|Chap 7 Timeline||
Daniel: Chapter 7
In Daniel 4, God had abased King Nebuchadnezzar because of his pride. It was not until the king had come to the realization that it is God who rules in the kingdom of men and that it is He who gives it to whomever He wills, that he was allowed to return to his senses and receive his kingdom again, Daniel 4:34-35. Similarly, we see the will of God exercised in the kingdoms of men as these future kingdoms are revealed, and their ultimate roles during the end times as seen in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2, and will be evident in Daniel 7 and the remaining chapters in this book.
There are three important points to be reminded of in Daniel 7. First, the language of this passage is written in Aramaic, the language of the Gentiles, as discussed in the earlier page on Daniel 1. The focus of this passage remains on the Gentile nations and their influence over the nation of Israel and Jerusalem until the end of the rule of the Gentiles as interpreted by Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 2:44.
Second, this is the beginning of the prophetic passages in the Book of Daniel which he received from God, but he did not interpret. The interpretation was divinely provided to him. This was described earlier in this site as well on the page discussion Daniel 1. So this first prophetic passage given to Daniel from the Lord, Deuteronomy 29:29, concerns the Gentile rule and the conditions at its end, which occurs at the conclusion of the seven years of tribulation, at the battle of Armageddon.
Third, this is not the first prophetic passage in the book of Daniel, since the first was given in Daniel 2. However, from this point forward, the visions are given to Daniel alone. Also, the first six chapters of Daniel were based on describing the historical events as they happened. From chapters seven through the end of the book, any historical reference is to tie the event of the vision, dream, or visitation by either an angel or the angel of the Lord, to a specific period of time in Daniel's life. The following table shows the rulers over Babylon during the captivity of Israel, the years of each king's reign, and the approximate time frame of each chapter in Daniel.
These dreams in this chapter that were reported long after the death of King Nebuchadnezzar and began during the reign of Belshazzar. Daniel would have reflected on the dream King Nebuchadnezzar had so many years earlier concerning the image, and how it would be fulfilled. This chapter can be subdivided into four parts: the introduction, the dreams concerning the beasts representing the Gentile rule, the scene in heaven and the second coming of Christ, and finally the interpretations.
The dream given to Daniel demonstrates that God had chosen him to be a prophet among the exiled people of Israel. The Lord provided Aaron and Miriam explicit instructions regarding how a person would know that he was called to be a prophet through a vision, Numbers 12:5-6. The details of the dream given to Daniel by God are simply incredible, and pregnant with meaning. This is undoubtedly one of the most important chapters in the Bible as one considers God’s hand in the world’s affairs, Daniel 7:1.
The time frame for the fulfillment of these series of events contained in Daniel 7 are not given. Many scholars and teachers of the scriptures associate each beast to one of the metals, or kingdoms, described in King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. The presentation contained in this site will center on another, minority view, that these beasts are indicative of the times near the end of the Gentile rule and influence over Israel and Jerusalem, prior to the beginning of the seven years of tribulation. The seven years of tribulation will also be preceded by very tumultuous times of increasing numbers of troubling events, and increasing intensity of those events. At the Olivet Discourse, Jesus made mention of this prelude to the tribulation in Matthew 24:1-8.
These precursor events will be difficult enough. Yet, the sum of these events will not compare to what is in store for those left behind after the rapture of the church as they face seven years of tribulation. One of the characters during the tribulation period on earth is the Antichrist. The fourth beast in this chapter of Daniel help to ascribe attributes to the Antichrist’s character and behavior. The first three beasts in the vision given to Daniel eventually become confederates with the Antichrist during his rule in the last half of the tribulation period. It is noteworthy that in Daniel 2, there were still parts of the interpretation that were not given, specifically the identification of the kingdoms for the silver, bronze, and iron parts of the image. Only the gold and the mountain were identified, and therefore serve as end points for the times of the Gentiles. King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was the beginning of the Gentile rule over Israel and Jerusalem, and the mountain made from the stone that crushed the image to chaff of the summer threshing floors, is the endpoint of their rule and influence over Israel and Jerusalem. What distinguishes these four kingdoms in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream from other kingdoms that have existed throughout history in other parts of the world, is that the kingdoms represented in the dream have either ruled or had significant influence over Israel and Jerusalem. This is what characterizes the Gentile era, which will continue until the establishment of the millennial reign of Christ.
