Daniel
Introduction 1 The Dream and Visions of Daniel 2-3 The Origin of the Beasts 4-6 The First Three Beasts 7-8 The Fourth Beast 9-12 A Glimpse into God’s Court 13-14 The Son of Man and His Dominion 15-16 Daniel Wants to Know the Exact Meaning 17-18 A First Interpretation 19-22 What Is the Meaning of the Fourth Beast? 23-26 The Meaning of the Fourth Beast 28 The Effect of the Interpretation
Introduction

Daniel 7 is the first chapter of the second part of the book. History is not continued either, as we return to the first year of Belshazzar (verse 11In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind [as he lay] on his bed; then he wrote the dream down [and] related the [following] summary of it.). In this second part we have four visions, the first in Daniel 7, the second in Daniel 8, the third in the last part of Daniel 9 and the fourth in Daniel 10-12. They’re all dated differently. They are about the further histories of the world empires and how the small people of God will experience in them. Daniel 7 and 9 are about the West, the empire of Western Europe, Daniel 8 and 10-12 about the East.


The Dream and Visions of Daniel

1In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind [as he lay] on his bed; then he wrote the dream down [and] related the [following] summary of it.

Belshazzar is the last king of Babylon, as we have seen in Daniel 5. In the first year of his government Daniel gets a dream. In that dream he sees some visions. It is shown to him that the empire of Belshazzar, the Babylonian empire, will be destroyed. He also sees a second, third and even fourth empire. Those empires too will all perish. It also becomes clear from the dream that the eternal kingdom, that of the Lord Jesus, does not come during the Babylonian or Medo-Persian empire, not even during the third, but during the fourth empire, the Roman.

That there will be four empires that will all perish, is already made clear to him in Daniel 2 in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue. Here it is about the same four world empires. However, they are seen here from another perspective. What is new is that the vision is not shown to Nebuchadnezzar, but to Daniel. This time the empires are also not shown in the form of a statue that makes a great impression, with beautiful metals, as people like to see the empires.

Here God shows the empires, as He sees them, in their corrupt character, as unreasoning beasts. Beasts are beings without any recognition of God, beings who have no knowledge and understanding of Divine things. God also shows what these empires will do to His people if in their lack of understanding they turn against the saints. God wants to speak to our hearts through this. He wants to show that He knows the future and that He is above the empires and their striving. He knows how to use them for His purpose: the purification of His people.

As said, Daniel will not see one, but a few visions in this chapter. When we read the chapter, it turns out to be three. We see that three verses begin with the reference to a vision (verses 2,7,132Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.7After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.13“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
) and that an interpretation follows twice (verses 16,2316I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:23“Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the [other] kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.).

1. The first vision, starting in verse 22Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea., is about the first three empires, represented by three beasts.
2. The second vision, from verse 77After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. onwards, is about the fourth beast or empire.
3. The third vision is found in verses 13-1413“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and [men of every] language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
and is about the eternal kingdom or kingdom of the Son of man.
4. From verse 1616I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: the first interpretation follows and from verse 2323“Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the [other] kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. the second interpretation.

Daniel writes down the dream. He records what he has seen, that is to say, as he himself says, the “summary of it”. After having had his dream, he thought about it and considered what it means. That is what the LORD has given him in his thoughts. This has enabled him to write down everything that is important and makes the interpretation clear. So it has been preserved for the generations to come and also for us.


The Origin of the Beasts

2Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.

Daniel tells us that in his vision he saw four great beasts coming up from the great sea. The great sea represents the turbulent mass of the people (Isa 17:1212Alas, the uproar of many peoples
Who roar like the roaring of the seas,
And the rumbling of nations
Who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!
). This picture shows that from the then sea of the peoples four world empires successively come up. The four winds indicate the spiritual powers behind this turbulence. They are the spiritual powers in the heavenly places.

The following verses describe the development of the four empires. Not many words are devoted to the first three empires. The fourth realm in contrast is described in detail.


