The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Daniel 7

Dan 7:1

Dan 7: Daniel's vision of the future: (1) The four beasts (vv 1-8); (2) The Ancient of Days and the destruction of the fourth beast (vv 9-12); (3) The Son of Man's kingdom (vv 13,14); (4) The interpretation of the four beasts (vv 15-18); (5) Daniel's request for interpretation of the fourth beast (vv 19-22); (6) The interpretation of the fourth beast (vv 23-25); (7) The end of the fourth beast and the beginning of the everlasting kingdom (vv 26-28).

This ch is a graphic demonstration of Eccl 3:18,19: "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal..."

King Nebuchadnezzar saw the earlier vision, of the KIngdoms of Man as a great Image, destined to be broken and crushed to pieces by the power of God in Christ (Dan 2). Then he was taught that he, although the head of the great Image, was himself no more nor better than a beast (Dan 4). And now, in ch 7, Daniel is given more detail about the four separate entities that constituted the Image: (a) In Dan 2, the four earthly kingdoms and Christ's heavenly kingdom were seen in their outward political appearance; by contrast, Dan 7 presents God's estimate of their innermost moral and spiritual features. (b) In Dan 2, the symbols were taken from inanimate objects; here in Dan 7, they are taken from the animate. (c) In Dan 2, King Nebuchadnezzar saw the splendor of these kingdoms portrayed in the dazzling statue of a man, while the Kingdom of God was symbolized by a stone. By contrast, in Dan 7, Daniel's vision reveals the animalistic character of these kingdoms of men and the fact that it is only in the Kingdom of God that man's full dignity is realized -- in the Son of Man.

In turn, Dan 7 becomes the framework for an even more detailed prophetic picture of these kingdoms, to be developed in the Book of Revelation.

Comparison between Daniel 2 and Daniel 7:

Daniel 2
Daniel 7
Nebuchadnezzar's image
The four beasts
Given to Nebuchadnezzar
Given to Daniel
4 kingdoms + 1 in view
4 kingdoms + 1 in view
1 man + a stone
4 beasts + the Son of Man
More general
More detailed
Daniel interpreted it
An angel interpreted it
Man's viewpoint
God's viewpoint

See Lesson, Beasts, heads, and horns.

"Traditionally the four beasts of Dan 7 have been expounded with reference to the four 'world empires' of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. This is, of course, perfectly correct. And yet, at the same time, it can be -- and has been -- misleading. The tendency has been to put emphasis on them as world powers, whereas they were hardly that. They did not even dominate the known civilization of their time. Babylon never expanded as far as Lydia and Greece; it gained only a temporary foothold in Egypt, which was as much the centre of civilization as Babylon itself was. Persia failed to conquer Greece and never touched other centres of Mediterranean culture. Alexander's empire only lasted as long as Alexander. And even though the might of Rome went as far as the north of Scotland, in the east it stopped at the Euphrates, and only for short periods was it effective so far.

"But in a BIBLICAL sense these four great powers were all-important, for all of them in turn controlled the fortunes of God's Land and People...

"This view of Daniel's four beasts has good, but much neglected, Biblical support: 'Their (Israel's) heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me. Therefore I will be unto them as a LION: as a LEOPARD by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a BEAR that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the WILD BEAST shall tear them, O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself' (Hos 13: 6-9).

"There is good evidence in Dan 9 alone that the prophet was in the habit of poring over the Scriptures already written, and that his Bible included at least the Books of Moses, Psalms, Isaiah and Jeremiah. So it is not unreasonable to believe that he had also pondered this passage in Hosea and that the revelation of God's continuing retribution against His wayward people was made in terms of what he was already familiar with. This Hosea passage describes the great powers as raised up for the punishment of Israel. The extent of their dominion over the centuries is a matter of little importance -- so little, in fact, that it is not mentioned once throughout Dan 7 (v 23 is not the exception to this which it appears to be). No wonder then, that the vision of an everlasting kingdom 'given to the people of the saints of the most High' left Daniel not reassured or elated but 'much troubled' and with 'changed countenance' (v 28); for he saw clearly that this long sequence of ravagers boded much ill for Israel before peace should come to Jerusalem" (TofE).

