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                          "THE BOOK OF DANIEL"

                 The Vision Of The Four Beasts (7:1-28)


1. The book of Daniel naturally divides itself into two parts...
   a. In our introductory lesson, we described these parts as:
      1) God's providence in history - Dan 1:1-6:28
      2) God's purpose in history - Dan 7:1-12:13
   b. Wiersbe describes these two parts as:
      1) The personal history of Daniel - Dan 1:1-6:28
      2) The prophetical history of Daniel - Dan 7:1-12:13

2. The second half of the book contains four visions seen by Daniel...
   a. The vision of the four beasts - Dan 7:1-28
   b. The vision of the ram and the goat - Dan 8:1-27
   c. The vision of the seventy weeks - Dan 9:1-27
   d. The vision of the time of the end - Dan 10:1-12:13
   -- In which God reveals to Daniel many things about His purpose and
      plan in history, regarding the nation of Israel and the 
      everlasting kingdom to come

[In this lesson we shall consider "The Vision Of The Four Beasts",
found in Dan 7:1-28.  We begin by noting...]


      1. Received by Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar king of
         Babylon - Dan 7:1
      2. This would be about 550 B.C., when Belshazzar became co-regent
         with his father Nabonidus

      1. Part One:  The four beasts from the sea - Dan 7:2-8
         a. The four winds of heaven stirring up the Great Sea
            (Mediterranean Sea)
            1) The "sea" may symbolize the mass of humanity - cf. Isa
               17:12; Re 17:15
            2) The "four winds of heaven" may be forces God uses to
               control and even destroy - cf. Jer 49:36; 51:1
            -- (Harkrider)
         b. Four great beasts coming up out of the sea
            1) The lion with eagle's wings
               a) Whose wings were plucked off
               b) Made to stand on two feet like a man
               c) A man's heart given to it
               -- The lion represents Babylon; the wings possibly
                  symbolizing the co-regency of Nabonidus and
                  Belshazzar, a kingdom shown to be remarkably fragile
                  - cf. Dan 5:1-31 (Believers' Study Bible)
            2) The bear with ribs in its mouth
               a) Raised up on one side
               b) Three ribs in its mouth between its teeth
               c) Told to "Arise, devour much flesh!"
               -- The bear represents the Medo-Persian empire; that it
                  raises on one side may reflect the Persian dominance,
                  the three ribs in its mouth may illustrate its
                  victories over Egypt, Syria, and Babylon (BSB)
            3) The winged, multi-headed leopard
               a) With four wings and four heads
               b) To whom dominion was given
               -- The leopard represents the Greek empire of Alexander
                  the Great; the wings may symbolize its rapid
                  conquest, the four heads prophetic of its division by
                  four generals after Alexander's death (BSB)
            4) The dreadful and terrible beast
               a) Exceedingly strong, with huge teeth
               b) Devouring, breaking in pieces, trampling residue with
                  its feet
               c) Different from all the beasts before it
                  1/ Unlike the other three, it is not compared with
                     any animal
                  2/ But if it is the beast of Revelation, note that it
                     was a conglomeration of a lion, bear and leopard
                     - cf. Re 13:1-2
               d) With ten horns; another little horn coming up among
                  1/ Before whom three of the first horns were plucked
                     from their roots
                  2/ In which were the eyes of a man, and a mouth
                     speaking pompously
               -- This beast represents the Roman empire; the ten horns
                  and little horn may represent emperors or kings who
                  ruled during events involving the establishment of
                  God's kingdom (see below) - cf. Dan 2:44
      2. Part Two:  An awesome judgment - Dan 7:9-12
         a. Thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was
            1) His garment was white as snow, His hair like pure wool
            2) His throne a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire, a
               fiery stream issued from before Him
            3) A million ministered to Him, a hundred million stood
               before Him
            4) The court (judgment) was seated, and books were opened
         b. The judgment of the four beasts
            1) The great and terrible beast
               a) The one with the sound of pompous words from the
                  little horn
               b) It was slain, its body destroyed, and given to the
                  burning flame
            2) The rests of the beasts
               a) They had their dominion taken away
               b) Their lives were prolonged for a season and a time
      3. Part Three:  The coronation of the Son of Man - Dan 7:13-14
         a. Daniel sees one like the Son of Man
            1) Coming with the clouds of heaven
            2) Brought near to the Ancient of Days
         b. To Him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom
            1) That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve
            2) His dominion is an everlasting dominion
            3) His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed - cf.
               Dan 2:44

[The parallels between this vision and Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Dan 2)
should be carefully noted.  Both involve the rise and fall of four
kingdoms, and a kingdom which would never be destroyed. In Daniel's
three-part vision, the conflict to come between the fourth kingdom and
the establishment of the everlasting kingdom is foretold as we see...]


