Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 7

Outline and Background - Daniel 7

Vision and Dream of the Three Beasts - Daniel 7:1-6

The Four Winds of Heaven

The Great Sea

The First Beast

The Second Beast

The Third Beast

Vision of the Fourth Beast - Daniel 7:7-8

The Little Horn of the Fourth Beast

The Future From God's Perspective

Linking of Daniel 7 to Revelation 17

Vision of God's Throne - Daniel 7:9-12

Vision of the Son of Man - Daniel 7:13-14

Visions and Dream Interpreted - Daniel 7:15-28

Applications of Daniel 7

The Little Horn of the Fourth Beast

A seemingly insignificant eleventh king rises to power during the time of this ten-kingdom confederacy.

While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

A little horn came up (between, among) the ten horns. “Eyes like the eyes of a man” suggests this king is an intellectual genius with penetrating insight and discernment. “A mouth that spoke boastfully” suggests persuasive oratory skills, which at the same time blasphemes God. This little horn is the Willful King of Daniel 11:36-39, also known as “the Antichrist,” and “the man of lawlessness” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4:

Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

The little horn will be satanically inspired, according to Revelation 13:4-6:

Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling-place and those who live in heaven.

The outlook for the future is pessimistic. Biblical prophecy forecasts no peace-loving world ruler until the Messiah establishes His kingdom. Ravenous commercialism and political imperialism accompanied by the most beastly warfare will dominate the world scene. Progressive evolution
and social advancement are the fabrications of the Evil One. Over the horizon awaits the monstrosities of the fourth beast.

Daniel reveals a great deal more concerning “the little horn” in 7:19-27; 9:26-27; and 11:36-45. Critics identify this king as Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the kingdom as Greece. They assume that the foregoing passages depict the Seleucids and its ruler.

Critics generally agree that the ten horns upon the creature’s head represent ten kings, not contemporaries, but successive rulers that begin with either Alexander the Great or with the Selucus Nicator, the founder of the Seleucid dynasty. Then the rulers continue, in the same line, down to the point at which Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to the throne.

There are three major difficulties with the critics’ assumption. First, one cannot pinpoint ten successive kings in history. Second, Jesus announced, long after the death of Antiochus, that “the abomination that causes desolation” that Daniel attributes to the little horn is still future (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15). Third, the kingdom of the little horn is to be replaced by Christ’s kingdom (Daniel 7:26-27), which clearly did not happen in the middle of the second century B.C.

Uprooted (rqe (`aqar) may denote either a gradual process, where new growth pushes out the old, or where it is plucked up quickly. It is uncertain, whether “the little horn” will take control of all three areas at once or over time. In either case, he will be recognized as the ruler of the remaining horns.

Notably, the book of Daniel either reveals the name of, or details about, the initial rulers of the first three empires: Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon; Cyrus of Medo-Persia; Alexander the Great of Greece and its division by his four generals—Lysimachus, Cassander, Seleucus and Ptolemy.
However, nothing is revealed about the initial ruler of the fourth empire of Ancient Rome. Instead, the prophecy focuses on the kings of the Revived Roman Empire of the last days, especially its “little horn.”

Instead of a king conquering territory and people, there was a gradual expansion of the Roman power, culminating in the establishment of a unified empire by Augustus (B.C. 30 to A.D. 14), who was emperor at the time of the Messiah’s birth and during part of His lifetime. The Roman
Empire was unique in regards to its predecessors.

The Empire bound together a variety of peoples and cultures, maintaining itself not only by military power but by efficient and generally lenient provincial administration. Another unifying
factor was the nearly universal use of the Greek language and a general acceptance of Greek culture and values. In addition, a complex of major land and sea routes linked major cities of the Empire, permitting the easy movement of people and goods as well as armies.

Regarding freedom, while Roman law imposed harsh penalties for criminal acts and for any activity that might be considered treasonable, most national groups were permitted to follow their own customs and religions. Self-government by each national group, under its own laws and courts, was encouraged, although Roman laws and courts were supreme.

The Empire, which gave the varied peoples of Europe and the Mediterranean a common language and permitted free movement of persons and ideas, was essential to the spread of Christianity (abstracted from “Roman Empire,” The Revell Bible Dictionary).

Parallels between the Roman Empire and the European Union are remarkable. The first phase of the Roman Empire paved the way for the coming of the Messiah and the spread of Christianity. The second phase (feet and ten toes) of the Roman Empire will pave the way for the Antichrist and the spread of his false religion.

The charts on the next page demonstrate that the fourth empire of chapter seven of Daniel is the Revived Roman Empire. It is also the same as the seventh and eighth empires of chapter seventeen of Revelation.

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