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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 7

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verse 1

Dan 7:1

Daniel 7:1 In the firstH2298 yearH8140 of BelshazzarH1113 kingH4430 of BabylonH895 DanielH1841 hadH2370 a dreamH2493 and visionsH2376 of his headH7217 uponH5922 his bed:H4903 thenH116 he wroteH3790 the dream,H2493 and toldH560 the sumH7217 of the matters.H4406

The Four Great Beasts (Daniel Chapter 7)

The first six chapters of Daniel are historical and record significant events in the life of Daniel as he lived in Babylon. The first six chapters were written in Aramaic which was the most common language used among the Babylonians of the time. Daniel was an exceptionally devout follower of God and his devotion and faithfulness to God was used for the providential protection of the Israelites during their captivity. God directly dealt with Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius who were notable kings along the course of Daniel’s life.

Belshazzar was dealt with harshly as befitted his conduct, especially in view of the fact that he knew better than to do the things he did. However Nebuchadnezzar and Darius were dealt with in such a way that the Israelites would be allowed to worship the God of Heaven without fear of persecution. Both Nebuchadnezzar and Darius issued official documents which declared the power and sovereignty of God. It is unclear whether these men completely converted to our God and disavowed their beliefs in their own gods or not. But one thing is certain, the guiding hand of God was with the Israelites during their entire captivity, protecting them, and preserving them. Daniel was not the only prophet active at the time of the Babylonian captivity either. It should be noted that Ezekiel was a contemporary of Daniel and lived in Babylon as a captive as well. Jeremiah also was contemporary with Daniel and remained behind in Judah. Both of these prophets actively condemned idolatry among the Israelites and worked to expunge it from their lives. By the end of the Babylonian captivity, the Israelites were through with worshipping false gods. As a nation, they never again departed from the worship of God as the one true and living God.

Daniel 7:1

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.

This episode in Daniel’s life happened during the first year of Belshazzar who was co-regent with Nabonidus. The succession of the kings of Babylon beginning with Nebuchadnezzar are as follows: Nebuchadnezzar reigned 43 years. Evil-Merodach, his son, succeeded Nebuchandnezzar and reigned 2 years. Neriglissar, brother in law to Evil-Merodach, betrayed him, participated in his death and succeeded him. He reigned 4 years before he was replaced by his son, Laborosoarchod who was killed after less than a year. Nabonidus succeeded him and reigned 16 years. Nabonidus appointed Belshazzar as co-regent in his third year as king of Babylon and moved to Haran. So the first year of the reign of Belshazzar, who was the son of Nabonidus and the co-regent of Babylon, happened in the third year of Nabonidus’ reign.

Daniel chapter 7 is not in Chronological order with the chapter 6 which happened near the end of Daniel’s life. Chapter 5 records the death of Belshazzar so chronologically, chapter 7 precedes chapter 5.

"Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters."

Daniel was probably in his early to mid 60’s when he recorded these visions. The text here says that he recorded all of the matters of the dream so we can conclude that the vision recorded here contains all the necessary essential elements and details.

Verses 1-28

Dan 7:1-28

Commentary on Daniel Chapter Seven by Mark Dunagan

Daniel 7:1 This vision recorded by Daniel was revealed to him in the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, 553 B.C., when Belshazzar was made co-regent with Nabonidus. This dream took place 14 years after Daniel’s experience in the lions’ den (Daniel 6). When this dream came Daniel was probably about 68 years of age. At this time he had been in captivity for 52 years. “Daniel saw a dream and visions”: The revelation came through a dream and appeared to come in various stages or visions. Five times in the chapter Daniel says, “he looked” and once “I kept looking” (Daniel 7:11). Daniel like other prophets recorded what was revealed to him (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Daniel 7:2 “The four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea”: In figurative language the “wind” is often used to depict the action of God. “As the wind is invisible but it clearly affects things, so it is of God who is invisible but affects things in the universe”(McGuiggan p. 107). The “sea” is a common figure for the nations in their restless state (Isaiah 17:12-13). Thus this tells us that God is at work among the restless nations raising up out of them kingdoms that will suit His purpose.

Daniel 7:3-4 The four great beasts are nations that arise. We will be told in Daniel 7:17 that they come from the earth, that is they are human in origin. “Different from one another”: Each nation has its own character. “Their diversity is mentioned, in order to call attention to the importance of the symbolism by which each individual kingdom is represented” (Young p. 143). Pagan nations are often referred to as “beasts” in the Old Testament (Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9). The first beast is the Babylonian Empire; the symbol of the winged lion is especially appropriate, for the peoples of that day were familiar with such figures as the winged lions that guarded the gates of royal places among the Babylonians. By this time Babylon is like a plucked bird, no longer as a conqueror can it fly over the earth. The empire was given the heart of a man that is humanized; this probably refers to the humbling of Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 7:5-6 The bear is the Medo-Persian empire; the three ribs are simply part of the picture of voracity and greed. “Arise and devour much”: It has not stopped eating but is pictured as going for more; in fact, this beast will devour the first empire (Daniel 5:30-31). The leopard stands for the Grecian empire. On its back it has four wings, for this empire was extremely swift, between 334-331 B.C., it had wrested world-domination from the Medo-Persians. It has four-heads because following the death of Alexander the Great, the kingdom was divided up into four sections which were ruled by his chief generals. These four minor kingdoms continued as prominent factors in world politics until the next empire appeared on the scene and gathered the parts in a whole. “And dominion was given to it”: This reminds us that all of Alexander’s conquests were providentially given him by God.

Daniel 7:7 The final beast is the Roman empire. In Daniel chapter 2 God has already mentioned the “iron” element of this empire (2:40). “And it had ten horns”: These horns appear to be specific rulers. The Premillennialists hold that the beast is the Roman empire of the first century but the ten horns are a ten-nation revival that will happen in our time. Many feel that the ten Roman rulers are Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian and Titus, that is the first ten recognized emperors of Rome.

