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Friday, June 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 7

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-28

Chapter 7

Now at this point we come to, more or less, the end of the historic part of the book of Daniel. And beginning with chapter 7, we are now gonna go back and deal with visions that Daniel had during previous years. In other words, as we go to chapter 7, this particular vision came to Daniel in the first year that Belshazzar was king. You see, our story has taken us out to the end of Daniel's life during the reigns of Darius and Cyrus, the Medo-Persian kings. But now going back, we're gonna start dealing now with prophecies or with visions that Daniel received.

The first one, here in chapter 7, was when Belshazzar was in his first year as the king of Babylon.

Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: and then he wrote the dream, and he told the sum of the matters. And Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold there were four winds of the heaven striving upon the Mediterranean Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, that were different from each other. Now the first was like a lion, and it had eagle's wings: and I beheld it until the wings where plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given unto it. And behold there was another beast, the second was like to a bear, and it raised itself up on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, and devour much flesh. And after this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; and the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given unto it. And after this I saw in the night visions, and behold there was a fourth beast, that was dreadful and awesome, it was exceedingly strong; it had great iron teeth: that devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns ( Daniel 7:1-7 ).

Now as we read of these four beasts, we immediately see their correlation with the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had that was interpreted by Daniel. As Nebuchadnezzar had a vision of those world-governing empires, or those governments that would govern over the world. Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he saw them as an image of a man, with a head of gold, the chest of silver, stomach of brass, legs of iron, and the feet of iron and clay with the ten toes. And, of course, he watched it until this rock came, not cut with hands, that hit the image in its feet and the whole image crumbled, and the rock grew into a mountain that covered the earth.

Now we have a parallel vision by Daniel. Only he does not see the world-governing empires as a man, but he sees them as beasts. And the first lion would, of course, be the Babylon Empire. It had eagle's wings that were plucked. It was lifted up from the earth, but then it was made to stand like a man. The second like a bear, three ribs in its mouth, the Medo-Persian Empire. The third, the leopard would be the Grecian Empire, under Alexander the Great. And interesting, the four heads, when Alexander the Great died, the kingdom, or the Grecian Empire, did not pass on, because Alexander the Great did not have any children, did not pass on in a dynasty, but actually was divided into four separate heads and four of his generals began to rule: one in Syria, one in Egypt, one in Asia Minor, and the other in Greece. And so the dividing into the four heads.

But finally this last beast, the Roman Empire, is just an awesome beast of which there is no correlation, there's no... you can't say it's a lion or a bear. It's just an awesome fearful-looking kind of a beast such as does not exist in realty. It has ten horns and of course we are reminded of the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. So you have the ten horns coming out of the fourth beast, the Roman Empire, even as you have the ten toes, part iron, part clay showing the relationship to the Roman Empire. So you have parallel visions here. As God is again revealing the four world-dominating empires. But now we're gonna receive some other interesting enlightenment that did not come in Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

Now I considered the horns [that is, the ten horns of this final beast], and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things ( Daniel 7:8 ).

So there is to be a federation of nations in the last days. Nations that were related to the Roman Empire. Ten of them together, equaling the ten toes or the ten horns. Now in the European community we do see today ten nations that were related to the Roman Empire that have federated themselves together. So it is quite possible that what you see today in the European community is actually the beginning of the fulfillment of these prophecies of Daniel. If God doesn't use this alignment, He's missing a good opportunity. I believe that it is much more than coincidence that Western Europe is rising as a great financial and an industrial empire. And surely there are all the qualifications necessary to fulfill this vision of Daniel.

But there is an eleventh horn that arises, which actually takes over three of the horns, plucks them up by their roots. And in this horn there were eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things. This eleventh horn is the antichrist, who will come in plucking up three of the kings.

And I beheld [he said] till the thrones were cast down ( Daniel 7:9 ),

You remember in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, the stone hit the feet in its... the stone hit the image in his feet and the image crumbled; it was cast down. "So I beheld until these thrones, the ten kings, were cast down."

and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like a fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. And a fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: and thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousands stood before him: and the judgment was set, and the books were open ( Daniel 7:9-10 ).

And so he beheld these horns until they were cast down and he saw actually the throne of God, the Ancient of days, and all of the splendor and glory surrounding the throne of God. A thousand thousand, or a million, ministering unto Him and ten thousand times ten thousand, or a hundred million, standing before Him.

Now when we turn to Revelation chapter 5... chapter 4, actually, we see God sitting upon the throne. We see the green emerald rainbow about the throne of God. We see the crystal sea in front of it. We see the twenty-four elders with their golden crowns there also before the throne of God and the cherubim surrounding Him and declaring, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty." We see the brightness of God as He sits there upon the throne. And then our attention is diverted to the scroll that is in the right hand of God because an angel is proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to take this scroll and to loose the seals?" And then we turn and we see Jesus as a Lamb that has been slaughtered as He comes forth and He takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits upon the throne. And we watched them as they offered the golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints, and we began to sing, "Worthy is the Lamb to take the scroll and to loose the seals thereof, for He was slain and He has redeemed us by His blood out of all the nations, tribes, tongues, and peoples and He has made us unto our God, kings and priests and we shall reign with Him upon the earth." And then he heard ten thousand times ten thousand and thousand of thousands--equivalent to Daniel here--angels, there before the throne of God, saying, "Worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and honor and dominion and might and authority and power," and all.

