Daniel 7
Four Beasts, a New Horn, and Judgment

Text Comments
.1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
.2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
.3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
See the table of Daniel time lines (including this one)
   1 - First year of Belshazzar We saw his last year in da05. The chapters are not all chronological. 7 and 8 are best studied together.
   2 - Four winds World agitation re0701, is5720.
   2 - Great sea Mediterranean Sea. Imagery from is1712f and ps06505,7. Nations arose from the masses of striving humanity here seen as the sea with storm winds.
  3 - Four beasts A careful comparison with the parts of the image will show this vision to parallel the one in chapter 2 da02. Illustrated below. The beasts represent kings or kingdoms v17.
.4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.    Lion Jeremiah applies the term je0407. Habakkuk mentions flying as an eagle ha0106,8.
   Wings plucked See da0430 ff.
   Lifted up Restoration of Nebuchadnezzar da0434.
   Man's heart The lion overcame its wild-animal nature although Belshazzar would pick it up again da0522. See note.
.5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.    Bear ... raised ... one side In Medo-Persia, the Persians became stronger than the Medes and assumed authority over them da0803.
   Three ribs The empire had conquered Babylon, Egypt, and Lybia.
.6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.    Leopard The Lord mentioned the leopard in describing the speed of the Grecian conquests. Here it is faster than Babylon which had only two wings (v.4) ha0108. Also da0805.
.7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.    Fourth, terrible Dread is fear for what is coming. Terror is fear for the present. Rome followed Greece and was more cruel than any previous kingdom in brutal force.
   Iron teeth Corresponding to the iron legs of the image, da0231.
   Devoured and brake in [broken into] pieces; Stamped the residue On these two actions of the beast see v7 note.
   Ten horns The horns represent the kingdoms that became parts of the Roman Empire v24. The territory included Central and Western Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor (Turkey), and Palestine. I see the number as symbolic although one can also count ten nations that were absorbed. The ten horns are not Caesars.
.8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

   Came up a little horn ... three plucked up This new horn is significant in Daniel's book. It pushed out three of the ten horns (representing nations of the decaying Roman Empire) in transition to its becoming papal Rome. See v8 note. Different from earlier Christianity, it spoke (commanded)  great religious things, yet was human. Remember that true pronouncements for religious duty come from God. Compare re1305.
    Which of the horns should be counted among the three is less significant than that the last one was the Ostrogoth nation whose power was broken in AD 538. That point was significant in the shift of religio-political power from the Roman state to the church. "little horn."
   Eyes Consider 1sa0909.
   Of a man This aspect of the horn is a clue that it is acting inappropriately for a human. Compare 2th0203, re0907, re1308.
   Many sincere people are part of this religious system. It is not with any sense of satisfaction that I point out what the Protestant reformers discovered. I cannot, before God, cover or withhold what He has revealed so forcefully in the Scriptures. See the chart of parallels, D11.
.9 ¶ I beheld till the thrones were cast down [set in place], and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.     Thrones Implies judgment ps00907. Compare re0404.
   Till thrones were cast down This judgment begins at a specific time re1407d. From the context we see that it is while the wicked horn is in power. Cf. da0244.
   Ancient of days God the Father who gave the scroll to the Lamb re0507. He presides while the Son judges. On "Ancient of days" see jb1212.
   Garment ... as snow ... wool This is sinless purity as described by the forgiven ones in Isaiah: is0118.
   Wheels These may be understood as the wheels of angels Ezekiel was shown which moved in perfect order bringing the throne for a judgment to be based on investigation ez01. They would be the same as the clouds of angels that brought the Son of man closer to the Ancient of Days where He, the Son, would receive the kingdom v13.
.10  A fiery stream issued [flowed] and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
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Some have argued that God is being judged. In a sense this is true but He is the soverien of the univrese. He presides. Jesus Christ is seen worthy to grant eternal life because of those who have chosen to follow Him will have been found worthy in judgment. Also see jn0522.
   Fiery stream ez0126-28.
   Thousand ... ten thousand Heavenly beings. Jesus plans to bring the converted rebels home and He wants the angels to see that they are safe to save. We see them again in re0511.
   Judgment ... books were opened In the throne room scene of Revelation 4 and 5, the Lamb is found worthy to read the information and break the seals of the scroll (or book) re0500. This we see, under the first four seals, as the process of the judgment of those who claim the right to heaven re0601. This judgment is explained more beginning at verse 13 and in Revelation 14 re1407d. It is the same judgment we see here. God has committed all judgment to the Son. See link at the left.
.11  I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
.12  As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
 12  The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time,  (NIV).
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From the judgment to the end of wickedness
In Daniel
In Revelation
Event
Beast slain Plagues on evil woman re1808. End-time world political & religious power rejected
Body destroyed & burned Woman burned while kings & merchants lament. re1806. Time of trouble (last plagues) begins
Other beasts 10 horns serve alliance re1712. Nations serve the 3-part alliance.
Other beasts - authority removed The 3-part alliance breaks up re1618. No longer operate under the end-time power. World in anarchy.
Given a period of time Nations appear after 1000 yrs., deceived, prepare to take Holy city, and are destroyed re2007-9. Wicked resurrected at end of 1000 yrs. and gathered to attack the New Jerusalem
   11 - Words which the horn spake As Daniel continues to watch he is reminded that the story is about the blasphemy of the horn power, v8.
  11 - Even until the beast was slain Because the strange horn sprouted from the beast's head it would be destroyed with it. We saw the beast as Imperial Rome v7
   At the end of time, however, the power that supports the global religious system is no longer Rome. To understand, we turn to Revelation where we see the drama in a different set of symbols. The horn here is the beast there re1301c. To avoid confusion, we remember that we are dealing with a political power which supports a dominant religious power. Here it is beast supporting horn. There we find earth beast or false prophet supporting sea beast. In re1920 we find the false prophet and the sea beast cast into the lake of fire. Daniel and John have described the same event.
  12 - Rest ... prolonged Instead of "prolonged" the NIV translation (left) better describes the meaning of the text. It agrees with the scene in Revelation 19 and 20.
  12 - Beasts In the context of this chapter, these are the lion, bear, and leopard v.4. These represented people who were controlled by the successive world kingdoms. They are the people of the world that the stone kingdom of chapter 2 is carved out of da0245.
  After the beast and false prophet go into the fire, the dragon (Satan) is cast into the pit. At the end of the thousand years he is released and deceives the nations (rest of the beasts here). God allows them to demonstrate that they are still evil. They surround the holy city in military attack. Their "period of time" ends by fire from heaven which destroys them and Satan.
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Continuing with verse 13
Text Comments
 9, 10    "I beheld till the thrones were cast down. . . the judgment was set, and the books were opened. . . . .
 11 . . . I beheld even till the beast was slain. . . .
 12  As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 
.13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man ["the human being"] came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they [the clouds] brought him near before him.

