Christian Churches of God
Commentary on Daniel Chapter 7
(Edition 1.0 20140327-20140327)
Daniel chapter 7 relates to the last days and the wars before the coming of the Messiah.
Commentary on Daniel Chapter 7
Daniel chapter 7 sits between the story of the deliverance of Daniel from the Lions’ den under the reign of Darius and then through Cyrus the Persian. The text refers to the First year of Belshazzar son of and co-regent with Nabonidus, Last King of Babylon (555-539 BCE). Nabonidus was succeeded by Cyrus and the Darius referred to in chapter 6 was after Cyrus. Belshazzar did not succeed his father but reigned conjointly with him as Crown Prince. Nabonidus left the capital soon after his ascension, for the west, and was absent from the capital and the New Year Festival for ten years. Thus the first year of the regent was probably in the second year of Nabonidus ca 554 BCE and may even be from 555.
Nebuchadnezzar reigned from 605 BCE to 562 BCE and was succeeded by his son Evil-Merodach 562-560 BCE. Nabonidus only mentions Nebuchadnezzar and Neriglissar as the two preceding monarchs and makes no mention of this king and no fragment of the Babylonian Chronicle mentions him. Neriglissar was king from 560-555 BCE. Daniel was alive during all this time from 597 as a young man down to 555/4 when he must have been at least 62 when he had this vision which follows on from the text in chapter 2. It is important that this text is related to the sequence in 2:42-43.
Chapter 7 is written in the Chaldean language and follows the events of 2:42-43 which relate to the empires of the end of Days. The time sequence is at the end of the Times of the Gentiles taken from 2520 years of the Times of the Gentiles and the formation of the empires in the last day from 1914-1918 and their end in 1996, and the commencement of the period of the last Empire of the Beast from 1997 (see also the paper Fall of Egypt Part II: The Wars of the End (No. 036_2)).
1In the first year of Belshaz'zar king of Babylon, Daniel had 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. 2Daniel said, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4The 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 upon two feet like a man; and the mind of a man was given to it.
This takes the form of the Babylonian system as the Legs of Iron in the statue of chapter 2 which was the Roman Empire, and the feet of Iron and Clay were the Holy Roman Empire that was to last from 590 CE to 1850 in Rome and then was to be succeeded by the Beast which formed from that system in Europe. It was to become this last Empire formed from the other powers over the 19th and 20th centuries. It was the Empire designed to become the King of the North as the Fourth Beast of this text. Note it was lifted up and made to stand on its feet and was given the mind of a man in the last days. It thus changes its status and is readied to become the nucleus of the Fourth Beast.
5And 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.'
This was the Empire that formed from the Russian system and it killed many scores of millions of people over the period in which it formed. The three ribs in its mouth cover at least the Baltic States and may also refer to the other sections of the Soviet system as well. The next deals with the Third and Asian systems.
6After this I looked, and lo, 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.
This was the Third Beast formed that was given dominion and which came out of the Sea which is the multitude of humanity. The leopard as an heraldic symbol can be a lion or a tiger. It refers to the Asian systems and extends from the Middle East to the Far East.
In the last days the Fourth Beast is formed from the previous three systems and is the ten toes of iron and miry clay that forms from the statue in chapter 2.
It is made to come into power over the last thirty years of the end of the world System. It was planned from the Club of Rome in 1956 as ten economic unions overriding the nation powers of any one nation. However it uses the military power of the King of the North which is effectively the NATO system.
7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrible and dreadful and exceedingly strong; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8I 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.
The texts in Daniel chapter 8 refer to the conflict between the Medes and the Persians taking control of Babylonia. Chapter 9 refers to the prophecies concerning the Temple and the fall of Jerusalem after the seventy weeks of years in the sacred year 70-71 CE. In chapter 10 Daniel was given a vision in the Third year of Cyrus and told that the texts to follow were for a time far in the future in the latter days; and he was given to understand that the Greeks would overtake the Persians and the prince that spoke to Daniel would do battle with the prince that controlled the Greeks also. This sequence began from the Battle of the Granicus and commenced the 2300 evenings and mornings which moved forward to the restoration of Jerusalem at the end from 1967 (see also the Outline Timetable of the Age (No. 272)). Then the prophecy goes to the sequence of the wars of the kings of the North and the South which takes the entire sequence of the wars from the Persian conquests to the wars of the last days.
The text in Daniel chapter 7:7 is concerned with the events in Daniel 11:40-45. These are the wars of the last days and how the Empire of the Beast takes over and subjugates the other three empires and controls the Holy Land and the world from the period of the 42 months.
40"At the time of the end the king of the south shall attack him; but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through. 41He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall follow in his train. 44But tidings from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go forth with great fury to exterminate and utterly destroy many. 45And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.
