Daniel has a mysterious vision of four beasts. An angel explains the vision to him.
VERSE 1. In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head on his bed. Then he wrote the dream and told the sum of the matters.
the first year of Belshazzar. This would have been 553 BC.
king of Babylon. Belshazzar was the coregent with his father king Nabonidus.
Daniel had a dream. This is the first time Daniel has shared with us his own dream.
and visions. Daniel also has visions.
VERSE 2. Daniel spoke and said, “I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the sky broke out on the great sea.
Four great animals. These four beasts represent four kingdoms, as we see in verse 17 below.
VERSE 4. “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand on two feet as a man. A man’s heart was given to it.
The author describes four beasts, and reveals their meaning:
1. The Lion represents Babylon, as we see in verse 4.
2. The Bear represents Medo-Persia, as we see in verse 5.
3. The Leopard represents Greece, as we see in verse 6.
4. The Beast with ten horns represents The present age, as we see in verse 7.
The first was like a lion. It represents Babylon. Babylon was the most priminent nation in the world.
and had eagle’s wings. In the Babylon of those days, wings represented hostility toward God.
I watched until its wings were plucked. Babylon will be “plucked” from its prominence.
VERSE 5. “Behold, there was another animal, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth. They said this to it: ‘Arise! Devour much flesh!’
another animal, a second, like a bear. It represents Medo-Persia.
three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth. It is very destructive.
VERSE 6. “After this I saw, and behold, another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The animal also had four heads; and dominion was given to it.
another, like a leopard. It represents Greece.
dominion was given to it. That means great authority.
VERSE 7. “After this I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there was a fourth animal, awesome and powerful, and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth. It devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet. It was different from all the animals that were before it. It had ten horns.
a fourth animal, awesome and powerful. This beast is the most difficult of the four to interpret. The simplest interpretation is that it represents the present age.
It had ten horns. This might represent the ten kings of the Seleucid Empire.
VERSE 8. “I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots: and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.
there came up among them another horn, a little one. This probably represents Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He was the worst of the ten kings mentioned above.
a mouth speaking great things. The worst people are usually the biggest talkers. They talk and talk. The lie and deceive.
VERSE 9. “I watched until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days sat. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, and its wheels burning fire.
one who was ancient of days. This is God the Father in his heavenly glory.
His throne was fiery flames, and its wheels burning fire. Probably the Word of God, the Scriptures:
Jeremiah 23:29. Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? (NIV translation)
His clothing was white as snow. This phenomenon is echoed in other places in the Bible:
Daniel 7:9. I watched until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days sat. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, and its wheels burning fire.
Jeremiah 23:29. “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (NIV translation)
Matthew 17:2. He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.
Matthew 28:3. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Revelation 1:14. His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire.
VERSE 10. A fiery stream issued and came out from before him. Thousands of thousands ministered to him. Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The judgment was set. The books were opened.
thousands of thousands ministered to him. Other translations say “millions.” Daniel beholds millions of angels in this scene.
Deuteronomy 33:2. The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir to them. He shone from Mount Paran. He came from the ten thousands of holy ones. At his right hand was a fiery law for them.
Zechariah 14:5. You shall flee by the valley of my mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azel; yes, you shall flee, just like you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. The LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with you.
Daniel 7:10. A fiery stream issued and came out from before him. Thousands of thousands ministered to him. Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The judgment was set. The books were opened.
Matthew 25:31. But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
2 Thessalonians 1:7. and to give relief to you who are afflicted with us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire,
At his triumphal return in glory at the End of Time, the LORD Jesus Christ will be accompanied by “all” the angels.
How many is “all?” It is at least millions, since that is how many Daniel saw.
VERSE 11. “I watched at that time because of the voice of the great words which the horn spoke. I watched even until the animal was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was given to be burned with fire.
VERSE 12. As for the rest of the animals, their dominion was taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
VERSE 13. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
one like a son of man. Is this the Lord Jesus Christ?
he came even to the ancient of days. It looks like the Lord Jesus Christ is approaching God the Father.
Daniel 7:13-14. I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14Dominion was given him, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom that which will not be destroyed.
Mark 2:10. But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—
Mark 14:62. Jesus said, “I am. You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of the sky.”
Luke 21:27. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
VERSE 14. Dominion was given him, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom that which will not be destroyed.
dominion … glory, and a kingdom. The Lord Jesus Christ is established as king.
VERSE 15. “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was grieved within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
VERSE 16. I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth concerning all this. “So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
VERSE 18. But the holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’
VERSE 19. “Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth animal, which was different from all of them, exceedingly terrible, whose teeth were of iron, and its nails of bronze; which devoured, broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet;
VERSE 20. and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, and before which three fell, even that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke great things, whose look was more stout than its fellows.
made war with the holy ones. Satan attacks God’s people. He is the accuser of the brethren. He steals and kills and destroys.
VERSE 22. until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the holy ones of the Most High, and the time came that the holy ones possessed the kingdom.
until the ancient of days came. God the Father rescues his people from the grip of Satan.
VERSE 23. “Thus he said, ’The fourth animal will be a fourth kingdom on earth, which will be different from all the kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth, and will tread it down, and break it in pieces.
VERSE 24. As for the ten horns, ten kings will arise out of this kingdom. Another will arise after them; and he will be different from the former, and he will put down three kings.
VERSE 25. He will speak words against the Most High, and will wear out the holy ones of the Most High. He will plan to change the times and the law; and they will be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.
He. This is probably still Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He tried to force the Jewish people to forsake their God-given heritage and adapt Greek customs.
will wear out the holy ones. The enemy attacks us on many fronts. He wears us out.
Like a boxer, his attacks are unrelenting. If he can’t win by a knockout, he will win by wearing us out.
a time and times and a half a time. That adds up to 3.5, which is half of the perfect Jewish number seven. It signifies incompleteness, imperfection.
VERSE 26. ” ’But the judgment will be set, and they will take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it to the end.
VERSE 27. The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole sky, will be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions will serve and obey him.’
VERSE 28. “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts much troubled me, and my face was changed in me; but I kept the matter in my heart.”
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