Daniel and Revelation-Part 2-The Image and the Beasts

The image of Daniel 2 unlocks the Prophecy of Daniel 7 & Revelation 13

 “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.  I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:

Daniel 7: 15:16

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Daniel 2 Review:

In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that he did not understand and it troubled him greatly.  None of the wise men, I call the “Fakers,” could help the King! But, God worked through Daniel and his three companions to remind the king of his dream and also give him the interpretation.

This interpretation comes straight from God to Daniel and needs “no private interpretation.”

Quite simply, Daniel told the king that four (4) great powers would arise.  He identified the first two in scripture as Babylon, then the dual kingdom of the Medes and Persians.  After Daniel’s time, the other two powers appear on the scene as history tells us: Greece (Belly and thighs of brass) and finally Rome (Legs of iron).

Rome was the ruling power when Jesus was on the earth teaching and dying for our sins.  It was a Roman decree and a Roman cross upon which our Lord died.  Rome continued to rule as the disciples went forth with the power of the Holy Spirit and built up the church.

Also, during this time, the church began to receive persecution as we will see later.

The king’s dream does not stop here.  The legs of iron were followed  by the feet and toes of iron and  clay.  These symbols identifie the fall of Rome and breaking into 10 divisions. Some of these countries are strong and some are weak just as clay is weak and iron is strong.   Three countries (powers) were annihilated  and there are no current countries that have roots in these three tribes:  The Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths were the 3 countries (tribes) eliminated by Rome.

The prophecy ends with these startling words:

 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 

And in the days of these kings  (The divisions of Rome or what we now call Europe) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

Daniel 2: 43-45

Never again will the old divisions of Rome (Europe) be joined together. Many have tried and failed, either through wars or marriage.

Over and over, the Bible talks of the 2nd coming as a time of destruction from the Lord.  More specifically, it is described as a time of surprise to the lost and utter destruction to planet earth.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

2 Peter 3:10

It also includes the unsaved. Their fate is symbolized by what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.:

…turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

2 Peter 2:6

“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
That will leave them neither root nor branch.

Malachi 4:1

So when all the kingdoms of the earth are destroyed, God will create a new heaven and a new earth.  The”Rock” and God’s kingdom will fill the whole earth.  God will be our God and we will be his people.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

Isaiah 65:17

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21: 3

“The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” History has proved the dream is “certain” and we can rest in the knowledge the interpretation is correct.

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Daniel 7-Introduction

In Daniel 7, another dream or vision is given.  But, this time, it is given directly to Daniel.  Like king Nebuchadnezzar, the dream troubles Daniel and he does not know what it means. This time, it is interpreted by the attending angels.

Like Daniel 2, we will let the Bible interpret itself and then we will check it out through history.

In this vision of Daniel, we will see that God has a way of revealing the truth and the future in a way as to prepare the heart to receive it.

In Daniel 7 God uses the principle of repeating and expanding about the meaning of the prophecies.  We will see the same four powers of Daniel 2, but with more detail about the nature of the beast powers and we will see the addition of a terrible and strong entity arise that comes up (not from the sea) but from one of the powers described in Daniel 2.  It does not get its power from conquering wars over people and multitudes (illustrated by the symbol of the sea)

This vision of Daniel 7 is like meat and not milk.  It will be new to many who read this and you might not be ready to receive it or digest it.  But, the words are certain and are supported by the Bible and history.  As we begin, let’s pray for the Spirit of Truth and let the story reveal itself to us.  Truth from God’s word is always meant for good, for life, and for comfort.  Keep in mind, we have a loving and forgiving Savior who desires us to find peace and assurance in Him and his revelation.

OK?  Let’s begin.

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Daniel 7-Part 1

The book of Daniel 7 is about 4 animals (kingdoms) that give fear and wonder to Daniel.  Daniel 2 was about four metals (kingdoms). But, in Daniel 7, Daniel is particularly interested in  the fourth beast and the little horn power.  This is the first time we see this “little horn power” in scripture.  The interpretation is given to Daniel and it goes far beyond the time he is living even until the coming judgment of planet earth.

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.

Daniel 7:1

This first verse is important because it gives the time and Daniel’s dream.  The first year of Belshazzar would be 540 BC.

Here is what Daniel saw that year:

“I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great SeaAnd four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.”

Verse 2 and 3

As the beasts are described, they look something like below.  Very strange!  Wouldn’t you agree?  They are animals with something unusual about each.

When we read and study the Bible, we should read it as literal unless there is some overall reason to apply symbolism.  Here we have good reason to apply the rule of symbolism because of the unusual and unimaginable description of the beasts. Even more compelling is the fact that there is an interpretation of the beasts given by the attending angels. To think in literal terms would lose the message God is giving. Is that a fair statement?  I will explain as we go along.

To help us with the beginning of this prophecy, let’s look at some passages that unlock the symbolic meaning of this prophecy and others.  In Daniel’s vision, he is seeing “the four winds stir up the Great Sea.” 

What does the four winds and the Great Sea represent? We can get our answer from Revelation where these same beasts appear.  Daniel explains Revelation and vice versa.  Perhaps, this is why the book of Daniel ends with these words,

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end.”

Daniel 12: 4

The book of Revelation had to be written and its message understood in the light of Daniel and history before these books could be “opened” 

Revelation describes the four winds in this passage:

After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree…”Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”

Revelation 7:1, 3

Here is a picture of 4 angels symbolically holding back winds that would harm the earth, sea, or trees. What does that sound like? Revelation does not leave any doubt

From this passage in Revelation, we can see that the 4 winds represent turmoil, strife, war, and destruction.  Another passage supports this interpretation:

 Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“Behold, disaster shall go forth
From nation to nation,
And a great whirlwind shall be raised up
From the farthest parts of the earth.”