  I saw This is a new scene. Thematically it follows verse 10 which left us with the books being opened. We are waiting to see what happens in the judgment. Verses 11 and 12 carry the story to its final conclusion. The beasts with the terrible one with the blasphemous horn are to be destroyed. Then we return to the judgment scene in verse 13.
  Like the son of man Literally, "like a son of man." Christ Jesus took the form of humanity ph0105ff. He was also the son of God lu0134f; lu0441, mt2754. But here, He stands in our place before the throne of God. When we accept His saving grace into our lives (not just on our lips), we receive the reward He deserves because He paid the penalty we deserve! There before the Ancient of days, He declares His blood as the price for our forgiven sins. He accepts us as citizens of Heaven as we accept Him as our king. 
   Comments continue at the top of the cell at the right
..Clouds of heaven This would be the cloud of angels that took Him to heaven ac0109-11.
  Brought him near before him Do you see the two movements in v13? The clouds (of angels) took Jesus to the Father in the heavenly sanctuary. Then they took Him closer to the Father. From the tabernacle sanctuary which was set up in the wilderness by Moses, we can understand what was happening in the sanctuary of heaven since the one on earth was made after the pattern of the one in heaven ex2509. The sanctuary services, symbolizing the plan of redemption, were repeated on a yearly cycle. Throughout the year.
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 
.14  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. 