Daniel 7:8 Many feel that the “little horn” is the emperor Domitian: 1. He was little in the sense that he had spent a poverty stricken and rather degraded youth before being declared emperor at his brother’s (Titus) death. The first three horns pulled up by the roots, might be the three barracks emperors, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, who were not of the Julian line of succession to the throne but declared emperor by their troops. In one year these three ruled and were either successively slain or committed suicide. “A mouth uttering great boasts”: Suetonius the Roman historian claims that Domitian, “From his youth he was far from being of an affable disposition, but was on the contrary presumptuous and unbridled both in act and word” (Lives of the Twelve Caesars, pp. 354-355). We will learn more about this little horn in Daniel 7:20-26.

Daniel 7:9 This is God’s judgment upon the fourth beast. Nothing is said concerning who sat on the other thrones, some think the angels that serve God in judgment, or others think the saints, yet this a court scene. “Ancient of Days”: The One who has lived ever since anyone can remember, and longer than anyone can remember. This expression speaks of God’s eternal nature(Isaiah 57:15; Micah 5:2). The white garments speak of God’s purity and holiness and the white hair of His wisdom. “His throne was ablaze with flames”: The fire represents the power to destroy and also His majesty and splendor. “Its wheels were a burning fire”: The wheels under His throne stand for the omnipresence of God (Ezekiel 1:15-21).

Daniel 7:10 The thousands upon thousands attending Him and standing before Him are angelic beings. Christians, instead of feeling alone on the earth, need to realize that there are multitudes of angels ready and prepared to execute His will (Hebrews 1:14). “The books were opened”: The books reveal that God records the detailed actions of His enemies; nothing escapes the eye of God. “Millions of innocent victims have suffered excruciating tortures at the hands of beastly men. Most of these atrocities will never be known to the world, but the Eternal One knows every name and every detail” (Butler p. 264).

Daniel 7:11 Evil men may boast for a while but judgment does arrive.

Daniel 7:12 It appears that the lives of the first three empires were preserved in the final empire, that is, Roman absorbed all the previous empires. The essence of the first three beasts was prolonged in the ferocity and inhumaneness of the fourth beast.

Daniel 7:13-14 In contrast to the four empires that will come and go, God is going to set up a kingdom that will not pass away, this is the same kingdom mentioned in Daniel 2:44. From chapter two it is clear that this kingdom is set up before the Roman empire falls(Daniel 2:44 “In the days of those kings”). “With the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming”: This appears to be when Jesus ascended to heaven following His resurrection (Acts 1:9-11). The New Testament makes it clear that the church that Jesus talked about establishing (Matthew 16:18-19) is the kingdom that Daniel speaks of being established during the days of the Roman empire (Hebrews 12:28; Revelation 1:5-6). This is reinforced by the statement, “That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him”, this is identical with the New Testament teaching that the church a relationship for all people(Acts 2:38-39; Mark 16:16).

Daniel 7:15-16 As Daniel receives all this information he is confused and perplexed, so he approaches one of the angels and asks for the interpretation of these visions.

Daniel 7:17-18 In capsulized form here is the interpretation. The four beasts are four successive kings, which represent distinct kingdoms (Daniel 7:23). But a universal kingdom will be given to God’s people in spite of these empires and this kingdom would never end. The Jewish people need to be prepared to watch three more world empires arise after Babylon, and then, and only then, would God set up a universal kingdom for the saints. Ungodly kingdoms would arise and rule but God’s people would be forgotten. Note, the inference is that God would not restore Israel again to a world empire; another kingdom would be set up for God’s people.

Daniel 7:19-20 Daniel now wants more information about the dreadful fourth empire and the little horn who persecutes God’s people in7:21. 7:21 “That horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them”: Nero was the first to set himself against the Christians (only as a personal expedient). Tertullian in his famous “Apology” said: “Consult your annals, and there you will find Nero, the first emperor who dyed his sword in Christian blood”. In the same place he goes on to speak of Domitian as a “limb of the bloody Nero”. Eusebius has this to say of Domitian: “He finally shows himself the successor of Nero’s campaign of hostility to God. He was the second to promote persecution against us, though his father, Vespasian, has planned no evil against us”(Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, paragraph 17).

Daniel 7:22 The ultimate outcome is stated. The little horn prevails only until God comes in judgment. The judgment here appears to be the judgment upon this fourth empire.

Daniel 7:23 The fourth beast is clearly a fourth kingdom, and the ten horns are clearly 10 kings that arise out of this kingdom (Daniel 7:24).

Daniel 7:24 “He will subdue three kings”: How he does this is not stated. Butler notes that Domitian did execute three conspirators who tried to cease his throne and did quell three uprisings. McGuiggan feels that the uprooting of three kings is not literal, but rather is given to establish Domitian as number eight, which some feel infers a new beginning in active power.

Daniel 7:25 “He will speak out against the Most High”: Domitian did make claims of being God. Barclay notes, “With the coming of Domitian (A.D. 81-96) there came a complete change. Domitian was a devil. He was the worse of all things, a cold-blooded persecutor. With the exception of the mad Caligula, he was the first Emperor to take his divinity seriously, and to demand Caesar worship. He enacted that he himself was a god” (Revelation, volume 2, pp. 23-24). “He will intend to make alterations in times and in law”: Butler notes, “He demanded that anyone addressing him say, ‘Lord and God’. He renamed September and October, the months of his accession and birth. Finally he paid no attention to the policies of the Senate at all, but insisted on the finality of his own decisions. “And wear down the saints”: No one ever said that persecution is easy to endure. Under Domitian Christianity entered a struggle of life or death with the imperial power. Yet this effort to wear out God’s people will fail, “And they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time”: Many view this expression as meaning three and a half, that is, half of the perfect number seven. This is a time that only God knows, but it is not a complete or full period of time, rather, it is a limited period of time.

Daniel 7:26-27 Domitian was actually assassinated by one of his wife’s servants. Following his death, the Roman Senate thronged to denounce Domitian. Sending for ladders, they had his images and the votive shields engraved with his likeness brought smashing down; and ended by decreeing that all inscriptions referring to him must be effaced and all records of his reign obliterated. “And all the dominions will serve and obey Him”: This does not mean a forced obedience, rather compare this with Daniel 7:14, that all these people and dominions might serve Him. Following the death of Domitian Christianity had an immense freedom to spread rapidly throughout the Roman empire; the gospel was to be preached to all nations (Matthew 28:19). This verse is teaching the same truths as those found in Isaiah 2:2-4, that the kingdom that God establishes will be for everyone who desires to come and learn of Him.