IN THE FIRST YEAR OF BELSHAZZAR: This vision came to Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar's reign -- actually his coregency with his father Nabonidus -- which was approx 553 BC. It was fitting that this vision of the downfall of world empires should come to the prophet during the reign of the last king of Babylon. God gave it to him about 50 years after the similar revelation of the great image in Dan 2. Daniel would have been about 68 years old when he had this dream. Chronologically, then, this ch may be placed between Dan 4 and Dan 5.

Dan 7:2

THE FOUR WINDS OF HEAVEN: Cp Jer 23:19; 49:36; Zech 6:1-6; Rev 7:1-3; etc. The wind represents God's power expressed in judgment using heavenly and earthly forces from all directions to influence the nations as He wills (Rev 7:1; 9:14,15).

"God often used the wind as a means to attain His ends (Gen 8:1: Exo 10:13-19; 14:21; 15:10; Num 11:31; 1Ki 18:45; 19:11)... Of more than 120 references in the Bible to wind (more than 90 in the OT and about 30 in the NT), well over half are related to events and ideas which reflect the sovereignty and power of God. In Daniel, wind is uniformly used to represent the sovereign power of God, which is the viewpoint of the book" (Walvoord).

THE GREAT SEA: In the Bible, this refers, almost invariably, to the Mediterranean (Num 34:6,7; Josh 1:4; 9:1; Eze 47:10; etc). Thus the Mediterranean world seems to be particularly in view. The sea in Scripture and in ANE symbolism represented the mass of humanity, the Gentile nations of the earth (v 17; Isa 8:6-8; 17:12,13; 57:20; Jer 6:23; 46:7,8; 47:2; Rev 13:1; 17:1,15; 21:1; etc).

Dan 7:3

Vv 3-8: Just as the Great Image of Dan 2 reveals a deterioration in the 4 kingdoms -- from gold to silver to bronze to iron to, finally, iron and clay -- so this sequence of beasts reveals a deterioration: from the first beast, which is nearly human (v 4), to the fourth beast, which is a brutal beast, and the fifth element -- its little horn -- which is a blasphemer (v 8)! Different from the first three, this fourth beast (in its different manifestations) seems uglier, more powerful, and much more hostile toward God and His saints -- as the rest of the ch indicate.

"V 3 neatly introduces a quote from God's promise to Abraham (Gen 22:17): 'the sand of the sea'; a subtle hint that the prophecy is about Israel, the natural seed of Abraham and their enemies (cp Rev 13:1). Confirmation of this conclusion, that the four empires are the oppressors of Israel, comes from recognition that this vision was anticipated in Hos 13:7,8, where note especially: 'they (Israel) have forgotten me... 'O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself' (vv 6,9)" (WDan).

Dan 7:4

THE FIRST WAS LIKE A LION: Many nations have used the lion as a symbol of royal power because it is the traditional king of beasts (1Ki 10:20; 2Ch 9:19). Huge winged lions guarded the gates of the royal Babylonian palaces.

IT HAD THE WINGS OF AN EAGLE: Similarly the eagle has long represented the king of birds (Eze 17:3,7). Babylon used both the lion and the eagle as national emblems (Jer 4:7,13; Eze 17:3).

ITS WINGS WERE TORN OFF: The humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4), or perhaps to the deterioration of his kingdom after his death.

IT STOOD ON TWO FEET LIKE A MAN, AND THE HEART OF A MAN WAS GIVEN TO IT: After Nebuchadnezzar's humbling by God (Dan 4), he was healed of his illness and ceased being a "beast"; in fact, he became much more a man, and much more humane -- even acknowledging the God of heaven.

Dan 7:5

A SECOND BEAST, WHICH LOOKED LIKE A BEAR: OT writers spoke of the bear as the most formidable beast of prey in Palestine after the lion (1Sa 12:34; Amos 5:19; 2Ki 2:24; Hos 13:8).
IT WAS RAISED UP ON ONE OF ITS SIDES: This probably reflects the superior strength of the Persian part of the Medo-Persian Empire (Dan 8:3,20).

IT HAD THREE RIBS IN ITS MOUTH BETWEEN ITS TEETH: Three nations or three parts of one nation that Medo-Persia had devoured, was devouring, or would devour. When Daniel saw this vision, Medo-Persia had not yet overthrown Babylonia, so perhaps these were nations of less prominence that it had conquered. Some scholars believe the ribs refer to the Babylonian, Lydian, and Egyptian Empires, all of which Medo-Persia conquered eventually. Others suggest that they may refer to Media, Persia, and Babylon, the three major components of the Medo-Persian Empire.

