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Is Anyone Really in Control? Yes! God Is!

Is Anyone Really in Control? Yes! God Is!

Daniel 7:1-28

Main Idea: God reigns over all nations and will finally defeat his enemies through the coming kingdom of his Son, who took on flesh in Jesus Christ.

  1. God Is Sovereign over the Nations (7:1-8).
    1. He reveals what he chooses to show us (7:1).
    2. He raises up whom he chooses for power (7:2-8).
  2. God Is Sovereign over His Kingdom (7:9-14).
    1. He is sovereign because of his eternality and purity (7:9-10).
    2. He is sovereign with his sentence and patience (7:11-12).
    3. He is sovereign in his man and plan (7:13-14).
  3. God Is Sovereign in His Judgment (7:15-28).
    1. God’s people will receive an eternal kingdom that will last forever (7:15-18).
    2. God’s people will suffer in an earthly kingdom that will last only a short time (7:19-26).
    3. God’s people will be given a universal kingdom that will last forever (7:27-28).

In the sci-fi thriller Aliens (1986), a rescue team from Earth faces off against hostile alien monsters that inflict serious carnage on the team. Amazingly, a small girl named Newt has lived for months on the planet as the lone survivor of a prior mission. After a particularly bad encounter with the aliens, Newt informs leader Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) that the team needs to quickly get back to a safe place. Why? Her words are classic and memorable: “We better get back because it will be dark soon. And they mostly come at night . . . mostly.” Newt is right. Monsters mostly come at night . . . mostly. They come out at night when it is dark. They come out at night when we lie in our beds. They come out at night when we sleep in “dreams with visions,” as the prophet Daniel would quickly affirm.

Daniel 7 has been called “the most comprehensive and detailed prophecy of future events to be found anywhere in the Old Testament” (Walvoord, Daniel, 145). It is a connecting chapter that overlays and ties Daniel 1–6 with Daniel 7–12. Beginning in Daniel 2:4 and going through Daniel 7:28, the book is written in Aramaic. Before and after those verses, the book is written in Hebrew. Thus, the Aramaic section of Daniel begins with a vision given to Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2 and ends with a parallel vision given to Daniel in chapter 7. Daniel 1–6 is narrative and personal. Daniel 7–12 is apocalyptic and cosmic. These latter chapters, like the former, emphasize the absolute sovereignty of God over all things. And chapters 7–12 give us insight concerning the future as God graciously reveals to us, through Daniel, his plans for world history and the end of time. Dan Duncan is correct:

From chapter 7 on, the book is very different. It doesn’t continue the chronology of events, but reverts back in time to a series of visions that Daniel had. It’s not history; it is prophecy. In a sense, the first half of the book gives the credentials of the prophet, the reliability of the messenger. The second half gives his message. Now, the message of chapter 7 through chapter 12 is really not new. . . . It’s the message that God is sovereign. (“God and Monsters, Dan 7:1-14”)

God is indeed sovereign. Daniel 7 makes this truth abundantly clear as it provides something of a panoramic preview of coming attractions from the time of Daniel until that day when time is no more.

The chapter naturally divides into three movements or sections (vv. 1-8, 9-14, 15-28). Ideas of “seeing” and “looking” dominate throughout. In the vision of chapter 2, we see history as man sees it. In chapter 7, we see history as God sees it. The perspectives are different.

God Is Sovereign over the Nations

DANIEL 7:1-8

The Bible uses various genres and literary styles to teach us God’s truth. Daniel 7–12 is primarily what we call apocalyptic literature, which is marked by visions and vivid word pictures. David Helm says, “Story-telling gives way to movie-watching” (Daniel for You, 117). Dale Davis is helpful when he writes,

I would say that biblical apocalyptic is a sort of prophecy that seeks to enlighten and encourage a people despised and cast off by the world with a vision of the God who will come to impose his kingdom on the wreckage and rebellion of human history—and it communicates this message through the use of wild, scary, imaginative, bizarre and head-scratching imagery. (Message of Daniel, 93)

Those who are visually oriented find this form of communication enjoyable. Children who are immersed in the world of video games may identify with it more easily than their parents!

So the sovereignty of God is going to be taught via sci-fi. Truth will be conveyed symbolically through wild, crazy, and strange imagery. There is real stuff behind the symbols, but it will be a challenge to find the right keys to unlock these spectacular scenes that flash before us.