So, again, the scene in heaven which will be followed immediately, the book is open and when the scroll is open, brings actually the judgment, not the great white throne judgment, but the judgment of God upon the Christ-rejecting world, which is then described in Revelation, chapters 6 through 18. So Daniel and John had corresponding visions of this throne of God and the glory of the throne of God and the impending judgment upon the kingdom of man.

Now I beheld then [because in verse Daniel 7:11 ], because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: and I beheld even till the beast was slain ( Daniel 7:11 ),

We are told concerning this beast, the man of sin, the son of perdition, commonly called the antichrist, that he speaks great blasphemous things against the God of heaven. And that he finally declares that he himself is God and demands to be worshipped as God. Puts to death those that refuse to worship him. "So I beheld him till the beast was slain,"

and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame ( Daniel 7:11 ).

We are told in the book of Revelation that when Jesus comes again that He will destroy this instrument of Satan, this man of sin, and he will be cast into Gehenna, the lake that burneth with fire. So here Daniel and Revelation are just running side-by-side parallel visions.

Now concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: [the kingdoms of the earth,] yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. Now I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there was one like the Son of Man coming with clouds of heaven, and he came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given to him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and that which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed ( Daniel 7:12-14 ).

And so he sees now Jesus Christ and the receiving of the glorious kingdom being given to Jesus and coming to reign. A kingdom that shall never end. Isaiah 9:6 ,"Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, the government shall be upon His shoulders and He shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. And of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. Upon the throne of David, to order and to establish it in righteousness and in judgment from henceforth even forever. For the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this." And the angel said unto Mary, "Fear not, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive and bear a Son and thou shall Him Jesus and He shall be great. For He shall be called the Son of the Highest. And God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob. And of His kingdom there shall be no end" ( Luke 1:30-33 ).

So Daniel got a beautiful insight into these things. He sees Jesus coming with clouds of heaven. Coming to the Ancient of days and receiving the authority, the dominion, the glory, the kingdom, that all of the world should rule. In Psalm 2 , God says to Jesus, "Ask of Me and I will give unto You the heathen for Thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possessions," the glorious kingdom of God.

Now, I Daniel [he said] was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, the visions of my head troubled me. So I came near to one of those that were standing by, and I asked, What does all of this mean? And so he told me, and he made me know the interpretation of the things. Now the great beasts, which are four, are four kingdoms, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever ( Daniel 7:15-18 ).

These are the kingdoms that are going to rule over the earth, but ultimately the saints will take the kingdom.

Then I would know the truth of this fourth beast, [this indescribable beast the Roman Empire,] which was different from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, his nails of brass; which devoured, and broke in pieces, and stomped the residue with his feet; And of those ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, before whom the three fell; even of that horn which had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. And I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them ( Daniel 7:19-21 );

Now we are told this also in Revelation 13:0 as he speaks of the rise of the beast out of the sea, the antichrist, that he makes war with the saints and overcomes them. Because the antichrist prevails against the saints, I conclude that the saints are not the church. For we have the promise of Jesus Christ made in Caesarea Philippi to His disciples, when Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God," Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" ( Matthew 16:18 ). There's no way the antichrist, or the gates of hell, or Satan can prevail against the church of Jesus Christ. So by virtue of the fact that the antichrist is prevailing against the saints, they could not be the church, but will be redeemed Israel in the Tribulation period. And he will make war against Israel. He comes to Jerusalem and he makes war against the remnant of the woman's seed or of Israel. But they are not church, or the church. Daniel did not see the church in his prophecies. He was making war against the saints prevailing against them.

until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom ( Daniel 7:22 ).

Now, you remember Paul rebuked the Corinthians, those in the church in Corinth, he said, "What are you doing taking your brother to a pagan judge? You know, suing them before the courts of the land. You ought to be settling these things in the church. Don't you know the saints are going to judge the world?" And so judgment is given to the saints. We will be judging the world one day. Interesting, that's one thing I never wanted to be. Maybe I can just get a job picking up coconuts on the beach in Hawaii. But the saints possessed the kingdom.

Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, [or the Roman Empire] which will be different from all of the kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth, and tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he will subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and will wear out the saints of the Most High, and he will think to change the times and the laws: and they shall be given into his hands until a time times the dividing of the time ( Daniel 7:23-25 ).

Or for a three and half year period will he rule, coming to Jerusalem, and beginning to make war against Israel. During the first three and half years of his reign he'll make a treaty with Israel. We'll get this next week in Daniel, chapter 9. But then he will break this treaty which will start the beginning of the end and the countdown, the last days until the return of Jesus Christ. But he is given power to rule over these saints, the redeemed Israel, for three and half years.

But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it and unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominion shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matters. And as for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart ( Daniel 7:26-28 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Daniel 7". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/daniel-7.html. 2014.
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