"All kinds of interpretations have been advanced to explain the 'three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it': (a) The northern conquests specified in Jer 51:27; (b) The three much more important conquests: Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt; (c) Three directions of territorial expansion: nw, west, and sw" (WDan).

IT WAS TOLD, 'GET UP AND EAT YOUR FILL O FLESH!': Daniel heard voices (angelic?) encouraging the bear to devour much meat. This probably indicates that it would yet subdue many nations. Medo-Persia ruled for 200 years before Alexander the Great toppled it in 331 BC, and its geographic extent was far-reaching.

Dan 7:6

ANOTHER BEAST, WHICH LOOKED LIKE A LEOPARD: Leopards (or panthers) are less majestic and ponderous than lions and bears. Their outstanding characteristics are their speed, strength, and cunning (Jer 5:6; Hos 13:7; Hab 1:8).

AND ON ITS BACK IT HAD FOUR WINGS LIKE THOSE OF A BIRD: The four wings on this leopard's back made it even faster. With the swiftness of a leopard, Alexander the Great conquered most of the civilized world all the way from Macedonia to Africa and eastward to India (334-331 BC). The lightning character of his conquests is without precedent in the ancient world, and this is fully in keeping with the image of speed embodied in the leopard itself and the four wings on its back.

THIS BEAST HAD FOUR HEADS: Apparently each wing had some connection with each of this animal's four heads. Heads suggest intelligent direction. Greece had four governmental divisions with one person heading each division. Following Alexander's defeat at Ipsus, in Phrygia, in 301 BC, the Grecian Empire was divided into four parts under Alexander's generals -- Lysimachus (who ruled Thrace and Bithynia), Cassander (Macedonia and Greece), Seleucus (Syria, Babylonia, and the eastern territories), and Ptolemy (Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia Petrea). Each of these successors ruled one of the geographical divisions of Alexander's empire: Greece, Western Asia (or modern Turkey), Egypt, and Persia (or modern Iran). The exact identification of the rulers is debatable because it took about 20 years for the kingdom to be successfully divided. Still there is no question that Greece split into four major parts (Dan 8:8,22).

Dan 7:7

A FOURTH BEAST -- TERRIFYING AND FRIGHTENING AND VERY POWERFUL: In contrast to Greece, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire was slow. It began in 241 BC with the occupation of Sicily. Gradually it expanded throughout the whole Mediterranean world; western Europe including Britain, Gaul, and Spain; and western Asia as far east as the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. It formally ended in 410 AD when the Visigoths sacked Rome. However, its governmental influence persisted as late as 1453 AD, when the last Roman ruler died in battle in Constantinople.

IT HAD LARGE IRON TEETH: Thus connecting this beast with the legs and feet of the Image in Dan 2:33.

IT CRUSHED AND DEVOURED ITS VICTIMS AND TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT WHATEVER WAS LEFT: This describes Rome's treatment of the nation and land and people of Israel (cp Dan 2:40). "It is from this point of view, and from this view only, that Rome 'devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it.' Normally this was not the character of Roman conquest. The legions did not conquer in order to destroy but in order to civilize. Wherever Rome went, law and order followed -- the 'pax Romana'. In this respect the Land of Israel was an outstanding exception. The Jews did not want any Roman peace. So at last, against all normal Roman policy, that troublesome country was 'broken in pieces, and stamped with the feet' " (TofE).

IT HAD TEN HORNS: There is some obvious similarity between these 10 horns and the 10 toes of the image in Dan 2. Horns pictured strength and rulers in ANE symbolism.

See Lesson, Beasts, heads, and horns.

Dan 7:8


"If the principle of interpretation of Scripture by Scripture is worth anything at all... the Beast of Revelation is a kind of blown-up version of the Little Horn.

"The old commentators saw this conclusion clearly, but in their admirable anti-papal campaign, and misled by the utterly unfounded year-for-a-day interpretation of time periods, they sought an artificial reference to a 'continuous historic' fulfilment spread over long centuries.