Daniel 7:28 The writer claims to be Daniel and he is shocked by what has been revealed to them and at this time he does not share it with anyone else.

Closing Thoughts

Premillennialists interpret the “little horn” to be a single personal anti-Christ yet to come even in our lifetime. They interpret the 10 horns as 10 nations of a reborn Roman empire, yet Daniel makes it very clear that the 10 horns are 10 kings, not 10 individual kingdoms (Daniel 7:24), and all these kings arise from a kingdom that follows the Grecian kingdom. The little horn is clearly a king of the Roman empire that existed in the first century, who persecuted Christians, a kingdom that was in existence when God set up the Church.

Verse 2

Dan 7:2

Daniel 7:2 DanielH1841 spakeH6032 and said,H560 I sawH1934 H2370 in my visionH2376 byH5974 night,H3916 and, behold,H718 the fourH703 windsH7308 of the heavenH8065 stroveH1519 upon the greatH7229 sea.H3221

Daniel 7:2

Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

"The four winds of heaven" are forces of great extent from all corners of the earth. The number four was used to depict the "four corners of the earth" in Isaiah 11:12 which contextually meant the whole earth. The words "four winds" are found in Jeremiah 49:36, Ezekiel 37:9, Daniel 8:8; Daniel 11:4 and Zechariah 2:6. Jesus used these words in Matthew 24:31 to refer to the entire earth. Represented here in this context are the populations of the nations of the earth. The "great sea" here is not the Mediterranean sea, but the sum of the people upon earth. So here we see the four winds of heaven striving upon the nations of the earth as God working from all corners of the earth to fulfill his purpose and will for mankind.

Verse 3

Dan 7:3

Daniel 7:3 And fourH703 greatH7260 beastsH2423 came upH5559 fromH4481 the sea,H3221 diverseH8133 oneH1668 from another.H4481 H1668

Daniel 7:3

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

We know from Daniel 7:17 that these beasts are kingdoms. The text of verse 17 actually says kings, but in verse 23, the fourth beast is identified as the "fourth kingdom upon earth". So the four great beasts in Daniel’s vision are actually kingdoms or world empires. Each of these world empires were pictured as coming up out of the sea. The great beast of Revelation also rose up out of the sea as recorded in Revelation 13. The sea was a source of unimaginable calamity in the minds of those who lived near it or on it. The sea in this context being the people of the earth, we see the four great beasts, world empires, coming up or rising up from among the people of the earth or from a source of great unrest and violent storms of turmoil and destruction. Each of these world kingdoms were distinct from each other. Similar in respect to their power and influence, but different or independent of each other in identity and culture. These four kingdoms are the same ones Daniel revealed and explained to king Nebuchadnezzar many years earlier as recorded in chapter 2. These world empires are: Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and the Roman empires.

The fourth world empire rising up from the sea here has a direct connection to the beast rising up from the sea in Revelation 13. The fourth world empire in Daniel’s vision is the Roman Empire, which we will see conclusively later on. The first readers of the Revelation who were familiar with this vision of Daniel’s would naturally associate the two beasts together.

Verse 4

Dan 7:4

Daniel 7:4 The firstH6933 was like a lion,H744 and had eagle’sH1768 H5403 wings:H1611 I beheldH1934 H2370 tillH5705 H1768 the wingsH1611 thereof were plucked,H4804 and it was lifted upH5191 fromH4481 the earth,H772 and made standH6966 uponH5922 the feetH7271 as a man,H606 and a man’sH606 heartH3825 was givenH3052 to it.

Daniel 7:4

The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

The lion was a symbol of strength, boldness and bravery. The wings of eagles was a symbol of speed. In speaking of the coming of Babylon, Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 4:13, "Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled". The plucked wings are a reference to Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling during his insanity. Being lifted up from the earth and being made to stand upon the feet as a man was the restoring of Nebuchadnezzar from his madness where he crawled around on his all fours and ate grass like an ox would. During this period of time Nebuchadnezzar had the heart of a beast. When he was restored and set back upon his feet, he was given the heart of a man. The first world kingdom in Daniel’s vision can be none other than the Babylonian Empire personified in her greatest king, Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 5

Dan 7:5

Daniel 7:5 And beholdH718 anotherH317 beast,H2423 a second,H8578 likeH1821 to a bear,H1678 and it raised upH6966 itself on oneH2298 side,H7859 and it had threeH8532 ribsH5967 in the mouthH6433 of it betweenH997 the teethH8128 of it: and they saidH560 thusH3652 unto it, Arise,H6966 devourH399 muchH7690 flesh.H1321

Daniel 7:5

And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself 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, devour much flesh.

This is an image of the Medo-Persian empire. "Behold another beast, a second, like to a bear" - symbolizing their overwhelming strength and cruelty (Isaiah 13:17-18). Cambyses, Ochus, and other of the Persian princes, were notoriously cruel. The Persian laws sometimes mandated the destruction of an entire family for one man’s offence (Daniel 6:24). A bear is an all-devouring animal. Jeremiah referred to the Babylonians as "the spoilers" in Jeremiah 51:48; Jeremiah 51:56.

This Medo-Persian empire is further expounded upon in Daniel’s vision in Daniel 8:3. The bear raised up on one side coincides with the ram with two horns. One horn was higher than the other. The Medes, an ancient people, and the Persians, a modern and aggressive nationality, formed one united sovereignty, in contrast to the third and fourth kingdoms, each of which was originally one, but were united as the second world empire of Daniel’s vision. Media is the lower side, more passive and peaceful, as we saw in Darius the Mede’s proclamation of peace. Persia the upper side was the active and conquering element of the empire.

"And it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it" The three ribs in its mouth are Egypt, Lydia, and Babylon, brought under the Persian sway. These three nations were not properly parts of its body, but seized by Medo-Persia. They were called "ribs" because they strengthened and supported, albeit unwillingly, the Medo-Persian empire. "Between its teeth", representing the cruelty and oppression of the Persians. The image here is of biting, rending, grinding and tearing. "And they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh" is a continuation of the image of the teeth. They would subjugate many nations and many people would be destroyed in the process.