The period of the subjugation of the Second and Third Beasts is to occur over the short period of the wars between the time that He goes forth from the Middle East to subjugate the nations that alarm him due to the news from the North and the East. This is the period referred to in Revelation as the wars of the Fifth and the Sixth Trumpet. A third of mankind will be killed in these wars. In the period of the 42 months that the Beast and the False Prophet and the Antichrist rule from Jerusalem they will be opposed by the Two Witnesses sent by God to stand before them. These are Enoch and Elijah who were sent to stand before the God of this earth (see the paper The Witnesses (including the Two Witnesses (No. 135)); Also Wars of the End Part II: 1260 Days of the Witnesses (No. 141D))
Then we are faced with the coming of the Messiah to take control of the earth and to restore the Kingdom of God (see the papers Advent of the Messiah (No. 210A) and Wars of the End Part III: Armageddon and the Vials of the Wrath of God (No. 141E) and Wars of the End Part IIIB: War Against Christ (No. 141E_2)).
Daniel 7 continues:
9As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire. 10A stream of fire issued and came forth 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.
The books were opened to determine those of the First Resurrection. These are those of the elect (see the paper Heaven, Hell or the Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143A)). At this time of the arrival of Messiah the Antichrist and the False Prophet are destroyed and the Empire of the Beast is totally destroyed. These are also the events referred to in Daniel chapter 12:1-13. The events of the time, times and half a time are the 1260 days of the Witnesses at the time of the end when the Holy People will be scattered. It is after those three and one half years that we will be resurrected as told in chapter 12.
11I looked then because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.
Note from the next texts that the three previous Beasts were not killed and their lives were prolonged. It is at this time when the Empire of the Beast is destroyed that Christ will begin to deal with the nations involved in these Beasts.
12As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
Then we see the Messiah come before the Ancient of Days and he was given total control of the earth.
13I 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. 14And to him was given dominion and glory and 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.
The Son of man is given the Kingdom from verses 13-14. Thus the Son of man was presented to the Ancient of Days and to him was given the Kingdom of God. This is the sequence and position of Christ that cannot be understood in Trinitarianism.
The Kingdom is given to Christ and is seized in power and is accompanied by the destruction of the Earth systems. We saw this process in the paper The Fall of Egypt: the Prophecy of Pharaoh's Broken Arms (No. 036) from Ezekiel 32:1-8 and on in Part II: The Wars of the End: (No.036_2).
Then Daniel is given the explanation.
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. 18But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, for ever and ever.'
Then we see that the system of the Beast is that of the Antichrist who makes war with the church.
19"Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrible, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze; and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet; 20and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up and before which three of them fell, the horn which had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and which seemed greater than its fellows.
The war is stopped by the intervention of God and the Saints are saved by that intervention and judgment is given to them. The Fourth kingdom of the Beast is then explained.
21As I looked, this horn made war with the saints, and prevailed over them, 22until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints received 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. 24As 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. 25He 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, two times, and half a time.
This Beast and its system under the Antichrist would rule over the saints for the periods of 1260 years from 590 CE to 1850 CE of the Holy Roman Empire and also in the wars of the end over two periods of 1260 days both in WWII under the Nazis and during the 1260 days of the Witnesses before the Advent of the Messiah.
26But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. 27And 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; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.' 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 mind." (RSV)
This period is the millennial reign of Christ and the church from Jerusalem from 2027 to 3027 and the hundred years of the Second Resurrection and Judgment (see also the paper The Second Resurrection of the Dead and the Great White Throne Judgment (No. 143B)).
Then from the next jubilee it is the time of the Great Exodus (cf. also Isa. 65).
10I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria; and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, till there is no room for them. 11They shall pass through the sea of Egypt, and the waves of the sea shall be smitten, and all the depths of the Nile dried up. The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart. 12I will make them strong in the LORD and they shall glory in his name," says the LORD.
1Open your doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars! 2Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, for the glorious trees are ruined! Wail, oaks of Bashan, for the thick forest has been felled! 3Hark, the wail of the shepherds, for their glory is despoiled! Hark, the roar of the lions, for the jungle of the Jordan is laid waste!
Note the Beast of the Last Days is a combination of these different aspects of the three Beasts.
1And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads. 2And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. 4Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?" 5And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; 6it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, 8and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. 9If any one has an ear, let him hear: 10If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
Note that this Beast has the entire world worship it and becomes of itself a religious system. It is to be totally destroyed and all who take its mark will not inherit the kingdom of God and many will not go into the millennial system. These aspects are covered in the papers referenced here (see also the papers World War III: Part I The Empire of the Beast (No. 299A) and also WWIII Part II: The Whore and the Beast (No. 299B)).