"But there are too many difficulties against acceptance of this view: (a) The three uprooted horns have to be equated with the three papal states and the pope's temporal power. But this is a 'fulfilment' just too trivial, so unimportant, in fact, that most of the history books do not even mention it. (b) 'Saints' has to be read as meaning 'the true believers', especially in the time of the Reformation. But this is against all OT usage of 'saints', where in Psalms (many) and Daniel especially, the reference is to Israel, the holy people; eg, Dan 12:7 (sw); 8:24. (c) This persecution lasts 'until the Ancient of days comes' (the final divine intervention). But papal persecution of Protestants ceased two hundred years ago, and still no heavenly kingdom. (It is ironic that most of the persecution of true believers in Reformation times came from bigoted Protestants and not from the Catholic Church). (d) 'Until a time, times, and the dividing of time.' Traditionally this has been turned into 3 1/2 x 360 days (years!), and applied to the long drawn-out period of papal 'dominion'. All these 1260 year computations gave out a long time ago, yet still the 'Ancient of days' is not manifest. What has gone wrong with the calculation?" (WDan).

EYES LIKE THE EYES OF A MAN: Probably symbolizing intelligence.

A MOUTH THAT SPOKE BOASTFULLY: Cp vv 11,20,25. This quite clearly suggests a Last Days fulfillment (cp Mat 24:5,15; 2Th 2:3,4; Rev 13; 17; 19).

Daniel also saw another "little horn" in another vision that he reported having (Dan 8:9-11).

Dan 7:9

Vv 9-12: "There is much correspondence between the vision of the Ancient of days and the remarkable descriptions of the Almighty enthroned, in Eze 1:16-20,27 and in Rev 4:3,5,6; 5:6,7. Other appropriate Scriptures, all about the Glory of Jehovah, and the radiance, the fire, and the wheels, are Psa 104:2; 18:8-13; 50:1-4; 1Ch 28:18" (WDan).

In the first scene of Dan 7, heavenly winds are employed to whip up the sea -- from which the four beasts emerges. In the second scene, heaven calmly prepares for court, which will determine that the time for judgment has come. The beasts are a horrifying and frightening sight; the heavenly court scene is one of regal splendor and beauty. The beasts emerge out of chaos and confusion; the heavenly court is calm and dignified.

THRONES WERE SET IN PLACE: Now Daniel saw something happening in the courts of heaven. John later saw thrones in heaven also (Rev 1:4; 20:4; etc).

THE ANCIENT OF DAYS: God Himself: vv 13,22; Isa 43:13; 57:15. The title "Ancient of Days" stresses God's eternalness.



HIS THRONE WAS FLAMING WITH FIRE: Sym knowledge, purity, and judgment in Scripture.

ITS WHEELS WERE ALL ABLAZE: Implying that He can go in any direction, and that He can do anything He pleases (cp Eze 1:13-21).

Dan 7:10

A RIVER OF FIRE WAS FLOWING, COMING OUT FROM BEFORE HIM: Similar to a river of burning lava, symbolizing judgment proceeding from Him. "This has its probable counterpart in the 'firmament', the 'paved work of a sapphire stone', the 'sea of glass' (Eze 1:25,26; Exo 24:10; Rev 4:6; 15:2)" (WDan).

THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS ATTENDED HIM: Those attending Him were evidently angels (Deu 33:2). The multitude of angels round the throne in Dan 7:10 is matched by Rev 5:11; Deu 33:2; Psa 68:17.

THE COURT WAS SEATED, AND THE BOOKS WERE OPENED: The court (cp v 26) seems to be a heavenly venue in which God renders judgment on rulers and their nations based on His records of their deeds (Isa 65:6; Mal 3:16; Rev 20:12; cf Mat 25:31-46).

Dan 7:11

THEN I CONTINUED TO WATCH BECAUSE OF THE BOASTFUL WORDS THE HORN WAS SPEAKING. I KEPT LOOKING UNTIL THE BEAST WAS SLAIN: The boastful words of the little horn kept attracting Daniel's attention, until God passed judgment on the fourth beast and destroyed it along with all its horns (cp Luke 21:24-27; Rev 19:20). Similarly the stone cut out without hands crushed the toes of the image in Dan 2 suddenly and violently.

