TODAY’S READING: DANIEL 7-9
Daniel’s vision of the four great beasts; Daniel’s vision of the ram and the he-goat; Daniel’s seventy weeks.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Until now, Daniel has been interpreting dreams for others. But now God gives him extraordinary visions of his own. His first vision is of four great beasts that came up from the sea. An angel explains this dream to Daniel. Each beast represented a kingdom:
1.The lion with wings (vs. 4) – This is Babylon. Babylon was still ruling at this time, but in just a few years (as chapter 5 explains) the empire would fall.
2.The bear with ribs (vs. 5) – This is the Medo-Persian empire. The three ribs represent the three empires already defeated in history (Egypt, Babylonia, Libya). The fact that the bear stood “raised up on one side” indicates that one half of the empire (the Persian half) was stronger and more honorable than the other half (The Medes).
3.The winged four-headed leopard (vs. 6) – This is Greece, led by Alexander the Great who swiftly conquered the world, defeating the Persians about 331 BC. But Alexander died in 323 BC, and his vast kingdom was divided into four parts (thus the four heads). Four of his generals each took parts of the kingdom and ruled them as monarchs.
4.The terrible beast (vs. 7-8, 17-27) – This is the Roman Empire. This picture seems to go beyond history into the “latter days” because we see the ten horns on the beast which parallel the ten toes of the image in chapter 2, the revived Roman Empire of the last days. Verses 8 and 20 tell us that a “little horn” (ruler) will appear and defeat three of the ten kingdoms represented by the ten horns and ten toes. This little horn will then become a world ruler, the Anti-Christ! His mouth will speak great things and he will persecute the saints for three and a half years (vs. 25). God will send judgment (vs. 9-14, 26-28) in the person of Jesus Christ to slay this beast and set up his kingdom forever!
This vision complements and supplements the one from chapter two. There we have man’s view of the nations (precious metals), but here we have God’s view (ferocious beasts). The vision in chapter 8 is actually an amplification of 7:6, explaining how Greece will conquer Medo-Persia.
In Chapter 9, we have the prophecy concerning Daniel’s 70 weeks. While Daniel was in prayer confessing his own and his nation’s sins, the angel Gabriel touched him and proceeded to give him this prophecy concerning Jerusalem. It is a time period of seventy weeks of years (70 x 7 = 490 years). Verse 25 tells us that the event that will start this 490 year period is a decree that allows the Jews to go back to Jerusalem after being scattered for a time. This decree came about 100 years after Daniel received this prophecy when Artaxerxes decreed that Nehemiah could return and rebuild the city of Jerusalem in 445 BC (Neh. 2). Gabriel said that there would be “seven weeks and threescore and two weeks” (69 x 7 = 483 years) between the giving of the decree and the coming of the Messiah. Keep in mind that prophetic years in the Bible are 360 days, not 365 days long. It has been calculated that there were exactly 483 years between this decree and the very day that Jesus rode in!
to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (see the book titled The Coming Prince by Sir Robert Anderson). Since Messiah was rejected and cut-off as prophesied, there remains yet one week of years to be fulfilled. This is the seven year Tribulation period known as the time of Jacob’s trouble. It is detailed for us in Revelation 6-19. This period ends with Christ’s return to take His rightful place as King of the whole earth. Amen!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE ANCIENT OF DAYS – Dan. 7:9 (see John 1:1-3, 14)
As THE SON OF MAN – Dan. 7:13 (see Mark 10:45 and Luke 6:5)
As MESSIAH – Dan. 9:25 (see Matt. 16:16 and 1 John 5:1)