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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 7

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3

DANIEL - CHAPTER 7

DANIEL’S BEAST VISION

Verses 1-3:

Verse 1 begins a description of four living beasts of the field; each had life and movement, more than the inanimate creatures, mere statue forms of Daniel chapter two. These beasts, while symbolic of organized Gentile empires, also set forth the depravity and beastality of man, without a place of God in his life.

Daniel himself had this dream, not an heathen king, as formerly dealt with Daniel 2:28. This dream of distinct, clear images came to him, as he lay with collected mind upon his bed in the first year of the reign of Belshazzar. What he saw he proceeded to write, then explain in more detail, Amos 3:7; Revelation 1:19. Let it be recalled that "secret things belong to the Lord," but things "revealed or disclosed belong to and for the benefit of men," Deuteronomy 29:29; Ephesians 3:3-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:4. Note three things Daniel saw, wrote, and told or explained in this dream, for the benefit of comforting and enlightening the people of his times, and for the people of God today. Blessed are those who seek to understand what he said, 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15; Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:16. For it is a telescopic view of end times.

Verse 2 describes further that Daniel saw in that vision that night the four winds of the heavens, covering the earth, as they whirled about in dervish clashes upon the great sea. The four winds signify the clashing of the four great Gentile political powers in their clash to rule the "great sea," symbolic of the masses or populace of humanity in disarray; Matthew 13:47; Revelation 13:1. The antichrist rises out of the sea of political strife, but the Son of man comes in the clouds of heaven, Jeremiah 46:7-8; Luke 21:25; John 8:23; Daniel 7:13.

Verse 3 relates that four great beasts came up from or arose out of the sea (masses of Gentile powers in disarray). Each of the beasts or living animals was clearly distinct one from another. Verse 17 explains that these four beasts were (exist as) four kings; So that in this matter no ground is left for speculation. Cherubic or angelic living animals represent redeemed men, whereas beasts represent beast-like character in groveling greedy, unregenerate men, in anarchy against God, as they appear in Revelation 13:1-18.

Verse 4

THE FOUR BEAST EMPIRES

FIRST, NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S (Daniel 2:37-38)

Verse 4 describes the first of the four living animals as a lion, a symbol of strength and courage, chief among gentile world governments, as the lion is chief or king of beasts of the forests, v. 17; Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 48:40. The lion appears with eagle’s wings, Jeremiah 4:7; Jeremiah 25:9. That lion was Nebuchadnezzar who swooped like a spread­winged eagle upon her prey, with pride and self glory, till his wings were plucked by mental derangement of recessive nature, and until he acknowledged God. He then was lifted upon his feet, upright from his beast-like, grass-eating posture, as a man dependent upon God, Isaiah 46:11; Lamentations 4:19; Daniel 4:16; Daniel 4:35; Daniel 4:35; Psalms 9:20.

Verse 5

SECOND, MEDIA-PERSIA

Verse 5 describes the second beast empire as a living bear. It raised up on its side with three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. The bear symbolized the notorious cruelty of the young Persian princes, rulers over the Medes and Persians. A bear is an all­-devouring animal, presented with clenched, crushing teeth on three ribs, indicating her cruel crushing of the people of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, Isaiah 13:17-18; Jeremiah 51:48; Jeremiah 51:56. See also Daniel 2:39. The phrase "devour much flesh" alludes to her subjugating many small nations.

Verse 6

THIRD WORLD EMPIRE--GREECE

Verse 6 describes the third one world Gentile Empire as a living leopard, smaller than a lion, but swift and cruel, a beast that cowers and springs suddenly from its hiding upon its prey, Habakkuk 1:8; Isaiah 11:6; Hosea 13:7. This leopard had four wings of a fowl upon its back, and four heads. This symbolized ancient Greece and Macedonia under Alexander the Great. The four-headed and four-winged leopard with her spots seem to symbolize the impulsive and temperamental character of Alexander in his swift and sweeping conquest of Gentile kingdoms on all four sides, until he reached the then world dominion of his Empire. See Daniel 8:8; Daniel 8:22.

Verse 7

THE FOURTH-ONE WORLD EMPIRE

Verse 7 states that "after this," after Daniel had viewed three living animals (beasts), representing three successive Gentile world wide empires, he saw a fourth in his vision. This fourth beast was a dreadful, terrible, and exceeding strong-looking animal It had great iron teeth in its mouth to devour, and ten horns upon its head. Each horn represented a Gentile king, Revelation 17:12. It devoured and broke in pieces and stamped, trampled with its heavy feet, all that was in its path. As a living, destroying beast, it was far different from all other beasts before it, meaning all Gentile governments and kingdoms that preceded it, v. 23, 24; Daniel 2:40-43.