Dan 7:12

THE OTHER BEASTS HAD BEEN STRIPPED OF THEIR AUTHORITY, BUT WERE ALLOWED TO LIVE FOR A PERIOD OF TIME: The end of the prior three beasts contrasts with the end of this fourth one. God took away the dominion of each of the earlier three kingdoms one by one, but they continued to exist, for some time, as elements of the kingdom that overcame them. But finally, God will cut off the fourth kingdom, and it will continue no longer (v 11). Thus, in a sense, all four beasts or kingdoms will have their end simultaneously (as described in Dan 2), and the end of the fourth kingdom will result in a totally new kingdom on the earth (cp Rev 19:19,20).

Dan 7:13

Vv 13,14: See Lesson, Leviathan -- esp "Last Days".

ONE LIKE A SON OF MAN: Although Messiah had already been named as God's "Son" in previous prophetic utterances (cp 2Sa 7:14; Psa 2:7,10; Pro 30:4), he is now given a name that also emphasizes his true and total identification with mankind. Because Jesus commonly used the title "Son of Man" to describe himself, this is the most frequently quoted verse from Daniel in the NT. It is very significant that Jesus used this title above all others when describing himself, some 31 times in Mat alone.

In the OT, the expression "son of man" was used most frequently in reference to men, who were merely (as opposed to God) human. In the Psalms and also in Daniel 7, the expression "Son of Man" begins to take on a more technical meaning, referring to the Messiah, who will sit on the throne of his father David, to rule over men for ever.

During his ministry, Jesus spoke of himself very often as "the Son of Man". And he began not only to identify himself as the Messiah, the promised "Son of Man", but also to explain all that this involved. The Son of Man had the power to forgive sins, as well as to heal a paralytic (Mat 9:6). The Son of Man was also "Lord of the Sabbath" (Mat 12:8). He would rise from the dead (Mat 12:40). He will also send forth His angels to gather those who do not belong in His kingdom (Mat 12:41). He questioned his disciples so that they could confess that he, the Son of Man, was the Messiah (Mat 16:13...). He would -- after his death, burial, and resurrection -- come in his glory, rewarding men according to their deeds (Mat 16:27). His disciples were promised that they would share in his reign as King (Mat 19:20). The transfiguration of our Lord was but a foretaste of his coming glorious kingdom (Mat 16:28). When He came with his kingdom, they would be sure to recognize him (Mat 24:27). However, the Son of Man must first suffer at the hands of men (Mat 17:22; 20:18).

Those who rejected the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of Man, would mourn when they saw him returning in the clouds (Mat 24:30; Rev 1:7). But the rulers of Israel would see him, the "Son of Man", sitting at the right hand of his Father in heaven, and coming in the clouds of heaven as the Great Judge to exercise judgment upon them (Mat 26:59-64)!

COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN: The Divine glory revealed in Israel as cloud (Exo 13:21,22; 14:19,20,24; 16:10; 19:16-19; 20:18; 24:15-19; 33:18-21 with Exo 34:4-7; 40:34-38; Num 10:34; 12:5,10; 14:9,10,14,21,22; Deu 31:14,15; Psa 105:39; 1Co 10:1,2). The same Shekinah glory appeared to Abraham (Gen 15:17; Act 7:2), David (Psa 18:6-15), Ezekiel (Eze 1:4; 10:4); Elijah (1Ki 19:11-13), Job (Job 38:1), apostles (Luk 9:34,35). Judgments of God in last days are manifest in this cloud (Dan 7:13; Joe 2:2; Zep 1:15; Eze 30:3; Isa 19:1; 25:5). Jesus will so come from heaven, in clouds of glory (Act 1:9,11; Luk 21:27; Mat 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 1Th 4:17; Rev 1:7).

HE APPROACHED THE ANCIENT OF DAYS AND WAS LED INTO HIS PRESENCE: "Dan 7 and Rev 5:6,7 show the Son of man being presented before the throne of his Father... [This seems to] describe the glorious reception of the risen Lord in the presence of his Father. It is perhaps possible to go further and read the Dan 7:13 scenario as the heavenly counterpart to the Day of Atonement, when the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies with clouds of incense and the atoning blood of an acceptable Sacrifice" (WDan).

