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FRAMEWORKS: Daniel

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FRAMEWORKS: Daniel 7: A New Vision in Belshazzar's reign

v.1 A New vision in a New Reign

v.2-8 The Vision of Four Beasts

v.9,10 The Holy Throne of God who rules over all

v.11,12 The Fourth Beast is Slain

v.13,14 The Coming of the ‘Son of Man'

v.15,16 Daniel asks for an Interpretation

v.17,18 The Four Beasts described

v.19-22 Daniel wants to know about the Fourth Beast & what follows

v.23-25 The Fourth Beast described

v.26-28 The kingdom of God prevails

 

PART 1: The Vision: v.1-14

 

v.1 A New Vision in a New Reign

 

v.1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream. 

 

[Notes: Now in the reign of Belshazzar, Daniel has a dream in which are visions and as he wakes, he writes down what he saw.]

 

 

v.2-8 The Vision of Four Beasts

 

v.2  Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 

v.3  Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. 

v.4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it. 

v.5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!' 

v.6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. 

v.7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast— terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns

v.8  “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 

 

[Notes: The winds and the sea indicate the movements of the affairs on mankind on the earth [v.2]. Then comes the content:

•  v.4 – a lion with eagle's wings – majestic & powerful – brought down to humanity – humbled – Nebuchadnezzar
•  v.5 – a bear – powerful & strong about to pounce on a threefold prey
•  v.6 – a leopard with four wings – immense speed of attack – four heads
•  v.7 – a terrifying beast – very powerful – ten horns, ten rulers [?following each other] – clearly worse than the other animals. A final horn or boastful leader, of small beginning but overthrew three of the remaining ten horns.]

 

 

v.9,10 The Holy Throne of God who rules over all

 

v.9  “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. 

v.10  A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. 

 

[Notes: As if to maintain perspective, we are next shown heaven where God reigns.]

 

 

v.11,12 The Fourth Beast is Slain

 

v.11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 

v.12  (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) 

 

[Notes: The final leader appears to continue until the empire (the fourth beast) was brought down by God. The previous empires had continued but without power.]

 

 

v.13,14 The Coming of the ‘Son of Man'

 

v.13  “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 

v.14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. 

 

[Notes: Again a switch back to the heavenly where a divinely human figure appears and goes to the one on the throne. He is given an everlasting kingdom.]

 

 

PART 2: The Interpretation: v.15-28

 

v.15,16 Daniel asks for an Interpretation

 

v.15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 

v.16  I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this. “So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things:

 

[Notes: The visions have been clear, but what do they signify? Daniel asks.]

 

 

v.17,18 The Four Beasts described

 

v.17  ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 

v.18  But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.' 

 

[Notes: The four beasts are simply four kings (or empires?) Despite them the people of God will inherit an eternal kingdom.]

 

 

v.19-22 Daniel wants to know about the Fourth Beast & what follows

 

v.19  “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 

v.20  I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 

v.21  As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 

v.22  until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. 

 

[Notes: But what about that last terrifying beast and the ten horns and the last horn? Who are they? He sees that last horn [leader] triumph over the people of God until God comes and enables them to prevail.]

 

 

v.23-25 The Fourth Beast described

 

v.23  “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 

v.24  The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 

v.25  He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. 

 

[Notes: That fourth beast is a kingdom or empire that will spread over the earth, with ten kings who will emerge, three of whom will be overcome by yet another king. This last one will be godless and rebellious against God and he will prevail over the people of God for a limited set time. [Seven is the perfect number and so 3½ is a limited time of God's appointing i.e. one time + two times + half a time = 3½]

 

 

v.26-28 The kingdom of God prevails

 

v.26  “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 

v.27  Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.' 

v.28  “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

 

[Notes: This last ruler will be overcome by God and destroyed for ever. Power & authority is given to God's people in His everlasting kingdom.]

 

[Additional Thoughts: The big question arises – who are these kings or empires? There has, of course been much speculation about this. The fact of four animals leads some to think of the four kings or empires of Daniel 2 – Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, Roman, i.e. kingdoms running up to the first coming of Christ. Others seek to explain them on a wider scale leading up to the second coming of Christ. Further detail would be inappropriate here to the goals of providing simple helps to reading the text as we find it.]

    

    

Continue to chapter 8