Given the historical events after the fall of Babylon, it is not difficult to assign the successive kingdoms following Babylon to the other metals of the image. Only the fulfillment of the feet of clay has yet to be accomplished, which may possibly occur in the very near future. It is generally agreed that the silver was associated with the Medes and Persians, the bronze associated with Alexander the Great, the iron associated with the Roman Empire, and the extension of the feet of mixed iron and clay with ten toes, the rebuilt Roman Empire. Likewise, the identification of the first three beasts in Daniel 7 is not explicitly identified. Again, though many do associate the beasts of this chapter with the metals in King Nebuchadnezzar’s image, this presentation will present a differing view.
A description of the environment when these events unfold
An important aspect of this presentation is the description of the times of these events that were revealed to Daniel. One of these keys to understanding this is found in Daniel 7:2-3. The sea is generally representative of the accumulation of the world’s kingdoms and peoples as seen in Isaiah 57:20-21, Revelation 17:1-2, and Revelation 17:15. The wind and resultant agitation of the sea was also described in Revelation 7:1-3. All of this occurred after the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, opened the sixth seal. He is the person who sits in judgment over the nations. The angels were commanded to hold the four winds from blowing on the sea until the servants of God were sealed to be preserved from the impending judgments of God. After the sealing of the saints, the trumpet judgments followed by the bowl judgments commence in sequential order. It is at the midway point of the seven years of tribulation, and lasting through the last 3½ years, that full satanic power is endowed upon the Antichrist, and power is given to the false prophet, Revelation 13:1-2. This can be seen graphically in the section of the site that discusses the Antichrist in Revelation 13.
After the release of the four winds, the world will experience great calamity and agitation, from which the Antichrist will appear from among the mass of mankind represented by the sea. The Antichrist, who is represented by the first of two beasts in Revelation, Revelation 13:1-2, will then assume power that no one up to that time in world history had ever possessed. This beast in the book of Revelation has parts of its body represented by the beasts described in Daniel 7. At the end of the seven years of tribulation, during the battle of Armageddon, the beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet will be taken alive and thrown into the lake of fire for eternity, Revelation 19:19-21, and all who followed them will be killed, to later appear before the great white throne judgment, Revelation 20:11-15, as discussed in this site on Revelation 20.
The Antichrist and false prophet are the first two beings in God’s creation to be known to occupy this place of perpetual torment. Following the battle of Armageddon, Christ himself will return to the earth and establish his world kingdom for a millennium centered in Israel, with His capitol in Jerusalem. He is represented by the stone cut out without hands that struck the image at its feet, crushing the image to dust, Daniel 2:44-45, and discussed in this site on Daniel 2. The stone then becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth. There is a tremendous correlation between Daniel and Revelation, with Daniel serving as the basis for understanding Revelation. The following table provides a summary of the correlation between Daniel 7 and several passages in the book of Revelation.
Daniel 7:1 provides the time that Daniel received his first dream and vision, beyond what the Lord revealed to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel 2. At that time, the dream was repeated, but the one Daniel reveals in this chapter is unique, and given only to him. This dream occurred during the days of King Belshazzar, and obviously before the events described in Daniel 5 when the king observed the handwriting on the wall. Daniel also records all that he saw, which is common with his other dreams and visions, and angelic visitations in latter chapters in this book.
In Daniel 7:2-3, Daniel observes the four winds, or the east, west, north and south winds blowing over the sea, causing great calamity and chaotic conditions. The sea is generally representative of the accumulation of the world’s kingdoms and peoples as seen in:
A result of this tremendous chaos is the emergence of four great beasts from the sea, each one being significantly different than the other. Daniel begins by providing a description of the beasts, and other details of his vision, then proceeds to provide the interpretation that he was given.