The Most Holy Place is represented by the left third of the sanctuary diagram (smaller white area). The holy place is at the right two-thirds. Moving from right to left (east to west in progression of time as priests ministered the sacrificial blood) we have the altar of burnt offerings, the laver (for washing), the table of shewbread and the lampstand, the altar of burnt incense and, in the Most Holy Place,  the ark of the covenant.
  14 - Kingdom [established] 
   The last service of the year was the feast of tabernacles representing joy in heaven. Just before this was the day of atonement or the day of judgment (Lev. 16 and Lev. 23:27-32). 
   Here in Dan. 7, Christ moves from the holy place, where he had been ministering as priest, into the closer, most holy place to serve as high priest in the day-of-atonement ministry. See note r03d. During the ministry on that special day, the people humbled themselves. Those who were not sincere were cut off from the people destroyed le2327-30. It was judgment day. Change of place may be symbolized by wheels v9
   So the picture of the judgment in Daniel 7 brings us to this special time. The sincere ones are those who really want to be part of the kingdom of heaven. At the end of the judgment, they we are presented to Christ as citizens of His kingdom with our behavior demonstrating our faith. We will have chosen Him as our king! This recalls a beautiful hymn, Lead on O King Eternal.
   In Rev. 19, we see this judgment in the bride of Christ who was found ready and in Christ coming out of the most holy place to punish the wicked r19c.
.15 ¶ I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 
 16  I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
  15 - Grieved ... troubled We can see how the Holy Spirit gives prophets more than words to write down. To Daniel was also communicated the gravity of the vision. 
  16 - One ... that stood by This would have been an angel ac0753, he0202, perhaps one of the cherubim who stood at the sides of the ark. See on da0813
  16 - So he told me We are taken back to the four beasts which we saw at the beginning of the chapter and moved swiftly to the prophet's concern. 

.17  These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. 
 18  But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever

  17 - Beasts are kings An important key for understanding other prophecies as well as this one. In chapter 2, we learned that kings are also thought of as kingdoms or political powers da0237
   18 - Saints shall take  "Take" here is Aramaic kabal as in da0531. This taking is justified by the work of the millennial judgment. At that time, reigning with Christ, the righteous examine the records of the wicked re2004. They thus confirm God's justice. The second action, possession, is settling on the land.
.19  Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet.   19 - Then I would know "Then I desired to know" (NASB). The two-verse summary was not enough (v17,18). Daniel really wanted to understand more. 
  Fourth beast v8.
 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 
.21  I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 
.22  Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints [holy ones] of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 
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   20 - Other which came up v8
.21 - Same horn prevailed After arising, the horn would continue through a process described in the next verse. 
.22 - Until We saw the Ancient of Days in verse 9. The horn continued to prevail until the Ancient of Days came. This would be after the 1260 long years of religious oppression as we will soon see. As a result of this judgment of the saints, they are vindicated and found qualified to judge the wicked. The horn prevails until the end of this judgment, the one where the Son of Man is in the close presence of the Father (above). When this judgment ends, there is no need to delay the coming of Christ. He takes His people to be where He went jn1401-03 to heaven. It is here that the thousand years (millennium) begins and judgment is given to these saints. This transition point marks the end of the horn's power because, in finding the worthiness of the righteous who are the object of the horn's wrath, the horn is found guilty re1824, re1901. (Revelation uses a different set of symbols, but the story is the same.) God then stops the oppression and sends the horn, along with the beast that supports it, to the flames (v11; re1920). Compare the explanation in Revelation 13 re1305a
    "In order to view the significance of the prophetic period properly, we should understand that 'Roman Catholicism, viewed as a particular set of ideals, beliefs, and philosophies, enjoyed increasing influence over the minds of Western Europeans during the early part of the 1260 years (around 538-1000), was dominant during the central part (1000-1300), and waned during the last part (1300-1798). And the prophetic period was to be marked at its beginning and ending by specific events, the granting of power, throne, and authority and later by a capture and the stroke of a sword [Rev. 13:2, 3].'" (Angel Manuel Rodriguez, Future Glory, p. 28, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2002. Quoting from C. Mervin Maxwell, "The Mark of the Beast," in Symposium on Revelation Book II (Biblical Research Institute, 1992, p. 124.) 
Continued from left column. 
  22 - Judgment was given Most translations read something like, "judgment was passed in favor of the saints." However, the manuscripts read simply, "Judgment was given to (or for) the saints." The words, "past" and "in favor of," are not in the original. Nothing is mentioned about condemnation nor acquittal. So the most direct translation is seen in the KJV. This means that the saints become the judges re0321. Compare jn0522 where the same Greek word for "given" is used. The saints are qualified because they themselves have been judged and found innocent in Christ. They also have experienced the results of the sins of the wicked and are qualified as witnesses. This explanation is also in harmony with the sequence of events surrounding the seventh trumpet call as explained in discussing the words below, "the time came." 
   To better understand this judgment by the saints, see re2004ju. And don't forget to return here :-). 
   22 - The time came This time lapse is the thousand years which follow the end of the horn power. We see this in noting that the "judgment of the [wicked] dead," begins at the sounding of the seventh trumpet re1118. The "time" that "came" is for the possession of the kingdom. This right of ownership is clarified during the thousand-year judgment. 
   22 - Possessed the kingdom The New Jerusalem comes down at the end of the thousand years re2101. Then the wicked are destroyed re2009b, and the earth that was lost by Adam and Eve becomes the possession of the righteous of all ages. Not until the end of the thousand-year judgment will the last false claim of ownership of the earth be resolved. When the wicked are resurrected, they too will understand the justice of God. Then the righteous will be given uncontested possession.
We again move back in time to after the fourth beast arose. See chart

.23  Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 
.24  And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 
 25  And he shall speak great words against the most High. . . .