The First Three Beasts

4The first [was] like a lion and had [the] wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. 5And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs [were] in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ 6After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

The first empire appears in the form of a lion. This represents the Babylonian empire (Jer 50:1717“Israel is a scattered flock, the lions have driven [them] away. The first one [who] devoured him was the king of Assyria, and this last one [who] has broken his bones is Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.; 4:6-7,136“Lift up a standard toward Zion!
Seek refuge, do not stand [still],
For I am bringing evil from the north,
And great destruction.
7“A lion has gone up from his thicket,
And a destroyer of nations has set out;
He has gone out from his place
To make your land a waste.
Your cities will be ruins
Without inhabitant.
13“Behold, he goes up like clouds,
And his chariots like the whirlwind;
His horses are swifter than eagles.
Woe to us, for we are ruined!”
; 49:19,2219Behold, one will come up like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennially watered pasture; for in an instant I will make him run away from it, and whoever is chosen I shall appoint over it. For who is like Me, and who will summon Me [into court]? And who then is the shepherd who can stand against Me?”22Behold, He will mount up and swoop like an eagle and spread out His wings against Bozrah; and the hearts of the mighty men of Edom in that day will be like the heart of a woman in labor.). The lion has wings of an eagle. This points to the enormous speed with which the beast attacks its prey. But these wings are also plucked. The rapid expansion of power is coming to an end. The fact that this empire is then compared with a human being shows that this empire is reduced to its true meaning. It is over with all power.

The second empire appears in the form of a bear. This represents the Medo-Persian empire. The two components of this empire is indicated by the peculiarity “it was raised up on one side”. That means that there is a predominant side in this two-party kingdom. These are the Persians. It is the Persian Cyrus who through his entire empire circulated a proclamation regarding the return of the Jews to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:11Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also [put it] in writing, saying:). The three ribs that the bear has in its mouth may be seen in three directions of the wind and the areas that lie there that are captured by the Medes and Persians (Dan 8:44I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no [other] beasts could stand before him nor was there anyone to rescue from his power, but he did as he pleased and magnified [himself].). This empire has an insatiable hunger for more conquests. It is urged to do so by a power from outside.

The third empire is the Greek-Macedonian empire and appears in the form of a leopard. A leopard is an exceptionally fast beast. It symbolizes the speed with which the emperor of the Greek-Macedonian empire, Alexander the Great, overwhelmed the previous empire. His government lasted only eight years, from 331-323 BC, but in that short time he conquered the entire Medo-Persian empire and many more outside. He is only thirty-three years old when he dies.

This leopard has four wings and four heads. This seems to indicate that Alexander was able to carry out his quick conquests thanks to the support of his four generals (four wings). After his death these four generals divide his empire between each other. The four heads represent these generals as the rulers who each gain authority over a quarter of the empire. Alexander is the head of the empire himself. Power is given to him.


The Fourth Beast

7After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great [boasts].

The fourth empire finally appears in the form of a terrifying beast. This characteristic of deterrence is also mentioned in connection with the iron of the statue (Dan 2:3131“You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome.). This beast has no name. It has no resemblance to any of the beasts created by God. Daniel can only describe it. The description gives the impression that we are dealing with a machine that devours everything within its reach without any compassion.

It resembles a beast that only occurs in nightmares, but to which unscrupulous people today give shape in various computer games. All those who seek their amusement in games in which a monster swallows up and crushes everything, will less and less recognize the terrifying character of the monster that will appear on the world stage soon.

The monster has ten horns, which indicates that the empire consist of ten parts. The first empire is a unity, the second empire consists of two parts and the third empire is divided into four parts. However, the difference between the first three empires and the fourth empire is not only numerical. The difference is, above all, that this fourth empire in its history never consisted of ten parts, as in the previous empires there is unity or they consist of two or four parts. But as we have already seen in Daniel 2, that event will become a fact in the (near) future. We see the signs of it in the unification of Europe.

Daniel’s attention is drawn by the horns. As he looks closely at it, he sees how, at the expense of three horns, an eleventh, little one, elevates himself above all the horns. As a special feature of this small horn he notes that it represents a human being. He perceives eyes as human eyes and a mouth full of boasting. The person portrayed in this vision is extremely astute and at the same time very presumptuous in his use of language, in which especially God, Christ and the believers are to suffer..


A Glimpse into God’s Court

9“I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took [His] seat;
His vesture [was] like white snow
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne [was] ablaze with flames,
Its wheels [were] a burning fire.
10“A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court sat,
And the books were opened.
11Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. 12As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

Daniel also sees that “thrones” (pay attention to the plural!) are set up. A throne speaks of government, but also of justice. As an Old Testament believer, Daniel cannot at that moment be told who will take their place on these thrones. They are vaguely referred to by the term “court” (verse 1010“A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court sat,
And the books were opened.
). In the light of the New Testament we know who this will be. The book of Revelation shows that on these thrones the believers of the Old Testament and New Testament will sit, represented in twenty-four elders (Rev 4:44Around the throne [were] twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones [I saw] twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.; 20:44Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I [saw] the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.).