Dan 7:14

HE WAS GIVEN AUTHORITY, GLORY AND SOVEREIGN POWER...: This description glorifies the Ancient of Days who then proceeded to give this Person authority to rule on earth (cp Psa 2:6; 110:1,2). And so this v refers to Christ's appointment as absolute Lord and Judge by virtue of his atoning sacrifice -- the one who achieved a sinless life (Isa 53:9), paid the price for man's redemption (Isa 53:5,6), and was vindicated by his bodily resurrection as Judge of the entire human race (Acts 17:31; Rom 2:16). God's intention in giving Him this authority (Mat 28:18) was that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. He was to have global rule over everyone.

HIS DOMINION IS AN EVERLASTING DOMINION THAT WILL NEVER PASS AWAY: Furthermore, his kingdom would last forever in contrast to the preceding four kingdoms. Succeeding kingdoms destroyed preceding kingdoms, but no kingdom will ever destroy his kingdom (cf Psa 26-9; 72:11; Isa 11; Rev 19:15,16; 20:1-6). This is a fifth kingdom corresponding to the stone cut out without hands in Dan 2, that destroys the fourth kingdom and all preceding kingdoms together.

Dan 7:15

I, DANIEL, WAS TROUBLED IN SPIRIT, AND THE VISIONS THAT PASSED THROUGH MY MIND DISTURBED ME: Daniel, a godly prophet and a man of unshakable faith, has been steadfast in his daily walk of fellowship with God throughout the first six chs of Daniel. Nothing has caused him to panic or depart from his faith and practice as a godly Jew. But now a revelation from God in his sleep brings his first great distress, for the revelation discloses future events Daniel finds most troubling (particularly because they related to his people Israel?) Twice in Dan 7 Daniel speaks of his distress -- here, and in v 28.

Subsequent revelations in the Book of Daniel also evoked in the prophet some kind of agony or distress (see Dan 8:17,27; 9:20,21; 10:2,3,7-10,17; 12:8) -- evidently because he saw that they pertained to his own people, and the terrors that awaited them, especially in the Last Days.

"The personal cost of receiving divine revelation is never underestimated in the OT (cf Jer 4:19; Eze 3:15; Zec 9:1; 12:1), and the book of Daniel insists here and in subsequent chapters (Dan 8:27; 10:1,10,11,15,18) on the anxiety and psychological turmoil involved in receiving, even at God's hand, understanding of the future course of history" (Baldwin). If we take it seriously, we may find the future -- as outlined in prophecy -- troubling as well.

Dan 7:17

THAT WILL RISE FROM THE EARTH: They arose from the earth, which is what the sea symbolized (cp v 2; Isa 17:12,13; 57:20,21; Jer 46:7,8).

Dan 7:18

BUT THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH WILL RECEIVE THE KINGDOM AND WILL POSSESS IT FOREVER: The saints of the Highest One (vv 22,25,27) probably refer to believers of all ages (v. 27). They will receive the (fifth) kingdom and will possess it forever. People will have a share in the Son of Man's everlasting kingdom after he establishes it. This involves reigning with Christ (Mat 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27; 2Ti 2:12; Rev. 5:10; 20:4,6; 22:5). The reason for emphasizing the participation of God's people in the final kingdom is that this is a literal, earthly kingdom, replacing the previous kingdoms of men -- rather than a spiritual, idealized church-like domain.

Dan 7:19

// Dan 7:7.

Dan 7:20

// Dan 7:8,11.

Dan 7:21

AS I WATCHED, THIS HORN WAS WAGING WAR AGAINST THE SAINTS AND DEFEATING THEM: Explaining one reason for God's final judgment of him (cp Rev 11:7; 12:13-17; 13:7; 17:7). Daniel seems to have had particular concern about the fate of the saints whom the little horn overpowered.

Dan 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: Finally God passed judgment in favor of His saints further indicating the importance of the saints in God's actions.

"Ancient of Days" and "the Most High" appear to be two titles of God the Father stressing His eternity and sovereignty respectively.

Dan 7:23

THE WHOLE EARTH: The phrase "whole earth" does not necessarily mean the whole planet. The OT generally uses this term to refer to the entire territory of the Near and Middle East that in any way relates to the Holy Land. See Lesson, "Land" or "earth"?

Dan 7:24

AFTER THEM ANOTHER KING WILL ARISE, DIFFERENT FROM THE EARLIER ONES; HE WILL SUBDUE THREE KINGS: One difference between the description of the little horn here and earlier (v 8) is that the little horn is a king, not a kingdom. Another is that he will be different from the previous 10 kings (cf Rev 13:1; 17:12).