Bullinger’s Notes on Daniel Chapter 7
In the first year of Belshazzar. […dates deleted]. Three years before the events of Dan 6. Compare Daniel 5:30, Daniel 5:31, and the notes on the other dates (Daniel 8:1; Daniel 9:1; Daniel 10:1; Daniel 11:1, &c).
This vision (Dan 7) is still in Chaldee (the Gentile language), because it is the continuation of Daniel 2:44, and shows what will take place in "the days of those kings" before the stone strikes the image. It brings us up to the end of Gentile dominion over Israel. Dan 8 is in Hebrew, because it specially concerns Israel.
It is the writing of "Daniel the prophet" (Mat 24). This is directly stated by our Lord, Who, seven times in the Gospel of John, declared that what He spake were not His own words, but the Father"s (John 7:16; John 8:28, John 8:40, John 8:47; John 12:49; John 14:10, John 14:24; John 17:8. Compare Deuteronomy 18:18 and Isaiah 51:16).
member "B" (Daniel 7:1-28; Daniel 8:1-27, see chart
below) consists of two visions. Each is distinct and complete in itself. (Z1,
7:1-28 ; Z2, 8:1-27).
The dream of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2) was interpreted to him by Daniel; while the dream (or vision) of Daniel was interpreted to him by the Angel. The former referred to the beginning and duration of Gentile dominion over Israel; the latter concerns the end of it. See the Structure below. The second (Dan 8) was given two years later than the first (Compare Daniel 7:1 with Daniel 8:1), and is subsequent to the first, giving further details concerning "the latter time of their dominion" (i.e. that of the four beasts of the first vision in Dan 7). Further details are given in Dan 9, Dan 11, Dan 12.
The interpretation is given in verses: Daniel 7:7, Daniel 7:17, Daniel 7:18; and shows that these visions (Dan 7and Dan 8) are still future, and are not therefore to be confounded with the dream of Dan 2. See the notes on verses: Daniel 7:17, Daniel 7:18, below.
The interpretations given to us of these two separate visions need no further interpretation by us. The source of the dream is the source of the interpretation also. They are for us to understand and to believe. We may comment on the interpretations given, but not interpret them.
B | Z1 | . The Vision of the Four Beasts. (First year.)
| Z2 | . The Vision of the Two Beasts. (Third year.)
Daniel 7:1-28 (Z1, above). THE VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS. (Repeated Alternations.)
(You may need to widen your viewing window for this chart to display properly)
Z1 | A1 | C1 | 1-8. The Four Beasts. } The
| | D1 | 9-14 The judgment of the Son of Man } Vision.
| B1 | 15, 16 Daniel"s perturbation and inquiry.
| A2 | C2 | 17. The Four Beasts. } The
| | D2 | 18. The judgement of the Son of Man. } Interpretation.
B2 | 19-22. Daniel"s inquiry.
| A3 | C3 | 23-23. The Fourth Beast } The
| | D3 | 26,27. The judgement of the Son of Man. } Interpretation
| B3 | 28. Daniel"s perturbations.
Belshazzar. The last king of Babylon. Until 1854, when Sir H. C. Rawlinson discovered the cuneiform texts, all was speculation. An inscription belonging to the first year of Nabonidus, his father (see notes on Daniel 5:2, and Jeremiah 27:7), calls him his "firstborn son" and gives his name Belsarra-uzer = "O Bel defend the king". There are frequent references to him in contracts and similar documents (Encycl. Brit, 11th (Cambridge) ed., vol. iii, p. 711). He was the last king of Babylon (Daniel 5:30, Daniel 5:31). See note on Daniel 5:7.
a dream. One of twenty recorded dreams. See note on Genesis 20:3.
the sum = substance, or the chief of the words.
the four winds. All blowing at the same time and producing the one result described in verses: Daniel 7:3-8.
winds. Chaldee. ruach. App-9.
strove upon = brake or burst forth against; converging on one point.
the great sea: i.e. the Mediterranean Sea, or the sea, denoting the peoples of the earth, as interpreted for us in Daniel 7:17.
four great beasts. These are not the four dominions of Dan 2. They stand up one after the other, and each stands, successively, in the place of the other. These are to arise in "the days of" those last "ten kings" of Daniel 2:44. These continue the last of Nebuchadnezzar"s last dominion, and do exist together. See note on Daniel 7:12 below.