Jeremiah 25:32

Even more important is the self-interpretation from this chapter about the beasts.  In its interpretation we can see that logically the winds and sea would indeed represent nations arising out of turmoil and wars:

What are the four beasts?  Let’s let the angel of Daniel 7 tell us:

“Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.”

Daniel 7:17

If four kings or kingdoms arise, where do they come from?  The sea of people and the winds of war.

So early in this prophecy, we can conclude that Daniel is seeing four kingdoms arise from the many people and the results of conquering wars.  King Nebuchadnezzar also saw these four kingdoms:  Babylon, Medes/Persia, Greece, and Rome.  Then Rome is divided into 10 kingdoms (toes in Daniel 2 and heads in Daniel 7).  It is in the days of these 10 kingdoms (countries) that our Lord returns. Never in history could mankind see how close the 2nd coming is until these books were opened.

Image result for Comparison of Daniel 2 and daniel 7

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Daniel 7 goes on to describe the four beasts in more detail. They correspond to the four metals of Daniel 2, but God is adding more detail and explanation.

 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

Daniel 7: 4

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The wings on the lion represent the rapidity by which Babylon conquered its foes under king Nebuchadnezzar.  But, the wings are plucked and a man’s heart is given to it.  The boldness of the Lion wanes as it comes to a close of its earthly domination.  The man’s heart compared to the Lion illustrates the weakness that came about as it lay dormant and exposed caused by wealth and luxury.

Image result for images of ancient babylon and the lion

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It is now a perfect target for the next power to arise and take its place.  This power is the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians and is represented by the bear that raised itself up on one side and had three ribs between its teeth.

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.

Daniel 7:5

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Eventually, the Persians dominated the kingdom and became stronger than the  Medes.  Like a bear putting his weight on his strong side, the Persians came up “last” as we will see in the prophecy in the 8th Chapter.  The Persians also become the dominant power.  The command to devour much flesh was obeyed and it left nothing but three bones.  These represent the three conquests of the Medes and Persians:  Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt

This power represented by the bear ruled from the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus in 538 BC to the battle of Arbela in 331 BC.  A time span of  207 years.  It fell to the next kingdom represented by the four-headed leopard with four wings of a fowl,

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.

Daniel 7:6

1200-3rdBeastx94

If two wings represent speed, then 4 wings on the quick-footed leopard must represent an extremely rapid course of conquests for the next kingdom of Greece under Alexander the Great.  This corresponds with the Daniel 2 prophecy and history.

Alexander has no parallel in historical annals for suddenness and rapidity.

Rollin, Ancient History, b.15, sec.2, gives the following brief synopsis of Alexander’s marches:-

“From Macedonia to the Ganges, which river Alexander nearly approached, is computed at least eleven hundred leagues. Add to this the various turnings in Alexander’s marches; first, from the extremity of Cilicia, where the battle of Issus was fought, to the temple of Jupiter Ammon in Libya; and his returning from thence to Tyre, a journey of three hundred leagues at least, and as much space at least for the windings of his route in different places; we shall find that Alexander, in less then eight years, marched his army upward of seventeen hundred leagues [or more than fifty-one hundred miles], without including his return to Babylon”

Alexander the Great succeeded his father Philip II at age 20 and lived to reign only about 11 1/2 years more.  He died at age 32.  His life spent in the fast lane of wars and debauchery.

The four heads of the leopard represent  the division of Alexander’s empire among his four leading generals:

Cassander (Macedon and Greece in the west)

Lysimachus (Thrace and parts of Asia on the Hellespont and Bosphorus in the North

Ptolemy (Egypt, Lydia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele Syria in the south)

Seleucus (Syria and all the rest of Alexander’s dominions in the east.)

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Next to arise on the world scene is Rome illustrated as the “dreadful” and terrible beast.”  It was different from the other powers in a way that is more than mere appearances.

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.

Daniel 7: 7

There is not a beast in nature that Daniel can use to describe this fourth beast and how “dreadful and terrible” it is.  It’s great teeth devour and “brakes” to pieces the other countries.  It has  10 horns that correspond to the 10 toes of part iron and part clay of Daniel 2.

fourth beast

The nature of Rome was cruel.  They perfected the tortuous death of crucifixion believed to have been invented by the Persians.  Death by crucifixion could last up to 6 days!  Rome merciless stamped on and conquered all that would oppose it.

It was on a cruel Roman cross that Jesus took the shamefulness of our sins upon himself.  This act by the Creator was the ultimate demonstration of the sacrificial love for His creation.  It was part of the good news.  But, the fact that Jesus arose a victor over the death of the cross that the good news message is most nearly complete.  The other part of the good news is that Jesus will one day return to change us and to rescue us forever from the pull and presence of sin.  The good news cannot be captured by a list of events in the life of Jesus.   it is an experience initiated and propelled by the Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Like Daniel, let’s turn our attention to the little horn that arose:

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.

Daniel 7:20

Who was this power that captured the attention of Daniel?  This horn had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things and was more stout than the others.

This horn displaces three horns and speaks great things.  Like the 10 toes of Daniel’s image, it is in the day’s of these kings, that God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.  His kingdom will consume the entire earth.  This is the second coming of Jesus!

Revelation 13 is a composite of the beasts found in Daniel 7:

Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.  Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion

Revelation 13: 1,2

Image result for image of Revelation 13

This little horn power that speaks great things exists today! It will bring the final deception of many people on this earth.  It is the beast of Revelation 13. In the next post, we will discover the identity of the little horn and how it is described in Revelation 13 as the Beast that the “whole world wonders after.”

Despite the little horn’s power, we can trust in the One who is greater.  Terrible times will come, but we can find peace in our Lord both day and night.

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.”

Psalm 42:8

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