Though "horns" were symbolically used to represent reigning or dominating kingly powers; Let it be observed that the number "ten" represents "Gentile governments" in disarray. One should perhaps not look for the Gentile or heathen world to have exactly ten entire geographical bounded territories to turn to the antichrist at his coming. Instead the number "ten" seems to embrace the entire Gentile or heathen world that shall come to follow the antichrist, Revelation 12:13; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 17:12; Daniel 2:41-42.

Verse 8

CHART I

WHAT HAPPENS? WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN?

The "Little Horn", Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:24-27 introduces a pre-vision of the nature of the anti-christ who shall reveal his true character of enmity against God. This rebellion is first against the worship of Israel’s God, in the midst of the 70th week, after he has entered a covenant with Israel, Daniel 9:26-27, as also further described 2 Thessalonians 2:4-10; Revelation 12:7-14; Revelation 13:1-8; Revelation 17:13.

This event of lie-speaking, deception by the "Little Horn" ruler, leads Israel to enter a 7 year peace pact with him, permitting Israel’s beginning their morning and evening oblations, a thing to be continued under him for 42 months, half a week, or time, times, and half time, at which point he reveals his antichrist character that rages in fury for the following 42 months, until Jesus comes to put him down! V. 13, 14.

TEN KINGS AND THE "LITTLE HORN"

Verse 8:

GENTILE GOVERNMENTS AND THE ANTICHRIST (v. 24-28)

Verse 8 states that Daniel considered the ten horns and as he did there came up among them a "little horn," before whom there were three of the first horns uprooted or torn away. He noted that in this horn the "little horn," there appeared eyes, piercing eyes, eyes of intelligence, like the eyes of a man (not those of a best or live animal). And in this "little horn," there was a mouth speaking "superlatively great things," a boasting mouth, of pride and arrogance. This "little horn", v. 20-26, represents the devil in the antichrist, in battle array against God and His people, now and in the end times of the Gentiles, Daniel 7:8; Revelation 19:20. The "little horn" represents the revival of the spirit of the Roman Empire, which goes back to the origin of the spirit of the Gentile anarchy, when the peoples of the earth attempted to build a tower to heaven, against the will of God, Genesis 11:1-9. The "little horn’." represents the final rise of the son of perdition, the antichrist, the man of sin, out of heathen Gentile kingdoms in disarray, "speaking lies," preceding the coming of our Lord, about three and one half years or 42 months, Daniel 9:25-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11; 1 John 2:18; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3; Revelation ch. 13; Psalms 12:3; Daniel 11:36; 2 Timothy 3:2.

His "eyes" imply intelligence, though used to deceive, even as Satan used such to deceive Eve, Genesis 3:5; Ezekiel 1:18.

Verses 9-12

DANIEL’S VISION OF THE SON OF MAN COMING IN GLORY

Verses 9-12:

Verse 9 explains Daniel kept on looking (scrutenizing) the ten horn kings and their governments, wondering what they represented "till the thrones," the ten "horn-thrones" were cast down, placed down or subjected by the "little horn," the antichrist, who enthroned himself as a one world Gentile ruler that continued about 42 months.

"And the ancient of days did sit;" He, Jesus Christ came in the air, called His church and the "dead in Christ" to meet Him there, began to reward the saints, at His judgment seat, became married or joined to His bride. During this time (42 months) He pours out (concurrently) His woes and judgments upon the earth, upon the antichrist, the beast (one world Gentile empire) and her helpers, and backslidden Israel, and destroys the great harlot or whore and her daughters. Our Lord’s throne work is first spiritual, as He assigns reward positions to His own before coming back with them to the earth, to restore Israel and second to reign literally from the throne of David in Jerusalem, with His bride, over Israel, forever; See Daniel 9:26-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Luke 1:32-33; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 19:5-9; Revelation , 12, 13, , 17 chs. See also Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30-32; 1 Timothy 5:21; Isaiah 9:6; Revelation 17:1-12; Revelation 19:15-21; Revelation 11:15.

Verse 10 relates that from the Ancient of days (Jesus Christ) came forth a fiery stream, symbolic of words of Divine judgment, and the second coming of our Lord; and it is added that thousand thousands (and innumerable host) ministered to him, in execution of that judgment, apparently ministered by judgment angels, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10. It is much as when the law was first given, 2 Kings 22:19; Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 68:17; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:12. The latter passage refers to the final phase of God’s judgment wrath, called the Great White Throne judgment.

Verse 11 further relates how Daniel beheld and listened to the great words which the "little horn" spoke, v. 8. Daniel kept gazing at the beast with the "little horn," till the beast (one world Gentile government ruler was slain; His body was destroyed and "given to the burning flame," to exist no more, Revelation 19:20.