He Reveals What He Chooses to Show Us (7:1)

Daniel provides a historical marker for us: “In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon.” The story of Belshazzar has already been conveyed in Daniel 5. It was not a pretty picture, as his drunken orgy ends with his death and the fall of the Babylonian Empire to the Medes and Persians. The first year of Belshazzar’s reign was around 553 BC. Daniel would have been in his mid-sixties and Belshazzar in his mid-thirties (Miller, Daniel, 194).

At this particular time God chose to give his divine revelation to Daniel in dreams and visions at night “as he was lying in his bed.” Believing, knowing, that this was from God, “he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter” (ESV). We are indebted to Daniel for preserving what God showed him on this particular night “in his mind.” We are the beneficiaries. God revealed, and Daniel wrote. That is a good description of how our Lord delivers his divine, infallible, and inerrant revelation.

He Raises Up Whom He Chooses for Power (7:2-8)

These verses record what could be called “the rise of the beasts.” Sinclair Ferguson notes that what we have here

is essentially a book of pictures, appealing to our senses. We are meant to see, hear, and smell the strange beasts that appear throughout this chapter. We are meant to be overwhelmed as Daniel was. (Daniel, 135)

Daniel first sees that “the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea” (v. 2). That the four winds of the compass (north, south, east, and west) are here referred to as the “winds of heaven” teaches us this is God’s doing. “The great sea” should be understood symbolically as the raging chaos, confusion, and conflict among the nations of the world. Isaiah 17:12 says, “Ah! The roar of many peoples—they roar like the roaring of the seas. The raging of the nations—they rage like the rumble of rushing water” (cf. Job 41:31; Rev 17:15).

Verses 3-8 reveal what Daniel saw: “Four huge beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other” (v. 3). Let’s quickly examine each one. chapter 2 and our understanding of it will be helpful in this interpretation because the two visions are parallel. Interestingly, allowing an animal to serve as a symbol for a nation continues in our day. For example, Britain uses the lion, Russia the bear, and America the eagle.

The first beast “was like a lion but had eagle’s wings” (v. 4). This is Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, which we can tell both from the allusion and from the fact that both Jeremiah and Ezekiel compare Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon to a lion and an eagle (Jer 4:7; 49:19; 50:44; Ezek 17:3, 11-12). Babylon was ferocious like a lion and swift like an eagle. However, “its wings were torn off” (Dan 7:4; ESV, “plucked off”), most likely a reference to Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling insanity in 4:28-33. Then the lion “was lifted up from the ground, set on its feet like a man, and given a human mind.” The phrases “it was lifted up” and “the mind of a man was given to it” (ESV) are what we call the divine passive, indicating both were the activity of God. He is the implied agent of action. Nebuchadnezzar was restored from his beastly existence and behavior by God (4:34-37).

Daniel’s “jungle book” continues as his first scene fades off the apocalyptic screen and a new one takes its place. He sees a second beast, a bear (v. 5). “It was raised up on one side” (again, by God) and had “three ribs in its mouth between its teeth.” God then tells it, “Get up! Gorge yourself on flesh.” This beast is Medo-Persia. Being raised up on one side may describe the dominance of the Persians over the Medes. Three ribs in its mouth tells us “it was not fasting”(Davis, Message of Daniel, 94). Dogmatism is unwarranted in identifying the three ribs. However, James Montgomery Boice offers a plausible possibility when he points out,

Cyrus, the Median-Persian King, and his son Cambyses conquered (1) the Lydian Kingdom in Asia Minor, which fell to Cyrus in 546 BC; (2) the Chaldean Empire, which he overthrew in 539 BC; and (3) the kingdom of Egypt, which fell to Cambyses in 525. (Daniel, 76)

Stephen Miller also suggests the three ribs represent “Babylon (539 BC), Lydia (546 BC), and Egypt (525 BC)” (Daniel, 199). On the other hand, E. J. Young’s suggestion (following John Calvin) that the three ribs represent “the insatiable nature of the beast” is certainly a safe interpretation (Prophecy of Daniel, 145).

The third beast, in verse 6, looks “like a leopard with four wings of a bird” and “four heads.” It is a powerful beast because “it was given dominion.” This is clearly Greece and Alexander the Great. With speed and agility that was unprecedented, he conquered the world of his day—all the way to India—only to die suddenly at the age of thirty-three. Stephen Miller provides helpful insight on both the symbolism and what transpired following Alexander’s death. The accuracy of biblical prophecy is truly amazing!