Verse 6

Dan 7:6

Daniel 7:6 AfterH870 thisH1836 I beheld,H1934 H2370 and loH718 another,H317 like a leopard,H5245 which had uponH5922 the backH1355 of it fourH703 wingsH1611 ofH1768 a fowl;H5776 the beastH2423 had also fourH703 heads;H7217 and dominionH7985 was givenH3052 to it.

Daniel 7:6

After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

This is an image of the Grecian empire. A leopard is vicious and swift, springing suddenly from its hiding place on its prey. So Alexander, a small king of a small kingdom, Macedon, attacked Darius (Not the Darius of Daniel) at the head of the vast empire reaching from the Aegean Sea to the Indies. In twelve years he subjugated part of Europe, and all Asia from Illyricum and the Adriatic to the Ganges. Hence, whereas Babylon is represented with two wings, Macedon has four, so rapid were Alexander’s conquests.

The Four heads are explained in Daniel 8:8, "Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven". The four horns were four kingdoms as explained in Daniel 8:22 "Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power."

At the death of Alexander, the Grecian empire was divided into four kingdoms, Macedon and Greece came under the rule of Cassander. Thrace and Bithynia were under the reign of Lysimachus, Egypt under Ptolemy, and Syria under Seleucus.

And dominion was given to it by God and not by Alexander’s own might. This was explained to Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel many years earlier and serves to remind us as well: Daniel 4:17, "This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men". God is in charge of who rules the affairs of the earth.

Verse 7

Dan 7:7

Daniel 7:7 AfterH870 thisH1836 I sawH1934 H2370 in the nightH3916 visions,H2376 and beholdH718 a fourthH7244 beast,H2423 dreadfulH1763 and terrible,H574 and strongH8624 exceedingly;H3493 and it had greatH7260 ironH1768 H6523 teeth:H8128 it devouredH399 and brake in pieces,H1855 and stampedH7512 the residueH7606 with the feetH7271 of it: and itH1932 was diverseH8133 fromH4481 allH3606 the beastsH2423 thatH1768 were beforeH6925 it; and it had tenH6236 horns.H7162

Daniel 7:7

After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

This dreadful world empire which was exceedingly powerful and represented as the feet of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was the Roman Empire. The Romans were noted for their iron works which produced weapons of war among other things. The imagery of the stamping feet correspond with the imagery of the feet of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

This ferocious description fits the military fury and zeal of the Roman Empire, which crushed and devoured everything that sought to resist in its paths of conquest. Its landmass of domain would be far greater and its duration of existence would be longer than any of the preceding three empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia or Greece.

Horns symbolize power or authority. The common figurative use of "horn" is taken from the image of battling animals as seen in Daniel 8:7 to denote aggressive strength. In Zechariah 1:18-21 "horns" stand for power in general. In Habakkuk 3:4 the "horns coming out of his [God’s] hand" represent His power. Here in Daniel 7:7, many horns are given to the same figure where they symbolize successive rulers or figures of power. The horns here would then represent the succession of emperors or rulers of the Roman empire. Daniel 7:24 supports this succession of kings as the horns in the vision.

Verse 8

Dan 7:8

Daniel 7:8 I consideredH1934 H7920 the horns,H7162 and, behold,H431 there came upH5559 amongH997 them anotherH317 littleH2192 horn,H7162 beforeH4481 H6925 whom there were threeH8532 ofH4481 the firstH6933 hornsH7162 plucked up by the roots:H6132 and, behold,H431 in thisH1668 hornH7162 were eyesH5870 like the eyesH5870 of man,H606 and a mouthH6433 speakingH4449 great things.H7260

Daniel 7:8

I considered the horns, 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 man, and a mouth speaking great things.

The horns or the figures of power associated with the fourth beast are of special interest to Daniel. There were the first ten horns and the little horn coming up among them was the eleventh in number. Much is said in description of this eleventh horn later in Daniel’s vision and an understanding of who this was in very important in understanding the beast of Revelation because the fourth beast in Daniel’s vision and the beast of Revelation are the same. The rest of chapter Daniel 7 projects the events of the book of Revelation and especially the apocalyptic details of its chapters thirteen and seventeen. And this eleventh horn is a very prominent figure with an important role, both in this vision and in reality within the Roman Empire.

Revelation 13:1-10 will present the Roman Empire as a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads… Furthermore, but in reverse order, Imperial Rome, as the beast in Revelation 13:2, will share characteristics of the three former empires by being like unto a leopard and its feet were "as the feet of a bear" and his mouth "as the mouth of a lion The eleventh horn in Daniel’s vision has a strong probability of being an apocalyptic reference to the Roman Emperor Domitian who reigned from AD 81 to 96.

Revelation 17:1-18 will pick up the thrust of the thirteenth chapter with the added detail of the city of Rome as Mystery, Babylon the Great…” Therein, verses 8-11 will present Daniel’s projected eleventh horn as “an eighth”, because the very three which Daniel presents as being plucked up by the roots are no longer counted. These three kings would be Galba, Otho and Vitellius.

Galba reigned from June of 68 to January of 69 and was killed by the soldiers of Otho. He was the first ruler of the The Year of the Four Emperors which was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. The other three emperors were Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. Otho reigned from January of 69 to April of 69 and committed suicide. Vitellius reigned from April of 69 to December of the same year and was executed while trying to resign. Vespasian then assumed full leadership of the Roman Empire. History places his reign from June of AD 69. Obviously there was some contention over who the real emperor was. None of the three, Galba, Otho nor Vitellius were ever accepted as the legal leaders of the Empire, fully accepted by the Senate and supported by the military. Their reigns were during a time of Roman civil war and they were all "plucked up" before ever attaining the full stature of an emperor. It is highly likely that emperor Domitian was the eleventh horn in Daniel’s vision and with the removal of the three "plucked up" horns, was the eighth in John’s vision in Revelation chapter 17.

The Imperial Roman Empire had its beginning with Augustus in the year 26 BC. Augustus was the first constitutional emperor and he was also the emperor when Christ was born, so the numbering of the horns in Daniel’s vision starts with him.

