This first vision of Daniel, recorded in Chapter 7, takes place in “the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon” which chronologically places it after Chapter four and between Chapters 5 and 6. In time the vision was in 556BC when Nabonidus, Belshazzar’s father, was king of Babylon. Daniel’s reason for placing it here was because the first six chapters present a chronological accounts of the history Babylon. The following chapters 7-12 deal with prophetic events which God revealed to Daniel.
The subject of the vision is the same as King Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream, which is the future kingdoms that followed the Babylonian Empire. There are important differences between the two and addition information is given in Daniels vision.
|Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream||The Nation Symbolized||Daniel’s Vision|
|Daniel 2:31-36||Daniel 7:1-14|
|Head was of fine gold||Babylon||This beast was like a lion with eagle’s wings Its wings are plucked, and it was made to stand up like a man on its feet, and was given a man’s heart.|
|Chest and arms of silver||Medo-Persians Empire||Bear which raised its self on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told to arise and devour much flesh.|
|Belly and thighs of bronze||Greek Empire||Leopard, had four wings on its back like a bird and had four heads and was given dominion to rule|
|Legs of Iron||Romans Empire||This beast was dreadful, terrible and strong with great teeth. It devourer and brake in pieces. It stamped the residue with its feet. It was not like the other beasts. It had ten horns.|
|Feet of Iron and Clay Mixed||Revived Roman Empire||A little horn arises among the ten horns. Mixed Empire This little horn plucks up three of the first ten horns. Has eyes like a man and mouth speaks great things with its mouth.|
In Verse 9, Daniel sees these thrones being “cast down”which means set down in place. It does not mean they are destroyed, but put in their places. He then sees a vision of God, called the Ancient of Days, sitting on His throne. His garments are white and His hair was like fine wool. The throne was like a flame and had wheels burning with fire. From God came a fiery stream and a million came forward and ministered unto Him. Also a hundred million stood before Him. The scene is of the King who is setting in judgment and then books are opened. Revelation 20:11-15 identifies the King as the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes this final judgment when the unsaved from all the ages are brought before the Lord Jesus to be judged.
Daniel then becomes very watchful as he hears the sound of the pompous words the Little horn is speaking. He watched until it was slain, its body destroyed and it was cast into the burning flame. Revelation 19:26 also records this event as the Antichrist and his false prophet cast into the Lake of Fire. The rest of the beasts had their kingdoms taken from them, but their lives were prolonged for period of time.
As Daniel continued to watch he sees Christ (One like the Son of Man), coming with the clouds from heaven. (See Rev. 19:11-15) This phrase “Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite term to describe Himself. He comes to God and they are brought Him near before Him. To the Son of Man is given dominion, glory and a kingdom that all people, nations and languages should serve Him. This is an everlasting kingdom which can not be destroyed.
Daniel it distraught by what he has seen and it grieves him to point it effects his spirit and he is greatly troubled. He then goes up to one of the one who stood by and asked him what all this meant. He then is told the interpretation of the vision.
Verse 17. The four beasts are four kings which arise on earth. The four kings are of the nations of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.
Verse 18. The saints of God in the end receive the kingdom for all eternity. This kingdom would include all the saved throughout time, but includes the promised Millennial Kingdom of the Jews. The first one thousand years God gives to Israel their promised kingdom and they dwell in it in their human bodies. Thus it is a physical kingdom. But at the end of the Millennium the unsaved of that period are removed from the earth and the unsaved from all the ages are judged. After this final judgment of the lost, the kingdom continues into eternity as the New Heaven and Earth described in Revelation 21-22. All men from this point have received their glorified bodies and dwell eternally with the Lord.
Verses 19-20. Daniel ask for more information about the fourth beast (Roman Empire) which was not like the other beasts who was exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, nails of brass which devoured so many, breaking them in pieces, and stamping their remains into the ground. He asked about the ten horns that were on the head of the beast and of the other, the little horn that arose (the Antichrist), and before whom three of the ten horns fell, who with his mouth spoke great things whose appearance was greater than the others.
Verses 21-22. Daniel then sees the little horn making war against God’s saints and winning over them. He sees this continue until the Ancient of Days comes at the end in judgment and the time comes for the Kingdom to begin.
Verse 23. The fourth beast is identified as the fourth kingdom to come to rule on earth. Where as the other nations were powerful, this fourth kingdom is the most powerful. It devours, which means it literally eats up the whole earth, treading it down by its power and breaking it into pieces.
Verse 24. The ten horns are ten kings who arise from within the fourth kingdom. This refers to the Revived Roman Empire that will once again rule headed by the Antichrist. The Little Horn, which is the Antichrist, is diverse from the other kings, meaning more terrible or dreadful than the others. This king shall then arise after the other kings. In other words he follows the old Roman Empire and comes from it, but he more powerful and formidable that the early Roman Empire. When he arises he will subdue three of the kings.
Verse 25. He opposes God and speaks pompous words against Him. He persecutes the saints of God and seeks to prevent the God promised kingdom from coming and tries to change God’s law. For a time God allows the little horn to prevail against the saints of God.
The phrase “a time and times and a half” refer to three and a half years of the of the seven year Tribulation. This will be explained later in detail in Daniel 9.
Verse 26. God with His court of judgment takes the Little Horn’s kingdom from him stripping him of his power.
Verse 27. The kingdom in all its greatness and power is given to the people of God. This is an everlasting kingdom where all the saints for eternity will serve obey God.
Verse 28. The vision ends leaving Daniel greatly troubled by the vision. He is so unsettled about what all this means that he kept the matter to himself.
In Daniel 2, the image which was like a giant man with a golden head, chest of silver, thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. The symbols of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay refer to the political nature of these four kingdoms. In Daniel 7, God gives Daniel a more detailed vision with addresses the moral fiber of these nations.