In Scripture “heads” may represent rulers or governments (e.g., 2:38; Isa. 7:8-9; Rev. 13:3, 12), and that is the case with the leopard’s four heads. Daniel predicted that this one empire would ultimately evolve into four kingdoms, and this is exactly what occurred. Alexander died in 323 B.C., and after much internal struggle his generals carved the kingdom into four parts: (1) Antipater, and later Cassander, gained control of Greece and Macedonia; (2) Lysimachus ruled Thrace and a large part of Asia Minor; (3) Seleucus I Nicator governed Syria, Babylon, and much of the Middle East (all of Asia except Asia Minor and Palestine); and (4) Ptolemy I Soter controlled Egypt and Palestine. A quadripartite character is definitely ascribed to the Greek Empire in the next chapter (cp. 8:8 with 8:21-22), and it is reasonable to interpret the leopard’s “four heads” in light of that clear teaching. (Miller, Daniel, 200)

The fourth and final beast is described in verses 7-8. This beast is the most “frightening and dreadful” of all. It is “incredibly strong, with large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and it trampled with its feet whatever was left.” And it was of a different nature altogether from the other three beasts. It had ten horns, which convey at minimum great and complete power (cf. 2:40-42). This beast is without question the Roman Empire, and yet I believe it is also more. Verse 8, and the additional commentary concerning this beast in verses 19-26, drive me to such an understanding. Verse 8 tells us an eleventh horn, a little horn, emerges from the ten. It begins small but grows to have both great intelligence (i.e., the eyes of a man) and a big mouth. All of this brings Revelation 13 to mind. We will expand our study of this beast shortly, but James Boice seems to be on track when he says,

This seems to be the first biblical reference to the individual later described in the Bible as the Antichrist. He appears in 2 Thessalonians 2 as “the man of lawlessness . . . doomed for destruction” (v. 3) and is seen again in Revelation. (Daniel, 76)

Daniel 2, 7, and also 8 overlap and parallel one another. A visual chart helps us see that relationship more clearly.

Correlation of Dreams and Visions in Daniel[4]
Image chapter 2Beasts chapter 7Beasts Chapter 8Kingdoms Represented
The Times of the Gentiles Luke 21:24Head of fine goldLike a lion with eagle’s wingsBabylon 626–539 BC
Chest and arms of silverLike a bearRam with two hornsMedo-Persia 539–330 BC
Belly and thighs of bronzeLike a leopard with four wings and four headsMale goat with one great horn, four horns, and little hornGreece 330–63 BC
Legs of iron, feet of iron and clayIncomparable beast with ten horns and little hornRome 63 BC–?
Stone that becomes a great mountainMessiah (Son of Man) and saints receive the kingdomKingdom of God

God Is Sovereign over His Kingdom

DANIEL 7:9-14

Daniel saw quite a show in Verses 3-8. However, he has not seen anything yet! As terrifying as those verses were, verses 9-14 are more awesome, more glorious, and certainly more comforting. God is sovereign over the nations because, as we now see, he is sovereign over his kingdom.

verses 9-14 contain three scenes that follow in rapid-fire succession. If Daniel 7 is, as many say, “the single most important chapter of the book” (Miller, Daniel, 191), verses 9-14 are almost certainly the most important verses in Daniel and some of the most important verses in the whole Bible. They are important theologically. They are important eschatologically. And they are important Christologically.

He Is Sovereign Because of His Eternality and Purity (7:9-10)

Daniel continues watching (see vv. 1-2, 4, 6-7, 11, 13, 21). This scene is radically different from the previous ones. He does not see a beast in it. He sees thrones and “the Ancient of Days,” who takes a seat on his throne (cf. 1 Kgs 22:19; Rev 4:4). Only Daniel calls God the Ancient of Days. This is God the Father on his eternal and universal throne. As the Ancient of Days he is eternal, not old. He is wise, not senile! He is a big God, bigger than even Daniel realized, and bigger than the petty beast kingdoms of this world. The following descriptions make that crystal clear.

