Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Daniel 7 - Daniel's Dream of Four Beasts

LINK: Daniel 7

BACKGROUND


The Chronological Order of the Book of Daniel 
Daniel 1–4: Captivity and interpretation of dreams and visions (Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar) 
Daniel 7: Vision of the four beasts (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 8: Vision of the ram and he-goat (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 5: Belshazzar’s feast—conquest of Babylon (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 9: Vision of the seventy weeks (Persia, Darius) 
Daniel 6: Daniel in the lions’ den (Persia, Darius) 
Daniel 10–12: Daniel’s prayer and visions (Persia, Cyrus)  
(Wiersbe, W. W. (2000). Be resolute (9). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Victor.)
In this section, we go back in time to the first year of Belshazzar's reign in 553 B.C. This is about 14 years before the lions' den. It is estimated that Daniel was about 68 years old when he had this dream since he was taken captive in 602 B.C at the age of 16.

The four great beasts were like a:
1) Lion with wings - symbolizing power and strength. The lion and eagle were symbols of Babylon (Jeremiah 4:7, 13; Ezekiel 17:3) and statues of winged lions have been recovered in their ruins. The wrenching of the wings could refer to Nebuchadnezzar's insanity or the fall of his empire after his death.
2) Bear - symbolizing strength. The Medo-Persian army was strong and fierce. The reclining on one side could suggest that Persia soon overshadowed Media.
3) Leopard - symbolizing swiftness, cunning, and agility. Greece quickly conquered the Medo-Persians between 334 and 330 B.C. The four heads may symbolize how Alexander the Great's empire was divided into four parts after his death (at age 32).
4) Ten horned beast with parts of a lion, bear, and leopard (Revelation 13:2) that was more terrifying and powerful than all of the above - this is the Roman Empire that extended from the Atlantic Ocean east to the Caspian Sea and from North Africa in the south to the Rhine and Danube Rivers in the north. Egypt, Palestine, and Syria were all under the Romans. Some scholars believe the ten horns were ten Roman rulers who already existed. Other scholars believe the ten horns correspond to ten rulers who will exist in the last days before Christ's return (Revelation 17:12-14). We do not know who they are in present day terms (although there is much speculation).

The "little horn" is thought to be a future human ruler or the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4) who will come out of this confederation of ten nations. This is the "little horn" of 7:8, 11, 24-26. The little horn was intelligent, arrogant, and boastful. He will persecute the saints of the Most High. He will defeat Israel and will bring the nation under his authority (Revelation 12:13-17; 17:7), but he will also be judged by God (Revelation 19:19-20), and Israel will enter into covenanted blessing in the kingdom (Daniel 7:18). Many scholars believe this will be the church rather than Israel. The most important part to remember is that God will win in the end, regardless of your theological bent.

The Ancient of Days and Son of Man

Rather than focusing on the coming beast, I like to focus on Daniel 7:9-14. God is at the center of Daniel's vision as he should be the center of everything in our lives. The sovereign God, the Ancient of Days, sits on his judgment throne and holds power over all world events (See the similar descriptions of God in Isaiah 43:13; 57:15a, Rev. 1:14; Ezekiel 1:4-28). The fourth beast will be banished from power by the divine judgment of God (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 11:15; 19:15).

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

Then, the Son of Man (Mark 8:31; John 1:51), Jesus Christ, approached the Ancient of Days:
And to Him was given dominion, 
Glory and a kingdom, 
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language 
Might serve Him. 
His dominion is an everlasting dominion 
Which will not pass away; 
And His kingdom is one  
Which will not be destroyed. 
(Daniel 7:14)
 (See also Psalms 2:6-9, Matthew 24:30, 25:31, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, and Revelation 11:15.) 

AMEN! Jesus is COMING!

REFLECTION 

In 2009, President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize and the WORLD was buzzing with whether he really deserves it or not.

I will not enter into the political fray on that point, but I will say that Jesus WILL win the ultimate peace prize in the end, and that is really all that matters! I'm thinking big picture today.

Prophecy always makes my head hurt, but I love the part about God being in control of all world events and powers.

I am going to worship the Ancient of Days as I walk with my friend today. I want to marvel at the Son of Man who will reign forever and ever.

(I feel like I should break out in singing Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" right now. Maybe I will!)

APPLICATION

Go worship God for his power and control over all world events. Worship His son, Jesus!

PRAYER

Here is a link to Handel's Messiah from other posts. Let it lead you into worship!

Handel's Messiah

(We will go through all of Handel's Messiah at the end of the third year of the Bible Book Club during the month of December! It is a great review of all that we have learned!)
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