“1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. 2 Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. 5 And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ 6 After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Daniel 7:1-8
Pastor Chris guided us through the often rough waters of Biblical Prophecy. Daniel chapter seven is a rich illustration of what events are to come for both those who are worldly and the people of God. At this point in the story, Daniel was in his late 60s, but his sensitivity to the Spirit of God had not diminished. When he has a night vision, it’s filled with fantastical beasts with wings, horns, eyes, and fur. He’s witness to the Ancient of Days receiving “one like the son of man” with white hair, white clothes, sitting on throne of flames.
Daniel interpreted this wild vision with discernment and guided by God, telling of the kingdoms to come. Identical to the vision given Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the four beasts represent the four empires to rise and fall. Further, he sees the future of 10 more kingdoms (horns) which spawn from the fallen Roman Empire. These are nation-states, yet-to-be, led by a figure who will be anti-Jesus, anti-Messiah, known as the Anti-Christ (little horn).
This spirit of the anti-Christ is working in the world right now. As usual, the enemy’s most effective tactic is foisting a counterfeit, an impostor of the real Christ, working in secret to undermine the conviction and resolve of the Bride of Christ – us, the church. Chris implored us to beware that our battle is not against flesh and blood, that we must stand firm against the devil’s schemes, and root out all bitterness and rebellion in order to be prepared for the end of the age. We are to be resolute, yet sober about the coming Judgment Seat of Christ, where each one who ever lived, will give an account of their life – the sentence will be spending eternity with God in glory, or separated from him in agony.
5 Activities of God which Prophecy Reveals the History of the Future
- God Knows the Future – (v. 1) – prophetic scripture is aimed at revealing just enough of the future to both strengthen and warn believers
“24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Luke 21:24 (ESV)
“7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Galatians 5:7–9 (ESV)
- God Enthroned in Majesty (vv. 9-14) – God the Father sits in judgment and with his breath destroys the beast, which ushers in the Kingdom of God and Jesus takes his place as rightful heir, His dominion over an everlasting kingdom
“9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. 11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:9-14
- Victory Assured (vv. 15-18)– the saints of God (true believers) will receive the kingdom as an inheritance from the reigning Son and they will possess it forever
15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’ Daniel 7:15-18
“10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10 (ESV)
- History Gets Worse Before It Gets Better (vv. 19-25)–persecution of the church (and, some say, the Jews) will come from the Anti-Christ, who will arrogantly mock God during the Great Tribulation and demoralize the people of God
“19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth,and trample it down, and break it to pieces. 24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones,and shall put down three kings. 25 He shall speak words against the Most High,and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.” Daniel 7:19-25
- The Saints Final Victory (vv. 26-28) –in the end, the saints (obedient, repentant believers) live in eternal victory
“26 But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. 27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’ 28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.” Daniel 7:26-28
Revelation 3:21 (ESV)
21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Matthew 25:21 (ESV)
21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
- Why do you suppose God chooses to use dreams and visions to reveal future events?
- What steps could believers take to be ready for Christ’s return?
- How do you act on the warnings revealed in biblical prophecy? What parts of prophetic interpretation strengthens, even excites, you?
- Are you ‘awake’ ready for Jesus to return?
- What are you doing regularly to prepare for His second-coming?
- Commit this week to doing something new in your walk with God that demonstrates your desire to get ready for the tribulation and judgment.
3 Questions to Ponder for the Entire Series in Daniel
- Who or what is supreme in your life?
- Does your life portray this?
- What spirit are you following?