In the discussion on Daniel 2 in this site, the following graphic was used to illustrate the parts of the image that was part of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and the stone that was cut out from the mountain without hands. This stone crashed into the image at its feet, destroying the image into a powder, and it all blew away like chaff, and in its place the stone became an immense mountain.
In Daniel 7, there were four beasts introduced, the lion, bear, leopard, and the indescribable beast. The four beasts represent four kingdoms, as explained by the being whom Daniel inquired of for an explanation of the dream, Daniel 7:17, Daniel 7:23. Following is a summary of the four beasts as they relate to the traditional view of associating each beast with one of the metals in the multi-metallic image in Daniel 2. This will be followed by an alternative view to interpret the meaning of the beasts.
In Daniel 7:4, this lion was no ordinary lion, but exhibited manifestations of other animal parts. However, these parts were not as prominent as the main body that gave Daniel the sense that he was looking at a lion plus something else. In addition to the main part of the lion, the other parts included eagle's wings. In time the wings were plucked, and the resultant beast was lifted up to stand like a man, and heart of a man. The traditional view interpreting this is to associate this beast with the gold head, the kingdom of Babylon. Based on the interpretation that was given concerning the dream, it was already known that King Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold, Daniel 2:36-38. What is not given, but assumed by most commentators, is that the lion is also representative of the Babylonian empire. This was the top of the image in the king's dream.
In Daniel 7:5, the second beast had the appearance as a bear, but it was raised up on one side, had three ribs in its teeth, and the bear was told to go and devour much flesh. Since the Medes and Persians were the ones to defeat the Babylonians, then they are the arms of silver since they were the second in sequence in the metallic image in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Again, in the traditional view of interpreting this bear-like beast, the majority thought is to associate this beast with the Medes and Persian empire. Just as in the metallic image, where the silver arms were second, the bear is also introduced after the lion. Another aspect in interpreting the image of the bear is to account for the three ribs. Each rib is associated with the victories in the past history of the Medes and Persians, since they conquered Lydia, Egypt, and Babylon. They were then encouraged to eat much flesh, or further expand their borders.
In Daniel 7:6, the third beast was introduced that appeared like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird, it had four heads and dominion was given to it. Up to now, there has been no identification as to the succeeding nation to the Persian empire. Of course, in human history, it is known that the successor was Alexander the Great. Also, following his tragic end as a young adult, and having no heirs to pass the control of the empire on to, the kingdom was divided among his four generals. This is all revealed in Daniel 8, with details provided in Daniel 11:3-35. Therefore, in the traditional view to interpret this beast, which is like a leopard, the majority thought is to associate this beast with the Grecian empire. The four wings are normally thought of as the division of the empire into four parts among the surviving generals of Alexander the Great.
In Daniel 7:7, a fourth beast unlike the previous three came into view. This was seen by Daniel as the worst of all the beasts. This fourth beast possessed great strength and iron teeth. Its veracity was evident by observing how it devoured, broke in pieces, and stamped the residue of its victims with its feet. Daniel remarked how different this beast was to the other beasts, and of special note were its ten horns and the little horn. The horns are of particular interest, and are discussed further below, The national identity of this beast is not given in Daniel, for at this time the Roman empire did not exist. It was in its early formative stages. However, there are inferences to this being Rome in Daniel 9:26-27, which the people of the prince who is to come and destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (Herod's temple), Luke 21:20-24. The Antichrist will come from that same people, and he will confirm the seven year covenant with Israel, only to break it after 3 ½ years. As commonly known in most of the world, the nation that destroyed Israel and its temple in 70 A.D., and later forced the worldwide dispersion of the Jews out of their land was Rome. Further, at the end of the Grecian Empire, King Antiochus Epiphanes was frustrated in his last conquest against Egypt by ships from Cyprus. These were Roman ships that transported Roman troops between the two armies, and prevented Antiochus Epiphanes from any further aggression against Egypt. They forced him to return to his own kingdom. This resulted in a devastating period of great persecution of the Jews in and around Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes, Daniel 11:30-31.