The first, &c. Cannot be Babylon, for this had already arisen, and was within two years of its end (see notes on Daniel 7:1). Daniel could not see that kingdom arise now. He had said, "Thou art this head of gold" (Daniel 2:38); but Nebuchadnezzar himself had been dead twenty-three years, and these are "four kings which shall arise" (Daniel 7:17). Therefore Babylon is not included.
like. These descriptions will be easily recognized by those who shall see them arise.
till = till that.
the feet = the two feet.
man. Chaldee "anash. App-14.
it raised up itself: or, was made to stand.
on one side: i.e. partially.
three ribs, &c. This is not interpreted by the angel. The interpretations given by man are diverse, conflicting, and are unnecessary.
four heads. These are not interpreted, and will be understood only when they are seen. It will have these four heads at the time of its being seen.
a fourth beast. Not Rome, for it has the "ten horns" when it is first seen. Moreover, these ten horns are not seen till the time of the end. This fourth beast therefore belongs to the time of the end. The beast of Revelation 13:1-10 combines in himself all these resemblances. See note on Daniel 7:23.
great iron teeth. Literally two (or two rows of) teeth, great ones.
the residue = the rest: i.e. the other three beasts which will be co-existent. They do not destroy or succeed one another, like the kingdoms in Dan 2; but are trampled on by the fourth beast. See Daniel 7:12.
before = in front of, as in verses: Daniel 7:10, Daniel 7:13, Daniel 7:20, and Daniel 6:10, Daniel 6:11, Daniel 6:12, Daniel 6:13, Daniel 6:18, Daniel 6:22, Daniel 6:26, &c. Chaldee. kedam, as in Ezra 4:18, Ezra 4:23; Ezra 7:14, Ezra 7:19; and frequently in Dan. Ch. Daniel 2:3, Daniel 2:4, Daniel 2:5. This shows that the three will be co-existent, for this could not be spoken of those who had long passed away.
little horn = a horn of small beginnings. This identifies this vision with those of Ch. Daniel 8:9, Daniel 8:11, Daniel 8:12. See App-90. The first of twelve titles given to the power commonly known as "the Antichrist": it is used again in Daniel 8:9. Compare Daniel 11:21-30. Note the other titles: "the king of Babylon" (Isaiah 14:4); "the Assyrian" (Isaiah 14:25); "Lucifer, son of the morning", in opposition to "the bright and morning star" (Isaiah 14:12); "the Prince that shall come" (Daniel 9:26); "the king of fierce countenance" (Daniel 8:23); "the vile person" (Daniel 11:21); "the wilful king" (Daniel 11:36); "the man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:3); "the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3); "that wicked (or lawless) one" (2 Thessalonians 2:8. Revelation 13:18); "the beast with ten horns" (Revelation 13:1).
man = a mortal man. Chaldee "enash. App-14.
speaking great things. This is a further development, explained in verses: Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:11; Daniel 11:36, Daniel 11:37; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Revelation 13:5, Revelation 13:6.
white as snow, &c. Compare Revelation 1:4.
the judgment = the Judge; "judgment" being put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of the Subject), App-6, for the Judge Who actually sat.
the horn spake = the horn kept speaking.
the rest of the beasts: i.e. the three mentioned in verses: Daniel 7:4-7 as co-existing,
they had, &c. = their dominion was caused to pass away.
their lives were prolonged = a lengthening of their life was given to them: i.e. the remaining three after the fourth beast has been destroyed.
for a season and time: i.e. for an appointed season.
grieved. Because he did not understand. Therefore Dan 7could not be identical with Dan 2, because he had interpreted that already to Nebuchadnezzar.
my spirit = myself. Chaldee. ruach. App-9.
These great beasts, &c. In Daniel 7:17-18 we have therefore the interpretation of this vision, which needs no further interpretation by man.
shall arise. The two which had already arisen cannot therefore be included: Babylon and Medo-Persia, which almost (at this time) equalled Babylon in extent. The vision is not continuous history, but the prophecy of a crisis: and refers to the ten toes of the fifth power of Daniel 2. See note on Daniel 7:12. In this, and in each successive vision we are always directed to the end and consummation. Compare Daniel 7:26; Daniel 8:17-19; Daniel 9:26; Daniel 11:40; Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:9, Daniel 12:13. Matthew 24:14, Matthew 24:15. See App-90.
the saints = the holy ones: i.e. God"s People Israel.
the MOST HIGH. Chaldee. "elyonin. Same as Hebrew. "elyon. App-4. Here plural = the Messiah Himself in relation to dominion in the earth. Daniel 7:27 shows that a Person is intended, not a place.
the same horn. Compare Daniel 7:8.
made war. This connects "the little horn" with Revelation 13:7, and shows it to be still future.
time and times, &c.: i.e. three and a half years = one half of the "one week" of Daniel 9:27. It is repeated as forty-two months (Revelation 11:21, Revelation 11:3). See App-90and App-91; and Compare Daniel 8:14; Daniel 12:7, Daniel 12:11, Daniel 12:12.
I kept, &c. Compare Luke 2:19. Here ends the portion of the book written in the Chaldee (or Gentile) tongue.