The prophetic view of the future in the scriptures.
THE LIVING WORD CENTER, INC.
The entire book of Daniel can be divided as follow:
Section 1: Daniel’s personal history. By the way, Daniel, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were contemporaries. The text provide the record of Daniel and the three Hebrews children Chapter 1:1-21
Section 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s visions, which involved the great image. Belshazzar was the son of Nebonidus, who was Nebuchadnezzar’s son. Instead of using the word “grandfather”, “father” is used in Daniel 5:11, 18. The Hebrew text doesn’t use the word “grandfather”. This is the reason why Belshazzar could only offer Daniel to became the third ruler in Daniel 5:29. So, Nabonidus and Belshazzar were co-rulers. Chapter 2:1-4:37
Section 3: Daniel’s personal history, which covers from the time of Belshazzar, king of Babylon to Darius, King of Medo-Persia. Chapter 5:1-6:28
Section 4: Daniel’s visions, which covers the prophetic future of events to come. Chapter 7:1-12:13
Book of Daniel chapters 2 and 7
Daniel chapter 2 reveals 4 different kingdoms from the man’s perspective. While Daniel chapter 7 it shows how God sees these 4 different kingdoms, which are represented by 4 beasts.
In the book of Daniel we have 2 chapters referring to the same prophetical event but the view in both chapters are completely different. The main focus of this post is to break down the prophetic event and the two perspectives under their proper context. Because of the extensiveness of the material in the subject involved in both chapters, we will focus only in the basic explanation. In another post we will get into more details.
- First Daniel chapter two: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; “But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.” Dan. 2:28. In other words, this is prophetic dream given to a pagan king. The image in the dream is explained by Daniel:
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Dan. 2:31-35
The explanation of the dream:
“This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.”Daniel 2:36
- This image’s head was of gold: “Thou art this head of gold.” v. 38, which is the Babylonian kingdom
- his breast and his arms of silver: “And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior (silver) to thee” v. 39, which is “Medo-Persia”
- his belly and his thighs of brass: “and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.” v.39, which is “Grecia”
- His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay: “And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.” v. 40, which is old The Roman Empire
Observe how the quality of the materials was diminishing from Gold to iron mixed with clay. This is one of the most important prophetic dreams and was given to a pagan king. Why? Because it had to do with the future of the gentiles nations, which covers from Nebuchadnezzar to the Old Roman Empire. Now, Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream didn’t finished in verse 40, for in verses 41-43 details the ten kingdom that will be formed in the latter days, from which the antichrist will rise. And verses 44-45 detail the establishing of The Messiah’s kingdom or Divine ruling over the earth.
Now, in the same book of Daniel chapter 7 expressed the same event but the elements used are different:
“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. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 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. 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. 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. 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.” Dan. 7:1-7
Let’s breakdown the passages:
- Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea
- And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another
- 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: This is Babylonian Empire, which is compared to a “eagle” in Jer. 48:40; Ezek. 17. The rest of the passage is when Nebuchadnezzar become insane for a period of seven years and later restored. Dan. 4:31-36
- 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: The Medo-Persian Empire. Isa. 13:16-18 details how savage were their attack. Later become only The Persian Empire, which is expressed in the expression “and it raised up itself on one side”. Daniel 8:3 is also connected with this beast.
- 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: The Grecian Empire; which had “four heads”. Indicating the four divisions of the Grecian Empire by Alexander 4 generals after his death. Their names are “Cassander in Macedonia and Greece; Lysimachus eastward in Thrace and Asia Minor; Ptolemy in Egypt, Cyprus and nearby Asia Minor; Seleucus (From the antichrist is coming from according to the book of Daniel) in Syria and portions of Asia (the Indus River).
- 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: The Old Roman Empire, which description here implied the characteristics and forms of ruling; “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.” In other words, there is nothing like it to compare it. The four beast is disclosed by name about 12 times in the New Testament. John 11:48; Acts 2:10; 16:21, 37-38; 22:25-27, 29; 23:27; 28:16-17
The passage in Daniel 7 explained the term “beasts”, which are “great”. The word “kings”, not only means the ruler, but also the kingdom where it is located.
“These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth”Daniel 7:17
In Daniel 7 the visions and dreams didn’t finished with the forth beast (v.7) but just exactly as it happened in “the image” of Nebuchadnezzar’ dream, this beast have ten horns, which according to the context of the text these ten horns are ten kings;
“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.” Dan. 7:24
Observe the origin of these ten horns “OUT OF THIS KINGDOM”. What kingdom is referring to? The fourth beast, which is The Old Roman Empire. So, these ten horns or kings will be rising from within The Old Roman Empire territory. Many have suggested that these kings are already exited but according to the same verse these ten kings haven’t existed yet, for it says “this kingdom are ten kings that SHALL ARISE.” When this event will happen? After or simultaneously with the rapture of the body of Christ. For it says in 2 Th. 2:7:
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (retain) will let, until he (the body of Christ) be taken out of the way.”
What happens after that?
“And then (at the moment) shall that Wicked (the little horn of Daniel 7:20-26) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 2 Th. 2:8
Also in Daniel 7 as it happened in Daniel 2, the prophetic visions and dreams end with the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven and The Eternal Kingdom of God.
“Until the Ancient of days (The Father) came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Dan. 7:22
“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.” Dan. 7:27
The image of Daniel 2 and the four beasts of Daniel 7 are part of a group of “empires” that had persecuted Israel, which period is called in the Scriptures as:
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
In “the battle of Armageddon” God will destroy all these nations that had persecuted Israel. Isa. 34:1-8; 63:1-6; Ezek. 38-39; Zech. 14:1-5; Mat. 24:40-42
“And I saw the beast (the little horn), and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Rev. 19:19-21
Now, the same event of Daniel 2 is described in Daniel 7, but the graphics, elements, perspectives and methods given in the event is different. Why is used an “image” in the prophecy of Daniel 2, and then in Daniel 7 “beasts” are used Daniel? Here is the explanation:
- The image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream: This is how men see themselves ruling. The image started with gold as the head and as the description of the image continued the used of lower quality of materials were used, so it was the quality of each kingdom.
- The beasts in Daniel visions and dreams: This is how God sees men’s kingdoms on earth. The description of each beast emphasized the level of violence and destruction in their path.
The deterioration of the moral values and corruption of the human governments will go increase until the antichrist is revealed. The prophecy given by Jesus in Luke 21:24 about “the time of the gentiles be fulfilled” will become to an end with the kingdom of the antichrist.
One more note: The rapture of the body of Christ and the second literal Advent of Christ are two different events; The first one will take place BEFORE the great tribulation and the second one AFTER it. We will explain both events in a separate topic.