The following is an update of the table on the multi-metallic image above. This graphic shows how all this information will fit following the common view for interpreting these passages concerning the beasts in this chapter. The metallic parts of the image, with the nation that fulfill's that specific metal, or amalgam of iron and clay, and the beasts that most traditional commentators associate with a nation are all presented in the graphic below.
One of the issues about this chapter is that it was still written in the language of the Gentiles, as discussed in Daniel 1. The insinuation made in this site is that the beasts in this chapter are not necessarily a restatement of Daniel 2. There are many who hold to the traditional view that is described in this web page. In this viewpoint, Daniel 7 provides a distinction between man's perspective in examining the Gentile rule from the days of Babylon until Armageddon, with all the glitter of the metals in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the multi-metallic image, against what the Lord sees, which are kingdoms demonstrating beastly characteristics and destruction. There is no argument being made in this site to take away from the traditional viewpoint, for there are sound reasons for holding to this view.
However, since this is the last chapter written in the Gentile language, and the sense of the judgment of God is present over all these beasts, there may be an argument to also consider that these beasts represent conditions just prior to the beginning of the tribulation, beginning with those who have had rulership or significant influence over the affairs of Israel and Jerusalem ever since it became an independent country in recent history. So the following statements are provided for consideration in support of this alternate view.
The following tables are provided only for consideration in addressing how these four beasts could be explained and ultimately fulfilled by countries in existence today, or may soon form in the near future.
In Daniel 7:8, as Daniel gazed upon the horns, he saw another come up from among them. It was a little horn, but it plucked out three of the horns by their roots, from the ten original horns on the beast. In addition, this little horn had eyes like a man, and a mouth speaking great things. The little horn is the Antichrist as described in Revelation 13, and depicted in this site on Revelation 6, Revelation 13, Revelation 16, Revelation 17, Revelation 18, and Revelation 19.
The Apostle John had written about the Antichrists, and who they are. In John's writings, he refers to the existence of many Antichrists in the present age, and provides their characteristics. However, they are distinguished from THE Antichrist depicted here in Daniel 7:8 and elsewhere in Daniel, as well as in the writings of the Apostle Paul. In looking at the general characteristics of the Antichrists, John shows that:
The Apostle Paul wrote concerning THE Antichrist who will be revealed at the beginning of the seven years of tribulation, as well as the Apostle John in writing what was revealed to him in writing the book of Revelation, Revelation 6:1-2. THE Antichrist is unique from all that proceeded him in that he is the final one to appear in human history, will have endowed upon him all Satanic power, Revelation 13:1-4, and will be the first person to inhabit the Lake of Fire, Revelation 19:19-20.
The following are what Paul wrote concerning THE Antichrist:
In Daniel 7:9-12, there is a major shift in the scene. Now, instead of looking upon the events on earth, Daniel is now given a glimpse of heaven, the very throne room of God. Daniel sees other thrones as well, and the Ancient of days, God the Father, seated with His robe was white as snow. His head was like pure wool, his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire, descriptions that are similar to what John wrote in Revelation 1. Daniel also observed steam coming from all of this fire, rising before the Father. Around the Father was a tremendous host who ministered unto him. The scene is the same as depicted in Revelation 4 and Revelation 5. It is arguable that those about the throne of God includes the raptured Church. See more on the subject on this site in the discussion on the throne of God.
There were even more that stood before the Father, and the judgment was set, and the books were opened. The thing and person to be judged was the fourth beast and the little horn. Because of the words from the horn, the beast was slain, and its body, including the remaining seven horns and the little horn were slain, and thrown into the burning fire. There was also judgment upon the other three beasts; they had their dominion taken away, but they were allowed to remain alive for a while longer.