Dan 7:25

HE WILL SPEAK AGAINST THE MOST HIGH: Now the character of his boastful words is made more clear: his boasting will be against God Almighty! Cp Rev 13:5.

AND OPPRESS HIS SAINTS: He will wear down the saints evidently by persecution (cp 2Th 2:8,9; Rev 12:13-17; 13:1-10,16,17).

Dan 7 indicates in the clearest way that prior to the coming of the kingdom of God the saints will suffer at the hand of the final "horn" and even be overpowered by him. Wherever the Scriptures speak of the coming kingdom of God, suffering is closely associated with it. Before the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt and brought into the land of Canaan, they suffered at the hands of the Egyptians. Our deliverance from the power of sin and the penalty of death has been accomplished by our Lord, who suffered in our place. Those who will reign with Christ are those who have suffered (Rom 8:17; Phi 3:10,11; 2Ti 2:12). Suffering is an inseparable part of the process which leads to glory. So it was for our Lord (1Pe 1:10-12), and so it will be for us.

"When, it may be asked, has the Pope oppressed the saints? For certainly the Huguenots were not 'saints' in the true sense of the term; and the ancient confessions of faith of the Vaudois published in Muston's 'Israel of the Alps' (translated by Hazlitt) make it abundantly clear that they were not 'saints'. Then who? The present writer is not aware of any documented history that would answer to this Scripture adequately. Recent research by Alan Eyre (first made public at Glasgow Youth Gathering, Easter 1963) points to the probable conclusion that if the Truth really existed in the 16th and 17th centuries, then its chief persecutors were the leaders of the orthodox Protestant churches!" (LD).

AND TRY TO CHANGE THE SET TIMES AND THE LAWS: Changes in the calendar, and the Laws?

A TIME, TIMES AND HALF A TIME: Cp Dan 12:7. A literal period of 3 1/2 years: cp Dan 4:16; Rev 11:2,3; 12:6; 13:5). It evidently refers to the last three and one-half years before the little horn's destruction and the return of Jesus Christ.

"If this is taken as ending in 1870, then the point must be pressed that long before that date the Pope had no power at all to persecute any Protestant, much less any 'saint', since such -- if they existed at all during the 18th century -- were emphatically not to be found in Catholic countries" (LD).

Dan 7:26

DESTROYED FOREVER: Or "unto the end" (AV). This destruction will be at the end of times, in the Last Days.

Dan 7:27

THE KINGDOMS UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN: "Under", not "in" heaven; also called "of heaven": Mat 5:3; 7:21; 8:11; etc. All that pertains to God's Kingdom comes from heaven: Joh 18:36. As John was "sent from God" (Joh 1:6). Believers are called to be heirs of kingdom: Mat 25:34; Luke 12:32.

THE SAINTS, THE PEOPLE OF THE MOST HIGH: The angel again stressed the role that the saints will have in this kingdom. The phrase "the people of the saints of the Holy One" (NASB) is unusual. This may indicate that a particular group of the saints (believers), probably the Jews who, according to other Scripture, will be God's special focus of blessing, at least at the beginning of His Kingdom. However, the rendering "the saints, [namely] the people of the Most High" (NIV) is a good translation. In this case it is the saints generally who are in view, not a special group of them. Either emphasis will yield a correct interpretation.

HIS KINGDOM WILL BE AN EVERLASTING KINGDOM, AND ALL RULERS WILL WORSHIP AND OBEY HIM: The Son of Man's kingdom will be endless and worldwide. This verse also clarifies that the saints are not the same as the Son of Man, "saints" being plural and "his" and "him" singular. The kingdom is not just the rule of the saints; it is fundamentally the rule of the Son of Man, in which the saints participate.

Dan 7:28

I, DANIEL, WAS DEEPLY TROUBLED BY MY THOUGHTS, AND MY FACE TURNED PALE: Daniel marked the end of the vision and added that what he had seen and heard alarmed and terrified him. His pale face evidently resulted from his fear as he contemplated the severe trials and persecutions awaiting his people.

BUT I KEPT THE MATTER TO MYSELF: He originally kept this revelation to himself perhaps because he realized that it might prove explosive if he announced it immediately.

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