Verse 12 concludes that the rest of the beasts or "little kings" had their dominion or jurisdiction taken away. Yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time, into the millennial age; After the antichrist and his one world Gentile dominion was broken up, by the coming of our Lord, Matthew 24:22. Gentile nations, without a king, will continue through the millennium. Because Satan is bound, though his demons are not, they will be in frustrated disarray, without ability to organize against our Lord, till Satan is loosed for a little season, to gather them to his and their final doom, Revelation 20:7-10.

Verses 13-14

A SCENE IN HEAVEN BEFORE THE COMING OF THE LORD

Verse 13, 14:

Verse 13 declares that Daniel saw also in his night visions one person specifically "like the Son of man," as also described Revelation 5:6-10. He saw the Lord, not merely as the Son of David, or king of Israel, but as the heir-redeemer of all humanity, as the seed of woman, Genesis 3:15-16; Galatians 4:4-5. He saw him as the one able to crush the head of the old serpent. He came in vestments of glory, which he received when He went into heaven, Acts 1:9-11; Acts 2:33-34; Psalms 2:6-9; Matthew 26:64; Revelation 1:9. Jesus must rule until the restitution of all things to the Father, Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.

Verse 14 asserts that to the "Son of man," Jesus Christ, was given; 1) dominion or jurisdiction, and 2) glory, and 3) a kingdom for a thousand years, Luke 1:32-33; Revelation 20:1-6. See also Psalms 2:6; Psalms 8:6; Matthew 11:27; John 3:35. In this reign, all nations, people, and languages are to serve Him in that golden era. His jurisdiction is declared to be an everlasting administration. He will never cease to be "King of kings, and Lord of lords," Psalms 145:13; Micah 4:7; Luke 1:33; John 12:34; Revelation 19:16.
Verses 13, 14 form the basis of our Lord’s own words regarding His second coming and the resurrection, Matthew 10:23; Matthew 16:27-28; Matthew 19:28; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31; John 5:28-29; Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 13:45.

Verses 15-28

DEFINITIVE MEANING OF THE BEAST VISION

Verses 15-28:

Verses 15, 16 testify that Daniel was grieved in his spirit, in the very sheath or dwelling place of his soul; In this state, because of what he had seen in the visions, his head troubled him. His mind was confused over what he had seen in these visions, v. 1-14. Then Daniel approached one of those ministers of God that stood near him and asked him to explain the meaning of all things, as he also did later, Daniel 12:6; Daniel 12:8. Then the heavenly messenger explained the meaning of the visions, causing him to understand them, as more clearly stated below, 2 Timothy 2:15; Daniel 12; Daniel 10 b; 1 Thessalonians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:4.

Verse 17 explains that the four one-world-beasts (v. 4-7) are four kings or absolute rulers of the four one world Gentile Empires, even of 1) Babylon, 2) Medo-Persia, 3) Greece, 4) Rome. These had and were to arise out of the earth. The fourth, the Roman Empire, embracing all Gentile or heathen governments (in disarray, since the tower of Babel) is to rise up again under the Son of Perdition at the end of this age, Genesis 11:1-9; Our Lord is to destroy this one, at His coming, Luke 21:24; Revelation 16:19.

Verse 18 affirms that "the saints of the most High," (Israel and the church), with the "twelve apostles," sitting on 12 thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, in that great millennial era and giving glory to God, in the church, by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, Luke 22:28-30; Ephesians 3:21; Luke 1:32-33; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 4:9-11; Revelation 5:8-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; See also Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:10-12; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:8-10; Revelation 20:4-6.

Verse 19 recounts that Daniel requested a second time to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, v. 16, 17. The fourth beast, living animal (v. 7; Daniel 2:40-43) was again described as exceeding dreadful or horrible in appearance, very different from the other three with iron teeth and brass toe nails and it trampled under its feet and devoured all that moved in its path. Note, Gentile or heathen nations are always symbolized as beasts or birds of prey, carnivorous beasts or birds, devouring the flesh of their victims, even from the first Gentile kingdom, Genesis 10:8-10; Revelation 13:1-13.

Verse 20 relates Daniel’s desire also to know the meaning of the ten horns that were upon the head of this monstrous and dreadful beast, as well as that of the other "little horn" that came up upon the head, before which three of the ten horns fell. This eleventh or "little horn", with intelligent or penetrating eyes, that had a mouth more powerful, demanding, stronger than that of any of the other ten v. 7, 8. Let is be recalled that Daniel prophesied primarily to the Gentiles in the palace of kings of Babylon and Persia. And his prophecies foretell their judgment and final doom in their rebellion against and oppression of the Jewish people and nation whom God will eventually fully deliver from them, cause to rule over the Gentiles. It is to be understood that this "little horn" is yet to rise out of Gentile governments in disarray, signified by the number 10. This "little horn", eleventh horn, heathen Gentile ruler is to be the antichrist, more cruel than Antioch Epiphanes, signified Daniel 8:9; Daniel 8:12-25; 2 Thessalonians 2:4-10; Revelation 19:20.