Daniel does see that on one particular throne Someone takes His place and that is “the Ancient of Days”. ‘The Ancient of Days’ is God. The appearance and behavior, presented in the “vesture” of this Ancient of Days, indicate that He is perfectly pure and holy. His Person radiates impeccable and powerful respectability, which is given an extra accent by “the hair of His head” that looks “like pure wool”. The description of the Ancient of Days corresponds to that of the Lord Jesus as the Son of Man (Rev 1:13-1513and in the middle of the lampstands [I saw] one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.14His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.15His feet [were] like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice [was] like the sound of many waters.). It is one of the many proofs in Scripture that the Lord Jesus is God.

The characteristics of the throne of the Ancient of Days indicate a consuming judgment that is exercised without any mitigation and without any resistance being possible. For the execution of the judgment countless angels are at His service. Before the judgment is carried out, proof of its fairness shall be provided. The books will be opened. These books contain a flawless record of the charges (cf. Rev 20:1212And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.). No one who is judged shall have any reason to question or contradict the reason for his conviction. No one shall have a reply (Mt 22:1212and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless.).

The fact that there are wheels on the throne indicates that the government of God is dynamic. The fact that the wheels are of burning fire means that He judges iniquity. He is the acting God. God’s government is in motion, a movement that always goes forward. God has a purpose, He always works towards it. For this He guides the course of history and events. He is the One who was and is, and also the One who comes, in which we see His decisively acting (Rev 1:88“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”).

The trial focuses on “the horn” that speaks “boastful words”. Those boastful words become the reason for his condemnation. They are the expression of a total rejection and slander of God. That is why the beast is killed. Note the change from horn to beast. The beast and the horn represent the same. The horn is the ruler, the beast is the Roman empire. In the horn we see the representative of that empire. After the beast is killed, its body is destroyed and thrown into the lake of fire. The fact that his body is destroyed does not mean that this person ceases to exist. For as the first living being the beast, together with the false prophet, end up in hell (Rev 19:2020And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.).

With this judgment of the beast and the fourth empire, the rule of the other empires is also taken away. The other empires did not exist anymore as world empire. They were included in the next empires. That is to say, they had not fully ceased to exist. They still existed as empires, but without (world) rule. God has set the time of each empire.

In the end times, the times in which we live, we see that these empires take their place on the world stage again. In today’s Iraq, the former Babylon revives, Iran is the former Persia and Greece speaks for itself.


The Son of Man and His Dominion

13“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and [men of every] language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.

Daniel keeps watching with tension. He perceives a new phenomenon, or rather a new appearance, which he describes as “One like a Son of Man”. This Person is none other than the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus regularly calls Himself in the Gospels ‘Son of man’. When He says to the Council: “Nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN”, this becomes the reason for the chief priests and scriptures to condemn Him: “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? … He deserves death!”” (Mt 26:64-6664Jesus *said to him, “You have said it [yourself]; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”65Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy;66what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!”).

These corrupt leaders of the people know only too well that He cites Daniel 7:13. That means to them – and rightly so! – that He declares Himself to be the Son of God. But their depravity is evident from this, that they condemn Him on the basis of this testimony. That is, the Lord Jesus is condemned to give testimony concerning the truth of His own Person.

That in Daniel 7 with the Son of Man God Himself is meant, we also see in His “coming on the clouds of heaven”. Often in the Old Testament, the coming of God unto His people, or unto any other people, is accompanied by clouds (Exo 13:2121The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.; Deu 33:2626“There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
; Isa 19:11The oracle concerning Egypt.
Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt;
The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence,
And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.
). That He shows Himself from and surrounds Himself with clouds, enlarges the impression of His majesty.

If then the Son of man is God Himself, how can He come to the Ancient of Days, Who is undeniably also God, and receive the kingdom from His hands? Surely God cannot come to God to receive something, is it? Here we have a mystery that cannot be explained by human logic. This has to do with the inexplicable miracle of Christ in the glory of His Person since He became Man. He has become Man, yet without ceasing to be God.

The Gospels are full of evidence of the incomprehensibility of His Person. An example: He Who as a true Man is asleep tired aboard a ship, appears, when He is awakened by frightened disciples, to be the true and almighty God, Who silences the winds and waves with a word of power (Mk 4:38-3938Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they *woke Him and *said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”39And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.). The attentive reader of the Gospels will be able to add to this example many others. As for this miracle concerning His Person, the Lord Jesus says: “No one knows the Son except the Father” (Mt 11:27a27All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal [Him].). What people cannot explain, we can believe and worship.

