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Daniel 7

By Jay Rogers
Published May 1, 2008

1. In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon — In BC 555, another king arose in Babylon and Daniel now has greater authority. In this chapter, it is Daniel himself who relates a vision and its interpretation. In chapter two, Daniel is interpreting the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, but here he makes it clear that it is his dream. In chapter seven, he writes only what he saw, and does not provide an interpretation. However, it is certain that the interpretation is the same as the history of the four great kingdoms related in chapter two.

2. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
3. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
4 . The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
5. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
6. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
7. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

Four great beasts — These again are the four great kingdoms, the Chaldean, Medio-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. This is the same vision as in chapter two, but with different symbolism. While some choose to understand the fourth beast as the successors of Alexander, especially the kings who ruled in Asia and Syria, the thrust of the whole prophecy of Daniel indicates that it is the Roman Empire at the time of the coming of Christ.

Ten horns — These are the ten kings also mentioned in Revelation 17:12. These ten kings are the ten Emperors of the Roman Empire to AD 70. The Roman Emperors were greater than all the other world rulers before them. Including Julius Caesar, there are ten Emperors until the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. They are Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian. The reign of these kings parallel the period of the ministry of the Messiah and of the Apostles.

8. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

Another little horn — Some have applied this to the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes during the time after Alexander. Antiochus’ desecration of the Temple in 167 BC is prophesied in Daniel 8:9. But keeping with the consistent application of this passage to the Roman Empire, I must conclude that this speaks of Nero Caesar. He is the little horn “among them” the sixth of the ten Emperors. Thus he is “another little horn.”

Three of the first horns plucked up by the roots — Three Emperors, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius were assassinated to make way for Nero, who was not in the line of succession.

9. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

The Ancient of days — This passage speaks of God the Father. This is one of the Old Testament passages in which we see the three persons Trinity. Some interpret the “fiery stream” a symbolizing the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

The beast was slain — This speaks of the destruction of the Roman Empire and especially of Nero who committed suicide by slaying himself with a military sword used to kill many people.

12. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

As concerning the rest of the beasts — After Nero, there were other power of the Roman Emperors was greatly diminished.

13. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

The Son of Man — This speaks of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is fully God and fully man. In the Gospels, Jesus identities himself as the “Son of man” in order to identify himself as the Messiah.

14 . And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Dominion, and glory, and a kingdom — Christ was given the keys of the kingdom by God the Father when he sat down at the right hand of God after His resurrection and ascension. This kingdom is not a future kingdom. It began in the days of the Roman Empire. It overcame Rome and will overcome all the kingdoms of this world. It will last forever.

15. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
16. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
17. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
18. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

The saints of the most High shall take the kingdom — Here is a dominion mandate given not only to Christ, but to the saints. We are to possess the whole kingdom the whole world for the dominion of Jesus Christ. This commission was given at the time of Christ.

19. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
20. And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

Before whom three fell — Nero was born one year after the death of Caesar Augustus. During the life-time of Nero three Caesars who lived after he was born were assassinated in order to make way for him. These were Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius.

21. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

The same horn made war with the saints — Nero began a persecution of the saints which began in AD 63 and lasted until his death.

22. Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
23. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
24. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

Another shall rise after them — Nero was not in the direct line of succession, but three Emperors were assassinated to make way for him.

25. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Until a time and times and the dividing of time — Literally, “time, times, half a time.” If we understand a time to mean a year, then it is three and a half years. Nero’s persecution of the church lasted exactly 42 months or three and a half years.

26. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
27. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
28. Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

An everlasting kingdom — The purpose of this passage, and the entire prophecy of Daniel, is to give the Jews a correct understanding of the time when the Messiah would come and to declare when the kingdom of heaven would come on earth. When Jesus declared that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, he alluded to Daniel stating that He was the Messiah, the Son of man spoken of by Daniel.


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Your comments are welcome!

Hi, Jay.

I’m sorry, brother, but I can’t imagine Nero being the “little horn” of Dan. 7. The text clearly places the “ten horns” prior to the “little horn,” but the emperors Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian came after Nero, who therefore could not have come up “among” the ten.

Secondly, the three horns uprooted by the “little horn” could not have been Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius, because contrary to your claim, not all three of them were assassinated to make way for Nero. Moreover, the text doesn’t call for the deaths of the 3 horns, but only that they be made subservient to the “little horn.” Revelation 17:12 indicates the same thing: “the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.” (I’ll return to this verse in a moment.)

Tiberius was hardly assassinated for the sake of Nero’s rise, but appears to have died of natural causes in 37 AD, long before Nero came on the scene. Caligula succeeded Tiberius as emperor, reigned until 41, and was assassinated not to make way for Nero, but for Claudius. Now Claudius was assassinated so that Nero could ascend to the throne, but this line of succession encompassing these emperors together hardly equates to the “little horn” subduing 3 of the previous horns. Nero simply doesn’t fit the bill.

Thirdly, Revelation could conceivably have been written during Nero’s reign, but more likely afterward. But even if it were within Nero’s time, the prophecy of the “ten horns” still wouldn’t relate to him, because Revelation picks up on the Dan. 7 prophecy and tells us “the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet [as of the time of John’s writing] received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.” (Rev. 17:12) Therefore the little horn will not assassinate 3 of these kings, but instead they will all reign as his subregents.

So the Dan. 7 prophecy has yet to be fulfilled in its entirety, and will only be so at the Second Coming. (I do believe, however, that Dan. 7:13 and the heavenly scene in which it’s placed was already fulfilled at the ascension of Jesus in c. 33 AD.)

Best wishes,
Andy

Posted by Andy Doerksen on 10/15/2011 06:13 PM #

Tacitus records that Tiberius was smothered by Caligula and Macro and the crowd in Rome hearing the news rejoiced. The point is that he was not yet 60 years old when he fell.

Many interpret the little horn as the “eleventh” horn. Of course, the number eleven is mentioned nowhere in the text. The little horn does not come after the ten horns, but as it has been translated — “in the midst of them” — or — “among them.”

Posted by Jay Rogers on 06/24/2012 11:11 AM #

How does Nero “change times and law”?

Posted by Billy Gager on 09/24/2012 04:42 PM #

Tiberius died in a villa in Misenum at the age of 78 years. He died a sick depraved and untrusting man and was refused divine honours from the senate and mobs demanded that he be thrown in the Tiber river like all criminals were at the time.

Tacitus records that upon the news of his death the crowd rejoiced, only to become suddenly silent upon hearing that he had recovered, and rejoiced again at the news that Caligula and Macro had smothered him. This is not recorded by other ancient historians and is most likely APOCRYPHAL, but it can be taken as an indication of how the senatorial class felt towards the Emperor at the time of his death.

Posted by Wayne on 02/23/2013 11:31 AM #

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