Summary of passage: Daniel dreams of 4 beasts during the reign of Belshazzar king of Babylon: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and one with horns. A little horn appeared among them and spoke. It was slain and thrown into a fire. A son of man appeared and was given authority, glory, and sovereignty over all peoples, nations, and men.
The four beasts represent 4 kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome). Rome is the last and will last the longest. But in the end Jesus’ kingdom will be established for eternity.
11a) Daniel saw the son of man come and establish an everlasting kingdom, attended by thousands, and slaying the other beasts.
b) Jesus is the Ancient of Days in verse 22 and he will judge all.
12) Personal Question. My answer: God is in control. He allows earthly kingdoms to exist. But in the end, His kingdom shall reign.
13) Personal Question. My answer: It does neither. It doesn’t trouble me because as a student of history, I know all kingdoms/rulers/countries/tyrants/leaders are transitory and die and Jesus reigns. It doesn’t encourage me either because the world is a fallen, sad place and even though I know Jesus is coming it doesn’t make living here all that much easier. I’m ambivalent.
Conclusions: Weak lesson without reading the commentary due to the fact we are studying prophecy here again and as we’ve learned, prophecy is impossible to understand until it has passed.
We’ve been asked a lot of questions involving encouragement. The definition of encourage is “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; hearten; to spur on, stimulate, to give help or patronage to; foster.” Our world is so different from Daniel’s world. Perhaps we know too much. We know all those empires fell. We have God’s written word about the future and Jesus. And we have Jesus. We are so jaded by bad things happening in this world that encouragement is hard to come by. At least for me, I wall out all the evil happenings in this world, so I’m not a ball of goo. Thus encouragement is kept at bay as well.
End Notes: Four winds of heaven connects to Revelation 7:1 and is probably satanic forces. Four seems to be the number of created universe. We’re talking Mediterranean Sea here.
Four Visions are Four Kingdoms: Lion is Babylon, Bear is Medo-Persia, Leopard is Greece, Horned beast is Rome.
A lion is majestic. A bear is ferocious (think mama bear and her cubs). A leopard is quick and unexpected. The horned beast was powerful and lasting.
This is Greece under Alexander the Great who conquered the entire known world in 12 short years. When he died, his empire was divided 4 ways (four heads). Alexander the Great was a genius–put on earth for the task he performed. He spread Western culture to most of the known world. He ushered in the era of rule of the Ptolemiac Kingdom in Egypt. He forever changed the known world. He was also taken out most probably by a mosquito (malaria) at the age of 33. Who else but God could orchestrate such talent and such tragedy? And all for His divine purposes.
Scholars think the 3 ribs represent the kingdoms Persia conquered: Egypt, Babylon, and Lydia.
Scholars suggest “the Ancient of Days” is God in Daniel 7:13-14. Here, the white clothing and hair seem to suggest God and His eternal nature. Since the son of man is separate here, it makes sense the Ancient of Days is God. In Daniel 7:22, the “Ancient of Days” is Jesus since he pronounced judgment. All are one as the Triune God. We were asked to read this passage in Lesson 3, Day 5.
Fire is judgement in the Bible.
Angels and man surround God as well as books (Book of Life, remembrance, and living).
Revelation 13:5-6 speaks of the boastful words spoken by the Antichrist.
Fun Fact: The Son of Man was used more than 80 times in the Four Gospels to describe Jesus.
Daniel 2 also discusses the 4 empires–just from man’s perspective. Here we have God’s.
Daniel is interested most in the fourth beast because it is the most ferocious.
“Against the saints”. The saints can either be the church or the Jewish remnant (Revelation 12:17; 13:7), causing confusion as to whether we will be on earth for the Tribulation or not.
Most scholars believe the conspicuous horn to be the Antichrist, arising out of some group of ten nations, which in some way has the Roman empire being re-established here on earth. John Calvin interpreted the 10 rulers as actual Roman emperors, thus saying this prophecy has already been fulfilled.
Number 10: ten toes (Daniel 2) and ten horns (Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17).
“…time, times and half a time.” This is three and a half years. In Revelation (11:2-3, 12:6 and 13:5) this refers to half of the last seven-year period of man’s rule on this earth (the seventieth week of Daniel) otherwise known as the Great Tribulation.
Final thought: Ready to return to the book of Revelation.
Conclusions to Lesson 8: In studying Daniel, we are studying a man of faith. He lived his whole life for God and God rewarded Daniel in return. He’s a great example of how to live your religion in a secular world. He stood on faith. In relation to the book of Revelation, Daniel is one of the people God chose to reveal the future to. The future we have seen revealed (the fall of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome) and the future yet to come (the horn that arose from the 10 horns–the Antichrist). Albeit the interpretations differ from scholars, God revealed enough to us about the future to be helpful and full of hope.
We see what a life can look like empowered by God. That is the best lesson of all this week. This alone is encouraging as we strive for such a life and discouraging as I know my life is no where close to Daniel’s and seems at times impossible to reach.