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

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

Next, Daniel beheld the Ancient of Days entrusting one “like a son of man” with all judgment.

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Who is the one like a son of man? Eighty-one times Jesus referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” in the Gospels. Three titles associated with Christ’s sonship appear in the Gospels:

1. Son of David, which points to His earthly throne
2. Son of God, which points to His eternity
3. Son of Man, which points to His relationship to the human race

Interestingly, Jesus did not refer directly to Himself by the first two titles. However, He had to become man in order to fulfill all three titles. Through the Son of Man’s incarnation, the Second Person of the Trinity was able to fulfill the threefold role of the Kinsman-Redeemer. First, the kinsman-redeemer redeemed the land, which his brother had wasted away (Leviticus 25:25). Second, he redeemed his brother from his voluntary slavery (Leviticus 25:48). Third, he became the avenger of the blood of his brother, who was wrongly slain (Numbers 35:27).

This passage in Daniel is the only place in the OT where the title “Son of Man” is used clearly of a divine personage. It does appear in a verse in a Psalm of Asaph, where Israel is mistakenly imploring God Almighty to bless and restore the nation and then it would turn to Him!

Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself (Psalm 80:17).

“The son of man” in this verse may apply to Israel instead of Christ since the pleas of the rest of the psalm have not been answered. It is very clear that Jesus took this title from Daniel 7:13 and applied it to Himself.

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).

In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven“ (Matthew 26:64).

At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:26).

“Like a son of man” refers to Christ’s incarnate nature. He is a true man as well as true God—100% man and 100% God. Through incarnation by virgin birth, He became the seed of the woman without being a son of man. The article (“the”) as used in the title by Jesus points to the one Daniel saw in his night vision.

Significantly, Nebuchadnezzar saw one like “a son of the gods” with the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:25). Hence, the one who is “the Son of God” and “the Son of Man” is revealed in this book.

“The one like a son of man” is appointed absolute Lord and Judge by virtue of His propitiatory ministry as God incarnate. He is King of kings and Lord of lords; hence, The Great Commission begins by echoing Daniel 7:14.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matthew 28:18).

Christ does not usurp authority; He does not take honor for Himself; He receives the kingdom from God the Father—the Ancient of Days (Hebrews 1:1-14; Philippians 2:5-11). In contrast, the four beasts and their self-exaltations are doomed to destruction.

There are four proofs that the one identified as “a Son of Man” is deity in Daniel 7:13-14.

1. He was given what God will not give away—authority, glory and sovereign power.

2. He is worshiped—only God is to be worshiped.

3. He is given an everlasting kingdom—only God’s kingdom is everlasting.

4. He is like a son of man—only through incarnation can “one be like a son of man” and not actually be so.

Compare John’s vision of “someone like a son of man” in Revelation 1:12-18 with the Ancient of Days in Daniel. Keep in mind that “the Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). John’s vision confirms Christ’s deity also.

Both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man are seen as separate Persons by the same prophet at the same time and place, so there must be at least two Persons in the Godhead. Actually, there are three Persons in One: Father, Son and Spirit.

When Jesus called Himself “the Son of Man,” every Jew should have known that He was referring to Daniel’s prophecy. The Sanhedrin understood that this title denoted His deity; note their reaction.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death (Mark 14:61-64).

“Coming with the clouds of heaven” might indicate Christ coming with the armies of heaven (Revelation 19:14) or His deity (Exodus 13:21-22; 19:9, 16). Conversely, at Christ’s ascension into heaven, a cloud hid Him from the sight of the disciples and two men dressed in white told them that “He will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Whatever the case, the Son of Man will execute the judgment prescribed by the Ancient of Days. Jesus confirmed Daniel’s vision when He said, “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).

There is a significant contrast between the Son of Man coming from heaven and the beasts coming up out of the sea (the chaos of the world under the Evil One’s dominion). The Antichrist comes to bring havoc on the earth while Christ comes to restore order to this world.

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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Experiencing Exodus

Book of James

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

Romans Salvation

Life of the Apostle Paul

Other studies at Spreading Light Bible Studies

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