(1) Augustus (Octavian) 31 BC – AD 14

(2) Tiberius AD 14-37

(3) Gaius Caligula) AD37-41

(4) Claudius AD 41-54

(5) Nero AD 54-68

(6) Galba AD 68-69 The Roman Civil Wars

(7) Otho AD 69 The Roman Civil Wars

(8) Vitellius AD 69 The Roman Civil Wars

(9) Vespasian AD 69-79

(10) Titus AD 79-81

(11) Domitian AD 81-96

It is worthy of notation here that there is another credible interpretation of the eleven horns of Daniel. Rex A Turner Sr. makes an outstanding case for Vespasian as the eleventh horn. The key to his interpretation is that he claims the text of Daniel 7:7 says that the eleventh horn actually put down the three that were plucked up and that the numbering of the kings starts with Pompey. Verse 24 affirms this to be the case.

A serious difficulty with this understanding is that Vespasian destroyed Jerusalem. Daniel 7:21-22 says that the eleventh horn "made war with the saints, and prevailed 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". Vespasian was not known for war against the Christians. The Jews who were left in Jerusalem when it was destroyed were not saints and they never possessed the kingdom of God as we understand it in the New Testament and as it is meant in Daniel 7:22.

Moreover, Revelation 17:10 places the writing of the book during the 6th emperor, Vespasian, not counting the three that were "plucked up". If Pompey were the first as Turner affirms, then the book of Revelation was written during the reign of Claudius Caesar who reigned from AD 41-54. Such a dating of the book of Revelation cannot be supported internally or historically. It is this Bible student’s belief that Domitian was the eleventh horn of Daniel chapter 7.

Revelation 17 records “ten horns” as being ten kings of the client kingdoms of the Roman Empire. We cannot assume that the ten horns”, followed by the eleventh horn in Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:11; Daniel 7:20-25, are the same as the ten horns in Revelation 17:3; Revelation 17:7; Revelation 17:12-17. The fact is that the respective texts of Daniel and Revelation rule otherwise. The eleven horns in Daniel are not to be identified with the ten horns in Revelation. The eleventh horn of Daniel, and the eighth horn of Revelation are one and the same. And as we proceed further with this study of Daniel 7 we will see that this eleventh horn is a prominent figure in Daniel’s vision.

Verse 9

Dan 7:9

Daniel 7:9 I beheldH1934 H2370 tillH5705 H1768 the thronesH3764 were cast down,H7412 and the AncientH6268 of daysH3118 did sit,H3488 whose garmentH3831 was whiteH2358 as snow,H8517 and the hairH8177 of his headH7217 like the pureH5343 wool:H6015 his throneH3764 was like the fieryH1768 H5135 flame,H7631 and his wheelsH1535 as burningH1815 fire.H5135

Daniel 7:9

I beheld till the thrones 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 the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

This is a throne scene of God and from His throne issues judgment on all the thrones of all the beasts and the KJV text says they are cast down. In the original language the word here is "remah" which means "to throw", to "set, or to "assess". Modern translations render this phrase as "set up" instead of "cast down". Either way, Daniel was watching a succession of the leaders of the world empires.

The "Ancient of days" is a symbolic reference to God, the great "I am". His white garment and white hair signifying absolute purity. The fire is an apocalyptic reference to judgment. This scene demonstrates that all the thrones of earthly leaders will be brought before the judgment seat of God in Heaven. All the cruel and unlawful acts of powerful men will be brought before the God of Heaven for judgment. Punishments suitable to their crimes would be administered. In this case, the toppling of world empires and their leaders is in view. God is pictured here as ancient, enduring through all of the earthy kingdoms, pure and holy, setting on His throne throughout and the scene is of fire and retribution on the unjust.

It should be noted that God who issued judgment then is still on His throne today. The judgment for unrighteous acts and cruelty today will be no different. Nations will be toppled, rulers will be punished. The book of Revelation gives us a vivid illustration of how God accomplishes this on earth. World leaders today need to take heed to these warnings lest they find themselves facing the fiery judgment of the "Ancient of days".

His "wheels as burning fire" is an image taken from oriental thrones which moved on wheels. Like the rapid flame, God’s judgments are most swift in falling where He directs them (Ezekiel 1:15-16). The turning of the wheels mark the complicated, inexorable and all-wise revolutions of His will.

Verse 10

Dan 7:10

Daniel 7:10 A fieryH1768 H5135 streamH5103 issuedH5047 and came forthH5312 fromH4481 beforeH6925 him: thousandH506 thousandsH506 ministeredH8120 unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousandH7240 H7240 stoodH6966 beforeH6925 him: the judgmentH1780 was set,H3488 and the booksH5609 were opened.H6606

Daniel 7:10

A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

The judgment scene of God. His judgment coming directly from Him and straight to the wicked recipients of His retribution. Millions serve Him on His throne and Billions stand before Him. The books calling to mind the acts of man, whether good or bad, being recorded permanently and recalled for examination at judgment. Their deeds will not be forgotten or overlooked. The imagery of the open books at judgment is also seen in Revelation 20:12

The imagery of this verse has a parallel in Revelation regarding the judgment of the fourth beast, Revelation 5:11-12 "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands".

Verse 11

Dan 7:11

Daniel 7:11 I beheldH1934 H2370 thenH116 because ofH4481 the voiceH7032 of the greatH7260 wordsH4406 whichH1768 the hornH7162 spake:H4449 I beheldH1934 H2370 even tillH5705 H1768 the beastH2423 was slain,H6992 and his bodyH1655 destroyed,H7 and givenH3052 to the burningH3346 flame.H785

Daniel 7:11

I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

At that time, because of the great words coming from the little horn, the eleventh horn, Daniel focused his attention on it. And he watched until the beast on which the horn set was destroyed and burned. This is the judgment and death of Imperial Rome as a world power. The fulfillment of this prophecy is found in yet another prophetic statement in Revelation 19:20-21.

