God gave Daniel a vision which revealed events to take place many centuries beyond his day. In Daniel 7 God pictures under appropriate symbols the rise and fall of nations from the time of Daniel on down to the rise of the Antichrist. Any student of Bible prophecy is concerned about the rise and work of the Antichrist power.
1. What was seen by Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon?
“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 spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 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. “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and hadthree ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.” Daniel 7:1-8
2. What three sets of symbols did Daniel see?
He was shown the sea, four beasts, and four winds striving on the sea.
3. What do winds symbolise in the Bible?
Read Jeremiah 49:35-37; 51:1, 11
NOTE: In prophecy winds denote strife, political commotion, and war. The striving of the winds in this prophecy picture the rise of kingdoms and their fall; these events are accomplished through political strife.
4. Of what is the sea or waters a symbol in prophecy?
“The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.” Revelation 17:15. Read Isaiah 17:12, 13.
5. What do the four beast represent?
“Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth….The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces.” Daniel 7:17, 23
NOTE: The great image of Daniel 2 made of four metals represented four kingdoms. The four beasts represent the same four kingdoms – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia and Rome. The fourth kingdom is divided into ten parts.
6. What do the ten horns symbolise?
“The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings.” Daniel 7:24
NOTE: That the ten kings mentioned here represent ten kingdoms is not left to conjecture. In verse 17 the four beasts are said to represent four kings and the fourth beast is specifically called “the fourth kingdom.” Since the four horns of Daniel 8:22 are called four kingdoms, it is reasonable to assume that these ten horns are ten kingdoms also.
7. What does Daniel say about the first beast?
According to Daniel 7:4 it was a lion. It had eagle’s wings and finally a man’s heart was given to it. The eagles wings represent the rapid conquest of Babylon (Deuteronomy 28:49). on the night of Belshazzar’s feast, when the hand wrote Babylon’s doom on the wall, a man’s heart was given to it. (Daniel 5:1-6)
8. What is said concerning the bear?
In Daniel 7:5 the bear is represented with three ribs in its mouth. These symbolise the conquest by Medo-Persia of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.
9. What does the prophet say concerning the third beast?
He mentions in Daniel 7:6 it was like a leopard. Its for wings represent unparalleled rapidity of movement. This was true of the Grecian kingdom. The four heads are the four parts of the Grecian Empire divided, after Alexander’s death, among his four generals – Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus.
10. What description is given concerning the fourth beast?
The beast is described in Daniel 7:7 as dreadful and strong. It had great iron teeth. The beast had ten horns representing, as did the ten toes of the image in Daniel 2, the ten divisions of Western Rome, namely the Alemanni, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Burgundians, Heruli, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards.
11. What came up among the ten horns (the nations of Europe)?
According to Daniel 7:8, 24 there came up a little horn power which had “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.” This depicts the rise of the religio-political power. Because the Heruli, Ostrogoths, and Vandals were opposed to the teaching and claims of this system this little horn power came to the forefront when they were plucked up. The little horn was to be different from the ten horns indicating it would be a religious power operating particularly in the realm of religion as well as in political affairs. This system succeeded in uprooting the Heruli in A.D. 493, the Vandals in A.D. 534, and the Ostrogoths in A.D 538.
12. What four specifications are mentioned in this prophecy which identify this system as the Antichrist?
“He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” Daniel 7:25
NOTE: Two important and identifying are time and place. The little horn comes up after the dissolution of the Roman Empire in the West (A.D. 476). The little horn also came up among the nations of Western Europe. It is evident therefore that this little horn or Antichrist power which was to arise at a definite time and place came upon the scene as predicted. (These keys help us to see that the little horn Antichrist will not come at the end of the age as is now commonly taught.)
13. Has this system done all this little horn power was to do?
a. “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High.”
This power has assumed titles belonging only to God.
God is the supreme being of the universe. He is the Creator. He deserves our worship and adoration. Man was created “a little lower than the angels.” Hebrews 2:7. Therefore man must never assume a place on a par with God. And, of course, never think of exalting himself above God. During the Middle Ages the dominate religio-political system set itself at times not only equal with but even above God. Righteousness by works supplanted God’s Word. Some assumed places equal with God.
b. “shall persecute the saints of the Most High”
This is a picture of persecution. It is conservatively estimated that during the Middle Ages 50,000,000 martyrs were put do death by this system. The Inquisition was both the creation and tool of this power for dealing with dissenters.
c. Will “intend to change times and law.”
According to Daniel 2:21 it is God who has the nations in control and it is His prerogative alone to change times. For the little horn to endeavour to change times is to exercise the role of God in an attempt to shape history. How did this system attempt to change laws? Historians tell of the apostasy of the early Christian centuries at which time many doctrines and practices contrary to God’s will were introduced. This little horn power freely admits it is responsible for making Sunday a day of worship. History reveals how this all came about and shows that it was responsible. In many catechisms the second commandment is completely taken out, the tenth is divided into two and the fourth is changed.
d. “Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.”
Here God is careful to mark off the time of the supremacy of this system. (In the Aramaic the word translated “time” in Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32 means “a year.” “Times” comes from the same word and “time” and most scholars agree this denotes “two times” or two years. Thus this little horn power was to be supreme for a time, two times, and half a time.) When King Nebuchadnezzzar was deposed until seven times passed over him (Daniel 4:25), this was a period of seven years. In prophetic reckoning thre are thirty days to the months or 360 days for one year. Therefore three and one-half times would be 1,260 days. The rule for interpreting prophetic time is “each day for a year” Ezekiel 4:4-6. The period of the little horn supremacy began in A.D. 538 when the Ostrogoths, the last of the three opposing powers, were rooted up. The closing of 1,260 years would be in 1798. Events took place at that time which caused this power to receive a deadly wound. Much of its power was temporarily taken away.
NOTE: Therefore, since the little horn power has (1) spoken pompous words against God, (2) persecuted and put to death saints, (3) tampered with God’s holy law, and (4) was a dominate power for 1,260 years as predicted, it is undoubtedly the power to which the prophecy points. This prophecy is not speaking against personalities but against a system.
Read Daniel 7:9, 10. Here God reveals the beginning of the judgement. In Daniel 7 the final judgement is mentioned three times (Verses 10, 22, 26). God’s eternal kingdom is mentioned four times (Verses 14, 18, 22, 27). It is evident that while Satan has waged a long war against God’s commandments, yet Christ will have the final word!
On which side will you stand in the conflict between truth and error? “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Exodus 32:26. Make your very own decision of Joshua 24:15.