No reason is given for the extended time that these other three beasts, or governments were allowed to continue. However, there are two conditions to consider, which may yield some reasons for this. First, this event of the execution of the judgment occurs at the end of the tribulation, after the Lord returns with all His saints, Revelation 19:11-16, and captures the Antichrist and false prophet and throws them alive into the lake of fire, Revelation 19:20-21. By this time the resultant impact of the accumulation of all the judgments and destruction resulting in death, and the war against the saints, Revelation 12:17, will be the devastation of the world's population, as discussed in this site on the compressed view of the judgments.
However, with the Lord's return, Israel will immediately occupy their land and the Lord will reign from the millennial temple, Ezekiel 44:4. This will be unlike the situation of Israel's exodus from Egypt to occupy the land of Canaan that the Lord had promised them. Due to Israel's low numbers in population, the Lord told Moses that the Lord's fear would overcome the people in the land at that time. He would also send hornets ahead of Israel to chase the people out. Then He said that they would not occupy the entire land promised to them in one year because their numbers were too few with respect to the animals that could over power them. Therefore they would slowly occupy the land as their population grew, Exodus 23:27-30.
At the beginning of the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, He will have judged all of the living in this world who survived the seven years of tribulation. He will divide them into two groups; on His right (the sheep) will be those who followed in His ways. The remainder will be on His left, the goats, who did not mind the things of the Lord in caring for others during that terrible time, Matthew 25:31-46, which is part of the Olivet Discourse. The latter will go into everlasting punishment. However, what time that they do have left in this physical world, will be limited. During the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, there will be longevity of life as it was before the worldwide flood in Noah's day, but for the wicked, there days are less than 100, Isaiah 65:18-20.
The scene before Daniel shifts again in Daniel 7:13-14. Here Daniel sees one like the Son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven before God the Father. The host that were present before the throne brought God the Son before the Father. At that time were many things given to God the Son by the Father:
There are two aspects to the Lord's kingdom. The first is spiritual where the Lord abides within us, John 3:1-8, and the second is His millennial reign, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:34, Matthew 26:29. This is the Lord Jesus Christ as the Apostle John wrote in Revelation 1:13-16, in describing the glorified Lord. He saw the Lord dressed in:
and He had
In Daniel 7:15-16, Daniel reveals his own reaction to such a awesome witness, but because he did not understand, it caused him great grief. As a result, he went to one of those present before the throne to ask what all of this meant, and this being began to reveal the matter to Daniel.
Daniel rehearses the dream to the being nearby
In Daniel 7:17-18, the interpreter explains that the beasts are all the same, representing governments and the leaders that arise from among the people. They will not assume power through war and overcoming another government. It is also notable that the kingdoms that the beasts represent are not given either. Many through history have associated these beasts with the four metallic segments in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2, the lion with the gold head, the bear with the arms of silver, the leopard with the sides of brass, and the indescribable beast with the legs of iron. As discussed in this site, there is an alternative view that would relate the first three beasts with the modern countries who have had influence over Israel and Jerusalem, whether good or bad, and the fourth beast would be the reconstituted Roman empire. See further discussion on this in this site on the timelines for Daniel 7.
Though they will be established, their destruction will be sudden and complete. Thereafter, the saints of the Lord will take these kingdoms and possess them forever. The term "forever" is repeated with emphasis the second time, in order to emphasize the permanence of this kingdom. This is what was stated concerning the Lord when He was given dominion over the entire world that will not pass away nor be destroyed, Daniel 7:14. Just like the Father bestowed the kingdom upon His Son, likewise the Lord gives the dominion unto His saints. The difference is that only the Lord fights the battle against His enemies, as seen in Revelation 19:15-16, Isaiah 63:1-6, and upon His victory, hands over the kingdom to His saints.