After killing the little horn, the fourth beast, and ending the reign of the other beasts, the way is clear for a totally different kingdom with a totally different Ruler. The fifth kingdom, and He Who is to be in charge thereof, is announced. The Ruler over that kingdom is different to all previous rulers characterized by two things. He is in the first place Someone to Whom God, because of the dignity of His Person, gives dominion and honor and royal power. But not only is He worthy, He is in the second place also able to rule over all nations. God subdues all nations to Him (Psa 8:66You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
).

Not only His Person, but also His dominion has characteristics that fully differ from previous dominions. Thus His dominion is not limited to just one part of the earth, no matter how large that part might be, but He rules over the whole earth and in heaven. To Him “is given all power in heaven and on earth” (Mt 28:1818And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.). Another characteristic of His dominion is that it is an eternal dominion. In the exercise of His government He will not fail. No one will resist Him. There will be no reason to do so. His government will be a blessing to the whole world. In all respects, His reign is an enormous contrast to any previous human government!


Daniel Wants to Know the Exact Meaning

15“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. 16I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:

What Daniel saw did not leave him unmoved. We may ask ourselves the question: “Does it bother me if the Lord shows me how things will be in the future? If Daniel doesn’t even know the meaning, it already makes a big impression. If he also knows it, all the color disappears from his face (verse 2828“At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”). The things of God do not primarily appeal to our intellect, but to our heart and conscience. God wants His message to work something in us.

Daniel is distressed by what he has seen. He does not understand what it all means, but he does understand that it comes from God and that it has a meaning. He wants to know the true meaning. Asking questions makes you wise, but we only get answers if we ask our questions in the right mind. God does not answer if we doubt the correctness of His Word. We get an answer when we acknowledge that we ourselves are not able to explain the meaning of His Word. This is the attitude we see in Daniel.

Daniel goes to someone – who is vaguely described, but it must be an angel – to ask for the interpretation. In the interpretation an element emerges that was not present in the vision and these are the saints of the Highest One. God’s people are involved in it.


A First Interpretation

17‘These great beasts, which are four [in number], are four kings [who] will arise from the earth. 18But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’

The explanation of the four beasts is simple. They represent four kings arising from the earth. In verse 33And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. it says that they arise from the sea. The interpretation confirms that the sea represents the sea of the nations. These are peoples on earth who, like the sea, are in great turmoil. There is no peace and quiet. The angel speaks about the earth to bring out the contrast with the saints of the Highest One who are in heaven. The fact that the earth is spoken of here as the origin of these four kings or kingdoms, also makes the contrast with the fifth kingdom clear that will come after those four. That fifth kingdom comes from heaven and is governed by a heavenly government.

In the expression “saints of the Highest One” we have a clue with reference to the saints of the Old Testament in their condition after death. It is possible that Paul thinks of these saints when he speaks of “the heavenly [places]” five times in the letter to the Ephesians (Eph 1:3:203Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ,; 2:66and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus,; 3:1010so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly [places].; 6:1212For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual [forces] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].). He can speak about what is in heaven. There are saints in the heavenly places. They will arise at the rapture of the church and at the appearing of the Lord Jesus reign with Him for a thousand years. They don’t miss the kingdom. They experience it from the heavenly side.

In the interpretation Daniel is then told something that does not directly refer to something from his dream. In the dream Daniel saw how the Son of Man receives the reign. This is not said here in the interpretation. Instead, it is said that the “saints of the Highest One” receive the kingship. These saints are the believers who have devoted their hearts to the LORD. They will have to suffer a lot, but they will also receive the kingdom, they will have a part in it. They enter the kingdom of peace of the Messiah. This significant addition means that the Lord Jesus will have fellow-governors in His future reign.


What Is the Meaning of the Fourth Beast?

19“Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, [and which] devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, 20and [the meaning] of the ten horns that [were] on its head and the other [horn] which came up, and before which three [of them] fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great [boasts] and which was larger in appearance than its associates. 21I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.

Before more is said about the reign of the saints, Daniel wants to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, of the ten horns and of the little horn. His full interest goes to these extraordinary appearances with their special characteristics. For the other three beasts he doesn’t seem to have much attention. But what he saw in connection with the fourth beast made a deep impression on him. He once again mentions in detail its horrific characteristics.

It therefore appeals to him so much, because he sees how the little horn fights against the saints. These are the saints on earth, of course not those in heaven. We have already seen in the explanation of verses 7-87After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.8While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great [boasts]. that the small horn represents the mighty ruler of the restored Roman empire. This ruler directs his enmity against the saints of the people of God. The saints will be killed by the little ones.