  • “His clothing was white like snow”—speaks of his holiness, purity, and righteousness.
  • “The hair of his head [was] like whitest wool”—speaks of his eternality, purity, and wisdom. He has always existed, and he is wise beyond all comparison.
  • “His throne was flaming fire”—speaks of purifying and righteous judgment.
  • “Its wheels were blazing fire”—tells us there are no spatial limitations or restrictions on his judgment. He sees everything, and he is everywhere present.
  • “A river of fire was flowing, coming out from his presence”—reinforces the two previous ideas and conveys the righteous fury and wrath of his judgment. Psalm 97:3 says, “Fire goes before him and burns up his foes on every side.”
  • “Thousands upon thousands served him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him”—sounds like Revelation 5:11 and is a reference to angels.

Before this awesome and imposing King, court is called into session “and the books were opened.” The Ancient of Days does everything by the book. His judgment, as always, will be fair and equitable. There is no partiality, not a hint of unfairness. This is true for his judgment of everyone, beginning with the beast.

He Is Sovereign with His Sentence and Patience (7:11-12)

The little horn (v. 8) is still mouthing off as the vision reverts back to him. This arrogant braggart and his boasting are framed or sandwiched by two God-focused poems (vv. 9-10, 13-14) (Pierce, Daniel, 125). In verse 11, suddenly and without elaboration, he is taken out: “The beast was killed and its body destroyed and given over to the burning fire” (cf. Rev 19:19-21; 20:10). Turn out the lights on the beast. Game over! It is that quick. It is that simple.

In contrast to the fourth beast, the others had “their dominion . . . removed, but an extension of life was granted to them for a certain period of time” (v. 12). Sidney Greidanus notes that Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, even after losing their dominion, continued to exist and live as part of the kingdom that conquered them. They were shadows of themselves, but they were still there, albeit in a much diminished sense. God was more gracious and patient with them, as he has been with many other kingdoms throughout history. Not so for the Roman Empire, as it comes to its fullest and greatest expression in the little horn, the antichrist. “When God judges the little horn, the last remnant of the Roman Empire will be annihilated” (Greidanus, Preaching Christ from Daniel, 241).

He Is Sovereign in His Man and Plan (7:13-14)

Two persons take center stage in this night vision: “one like a son of man” and “the Ancient of Days.” These two verses were considered important by the authors of the New Testament, being referenced numerous times, and they are loaded with theological significance. Daniel sees someone “coming with the clouds of heaven,” a clear indication of divinity, and a Christophany as we will see (see also Exod 16:10; 19:9; 24:16; 34:5; Num 11:25; Pss 97:2; 104:3; Isa 19:1; Nah 1:3). “He approached the Ancient of Days [i.e., God the Father] and was escorted before him.” The one like a son of man is then given by the Ancient of Days a universal and eternal kingdom. Verse 14 should be read carefully and slowly so that its impact and weight is fully felt and taken in. The eternal and universal kingdom of God is given to “one like a son of man” who comes in divine manifestation “with the clouds of heaven.”

So the question begging to be asked and answered is, Who is this son of man? A nonexhaustive list of possible candidates includes Daniel, Israel, Michael, Gabriel, Judas Maccabee, faithful Israel, and glorified Israel. However, none of these is satisfactory. Furthermore, Jesus Christ himself tells us who the son of man is. It is he! The title Son of Man was Jesus’s favorite self-designated title and was used almost exclusively by him (see also Acts 7:56; Rev 1:13). The title appears sixty-nine times in the Synoptic Gospels and twelve times in John. In Mark 10:45, Jesus weds the title to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 and thereby redefines the concept of Messiah. In Mark 14:62, he weds the title to Psalm 110 and the King/Priest portrait of Messiah. Concerning the title Son of Man, Sinclair Ferguson says,

The expression “Son of Man” appears to be the virtual equivalent of “man,” but when “One like the Son of Man” appears, the title has particular rather than general significance. This is the True Man in contrast to the man-become-beast in the earlier elements of the vision. This is the one who is able to stand in the presence of the God whose throne is made of the fire of His judgment. This is the one who is worthy to receive “dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion” (v. 14). This True Man is all that humans as God’s image were meant to be but failed to be. (Daniel, 144-45)

Christ was given this glorious kingdom following his work of atonement when he ascended back to heaven. However, Jesus himself declares in Matthew 24:29-31 that the full manifestation and realization of this kingdom will occur when he comes again “on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Jesus Christ did not hesitate to identify himself with the Son of Man in Daniel 7, and neither should we! A vision

that began like a nightmare with monsters coming out of the sea, ends happily and hopefully with a Man coming out of heaven whom God crowns sovereign over the world! (Duncan, “Daniel”)

God Is Sovereign in His Judgment

Daniel 7:15-28

Sometimes even a vision of the greatness and glory of God is still not enough to overcome our anxieties, concerns, and troubled hearts. I take some comfort in knowing I am not alone. Daniel had the same struggle! I guess we are in good company when moments of distress afflict and overwhelm us.