Verse 12

Dan 7:12

Daniel 7:12 As concerning the restH7606 of the beasts,H2423 they had their dominionH7985 taken away:H5709 yet their livesH2417 were prolongedH754 H3052 forH5705 a seasonH2166 and time.H5732

Daniel 7:12

As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

Looking back on the previous three beasts, their empires were toppled and taken away yet they lived on through their successors for a period of time. The provinces of Babylon, Persia and Greece lived on after they were brought down but not as world powers. Similarly, when Imperial Rome fell and she lost her status as a world power, she lived on in a lesser capacity.

Verse 13

Dan 7:13

Daniel 7:13 I sawH1934 H2370 in the nightH3916 visions,H2376 and, behold,H718 one like the SonH1247 of manH606 cameH1934 H858 withH5974 the cloudsH6050 of heaven,H8065 and cameH4291 toH5705 the AncientH6268 of days,H3118 and they brought him nearH7127 beforeH6925 him.

Daniel 7:13

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Daniel sees in this part of his vision a prophetic image of Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah. This image of the coming of Jesus Christ was seen in John’s vision as recorded in Revelation and beginning in verse 5 and following, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen".

Coming from the clouds signifies from a high position of authority. Jesus Christ who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords rides in over the top of and higher than all the earthly kingdoms and kings.

When Jesus’ work on earth was finished and was "brought him near before him", The Ancient of days on His heavenly throne, he ascended back to heaven. This is a prophetic vision of the ascension of Christ to set at the right hand of God the Father.

Verse 14

Dan 7:14

Daniel 7:14 And there was givenH3052 him dominion,H7985 and glory,H3367 and a kingdom,H4437 that allH3606 people,H5972 nations,H524 and languages,H3961 should serveH6399 him: his dominionH7985 is an everlastingH5957 dominion,H7985 whichH1768 shall notH3809 pass away,H5709 and his kingdomH4437 that whichH1768 shall notH3809 be destroyed.H2255

Daniel 7:14

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Peter gives an outstanding commentary of the fulfillment of this prophecy concerning Jesus Christ in 1 Peter 3:22, "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him." Jesus Christ is here illustrated as being the ruler in authority over angels, authorities and powers on earth. Jesus is given a kingdom over which He rules absolutely in Daniel’s vision. It must be noted here that this prophecy of the receiving of the kingdom of Christ was foretold during the time of the fourth beast on the earth.

When Jesus arose in the third day, and ascended to heaven, He was given "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom" right then and there. This statement from scripture alone should be sufficient to discredit the beliefs of those who hold to a future coming of the kingdom of Christ. Premillennial believers must demonstrate why Jesus received "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom" at the time of His ascension to heaven. This dominion is said to never "pass away". His heavenly kingdom will never end. It is nonsense to believe that Jesus Christ will ever leave his never ending heavenly throne where He is reigning now, and return to a physical kingdom on earth to reign.

Verse 15

Dan 7:15

Daniel 7:15 IH576 DanielH1841 was grievedH3735 in my spiritH7308 in the midstH1459 of my body,H5085 and the visionsH2376 of my headH7217 troubledH927 me.

Daniel 7:15

I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

There is no wonder at Daniel’s grief. He had seen a vision of Lions, bears, leopards and other beasts who being judged by fire, were being toppled, overthrown and destroyed. This was a dream of world calamity. He saw horns which spoke and horns which were plucked up by the roots. Daniel’s vision was a dreadful indication of terrifying times in store for the races of men. Not the least of which are his own countrymen in captivity right there in Babylon. This dream of his at this point would be more correctly described as a nightmare. And he can’t wake up from it.

Verse 16

Dan 7:16

Daniel 7:16 I came nearH7127 untoH5922 oneH2298 ofH4481 them that stood by,H6966 and askedH1156 H4481 him the truthH3330 ofH5922 allH3606 this.H1836 So he toldH560 me, and made me knowH3046 the interpretationH6591 of the things.H4406

Daniel 7:16

I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

This dream was very real. Obviously there were beings, probably angels, in attendance during this vision. In John’s Revelation, he also spoke with various characters present in his visions as well. And the characters in both men’s visions helped to explain what it was they were seeing. The identity of this heavenly being is not given here, but we get a clue from Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks prophecy of who this may have been he spoke with.

Before receiving the vision of the seventy weeks prophecy, Daniel had been in prayer to God concerning the sins of Israel. During that prayer, Daniel received a heavenly visitor who was sent to give him the prophecy of the seventy weeks. Daniel made this statement in his narration of the events, ""even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning". This was the first vision recorded for us by Daniel so it is possible that this unnamed being to which Daniel said he spoke may have been Gabriel.

Verse 17

Dan 7:17

Daniel 7:17 TheseH459 greatH7260 beasts,H2423 whichH1768 are four,H703 are fourH703 kings,H4430 which shall ariseH6966 out ofH4481 the earth.H772

Daniel 7:17

These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

Here Daniel is told that the great beasts represent world empires. These empires are personified in the images of men who were naturally associated with them. This is further expounded upon in Daniel chapter 8 where the Medo-Persian Empire is identified directly in verse 20 and the Grecian Empire is identified in verse 21. These would be the second and third beasts in Daniel’s vision, the first one having already been dispatched.

Verse 18

Dan 7:18

Daniel 7:18 But the saintsH6922 of the most HighH5946 shall takeH6902 the kingdom,H4437 and possessH2631 the kingdomH4437 for ever,H5705 H5957 even for everH5705 H5957 and ever.H5957

Daniel 7:18

But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

In Revelation 5:9-10 John wrote of the Christians as kings and priests possessing the kingdom, "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." When speaking to Mary before Jesus was conceived, Gabriel said this, "And he [Jesus] shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:33). Jesus Christ rules His kingdom from Heaven and His kingdom is given to His saints who both rule and serve on the earth as kings and priests in His name. Christians of all times need to bear in mind that inspired scripture refers to us as kings and priests. In the eyes of God, saints on earth are kings. Poor kings and poor priests were always judged accordingly. Let us observe and learn from their examples and strive to be good kings and priests, reigning as kings on earth and serving Christ acceptably.

