Summary: Here is a fabulous dream that made Daniel a little ill. And it is overwhelming, unless God is in control.
Passage: Daniel 7:1-14
Intro: We’ve come to the controversial part of Daniel.
1. liberal scholars are very confused, because they begin with the assumption that God does not prophesy events in the future
2. therefore, this dream recorded here is not predictive, and the same scholars debunk Revelation in the same way.
3. well, we are going to approach these 6 chapters the same way we approach the rest of Scripture.
4. the crystal clear gracious revelation from a loving God who calls us to believe in Him and re-order our lives in light of His revelation.
5. we will come without a lot of preconceptions of what must be, but look for what the text says.
6. this revelation came in the form of a dream, with angelic interpretation standing by. (v16)
7. and just like John in Revelation was told to do, he “wrote what he saw” v1
8. here is the sweep of history in one dream.
I. The Context: Judgment on the Fallen World
1. Daniel had this dream in Belshazzar’s first year, so 555 or 556
2. Belshazzar died in 539 B.C.
3. so Daniel had this information all during Belshazzar’s reign as governor, which might explain the matter-of-fact nature of his prediction that Babylon would fall.
4. but his vision started with a huge picture; a storm-tossed sea churned up by a wind coming from all directions.
5. wind is a theme of judgment here, and in Revelation.
6. and the sea is a clear symbol for the fallen world, the world in rebellion v3
7. it is where the Antichrist comes from
8. so the context is of judgment on the fallen world.
9. and we are talking about the future, certainly for Daniel.
II. Four Beasts are Identified by Character
1. they are unique from each other, v3
2. and yet one is different from the other three!
PP “Apple, chair, car, talk”
3. one is different. Which one?
4. first three beasts clearly empires we are now familiar with.
5. lion is clearly Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian empire, which was great but declined, and perhaps Neb’s time in the woods is in mind.
6. taken over by the bear, with one side stronger than the other. Persians more powerful, and together they overwhelmed Lydia in 546, Babylon in 539, and Egypt in 525
7. third beast a leopard with wings, symbolizing the speed of conquest by Alexander the Great.
8. but he could not hold his empire together, and it was divided into four parts.
PP Greek Empire after division.
9. these three “beasts” had common characteristics.
10. recognizable animals, dominated much of the known world, carnivorous animals, all came to an end and were taken over by another kingdom.
11. they shared common attributes.
12. but how about this fourth beast?
III. Is the Fourth Beast the Roman Empire?
1. v7, 4th beast is described differently
2. no recognizable animal, large iron teeth, incredibly powerful and destructive.
4. “crushed and devoured victims, trampled underfoot…”
5. last phrase. “different from the other four.
6. now this is what stops me, because was Rome really different from empires it followed?
7. it was a powerful military machine, but worse than others?
PP Comparison of these four empires.
8. everyone likes to compare the 10 “horns” with the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue in chap 2
9. but that is puzzling too, Rome doesn’t seem to fit, though an end- times kingdom does.
10. look at the description here in ch7
11. completely destructive, no desire for constructive government
PP Who built this Temple in Jerusalem?
12. unique from the others. Really?
13. what do the 10 horns relate to in Rome, and who is the “little horn” that grows up?
14. the others continue, v12, but the fourth beast comes to a dramatic end in v11. Rome decayed, fizzled out, and is still around like the others.
15. conclusion?! The fourth beast is a terrible kingdom, completely opposed to God, ruled by one powerful man, and allied with other nations who will receive the terrible judgment of God.
16. who can stand up to this most terrible of man’s plans?
IV. God is in Complete Control
1. the turmoil of vv1-8 come to an end at v9
2. a scene of incredible power calmly applied.
3. this incredible being called “The Ancient of Days” is seated on a throne of amazing power, righteousness, irresistible power to judge.
4. the fires of righteous judgment are streaming like molten lava from the throne.
5. now in the midst of this display, the little horn just keeps on talking trash.
6. but he is slain and his body surrendered to “the blazing fire” i.e., to the eternal righteous judgment of God