Friday, August 13, 2010

The Book of Daniel Chapter 7 - Daniels Dream of the 4 Beasts

We are half way there. So hang in there as the following Chapters are some of the most Key in relation to prophecy. This is one of my favourite chapters especially vs 9-10 as they talk about our everlasting God, the Ancient of days. I shall do Chapter 7 in 2 parts so that we thorughly explore it and hopefully stimulate Godly debate.

Chapter 7 rewinds back to the period when Daniel was 67 years old during Belshazzars first year as King.

Daniel had a vision of 4 great beasts each representing a world empire. This was similar to Nebs dream is chapt 2. Nebs dream covered the political aspects of the empires whilst Daniels dreams covered the moral aspects. In his dreams Daniel also saw Gods everlasting, indistructable kingdom arrive and conquer all.

The lion with an eagles wings represents Babylon with her swift conquests (statues of winged lions have been recovered from Babylons ruins)

The bear that ravaged the lion is Medo Persia. The three ribs in its mouth represent the conquests of 3 major enemies.

The Leopard is Greece. Its wings show the swiftness of Alexander the Great as he conquered much of the civilised world 334-330BC).

The leopards 4 heads are the four divisions of the Greek Empire after Alexanders death.

The 4th beast points to both Rome and the end times.

Bible scholars believe that the horns correspond to 10 kings who will reign shortly before God sets up his Kingdom. These 10 kings had still to come into power at the time of Johns vision in Revelations. The little horn is a future human ruler or the anti christ as some call him.

In the book of Revelation John also records a vision of a scarlet beast that has 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev 17:12). The Angel told John that the 10 horns were 10 kings most likely these would rule under the antichrist. 10 could literal or symbololize the totality of the powers on earth. Whoever the 10 kings are they will give their power to the antichrist and will make war against Christ and his followers.

At some point during the 10 king confederacy another gentile king or head of state will emerge. though at first he appears little he will prove incomparably powerful.The text also implies that he will exceed the others in intelligence and arrogance. He will be a political, oratorical, commercial, military and religious genius. He will be able to manipulate, seduce and contrive to get what he wants. 3 Kings or kingdoms will apparently resist his power and be conquered by force. The other kings will likely submit our of fear or a sense of inevitabilty. These will continue as separate nations but will come under the little horns control.

Daniel 7: 7-28 describes the successes of the little horn as well as he ways he will be defeated. Please re-read Daniel 7: 7-28 and list all the success's and failures implied or obvious of this little horn. Other names that have been given to the little horn are The lawless one, the beast, the antichrist.

We call the era in which we live the church age. It began with the birth of the New Testament church in Acts 2. It may also be referred to as the age of grace as opposed to the age of law in the old testament. We are in the church age and the 10 kings referred to in Daniel may emerge in the future. Remember from Chapter 2 that the coming of Christ will put an end to the rule of these kings. When and in waht order the events will happen remains to be seen. Daniel prophesied exactly 4 gentile empires and they've been no less and no more. Do you realise that to some degree, the Roman empire lives on today. Many of the countries of Europe and even the US are philosophical offsprings of the Roman Empire. Can we therefore say these events are unfolding.

Some scholars believe that the saints in Daniel 7 could be the people of Israel and that Israel will face great persecution during the last days and others believe it refers to believers i.e. christians. Whoever they are they are surely Gods people. The anti Christ will wear Gods people out, literally.

Satan uses exhaustion and profound discouragement to persuade us to give up opposing him. We must not give up. The context of the anti christs persecution suggests to many scholars that these times and laws are either religious or impact the practice of religion. Never lose sight of the fact that satans ultimate Goal is to set himself up to be worshiped via the antichrist. Some suggest that that "set times" are religious holidays which the antichrist will attempt to eliminate.

Other scholars do not interpret these laws as purely religious in nature or impact. They believe the anti christ will introduce a whole "new era" in which he will abandon all previous laws and institute his own system. One thing is certain he will force changes for the purpose of pure demoralisation, and his target group will be the people of the most high God. Step by Step he will attempt to crack the foundation under the saints feet.

The world will know terrible times before the coming of the Lord. How long will the saints be handed over to him? Look at Rev 11:2 (42 months), Rev 12:6 (1260 days), rev 5-7 (42 months). Thats 3 and half years. In Daniel 25 its a time, times and half a time. A time could refer to the passing of one set of annual seasons. If so a time is one year times 2 years and a half to give 3 1/2 years. Before you are tempted to wearily cast aside your jersey and quit,keep in mind that our team wins. When placed with other time references in prophetic scripture this point in Daniel Daniel 7:25 is refered to as the second coming which I shall continue in part 2.

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