Verse 19

Dan 7:19

Daniel 7:19 ThenH116 I wouldH6634 knowH3046 the truthH3321 ofH5922 the fourthH7244 beast,H2423 whichH1768 wasH1934 diverseH8133 fromH4481 allH3606 the others, exceedingH3493 dreadful,H1763 whoseH1768 teethH8128 were of iron,H6523 and his nailsH2953 ofH2953 brass;H5174 which devoured,H399 brake in pieces,H1855 and stampedH7512 the residueH7606 with his feet;H7271

Daniel 7:19

Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

Daniel had already seen the projection in Daniel 7:11 that this fourth beast would be slain and "his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. This is precisely what fate befell the beast of Revelation as recorded in chapter 18. Daniel knew the fourth beast would be destroyed but he wanted to know more about this beast. He was obviously much greater and most dreadful of all the beasts in his vision. He was also the last one which would represent the end of all of them and the ultimate fate that awaited his countrymen of future generations.

Verse 20

Dan 7:20

Daniel 7:20 And ofH5922 the tenH6236 hornsH7162 thatH1768 were in his head,H7217 and of the otherH317 whichH1768 came up,H5559 and beforeH4481 H6925 whom threeH8532 fell;H5308 even of thatH1797 hornH7162 that had eyes,H5870 and a mouthH6433 that spakeH4449 very great things,H7260 whose lookH2376 was more stoutH7229 thanH4481 his fellows.H2273

Daniel 7:20

And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

This is a recounting of what Daniel had previously stated about the fourth beast. Of interest here is the account of the beast speaking great things as recorded in Revelation 13:5, "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies".

Verse 21

Dan 7:21

Daniel 7:21 I beheld,H1934 H2370 and the sameH1797 hornH7162 madeH5648 warH7129 withH5974 the saints,H6922 and prevailedH3202 against them;

Daniel 7:21

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

This is the eleventh horn. As stated earlier, the emperor Domitian best fits the identity of the eleventh horn. Excluding Galba, Otho and Vitellius, who were the three horns plucked up before the eleventh came to power, and starting with Augustus who was the first constitutionally elected emperor of the Imperial Roman Empire, we are left with Domitian. The historical evidence in support of Domitian as the eleventh horn of the fourth beast is as follows:

1) History records that the majority of the persecution fell on the Christians of Asia Minor after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Domitian did not appear to be opposed to Christianity on the onset. Domitian had issues with the Roman senate over his legitimacy as emperor. As a result, Domitian instated certain policies directed at establishing his legitimacy. These policies created an additional role for the imperial cult, known as the Concilia. Domitian’s policies included forced emperor worship and the Concilia was charged with enforcing it throughout the empire. Images or statues of Domitian were erected all over the empire and the population was required to worship these images on pain of punishment. The penalties for refusing to worship Domitian as a God ranged from banishment and confiscation of property to enslavement or death.

Faithful Christians are required to go to their deaths before engaging in such activities and found themselves in the unfortunate position of being at odds with the policies Domitian tried to enforce in order to legitimize his seat as the emperor. To make matters worse, the Jews hated the Christians and were chiefly responsible for bringing their refusal to worship Domitian to the attention of the Roman authorities. There was no shortage of Jews throughout Asia Minor in that when Jerusalem was destroyed, they were deported to other places to live being scattered throughout the empire.

Because of the conflict with Roman law under Domitian and with the Jews turning them in to the authorities, the persecution of Christians under Domitian reached its height. Domitian was responsible for bathing the Roman Empire in the blood of Christians.

2) The book of Revelation makes it clear that the persecution was a result of the demand that everyone worship the beast as god. No other emperor before Domitian demanded and enforced emperor worship.

3) Under the reign of Nerva (96 to 98 AD) the acts of Domitian, including the requirement that the emperor be worshipped as a god, were rescinded by the Senate. The statues of Domitian erected by the imperial cult were removed, melted down and put to better use.

No other emperor fits the description of the eleventh horn of the fourth beast nor the personification of the sea beast in Revelation than Domitian. This man fits the bill both scripturally and historically.

"with the saints"

Some commentators have mistakenly confused "the saints" with the Jewish people; but, in this connection it must be remembered that during the times of the fourth beast with the ten horns and the little horn that made war against God’s people, the Jews are most definitely not in view here. Israel was at that time in total rebellion against God and had utterly rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Therefore, the mention of "saints" here is a reference to Christians, servants of Jesus Christ. Any notion that secular Israel, or racial Jews ever "possessed the kingdom" (V22), of Christ, is totally refuted by the New Testament.

Daniel sees that the horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them. The parallelism with Revelation here is note worthy. In recording his vision of the beast, John writes these words concerning his "two witnesses", saints, in Revelation 11:7-8, "...the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city..." And again in Revelation 13:7, "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations". It is vital to the correct understanding of these passages that we keep in mind that it is God’s people who are being oppressed here. The historical context of the little horn on the fourth beast is undeniably after the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ therefore it is regarding Christians and nobody else.

Verse 22

Dan 7:22

Daniel 7:22 UntilH5705 H1768 the AncientH6268 of daysH3118 came,H858 and judgmentH1780 was givenH3052 to the saintsH6922 of the most High;H5946 and the timeH2166 cameH4291 that the saintsH6922 possessedH2631 the kingdom.H4437

Daniel 7:22

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.

The little horn prevailed against the saints of the most high until the Ancient of days came. This is the coming of God in judgment on the fourth beast. In speaking to the church at Thyatira, Jesus Christ had this to say about what the faithful would receive: Revelation 2:26-27, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father." and then in Revelation 5:10, "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth".

The possession of the kingdom here is not a reference to the establishment of the kingdom, nor to the entry of saints into the kingdom, but is a reference to that point in the future at which time, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15). Daniel 7:27 compliments and further explains the meaning of this verse.

Verse 23

Dan 7:23

Daniel 7:23 ThusH3652 he said,H560 The fourthH7244 beastH2423 shall beH1934 the fourthH7244 kingdomH4437 upon earth,H772 whichH1768 shall be diverseH8133 fromH4481 allH3606 kingdoms,H4437 and shall devourH399 the wholeH3606 earth,H772 and shall tread it down,H1759 and break it in pieces.H1855

Daniel 7:23

Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

Here we have the positive identification of the fourth beast. Historically it can be none other than the Imperial Roman Empire. The beast is the fourth kingdom on earth. This would be the same fourth kingdom represented by the feet of the great statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The ten kings correspond with the ten toes of the great statue. It varied from the other empires in that it had a legislative branch which more or less functioned as a law making body. However the Emperor had much more power than the Senate did. The Roman Empire was larger in land mass than all the other three empires before it. And like the empires before her, new provinces and holdings of the empire were gained by conquering them through warfare.

