Daniel Seven

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Daniel 7:1 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.

Daniel 7:2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

four winds. The “four winds” are seen in vision as striving for mastery over the waves of the great Mediterranean Sea, not one after the other, but all together.

Daniel 7:3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

up from the sea. The interpretation in Daniel 7:17 tells us that the sea is the earth, or land, and the beasts are four kings, or kingdoms.

diverse one from another. These kingdoms do not represent successive historical kingdoms, as in Daniel's image (which would be redundant), but contemporaneous kingdoms striving with each other (like the four winds) in the last days. This follows clearly from the fact that all four kingdoms were still future in Daniel's vision (Daniel 7:17), whereas Babylon was about to fall at the time and Persia would take over. Furthermore, the beast representing the fourth kingdom was slain before the first three (Daniel 7:11-12).

Daniel 7:4 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.

eagle's wings. Nations commonly are represented as symbolic animals. Of the nations currently prominent, one thinks immediately of the British lion and the American eagle in connection with the first beast. The plucking of its wings, and its transmutation into a man are not explained and evidently are events yet to be fulfilled. It may be that the wings (ability to mount aerial invasions or defenses) will be somehow prevented from use by the Anglo-American alliance. Perhaps, also, the eventual destruction of the fourth beast (Daniel 7:11) will coincide with spiritual revival in the first beast—but these are only speculations.

Daniel 7:5 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.

bear. If the lion and eagle represent an Anglo-American alliance, possibly in association with other western nations, then the “bear” would seem to depict Russia and its allies. This colossus has, indeed, “raised itself up” more in its western side than in the east. It did (and does) “devour much flesh,” in terms of its baleful influence and control over so many other nations (at one time, almost half the world).

three ribs. The “three ribs” are enigmatic in prophetic meaning, but may possibly refer to the three Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), still under the strong influence—if not domination—of Russia.

Daniel 7:6 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.

leopard. The leopard, yellow with dark spots, could possibly represent an alliance of the pantheistic nations of the East (China, Japan, India, Indochina, perhaps suggesting the four heads, with all insisting on equal authority). Revelation 16:12 speaks of “the kings of the east” marching toward Armageddon from the other side of the Euphrates. The “four wings of a fowl” are of uncertain meaning, but may simply denote that other Oriental nations are involved, in addition to the four heads. A strong union of these far-eastern nations would surely pose a serious threat.

Daniel 7:7 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.

fourth beast. This powerful nondescript beast will gain control over the others and assume the characters of all. It is probably the same as the beast of Revelation 13:2, which will be like a leopard, a bear, and a lion, but with the nature of the old Dragon. It may also be the same as the final phase (feet and toes) of Nebuchadnezzar's dream image. For a very brief period, this beastly federation will control the whole world (Daniel 7:23; Revelation 13:7).

before it. The word “before” is not a chronological term. The other three nations are not “before” the fourth chronologically, but confrontationally. Note use of the same word in Daniel 7:10, 13, 20.

Daniel 7:8 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.

little horn. This “little horn,” suddenly appearing among the others, is the one called “the beast” in Revelation 13:11-13, to whom “ten kings” (Daniel 7:24) will give their power and honor.

mouth speaking great things. These “great things” are both “flatteries” of men, and “marvellous things against the God of gods” (Daniel 11:32, 36).

Daniel 7:9 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.

Ancient of days. The “Ancient of days” seems to be the Father (Daniel 7:13) receiving the Son of man, yet His appearance is like that of the Son of man as described in Revelation 1:13-15. This phenomenon emphasizes the doctrine of the Trinity—one God in three persons, but not three Gods. “The “wheels” associated with the throne may suggest the cherubim (Ezekiel 1).

Daniel 7:10 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.

Daniel 7:11 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.

Daniel 7:12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

prolonged. The fourth beast kingdom, led by the Beast, who is the man of sin, with all who have received his “mark” (Revelation 13:18; 14:9-11; 19:20), will be cast into the lake of fire. The other three beast kingdoms may have enough sheep left among their citizenry (Matthew 25:33-34) so that their nations will be able to continue as distinct nations during the millennial period that follows.

Daniel 7:13 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.

Daniel 7:14 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.

given him dominion. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he saw a mountain which would fill the earth, and Daniel explained this as a kingdom set up by the God of heaven (Daniel 2:35, 44). Now, in Daniel's vision, the king of this everlasting worldwide kingdom is seen to be the Son of man (Daniel 7:13), the title assumed for Himself, and frequently used by the Lord Jesus Christ. The presentation of the kingdom to the Son of man by the Ancient of Days is described more fully in Revelation 5:6-14.

Daniel 7:15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

Daniel 7:16 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.

Daniel 7:17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

Daniel 7:18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

Daniel 7:19 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;

Daniel 7:20 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.

Daniel 7:21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

Daniel 7:22 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.

Ancient of days. See also Daniel 7:9, 13. This unique title occurs only three times, all in this chapter.

Daniel 7:23 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.

Daniel 7:24 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.

Daniel 7:25 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.

dividing of time. This unusual expression means 3½ years. A “time” is a year, “times” means two years, and “the dividing of time” means half a year (compare Revelation 12:6, 14, where this expression is seen as equivalent to 1260 days—that is, 3½ years of 360 days each).

Daniel 7:26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

Daniel 7:27 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.

Daniel 7:28 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.