Verses 15-28 bring the vision of Daniel to a close. It easily divides into three parts: verses 15-18 (“my spirit was deeply distressed within me”), verses 19-27 (“Then I wanted to be clear . . .”), and verse 28 (“This is the end of the account”). Because verse 27 stands in contrast with verses 23-26, I will join it to verse 28 in our teaching outline.

God’s People Will Receive an Eternal Kingdom That Will Last Forever (7:15-18)

All Daniel had seen to this point deeply distressed him (ESV, “my spirit within me was anxious”) and “the visions in my mind terrified me” (v. 15). He “approached one of those who were standing by” (probably an angel) and asked for some help. The angel obliged and provided an interpretation (v. 16). As we noted earlier, the four beasts are four kings/kingdoms “who will rise from the earth” (v. 17). They stand in contrast to the Son of Man who comes down from heaven (v. 13). Their temporal kingdom (v. 12) also stands in contrast to the kingdom of the saints of God, here identified as “the holy ones of the Most High” (v. 18). These holy ones “will receive the kingdom and possess it forever, yes, forever and ever.” Once again we see the biblical principle of solidarity with our head. We share in what the Ancient of Days gives the Son of Man. The use of the title Son of Man certainly points in that direction. I cannot improve on the words of Sinclair Ferguson at this point:

The One like the Son of Man is related in some special way to “the saints of the Most High” so that they share in His dominion.

The correctness of this view is underlined by the way in which the One like the Son of Man here appears to be all that Adam failed to be. Adam was a historical individual according to Scripture, but he was also an individual whose actions carried unique consequences for others. Paul expounds this in great detail (Rom. 5:12-21; I Cor. 15:47ff.). In and through Adam’s fall, sin and death came to all who followed. His actions had consequences for a whole species. So, too, with the One like the Son of Man. His conquest means that all those who belong to Him share in the victory. This teaching is also examined in Hebrews (Heb. 2:5-18). Taking up the words of Psalm 2 that all things are under human dominion (cf. Gen. 1:28), the author reflects on the contrast between the promise and the reality. We do not yet see everything in subjection to ourselves, but, says Hebrews, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9). This is what Daniel perceived so vividly, if puzzlingly, in chapter 7. The coronation of the One like the Son of Man is the assurance that those who belong to Him will share in His dominion (cf. Rev. 20:6). (Daniel, 147–48).

God’s People Will Suffer in an Earthly Kingdom That Will Last Only a Short Time (7:19-26)

In verses 19-20 Daniel expresses his desire to know about the fourth terrifying beast of verses 7-8. The two descriptions are virtually identical. In verse 21 he sees the little horn warring against God’s holy ones (saints) and defeating them (see Rev 13:7). He was able to do so until the Ancient of Days stepped in and rescued them, giving them the kingdom in the process (v. 22).

verses 23-26 describe this fourth beast, who is also the final beast. He is Rome and more, as Revelation 13:1-10 clearly teaches. He is an incredibly powerful and vicious king/kingdom who will devour, trample, and crush (v. 23), rise and subdue (v. 24), speak against the Most High, oppress the saints, and intend to change the times and law (v. 25). He is different from any and all other kingdoms (v. 23-24). However, his reign is a limited one—“time, times, and half a time” (v. 25)—and he will be decisively judged and destroyed by God in the end (v. 26). Some specifics of this vision must remain a mystery (the ten kings of v. 24 and the three kings put down in the same verse). Again, I am greatly aided by the insights of Sinclair Ferguson:

Ten horns grew out of the beast. If the beast represents the Roman Empire, then the ten horns are best taken as the continuation of the spirit that was so powerfully expressed in that empire. The little horn arises in this context and engages in hostile activity against three of the horns.