Verse 24

Dan 7:24

Daniel 7:24 And the tenH6236 hornsH7162 out ofH4481 this kingdomH4437 are tenH6236 kingsH4430 that shall arise:H6966 and anotherH321 shall riseH6966 afterH311 them; and heH1932 shall be diverseH8133 fromH4481 the first,H6933 and he shall subdueH8214 threeH8532 kings.H4430

Daniel 7:24

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 shall subdue three kings.

These are not concurrent kings serving the emperor as subject rulers. This is a succession of supreme leaders of the fourth kingdom. Being diverse from the first is easily explained in that Augustus was of the Judio-Claudian dynasty and Domitian was of the Flavian dynasty. The three kings subdued are troublesome. In order for the numbering of the eleven kings of Daniel to harmonize with the eight kings of the Roman Empire in Revelation, Galba, Otho and Vitellius must be the three horns or kings subdued by Domitian. At the time of the Roman Civil wars, Domitian was about eighteen years old and relatively untried in military conquests. Titus, his elder brother by eleven years was a much more seasoned military man at the time. History does not remember Domitian as being an overly prominent contributor to the defeat of Galba, Otho and Vitellius. However, his father, Vespasian emerged triumphant at the close of the Roman Civil wars and assumed the throne as emperor of the Roman Empire in December of 69 AD. Vespasian was also the first in the Flavian dynasty to hold the highest office in the Roman Empire. There are many good points which point to Vespasian as the eleventh horn, however, he does not fit the profile of the Beast as described by Daniel and John. A likely explanation of this difficulty could be that Domitian, the eleventh horn that subdued three kings, was recognized as such by virtue of his being the son of the man who actually did.

Verse 25

Dan 7:25

Daniel 7:25 And he shall speakH4449 great wordsH4406 againstH6655 the most High,H5943 and shall wear outH1080 the saintsH6922 of the most High,H5946 and thinkH5452 to changeH8133 timesH2166 and laws:H1882 and they shall be givenH3052 into his handH3028 untilH5705 a timeH5732 and timesH5732 and the dividingH6387 of time.H5732

Daniel 7:25

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

The parallel here with the beast in Revelation is directly apparent in Revelation 13:6-7, "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations".

"and think to change times and laws" In this context, the changing of times and laws has a direct connection with the plight of the saints who were under attack by the person represented as the eleventh horn. These laws and times that are changed are relative to their circumstances.

Under the reign of Domitian, Emperor worship was strictly enforced. The imperial cults were given new roles and powers in the enforcement of it. The imperial cult in ancient Rome was used to promote the worship of a few select emperors as gods once they were deceased; the only emperor to declare himself a god while still living was Domitian which caused outrage.

Making a god out of certain deceased emperors became a prominent element of religion in the Roman Empire. The cult soon spread over the whole extent of the Empire. The elevation or exaltation of an emperor to the rank of a god was a political act performed by the dead emperor’s successor to reinforce the majesty of the imperial office, and, often quite effectively, to associate the current emperor with a well-regarded predecessor. It was a propaganda tool focused on promoting the public acceptance of a leader through the deification of the family name. Domitian took this to a higher level when he had himself proclaimed a god while still living.

"and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time."

One year, two years, and half a year, or 1,260 days, or forty two months. Revelation 12:6, "The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days" Revelation 12:14, "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent". Revelation 11:2-3, "the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."

Three and half times is half of seven which represented perfection or completion. Apocalyptically, the number 3 1/2 represents an indefinite or undetermined period of time. The eleventh horn of the beast in Daniel’s vision and the beast of Revelation would prevail over the saints for an undetermined period of time.

Verse 26

Dan 7:26

Daniel 7:26 But the judgmentH1780 shall sit,H3488 and they shall take awayH5709 his dominion,H7985 to consumeH8046 and to destroyH7 it untoH5705 the end.H5491

Daniel 7:26

But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

God’s judgment shall prevail. The fourth great beast would have his dominion taken away and would be destroyed in the end. The entire eighteenth chapter of Revelation is an account of this event.

Verse 27

Dan 7:27

Daniel 7:27 And the kingdomH4437 and dominion,H7985 and the greatnessH7238 ofH1768 the kingdomH4437 underH8460 the wholeH3606 heaven,H8065 shall be givenH3052 to the peopleH5972 of the saintsH6922 of the most High,H5946 whose kingdomH4437 is an everlastingH5957 kingdom,H4437 and allH3606 dominionsH7985 shall serveH6399 and obeyH8086 him.

Daniel 7:27

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 dominions shall serve and obey him.

The saints will prevail in the end. The everlasting kingdom is the New Testament church. The church grew to encompass the earth and it can be found in almost every country of the world today. Those who will, serve and obey God who has dominion over all. This is the entire theme of the Revelation summed up in one sentence. The enemies of righteousness will be defeated and the faithful who persevere and overcome will win in the end. The righteous will triumph.

Verse 28

Dan 7:28

Daniel 7:28 HithertoH5705 H3542 is the endH5491 ofH1768 the matter.H4406 As for meH576 Daniel,H1841 my cogitationsH7476 muchH7690 troubledH927 me, and my countenanceH2122 changedH8133 inH5922 me: but I keptH5202 the matterH4406 in my heart.H3821

Daniel 7:28

Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

Daniel was troubled over this vision and well so. It was not a pretty thing to consider that his people would suffer so greatly at the hands of those yet to rise to power. While the fact that the saints would win in the end provides great comfort, the sufferings they would have to endure during the course of events was troubling in the extreme. Daniel purposed to keep his personal feelings to himself on this. When he recorded the vision, he stuck to the facts and kept his own feelings out of it.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Daniel 7". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/daniel-7.html.
 
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