In Daniel 7:19-20, Daniel turns his attention to the fourth beast, and proceeds to rehearse to the being all that he had seen. Daniel remarks that the fourth beast:
Daniel also commented on the ten horns on the head of the beast, and the emergence of the little horn. Afterward, three of the horns fell before the little horn. The little horn had eyes, a mouth that spoke very great things, and its appearance more stout than the other. Finally, Daniel adds to what was reported earlier, that the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, Daniel 7:21-22, until God the Father came, pronounced judgment, and then the saints of the Lord were given favor in the judgment, and the time had come to receive the kingdom. These saints whom the Antichrist prevailed over in the last half of the seven years of tribulation, are the tribulation saints. The Lord stated that this time would be the worst that the world would have ever known. One could survey the world's history in search of the most horrific and vicious time in mankind's activity, and all of it would be eclipsed by this period of time, Matthew 24:21-22.
A comparison between Daniel 7 and Revelation
All of the preceding in Daniel 7:21-22, encapsulated the entire second half of the tribulation, where:
This demonstrates the perfect harmony between Daniel and Revelation. As the remaining books in Daniel are examined, and contrasted and compared with Revelation, this point will be demonstrated over and over again.
The interpretation of the dream by the being
In Daniel 7:23, the being interprets for Daniel the meaning of all that he saw and had written down. First, the fourth beast is to be the fourth kingdom which will emerge during the time that Israel will have become a nation in modern times. This kingdom will have significant rule and influence over the land of Israel and Jerusalem. The first government to have this influence and rule over Jerusalem and Israel in modern times was the UK and the United States, the second is Russia and its impact on Israel through political, economic, and military activities against her, third is the loose confederation of Arab states that surround Israel geographically, (not necessarily sharing boarders with Israel), and have sought Israel's destruction. The fourth beast has not yet appeared, but it will be the revived Roman empire as seen in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel 2:40-43. This fourth kingdom will be quite different from the previous ones, in that it will devour the whole earth, and utterly destroy it. As the Lord stated in the Olivet Discourse, if those days had not been shortened, no flesh would survive the seven years under this Satanic onslaught of evil and destruction, Matthew 24:21-22. This does not imply that the seven years of tribulation will be lessened, but that though we deserved more, the period of judgment had already been minimized to seven years.
Second, the being described the horns and the sequence of events that will occur concerning their rule, Daniel 7:24. Ten horns, or kings will arise from this government, or the beast. Later, though no time frame is given, a little horn will emerge from this same form of government, the revived Roman empire. This little horn is the Antichrist, and he will be different from the other ten, and eventually destroy three of the kings and assume rulership over their kingdoms.
In Daniel 7:25, the being continues with describing the little horn, or Antichrist. This little horn will blaspheme God, and war on the saints, as was seen in Daniel 7:21. The timeframe given is 3 ½ years (time = 1yr, times=2yrs, and half a time = 1/2 yr), Revelation 13:5. The Antichrist will know no bounds in his boldness, covetousness, and self-seeking glory in all that he does. He will even attempt to change what God had established, which is through the attempt to change the time and the laws. Recall in Daniel 2:19-23, in Daniel's great praise unto the Lord for revealing to him King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Daniel stated that the Lord changes the time and seasons; he removes kings and raises up kings. Also, just before the Lord's ascension to be with the Father, after the Lord's resurrection, he responded to the disciples question if he would then restore the kingdom of Israel. To that, the Lord responded that it was not for them to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in place in His own authority, Acts 1:6-7. The purposeful and completely inept actions of the Antichrist is a direct assault against the Father's will by attempting to subvert the word of God.
In Daniel 7:26-27, the being tells Daniel that judgment will sit, and be against the beast and its horns, and all its dominion will be taken away, the beast and its horns will be consumed and destroyed. Finally, with the establishment of the Lord's millennial kingdom, His saints will be given the kingdoms of the world. The Lord's reign will be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions on earth will serve and obey the Lord.
In Daniel 7:28, Daniel reports that this whole episode impacted him emotionally and physically. The issues that he still could not resolve were bothering him greatly, but he did not share them with anyone.
Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, J.E. Huntley. All rights reserved.
last edited August 2013