Earlier Protestant commentators often saw a reflection of the little horn in the power of the papacy. Calvin, on the other hand, saw its fulfillment in the Roman Empire itself. In Daniel’s vision, however, the little horn represents the final consummation of evil. It belongs to the final days. Therefore, it ought not be given a specific identification in any historical figure. Notice, however, that the little horn emerges in the context of the beast and the ten horns. It should not surprise us that there will be continual expressions of the characteristics of the little horn that will reach their apex in appearances of the little horn in the last days as described in Daniel’s conclusion. Nevertheless, it is not surprising that many dictators and empire-builders have been identified with the little horn and have shared some of its worst features. We have been told that the Antichrist will come in the final days, but that does not preclude our recognizing that many antichrists have already strutted across the pages of history (1 John 2:18). (Daniel, 147–48)

Antichrists and “the antichrist” blaspheme God, persecute God’s people, and are lawbreakers and disrupters of God’s good design (see Dan 2:21). They deify themselves and turn the social order into godless chaos. This reaches a climax when the “beast coming up out of the sea” in Revelation 13 emerges. He has and has had many forerunners, but he will top them all. However, his reign will quickly come to an end, and when it does, no human like him will ever appear again!

God’s People Will Be Given a Universal Kingdom That Will Last Forever (7:27-28)

Daniel is told for a second time that saints will be given a universal and eternal kingdom (v. 27). The God “Most High” will see to it. Piddly despots like Antiochus Epiphanes come and go (175–164 BC). Madmen like Nero are here today and gone tomorrow (AD 54–68). Lunatics like Hitler have a reign of terror only for a season (1933–45). Antichrist, the final ruler emerging from the sea, will have his day for only three and a half years. In marvelous and striking contrast, God’s kingdom “will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey him” (v. 27), they will obey the Son of Man. This is good news and the “end of the matter” (v. 28 ESV).

However, it is a lot to take in! I think we can readily understand why Daniel says, “My thoughts terrified me greatly, and my face turned pale [lit. ‘my brightness changed on me’], but I kept the matter to myself” (cf. Eccl 12:13; Jer 51:64). Perhaps Daniel’s perplexity might be explained like this: I know a great and wonderful and eternal kingdom is on the way, but there is a long and hard road of suffering before it arrives. Battles will be lost, but the war will be won when the Son of Man comes. Wow! What a wonderful and hope-giving promise!

Conclusion: Where Is Christ in This Text?

This is an easy question to answer in this text. He is front and center in 7:13-14 as the Son of Man, the divine-human person, who receives the universal kingdom from his Father, “the Ancient of Days.” Revelation 5:9-10 and 7:9-13 worshipfully draw from this glorious vision in Daniel. Universal worship of the Son of Man is on the way!

Yet there is more. Who destroys the beast (Dan 7:11) but the Son of Man in his majestic second coming (Rev 19:11-21)? The deathblow was delivered in his first advent when he cried, “It is finished,” from a bloody cross (John 19:30). Therefore even before he ascended to his Father (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:6-11), Jesus could declare in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” So the beast, and Satan who works behind him and through him, may “oppress the holy ones of the Most High” for a season (Dan 7:25), but it will come to an end. Until then, realize that the Son of God became the Son of Man so that he might identify with us and comfort us. Charles Spurgeon said it well: “As surely as He overcame, and triumphed once for you, so surely you that love his name, shall triumph in him too” (Sermons on the Book of Daniel, 154).

Reflect and Discuss

  1. Why do you think Daniel’s readers would have been comforted to hear this message of God’s sovereignty?
  2. Explain in your own words what apocalyptic literature is and how we should interpret it in Scripture.
  3. What do each of the beasts suggest about the strengths of their respective kingdoms? What weaknesses do these images suggest?
  4. How is God shown to be sovereign even over the beasts (i.e., kings and their kingdoms) in verses 4-8?
  5. Summarize the importance of DANIEL 7:9-14 to theology (doctrine of God), Christology (doctrine of Christ), and eschatology (doctrine of the end times).
  6. How does the description of God in 7:9-10 show his superiority over the beasts?
  7. What does the last beast symbolize, other than just the Roman Empire? How does that help us apply this passage to our contemporary context?
  8. What evidence in the Bible is there that the Son of Man should be identified with Jesus?
  9. What words of comfort and promise does this give God’s people?
  10. Based on this and other relevant passages of Scripture, describe the nature and character of the antichrist.
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