Verses 21, 22 declare that Daniel glued his eyes on this 11 horned beast, in stunned wonder, as he saw this "little horn," with a loud mouth and penetrating eyes, like the serpent in Eden, launch a war against the saints (Israel regathered in her land); and he prevailed against them, oppressed them, or brought them to their knees, "until the Ancient of days came," Jesus Christ as King of kings, and Lord of lords, to put down "The tribulation the great," at the end of the 70th week, Daniel 9:25-27; Revelation 19:16. He also watched until he saw judgment and rule taken from the "little horn" and given to the "saints of the most High," until the time came that "the saints," Israel and the church possessed the kingdom or government of the whole world. Let it be considered well that God is not through with Israel (His wife), called the saints and elect of the Jews, or with the church, called His saints, who were and are called from among the Gentiles by our Lord into His church, to be His bride in this and succeeding ages. Only Israel and those of the church are referred to as saints in the Bible. No Gentile believer, unaligned with Israel’s worship, or outside the church of Jesus Christ, in this age, though saved, is ever referred to as a saint; While one receives a holy nature in regeneration, it is without scriptural sanction to refer to anyone as a saint (though a believer), until and unless he is aligned by baptism and fellowship and service with a New Testament church, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; Ephesians 1:1; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:16.

Verses 23, 24 relate that the fourth beast (one world government) shall be or exist as the fourth kingdom upon or over the earth, with world-wide dominion. It was to overrun and subdue, break down, ravage, take booty of warfare from and devour the whole earth, with unsettling fear. The ten horns out of this Gentile World Empire (the Roman) was to have an eleventh to arise (Antioch Epiphanes) to destroy ten of the ten horns; satellite powers of the Roman Government to start its disintegration until the end of the Gentile age, Revelation 17:12. At the end of this age when 10 Gentile powers or a multitude of Gentile, heathen governments in disarray, shall arise; from them shall arise another "Little Horn," the antichrist, Son of Perdition, the Devil incarnate, to oppose God, Israel, and the church. He will meet his "waterloo," at the coming of Jesus to the earth, in power and great glory, after the Lord has raised the righteous dead, been married to His church, assigned positions of service honor, and rewards to the saints, for His rule and reign with them on the earth, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:5-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10.

Verse 25 declares that he (the little horn ruler) will defy God and wear out "the saints," which refers to Israel regathered in her land; He will think or purpose to change "laws and times," and "they," the "Jewish saints," shall "be given into his hand," for persecution for a "time and times and an half time," the last 42 months of Daniel’s 70th week, called the tribulation the great, after he has broken a covenant he made with them, and kept from the first half of the week only, Daniel 9:26-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:4-9; Revelation 12:7-14; Revelation 13:1-8; Revelation 17:13.

Verse 26 declares that this "little horn" (eleventh horn), one world Gentile ruler, who rails against God and persecutes "the saints" then on earth, (Israel regathered) will inevitably be brought to a judgment of crashing defeat at the hands of the Ancient of days, Jesus Christ who shall come, Daniel 2:35; Daniel 2:45; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8; Revelation 16:13-14; Revelation 16:16. All Gentile nations are to be scattered, weakened, have their government powers of oppression subjected by Jesus Christ in His coming; When He comes to rule and reign over the earth, with regathered Israel and His bride, during the golden millennial era of the restitution of all things and regeneration of the earth, Luke 1:32-33; Acts 3:22; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28; Revelation 5:8-10.

Verse 27 certifies that the kingdom, dominion, in expanded form, under the entire canopy of heaven shall be given (doled out) to "the saints" of the most High One, the Son of the living God, whose kingdom is (exists as) an everlasting or unending kingdom. And then and thereafter, without cessation, all dominions (of men and angels) shall serve and obey Him! What a day of triumph, peace, joy, and glory! 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalms 89:35-37; Isaiah 60:12; Daniel 7:13-14; Luke 1:32-33; Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:10-12.

Verse 28 concludes that this is the end of the matter of the visions and dreams and interpretations given to Daniel upon his bed, v. 1-8. Daniel then asserted that, regarding these visions and dreams his cogitations (reflections over the meanings) troubled him very much, 1 Peter 1:11-12. They even caused his countenance to change in him, but he guarded the matter in his heart until ordered of the Lord to write the account, 1 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Genesis 37:10; Mark 9:19; Luke 2:19.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Daniel 7". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/daniel-7.html. 1985.
 
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