      1. Grieved in his spirit - Dan 7:15
      2. Troubled by the visions he saw

      1. An overall summary of the vision - Dan 7:16-18
         a. Provided by one of those who stood by (an angel?)
         a. The four beasts represent four kings (kingdoms, cf. 7:23)
         b. Yet the saints of the Most High shall receive and possess
            the everlasting kingdom
      2. Daniel's desire to know more - Dan 7:19-20
         a. About the fourth beast, exceedingly dreadful
         b. About the ten horns on it head
         c. About the little horn
            1) Before which three horns fell
            2) Which had eyes and a mouth speaking pompous words
            3) Whose appearance was greater than his fellows
      3. What Daniel then saw - Dan 7:21-22
         a. The little horn making war against the saints, prevailing
            against them
         b. Until the Ancient of Days came
            1) With judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High
            2) And it was time for the saints to possess the kingdom
      4. What Daniel then heard - Dan 7:23-27
         a. Concerning the fourth beast
            1) It shall be a fourth kingdom on the earth
            2) It shall devour the whole earth, trample it, and break
               it in pieces
            -- The Roman empire, which came to rule the Mediterranean
         b. Concerning the ten horns
            1) They are ten kings to arise from this fourth kingdom
            2) After whom another shall arise
            -- These may be emperors who ruled during the first century
               A.D. when the everlasting kingdom (i.e., the church) was
               being established, or the ten kings alluded to in Re 17:
               12-13; then again, the number ten may be symbolic,
               reflecting their complete or full number, and not ten
               specific kings
         c. Concerning the little horn
            1) He shall be different from the first kings
            2) He shall subdue three kings
            3) He shall speak pompous words against the Most High
            4) He shall persecute the saints of the Most High
            5) He shall intend to change times and law
            6) Into whose hands the saints shall be given for a time,
               times and half a time
               1/ Perhaps 3 1/2 years (1 year, 2 years, 1/2 year), or 
                  42 months - cf. Re 13:5; also 11:2,3
               2/ A broken, short period of time involving persecution
            -- This is likely the persecuting emperor of Rome (e.g.,
               Domitian), described as the beast from the sea in
               Revelation - cf. Re 13:1-2,5-7
         d. Concerning the judgment
            1) The dominion of the little horn shall be taken away,
               consumed and destroyed
            2) Then the kingdom (of heaven?), and the dominion and
               greatness of the kingdoms under heaven shall be given to
               the saints of the Most High
            3) This kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and
               dominions shall serve Him
            -- As depicted in Revelation, the conflict between the
               Roman empire and the church would end with the ultimate
               victory of the people of God (who even though martyred,
               would reign with Christ) - cf. Re 17:14; 19:19-20; 20:4

      1. His thoughts greatly troubled him, and his countenance changed
         - Dan 7:28
      2. But he kept the matter in his heart - Dan 7:28
         a. A good course of action whenever we are unsure about the
            meaning of a particular Scripture, especially that which is
         b. As we continue to read and study, what we learn later may
            help enlighten the unclear Scripture we have kept in our


1. "The Vision Of The Four Beasts" is certainly interesting and
   a. It expands upon the vision seen by Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 2
   b. It introduces the conflict described in the vision seen by John
      in Re 13-20

2. I understand these visions to relate details concerning the 
   establishment of "the everlasting kingdom" (i.e., the church)...
   a. To occur during the days of the Roman empire - Dan 2:44; Lk 1:
      30-33; Mk 1:14-15
   b. Which began when Jesus ascended to heaven - Dan 7:13-14; Ac 1:9;
      2:36; Ep 1:20-23; 1 Pe 3:22; Re 1:5,9
   c. Which experienced great persecution at the outset - Dan 7:25;
      Re 1:9; 2:10; 17:14

3. But the saints who persevered in those days, even to the point of
   death, continue to reign with Christ in heaven (i.e., they "possess
   the kingdom") - Dan 7:18; 2 Ti 4:17-18; Re 20:4

The ultimate victory of the church over the Roman empire came to pass
as foretold to both Daniel and John.  May this fulfillment encourage us
to remain faithful until the time when Jesus returns to "deliver the
kingdom to God the Father"! - cf. 1 Co 15:23-26
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