"
* "the sovereignty, power and greatness"
* "the kingdoms under the whole heaven"
* "His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom"
>How are the saints described?
* "the saints" -See above.
* the people of the Most High" -The resurrected body will be both physical and spiritual.
* "all rulers will worship and obey him" -We will rule the earth with Christ in the Millennium.
>Why might Daniel be troubled by this vision? (28; Matt. 24:21-22)
* Daniel 7:28 "This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself."
* Matthew 24:21-22 "For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equalled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."
* "This is the end of the matter" -Meaning the vision.
* "deeply troubled by my thoughts" -Perhaps the most troubling to Daniel must have been how the little horn would oppress the saints of the Most High.
* "my face turned pale" -Daniel was not only mentally troubled, but physically affected too.
>Why would Daniel keep the matter to himself?
* "I kept the matter to myself" -Daniel kept the vision to himself because it was so troubling. He told none of his peers. He wrote it down, but did not let any of them read it. He and the rest of the exiles could accept that they were being punished for idolatry. But the suffering of the saints that would come after him was for no apparent reason he knew about. The suffering of Christ and his church was hidden from him.
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