But his success lasts as long as God allows it. There is talk of an “until” (verse 2222until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.). The boundary is reached when the Ancient of Days, that is the Lord Jesus, comes. He comes to do justice to “the saints of the Highest One” who have been persecuted and killed by the little horn. At first it seemed as if they were the losers. Now comes the moment of truth. God reveals the law. God openly corrects the great injustice that has been done to them. The “saints” take “possession of the kingdom”, which means that the once persecuted ones, now become the rulers. They receive a kingdom, that is to say they have royal dominion and reign together with the Lord Jesus in the kingdom of peace.

This seems to contradict verses 13-1413“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and [men of every] language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
. We saw there that the kingdom is given to the Lord Jesus, while here we see that the kingdom is given to the saints. The solution is that the saints of the Highest One are glorified saints who together with the Lord Jesus will reign over the universe. These saints are the believers of the church, the believers of the Old Testament and the believers who will be on earth during the seventh week of years after the rapture of the church.

In that government with Christ there is a distinction between the believers of the church and the other believers. The believers of the church will reign in the closest connection with Christ as His body (Eph 1:10,22-2310with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, [that is,] the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him22And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.). The other believers will sit on thrones with royal authority and rule the earth as representatives of the great King (Rev 20:44Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I [saw] the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.).


The Meaning of the Fourth Beast

23“Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the [other] kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 24As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26But the court will sit [for judgment], and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.

In the interpretation, the characteristics of the fourth beast are first listed again. The fourth beast is the fourth kingdom, which is the restored Western Roman empire, or the united Europe. In the ten horns on its one head we see on the one hand the unity of the empire represented which on the other hand consists of ten separate realms. No empire is as violent as this empire.

Then there is another horn on it. As the fourth empire differs from the previous empires, so does the last horn differ from the ten horns. The ten states, represented in the ten horns, will voluntarily give all their power in the hand of a single ruler, that is the small horn. That is the difference with the previous empires, all of which were created by subjugation of the peoples. The difference between the little horn and the ten is that he will eliminate three and possess an unprecedented power that he will exercise in unparalleled wickedness.

With this power he will turn in a satanic way against God and His people who are then on earth. He can only do something against God with his mouth. Because he cannot reach God with his deeds, he will with satanic pleasure persecute all those who belong to God to destroy them and thereby also provoke God. For this purpose, he will make alterations in times and in law in a way that will make service to the true God impossible. This shows that it is not about the church, for the service of the church to God is not governed by times and laws, but is a service in spirit and truth (Jn 4:21-2421Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.24God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”). Moreover, the church is already in heaven.

Also this end time fact of the change of times and laws casts its shadow forward. We can apply it to the voices that are becoming louder and louder in our days to banish everything that reminds us of God and Christ from society. Intolerance against all that is Christian is growing more and more.

Because God allows, the little horn will be able to turn against all those who stand in his way, especially those who want to serve God. For this he gets a certain, but limited time span. God determines the boundary (cf. Job 1:12a12Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.; 2:66So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”). This is indicated here by “a time, times, and half a time”. This period, also known as the time of “great tribulation” (Mt 24:2121For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.; Rev 7:1414I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.) or a “time of distress” (Dan 12:11“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands [guard] over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.; Jer 30:77‘Alas! for that day is great,
There is none like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s distress,
But he will be saved from it.
), lasts three and a half years. This is expressed in the terms used, where ‘a time’ stands for one year, ‘times’ for two years, and ‘half a time’ for half a year (cf. Dan 9:2727And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations [will come] one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”; 12:77I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these [events] will be completed.; Rev 11:2-32Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.3And I will grant [authority] to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”; 12:6,146Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.14But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.; 13:55There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.).

Finally, Daniel is informed with remarkable clarity and without any fuss of words of the end of the reign of this anti-godly person. Nothing remains of all his pruning and all his power. This paves the way for the introduction of an empire that is completely different, both in terms of its ruler and in terms of its rule.


The Effect of the Interpretation

28“At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

All that Daniel has come to know, he keeps in his heart. For him it is not theoretical knowledge, not scientific niceness, but he is closely involved in everything, it pervades his being. If Daniel already has such an overwhelming impression of the things concerning God’s earthly people, what impression should it make on us who are so much better acquainted with the Lord Jesus? The history revolves around Christ and His people. His future and our connection with Him in it should impress us deeply and determine our vision of world history and our lives.

It is about keeping these things in our hearts and making it visible in our lives that we have understood what God has shown about the future of the world, of His Son and of His own.


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