   23 - Diverse, devour, tread, break This description of the pagan Roman Empire is confirmed by history. It was far different from Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. Babylon, for example, trained captives and Persia eventually released them. Rome was more of a tyrant. 
   23 - Whole earth See the note for this verse. 
   24 - Ten ... arise Pagan (or Imperial) Rome governed many nations, removing essentially all their autonomy. The horns that arise are the various tribes that took over territories after the breakup of Imperial Rome. The central government was very weak leaving a power vacuum which the church then took advantage of with the support of Clovis, king of the Franks. 
   24 - Another Since it is a horn, it is also a kingdom but "diverse" or different from the others, just as the Roman Empire had been different from those that preceded it. Verse 8 describes how it would subdue three kings.
  24 - From the first Or better, "from the former [horns.]"
.25  And he [the horn that came up] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

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   25 - Speak great words This is arrogance. See note a for verse 25 and a note related to Rev. 14:7. 
   Against the most high This indicates a religious power or one with a religious intent. 
   25 - Wear out the saints Persecution.
   25 - Think to change times and laws What law of God has a religious power tried to change? The ten commandment law its 2nd and 4th commandments ex2004, ex2008. Compare is2405, ec0314 and de1108. The word translated "laws" is singular although this does not affect the interpretation.
   25 - Times From the Aramaic z'man. (This part of Daniel is in Aramaic). Some have argued that this word indicates that the ceremonial laws should be followed today. This doesn't fit the context. The argument assumes that the Hebrew word z'man is equivalent to mo'adim and refers to divinely appointed festivals.
   25 - Time Two different words are translated as "time" in this verse. They correspond to two of the definitions we have for the word in English. The first in our verse is in "changing times" where it means a point or perhaps an event in time da0221. The second refers to a period of time and comes from chapter 4 da0423 where, in this case, we see a "time" as a literal year. 
   Given into his hand God authorized this wearing out and would end it. The same persecution is described in the same way in Revelation. See re1305a
   Until a time and times and the dividing of time This means 1 + 2 + ½ for a total of 3½ times. Taking a time to be a year of 360 symbolic days, and each of those days to represent a literal year re1305ex makes this 1260 years. This period is mentioned seven times in the Bible, twice in Daniel (here and in 12:7) and five times in Revelation. See the note b for this verse about when this period began and ended. Also see the historical account.
.26  But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 
.27  And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. 
.28  Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations [thoughts] much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart. 

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   26 - Judgment . . . they shall take away Who are "they"? What group takes away the horn's dominion? Following the context, they are the saints of verse 25. Of course not all the saints suffered the 1260 years of oppression. Most lived before or after that time. The oppressed ones, however, experienced the full wrath of the horn and may be seen to represent all who suffer persecution. The judgment at this time in cosmic history is also seen in Revelation where the righteous reign with Christ in judgment in re2004. By their colaboration, living and reigning with Christ, they take away the horn's dominion. Never again will God be doubted.
Continued from left column. 

   The religious system here symbolized as the horn, is seen in Revelation as the beast from the sea re1301c. It loses its power at the beginning of the thousand years when, as a religious entity, not as people, it is sent to the lake of fire re1920. It remains there during the thousand years of judgment re2010b. The burning lake lu1729 then symbolizes the effect of the judgment which is elsewhere seen as outer darkness mt2213. It is the second death from which there is no resurrection re2014. After punishment in the fire from heaven re2009, those who have chosen the way of sin will perish with it jn0316
   27 - Kingdom Under whole heaven given At last when sin and sinners are no more, the meek will inherit the earth mt0505. The will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven mt0610, ez2824. This kingdom follows the kingdoms of the lion, the bear, the leopard, the dreadful beast, the blasphemous horn and the thousand years. 
   28 - Thoughts troubled Daniel sensed the gravity of the vision, but its purpose was not for the people of his time. Would God send an explanation? We will find out in the next chapter.


 
 
 

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